When I was in the process of conceptualizing Maachli, I recall reading about an inspirational incidence of Rabindranath Tagore at Shanti Niketan, where he organized a grand ceremony to plant a new tree, just the way someone would do for a newborn baby. The reason for calling a tree plantation a sacred ceremony stems from this inspirational anecdote.
The Maachli Farmstay is blessed with lush greenery since its inception. A breathtaking view of the dense tropical plantation from the wide glass window of the cottage turns out to be a major pull for nature lovers. The way we put it is “We grow plants and wish to grow with them!”.
We have a grassland; just about a 15 min walk from Maachli. This year we thought of bringing this land into stronger biodiversity and ecology with the help of natural stimulus. This part of land consisted of a deep forest, a small rocky patch where nothing can grow except wildflowers in monsoon and the rest was a wide field. To begin with, we dug a well for agricultural purposes and a pond to enhance the beauty and facilitate water for the wild animals. They struggle for water, especially in the summer season. After having organized a water source, we set about planting trees on the basis of the ecological zones. The zones were attributed to liveable space, water availability, farming, forest area and a non-cultivable barren patch of land. Once we figured out the most appropriate zone, we selected only the regional habitat friendly trees that grow into a big forest.
The motive of this mission was to engage our guests with this sacred ceremony and as expected, our guests gave an overwhelming response in terms of participation. The first tree plantation session was carried out by the staff members, other villagers and guests. The idea of planting the regional trees with the help of people from the region was the notable aspect of this mission. We came across very beautiful comments from the guests. One guest explained how supple the feel of the soil is which cannot be experienced staying in the concrete jungle. The other emphasized the deepened connection with the universe. It was great to know that the tree planting experience was life-altering and rejuvenating for a few guests. In our perspective the experience is altogether a devotional. I would definitely request each and every guest to be part of this devotional experience.