Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Valentine's Weekend at Native Place, Kamshet

This Valentine’s day weekend Native Place hosted “Color’s of Love” an event where people came together to celebrate Love of nature.  The event attracted a beautiful set of people looking to escape the city, immerse in  nature and have a change of scene. The highlight of the weekend was the Natural Dyeing workshop conducted by Anushree Chitnis.

Besides, there was rooftop music performance, a bonfire, nature walks and simply chilling out in the flower filled Native Place garden, harvesting veggies and making flower mandalas. People were blown away by the beautiful Jade vine, a gorgeous sunset and then there was a music performance on the roof where B Mohanty charmed us with her beautiful voice. 
Anushree Chitnis a Landscape Architect and Permaculture Designer with a penchant for plants and all things natural took the eager participants through the history of plant-based dye making transporting them to the times when colors were all natural made of ingredients from one’s kitchen or garden.
Participants collected palash flowers, sorted onion peels, tore up purple cabbage and pounded turmeric. The ingredients were brewed in the outdoors on a wood fired stove that added to the feeling of stepping back in time. 

“Another great weekend  at Native Place - learning new things, making new friends, rooftop party, bonfire, nature walks and great food.  From insane blue/green Jade Vine flowers, to the beautiful indigo and ochre shades we made, from the beautiful sunset to the vivid greens - this weekend was truly colourful :)” Roly Saraswat,  participant

About Anushree Chitnis
A landscape architect by profession, Anushree is a gardener at heart. Her observations and experiments have led her to design spaces that encourage not just people but also, birds, bees and insects to spend time in these eco-niches!
Her love for nature also extends itself towards her art work including murals, sketches, up-cycled objects and recently, paintings with natural dyes and inks. She believes the world of natural dyes is a complete sensory and unwinding experience, always full of surprises when embraced with an open mind.
Anushree currently runs an independent design practice, Studio Folium, offering landscape and permaculture design, interior design and art commissions representing bio-diversity. 
Follow her Instagram Page: @anushree_la 
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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Yoga teacher and organic farmer Teruko Maehara from Japan visits Native Place.

Yoga instructor and practicing organic farmer from Hiroshima, Japan visited us in February.  She shares her experience:

My yoga friend Ivan Stanley from India told me Native Place was definitely a nice place to visit. Its India but not the India we imagine – people find India crowded, chaotic and noisy but that is the city – this place is a tranquil space. 

Being close to Pune – Iyengar centre she found it convenient and practical to visit the Iyengar Yoga Center in crowded Pune and return to the peaceful atmosphere at Native Place
Its good for permaculture, meditation and yoga.  Local food, garden veggies good for yogis.  One can also have a paragliding experience

My travel -  I took a plane to Delhi and a domestic flight to Pune. The guesthouse organised a taxi to pick me up from Pune airport – one hour’s drive. So, it was all very convenient. Not difficult at all for a single traveller.

I hour from the crowded city of Pune Native Place is a fresh oasis of green. Filled with many beautiful native trees and lots flowers, birds and overlooking has lots of greenery. It is dry and brown outside but a fresh green oasis here.

What to do here - If you wish farming, cooking, paragliding, swim in the lake, enjoy the sunset by the lake or from the terrace, join a workshop is one is going on. There are many hidden places to spend quiet time and be alone. To read a book or meditate when you need Or enjoy conversations with other guests from all over the world and local people . The air is fresh and unpolluted, there is lots of place for kids to play so it’s good for families as well.

Most can speak English, so it makes it easy to converse with guests and staff.  I would think / recommend it as a good place to escape the winter for people from Europe and Japan. I came end of January and it was sunny in the day time, dry weather, I could walk barefoot. In the evenings and early morning its cool and fresh.

 I found people visiting the Native place to be like a family – Saturday night reunion of paragliding pilots and friends, a community atmosphere, chill out, catch up with each other.  It’s definitely a  nice place to meet people as well.

I’m really happy I came and spent a quiet week here – my next stop is the Vipassana center in New Bombay after which I travel back home to winter in Japan.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Native Place Easter Special

This Easter weekend we had a fun Easter Egg Huntat the Native Place Guesthouse followed by a special ‘East Indian’ Easter lunch. We had invited children from Palegaon ( the nearest village) to take part in the hunt. 

