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Published: December 11th 2007
This is quite simply a transcript from my journal the day we moved from the Rainforest Retreat to Gurukula.
By 8.00 a.m. we'd set off after affectionate 'Goodbyes' to everyone at the Rainforest Retreat. Stop off at Madekeri to photocopy all our documents for the Kerala Police, then....ever onward. The roads were terrible, but the scenery and towns what we had come to expect and enjoy, and we did seem to be descending slightly. Finally, the Keralan border, frontier posts, and all that goes with it, and a flurry of Communist flags. The scenery changed IMMEDIATELY we got through the border, to forests of bamboo. We were straight into National Park, briefly better roads, and apparently a slightly better standard of living.
The road up to Gurukula was....worrying. Finding it was one thing, ascending the single track with sharp descent on one side (MY side...) another. The forest however was so lush - hard to believe that only 3% of what was here 100 years ago still exists, and that the work done at Gurukula does much towards protecting this tiny fragment. Once arrived, we were immediately welcomed to lunch: 2 veg. curries, channa dhal, twice-cooked rice in the
Keralan style, curd and poppadums, with yoghourts and mountain honey to follow. Do your own washing up - all very democratic, then down to inspect the simple accommodation. Deliberate shortage of toillets, to encourage you to pee on the flowers and help them grow........
Tour of part of the Sanctuary with Supi in the afternoon - the pictures tell the story - then tea at 5.30 - hunks of watermelon, local oranges, savouries and sweetmeats, and meet everyone. Then, Supi took us up the watertower - one of the magical experiences of my life. The sun slowly set over the Western Ghats, the moon rose as the sky darkened and the stars emerged. Silence fell as the night sky intensified. Mullahs from two distant mosques sang their Call to Prayer, admittedly using a microphone, but still atmospheric. Shooting stars too........
Later again, more wonderful food, fill in forms for the Kerala Police..and so to bed.
I could write about forest walks, about the visit to Crac-a-dawna organic farm, where they grow rich varieties of crop, produce jams and chutneys, cotton yarn which they dye themselves, then make into garments. I could tell you about wildlife safaris, or
Every pot plant.......
....you've ever seen grows lush and wild here
a visit to BASIL, a biodynamic farm near Mysore. Or, if you think it's the sort of holiday that might interest you, you could contact Simon yourself- he's be pleased to talk to you without any possible obligation on your part. He's contactable at email@example.com. And no, he didn't pay me to advertise for him, but we DID have a great time, and he is planning to make this holiday happen again, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, so do get in touch if you're even slightly interested because this glance at rural India was a really special time for me, and I think for the whole group that was with me.
And that really is it. I'm well and truly back now. All I need to do is junk the post viral fatigue which the doctor's just diagnosed................
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