As a young girl, surrounded by the lush orange groves of my family’s farm in Nagpur, I revelled in the simple joys of life. Each tree had a name, they were the companions in my many spirited adventures —I climbed their branches and savoured their juicy fruits. Under the warmth of their shade, I’d watch butterflies and birds flit about. Life, in those moments, was pure bliss.

But life took me on a different path when I relocated to Mumbai; the bustling city life, filled with its cacophonous sounds, stood in stark contrast to the serene melodies of nature I grew up with. This shift sparked a deep longing to reconnect with the earth and provide my children with the same connection to nature that had enriched my childhood.

In 2005, my beloved Sunil, who shared my profound love for nature, and I purchased a 5-acre farm on the outskirts of Mumbai from a Parsi family who had planted several mango, coconut, chikoo and other fruit trees. This farm became our sanctuary, a retreat from the relentless pace of urban life.

Shivom is a picturesque haven located in Gundale village, a 2-hour drive from Mumbai —a  magical place where the rolling hills to the west converge with a gentle flow of the Surya River to the east. A majestic 200-year-old banyan tree stands sentinel, protecting us. Here, amid the mango orchards, you’ll find a slice of paradise, a world where nature’s beauty and fulfilment coexist harmoniously.

At Shivom, we believe in the reciprocity of nature; when treated with genuine care, it rewards abundantly. By 2015, our passion and respect for nature inspired us to transform this land into Shivom Organic Farms, a tribute to our parents, Shivrajvati and Onkarnath. We’ve rejected chemical pesticides and fertilizers in favour of natural alternatives like neem-based solutions and manure derived from farm waste through vermicomposting. Our commitment to sustainability is also evident in our embrace of permaculture principles, ensuring the farm’s conservation and prosperity for generations to come.

Today, the farm has over 150 mango and chikoo trees, nearly 250 coconut trees, a thriving vegetable garden, and a diverse array of plants and shrubs. Our mangoes and chikoos are renowned for their exceptional taste and nutritive value. The natural ecosystem here attracts myriad wildlife, including butterflies, bees, birds, and squirrels. During the monsoons, the farm is especially enchanting as streams from nearby hills flow through it, joining the Surya River in a breathtaking spectacle.

In 2022, I opened up Shivom as a gathering place for families and friends to enjoy. I invite you to spend a day, a weekend, a month. Come find yourself in nature. #gowiththeslow

– Rita Manaktala