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Posts tagged “Village

Yellow Goodness!

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To our absolute delight we found in our campsite Yellow Himalayan Raspberry (Hinser) bushes leaden with it’s beautiful, fresh and rich fruit. Following this discovery was a long session of plucking and savoring the organic yet heavenly taste of the freshness that this stout evergreen bush had to offer us. Its prickly stem was however hardly a protection against us, the victims of industrial world and artificial flavors, for it is our hunger for the true taste of life that drives us back towards that which isn’t and cannot be synthesized. This summer fruit is not without its fair share of medicinal value. Apart from promoting perspiration and urination, Hinsar also aids in digestion. It is also found to be helpful in controlling dysentery. Found throughout the Himalayan range it is known by different names like Ainselu, Heer, Hinser and Rasbhari. This month is that of fruity delights in the hills with spirited reds of kafal and cheerful yellows of hinser dotting the greens of the forest.

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Radiating Tunes

When was the last time you sat idle? Sitting on a couch maybe and watching a box displaying a sugar coated world or perhaps, updates from the ‘real world’. A seed of intellect, destined to grow into a tree, thus perishes dormant. Moreover, it spoils the entire lot of grains around it, which, but increase mass and cover up the holes that lead to depth. A tragedy, as it appears, is what occurs daily and has become a vicious circle, rotting every moment. A world where ‘the good’ can be bought like any other product sold on the roadside is where we belong. Every five years a new puppet appears alongside the old one, with hands manifesting false hopes. Then, with an addition of money and alcohol, the country is governed. A country, where the elector is a mere subject of the rule… No difference persists between day and night. On one hand is the dark night, where day is already darkened by the soot rising from the fiery deeds of human beings. On the other is the bright day with light. This light then is fetishized during night to create a superficial day made out of lights! The doers are here not to blame as the non-doers sit with hands clasped adoring the feverish times. Adoration, it seems, rises out of the false interpretation of a symbol, and then owing to our ‘progressive’ society, it sets in! The non-doers then become a part of the great picture and exhaust their wills to stand against the ill times. All that is needed is a little bit of time to sit back idle and ponder, but outside the box!

Kolti, a place that has not yet been bitten by the serpent raging in the cities, gives one such standpoint to ponder over. For one cannot know what is going wrong, unless an attempt is made to rise above the self- formed images and then look down! A city, what one considers, is one such self formed image. Thus, one needs to rise, perhaps to the mountains, to look at the problems. For enlightenment was gained only by rising above the self! In a divine atmosphere of the Himalayas, alongside some showers of indigenous flavors, dance, music and stories, there is an attempt to take a little stride towards this realization. The lure of the wild towards the essence of life is what fosters this understanding. What if we have interpreted the world of the lesser wild according to our lifestyles? One can never really dissect everything, but feel the true essence of it.

Sitting on a ridge in the mountains, catching hold of a guitar and playing your heart out! Soft breeze then aids you to get connected with what one calls the self. Life in harmony divulges all the happiness you ever longed for. All one needs is to break free from the false obligations chaining one in today’s ‘classical’ lifestyle. The clothes only but reveal, peace however deflowers. Such experiences are endangered and quite often are named ‘bad’. An association with drugs, Satan, lunatics and the list goes on… Close to nature today is: caged in a cocoon, riding through a jungle on tracks carved out by felling trees. And then the entire experience is captured by Pinocchio cameras! Funny but strangely true on the contrary. Such spots are then protected under special funds and committees by our unworthy puppets! A protected island to justify the degradation of rest of the world!

Countless attempts to clean the dirt by jumping into the filth have come up front. A great job indeed, but better could be done if one rises above this filth to get a clearer view of the plague. In the current scenario the raging fire below has started degrading the beautiful mountains. Extinguish the fire before it is too late. Cease it before our time to think and act is over. Kill it before a free life is burnt forever.

