Monday, December 26, 2011

Nature lover cum Amateur traveller's experience at Navadarshanam

I have heard of Navadarshanam (Nd) through my friend Suma few years back. She mentioned to me that she had been to that place once for a gathering and she found the place very good. She also mentioned if we like we can go and stay over a weekend to understand the activities they carry out there including organic farming. Although she might have given few more details my brain got stuck with the word organic farming and it immediately visualized Navadharsanam (Nd) inside. Since I have participated in their health food sale in Bangalore, my brain visualized a vast farming land with all the plants which gave grains/fruits/vegetables that I bought/saw in the sale. So it had paddy fields, turmeric plants, groundnuts etc., etc., Though I showed interest then to visit Nd, we could not go due to lot of other reasons. Over time I forgot about visiting the place completely but continued to participate in their monthly sale in Bangalore once in a while .
Once I got the link of Nd and I went through the entire website. Having seen the website, I realized this place is not just what or how I visualized but has much more and more. Some how a thought came 2 weeks back to visit Nd and last Tuesday I asked my friends Suma and Sangee if they are available to pay a visit to Nd over this weekend. In addition to which I sent Sangee the link of Nd as this is totally new for her. After going through the same she called me and said she liked it very much and she wanted to visit this place. We decided we four including my husband will go on 24th evening and will return to Bangalore on 25th December. I followed the procedure mentioned in the website and as per the same I called Nagarajan on 92430-49163 and checked with him if it is possible for four of us to visit Nd over the weekend. He asked if we are visiting for the first time and asked why we want to visit this place. We briefly spoke and he informed that it is possible to accommodate four of us. He also told it has very basic facilities and I told him we are completely fine with the same. On 24th Morning I received an sms from him saying 'please bring warm clothes for the night'. We packed extra blankets and left bangalore at 3 PM and reached Nd by 4:45 PM.
After we parked the vehicle at the Nd gate and started walking towards the building we met Om on the way. He welcomed us and asked Suma if she had been there before. She mentioned that she had been there for a gathering in 2009. She felt happy to know that he remembered her. We went in and asked the first person we met in health food counter for Nagarajan. He came along and showed us the home Chandan that we were going to stay and gave the keys to us. We all were totally taken over and transformed to be the members of Nd family the moment we stepped in. It had a very soothing ambience and naturally air-conditioned.

After we all shared how each other felt about the home, I came out  and was trying to see what few women were doing at a drying platform near the building. I turned back when I heard a voice 'always keep the doors closed otherwise unwanted guests will enter'. That's how Nagarajan uncle introduced himself . After we all got introduced I asked him if we can go and see around or any special permission is required. He said nothing of that sort is required and we can go and explore ourselves. He took us to the kitchen and got us hot tea. I noticed the kitchen and it more felt like the one we had at my grandma's. Although the look might differ I could feel similar warmth and love.

When we finished our tea and washed our glasses, we met Ananthu outside the kitchen and Nagarajan uncle introduced us to him. He asked how we knew Nd and we explained. Nagarajan offered he will show us around. While we started walking I mentioned to him that I learned from the website Honge oil is used for engines wanting to know more information. But he replied we tried using but after few years engines gave up so we could not continue.

When we kept walking it was very difficult to believe that this place was once a waste land. It has grown into a rich forest now. 

We met Gopi who was watering the farm, Nagarajan uncle introduced us to him. We asked him about the names of the different plants that we saw in the farm. 

We saw tiny plants of Palak, Beetroot and other greens. After we spoke we started walking and we also saw a house getting constructed and checked with him how those bricks are made. It was surprising to know that only very limited percentage of cement is being used for the making of such strong bricks.

Since this place is very close to forest we asked if they saw any animals. He mentioned elephants would come at times. That explained why such big coconut tree fell. By now we had reached his house amidst trees and bushes and he offered if we would like to come in. We were very glad to go in and see around the eco-friendly house personally designed by him and very pleased to meet Padmini aunty. She received us as if she was expecting us and showed us all the rooms and her lovely garden. She also had put lovely arisi mavu kolam in the front and at the back doors.

She had lot of herbal plants in her garden. For the first time I smelled lemon grass in her garden and was pretty amazed. She offered we could take the saplings if we liked. We got talking for a while and then we reached Chandan.
While we were inside we heard voices in the verandah. When we came out there was a small group of people who came to Nd from calcutta. They asked if it is okay to use the verandah and we were very pleased to meet them. Other people were arranging for a bonfire in the rock near Chandan and also were arranging to have dinner along. They had lighted candles and all of us joined to have Christmas dinner filled with delicious healthy food and cake without sugar yet very tasty. It was a special Christmas eve with all the carols and little gifts that was hand made by the children from Nd. We parted after dinner and slept peacefully in the lap of Nd.

We got up by 6:00 in the morning and went for a walk to see birds. 

We explored the place ourselves but all the buildings looked similar. We kept coming to same way over and over and it had nice fun. We saw cow shed and was glad to see natti cows.

We found art on the walls and leaf imprints on the floor of one of the houses at Nd

Nagarajan uncle joined us in between and he took us to a different path and told us you find the way and come to the kitchen for the breakfast. It was interesting and also easy to find our way out. We met Nd residents during breakfast and also Ananthu. After breakfast again we started walking and collected few leaves from the fallen coconut tree. We tried our art work using them that once we learned as a child. 

The children who came from near by hamlet to Nd fancied them and my husband enjoyed making them leaf snakes.
Although we thought we would start by 12:00 in the noon to Bangalore we left around 4:30 PM on Sunday as it was difficult to part with Nd. We thoroughly enjoyed the stay and it was wonderful to be in a vision once a group of people had that came true in every way. Nagarajan uncle and the whole Nd members ensured we had a great stay. Thanks to everyone at Nd for having given a chance to be part of such a beautiful family.


Miteon said...

Thanks for sharing the wonderful experience... The pics and the details depict the fun you all had. You almost made me see Nd through your eyes...
Very few people know what gives them the thrill in life,
Fewer have the opportunity to follow it,
And rare are those who have the courage to follow it.

shri Prajna said...

நீ சொன்னதும் + படங்களும் அந்த இடத்தைக் காணும் ஆவலை அதிகப்படுத்துகிறது. நானு நானு...என்னையும் கூட்டிடுப்போ சுகி...

Sugirtha said...

@ Miteon - Thanks so much for your lovely comments. I am glad you liked the narration.

Sugirtha said...

Shri - நீ வா,நம்ம எப்போ வேணா போலாண்டா.

sangeetha said...

wow!!u had a fantastic trip i guess..wat i liked the most was the arisimaaavu kolam and the chair nearby..toooo gud..

sangeetha said...

wow!!u had a fantastic trip i guess..wat i liked the most was the arisimaavu kolam and the chair near by..a lovely pix..too gud.

Sugirtha said...

We sure did Sangee, yeah that was beautiful :-)