Running to the hills every time the drudgery of city life gets under your skin is ideal.
But if really want to shut out the noise, try spending a weekend getting a first-hand experience of the village life. Which means waking up at a villager’s house, eating their home cooked food and sharing their lifestyle. That’s what Amala Menon wants you to experience through her initiative called SaveAGram.
Through traditional homestays, the initiative lets its guest experience the local life in villages up close.
Their first homestay was started in Gaja in the Garhwal Himalayas in 2014.
The second one was launched in Wayanad in a small village called Pulpally. With the help of a team of local and international volunteers, the guests who arrive at these homestays get a chance to experience a completely unadulterated rustic life.
Gaja was chosen for its scenic beauty, organic produce and ethnic grains, while Wayanad for its lush greenery, flanked by jungles on both sides.
Video story by Our Better World.
“It’s a surreal experience to actually live in a small village and a farmer’s home, and get to know how the whole way a village works.Most rural villages in India trust their neighbours and do not lock their doors. They grow everything they need in a sustainable manner and the homes are also built using natural materials. These are all good experiences for the city dwellers, not to mention the delicious traditional food!” Amala told The Better India.
The initiative looks at the villages as a whole and works with some of the local private schools there, which are struggling to sustain.
They encourage their guests to sponsor the teachers or children.
They also encourage the villagers and farmers to grow organic food and increase their income streams by selling it.
“We encourage them to think of retaining the beauty of their villages by modernisation only where required for speed and comfort, but retaining what is good in terms of sustainable methods of architecture and farming,” Amala told TBI.
The options are plenty. In Garhwal, you could learn the local song and dance, grow organic crops, practice yoga or go for a short trek.
In Wayanad, you could take a walk to the Kabini river, take a steam bath with local tribal herbs, trek through the jungles or go for a hike.
The goal is to shut out the city noise completely, repress it in some part of your brain, and visit it later when it’s all over. But for now, think about the waterfalls and the fresh air!