As we celebrate the smallest of moments in life and live their beauty, it is time that we share the happiness. For happiness is meant to be shared. Let’s all unite for a change brought by this peace and sit back to decide if a need to travel up to the mountains arises…

In you feel like visiting Kolti this summer fill up this form – Visit Kolti


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In the dawn of new era, cities are constantly facing problems with rapid growth. Both, in population and in economy. On the other hand, the rural areas are left behind in this race. Owing to which, rural youth is lured into migrating to cities in search for better opportunities. But this only increases the problem. The already strained cities cannot afford to take in new individuals. Moreover, the people migrating leave behind valuable resources that can be put to better use. Talking about living standards, the incoming people struggle to lead a peaceful life. Ownership of new property is out of the question. Hence, renting is the only feasible option! Here we ask – Why can the rural population not stay at home and try to improve the living standards there?

Such problems can be looked after in an initiative that not only provides income security but also helps in improving livelihood in rural areas. The first step is to understand the reasons for this rift between the Rural and Urban. The rural has always been looked down upon by the ‘advancing’ urban sector. Moreover, owing to industrialization, many villages in the outskirts of cities have been converted into huge production units, which have their own drawbacks: ranging from environmental issues to health and housing. But the worst and the most basic drawback is what we call ‘Home-alienation’. The whole corporate and social scenario has so evolved that being independent and free is considered a taboo. The rural population, which used to depend on agriculture, has thus alienated from a free, self –sustaining and independent life style to a system of specialized labor. The pace of infrastructural development thus left the rural areas far behind in such a way that many of these areas lack basic state supplies like roads, electricity etc. Thus, one of the prime objectives of Hidden Treasures is to decrease this existing gap and thereby curb exodus of rural population to cities. Moreover, to make the rural population feel ‘wanted at home’. Being a holistic approach, Hidden Treasures also tries to send a message in society which asks one to break free from the calibrated money- brick – cement and iron lifestyles and lead a life closer to their essential nature.

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The very first initiative taken by the company is called “Life in Kolti”. Kolti, being a small village 5km from Mussoorie, is one of those where roads haven’t reached yet. Life in Kolti is a travel program which makes one understand the daily challenges faced by the people of Kolti to sustain themselves. As one walks through the cart-tracks between the hilly forests, one feels the hardships involved in transporting village produce to Mussoorie daily. Moreover, induced activities like birding, reveal to one the beautiful world of nature, which has been long forgotten in the cities. The cultural program during night, gives one raw cultural experience as no special artists perform on stage. Rather, the village people gather themselves at the chaupal and begin to sing and dance on the beats of ‘Dhol’ and ‘Damau’. Regional food adds to this beautiful life experience.

Now, mentioning the other side of this program. As many as 12 people are given work under this program. These people cook, collect wood, maintain the campsite, and also initiate cultural proceedings. Thus the travel program should initially be instrumental in securing the income in the village. Gradually, to make the village self-reliant, activities like agriculture should be encouraged, this would add to the income security. Thus, a part of the problem is solved!

At the same time it is also necessary to match the rural knowledge systems with the ever progressing urban knowledge systems. Thus, as a first step, a small public library has been opened in the village. This should enable the village to widen its horizons in terms of knowledge. Moreover, this knowledge can then be reproduced in regional languages, thereby saving the dying language communities.

Once the project starts generating income and solving problems of basic necessities, Hidden Treasures plans to move out of the village, giving the village full control of the project, thus completing the task of empowerment.

And for the people with free traveler spirit, this program should not only be a simple and deep raw cultural experience but also an opportunity to be a part of a beautiful process of change. Kolti is a place for anyone lost in the city existence to find themselves again in the heavenly, almost spiritual surroundings.

As mentioned earlier, Hidden Treasures, is a holistic approach towards rural empowerment, it is therefore not feasible to mention all the minute details of the program. But the things that should be noted are: ‘Life in Kolti’ is a Cultural- eco Travel concept, where the daily functioning of the village is not intruded in any manner, be it the ecology, the resources or the lifestyle. The camping site is developed above the village and is lighted using solar lamps. No food is wasted, nor is the area polluted with plastic or any other substances. Any waste produced is carried back and dumped in proper dustbins at Mussoorie.