Navadarshanam – a new way of life

Living in Bengaluru nowadays distances you a lot from nature and life as it used to be.  So it was more than a warm welcome retreat for us to land up at Navadarshanam farm.  Though it is in Tamil Nadu, based on a driving duration  of 1.5 hours … for me its almost Bengaluru 🙂

Navadarshanam is an organic farm, a community, an eco resort, and a brand of tasty organic products.  Based on a tip off from a close family friend, we decided to do an overnight stay, and were looking forward to it.  Our drive was smooth and in spite of kuchcha roads enjoyable towards the end – Google map nails it.

Just born calf! at Navadarshanam
Just born calf! at Navadarshanam

Our first experience was to witness the birth of a calf.  How exciting!  Yet, how calm the entire place was.  The next day I saw most of their cattle.  The bull had horns spread out about 4 feet!  And he had to tilt his neck to get inside the barn.  Unfortunately, I was too overwhelmed by the discipline of these animals and didn’t manage a click of that.

It didn’t take us long to realise that the place was teeming with natural life, and I started taking pics.  Our host Mr. Nagarajan now showed us our rooms.  He looked and spoke like the ‘learned familiar uncle’ and quickly made us feel comfortable.

Buzz around sitaphal at Navadarshanam
Buzz around sitaphal

We were welcomed with some amazing herbal tea with jaggery syrup.  Dinner was even more awesome, with fresh cut cucumber, bisibele bath (rice and lentils), keerai gravy (spinach) and a lot more.  I didn’t know that organic and tasty could go together so well 🙂   We had a friendly firefly join in too.  Post dinner we even had a good round of community singing with bhajans classic melodies.  There was a big group of mixed people from Andhra, and later I got to know that the kids were being home-schooled, and this was one of their education spots.  Now, this is new!   Throughout all this, Nagarajan uncle and his wife played an amazing host.

Sunset at Navadarshanam almost like Africa
Sunset almost like Africa

Compared to my expectations, the rooms were very well equipped and decorated.  They had interesting hand written and framed quotes on nature and conservation.  There was a collection of books too.  Our room had a terrace and I could get several good views of the plants and birds around … as well as an awesome sunset.

We woke up to chirping birds early in the morning, and decided to take a nature walk by ourselves as per directions given by Mr. Nagarajan.

Purple haze grass! at Navadarshanam
Purple haze grass!

Our first sighting was a bunch of feathers and it looked like a bird had a big struggle with a cat.  A bit further down we saw a small pond, and a cormorant took off from the water before I could click.  There were patches of grass with a purple hue that caught my attention too.  A variety of birds, insects and morning dew added to the magic.

Post a healthy breakfast including steaming brown rice idlis Mr. Nagarajan took us for a walk around the farm.  My daughter said that he looked like a grey haired version of Professor Calculus from Tintin.  Ah yes, now I know why he looked like that ‘familiar uncle’ 🙂

A tour of their farm gave us a new perspective, bringing us closer to nature and good food.  Young and fresh fruits and vegetables which we rarely get to see.  The freshness was invigorating – almost breathing in new life.

Rainwater harvesting

After the tour I got to know that almost all their food is sourced and cooked in-house.  They also had excellent methods of storage and disposal.   They had bio gas, solar powered electric fencing, solar and wood fire powered hot water system, innovative fencing around the property, rainwater harvesting throughout the property without disturbing the terrain.  I guess simple things done the right way can lead us to sustainable farming, organic food and happy living.

Solar cum wood fire heater

You also get to see the good old way of making food.  Workers were inside naturally cooled hand painted mud walled huts.  They were using the ‘moram’ (winnow) to sift and sieve, mills and grinders for fresh flour, natural methods of making pickle, and more.  Interested visitors can join in.  They also have a bread factory where we got to see the equipment.  Unfortunately, they were not running the factory on the day we visited.  So we have another visit pending just to watch that.

I think Navadarshanam literally means ‘a new way of life’.   But if you ask me, it is the good old ways of life that we all have to re-learn.  Thanks to their invite for the Annual day event on 26th Jan, I decided to at least write about them before that date 🙂  Lead the way to happy, healthy living Navadarshanam …

Call them up before you land up, so that they too can plan to receive you: www.navadarshanam.org

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