The children arrived at 10.30 and sat shyly in a group. We invited them to join us blowing up balloons. This worked as an icebreaker and soon they were all running around helping with the decorations.

To continue the mood of excitement we played a game - anyone heard of ‘Mamachya patra haravla’ ? It’s the local version of ‘a tisket a tasket’ a kindergarten game I’ve played myself as a child. Such a simple delightful game – one could feel the nostalgia as our garden crew and the paragliding crew spontaneously joined in the fun.

Before we knew it chairs were being called for and musical chairs was next on the plan – have to say it was so much fun that the Nirvana Adventures paragliding students and guests also wanted to play
Next came the Spoon and Lime race – Vinod won hands down – he seemed to have a cheat code of some sort but we never figured it out J .  

 Finally it was time for the Easter egg hunt but i have to say that it did not last too long – the kids were so sharp eyed that within 10 minutes all the goodies were in the bag or should i say basket.

It was a fun morning and everyone had a great time – we are inspired to do it again next year
Mark the dates and see that you show up.  

Astrid Rao

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Native Place Off Site

Last week we had a young energetic group of people from the IT field visit the Native Place guesthouse for a weekend of team adventure, bonding, fun and relaxation. House of Code comprised a 45 strong group.

Zip Line Demo 

All Smiles on the Zip Line 

Low Ropes Course Team Building Activity 

They arrived mid morning to be led through the zip line, valley crossing, and the low ropes course by the Nirvana Adventure Crew. The day flew by with a small break for lunch – Led by the Nirvana Adventure Crew, the participants got into the mood and enjoyed each activity.

By the evening they gathered around the bonfire and entertained themselves with a bunch of fun party games, and BBQ followed with dinner.

Panoramic Views from the hill top 
The next morning there was a trek to the hills above to spend some time in the wilderness and enjoy a panoramic view from above.  They returned lounged around in garden and departed after lunch happy and rejuvenated.

Native Place offers corporate groups a range of  adventure and nature activities to choose from
Click here for more details

Astrid Rao

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Palash Tree Cafe at Native Place is now open

This year our  Palash tree has flowered in January – a curious thing because it usually flowers in March. Another significant thing for us is that it has flowered vigorously – the whole canopy is aflame with its blossoms making a striking picture. Is our late bloomer making up for its tardiness or is this also a result of global warming - one just isn't sure. 
Each day the flowers drop onto the steps that lead to the main door adorning them as though someone has painstakingly strewn flowers to welcome the Native Place  Guesthouse visitors  and Nirvana Paragliding students. . 
I went up to the terrace to get a better view and spotted a number of birds and squirrels attracted by the nectar full flowers. As i sat there i also smelt the Madhu Malati flowers and realized that the fragrance is quite strong in the early mornings.
Pasaba has started to use them in her floral urali decorations 
Coming back to the Palash tree – we are collecting the flowers to make a holi color – again this year. Did you know that the flowers were used to dye monks’ robes?  The flowers can also be  used to make a drink a herbal tea that helps one beat the heat.
For the next few weeks the terrace is going to be my morning go to place .  It is delightful to watch the soft early morning sun’s rays turn the canopy into a fiery orange thereby signalling the birds that the cafe is open. Cause soon after this the birds and squirrels arrive to feast on the sustaining morning beverage (nectar) their antics lead to the dropping of the flowers onto the steps. 
All this while i breathe in the crisp morning air scented by the beautiful flowers of the Madhu Malati vine 
Sheer bliss :) 
Astrid Rao 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Permaculture Patshala comes to Native Place, Kamshet

December 2nd 2016, a varied group of 28 eager participants converged at Native Place for a 3 day Introduction to Permaculture Course. Attracted by the opportunity to learn the basics of growing their own food , mangling soil fertility, setting up regenerative systems,  water harvesting,  biodiversity regeneration etc  and to understand the inter-relationships among all of these.

Under the guidance of Narsanna Koppula, India’s pioneering permaculture practitioner, with his decades of experience in this field, this 3 day course turned out to be a power packed learning experience fulfilling the needs of the various participants - some were working on their land, some had plans to buy land, some were involved in urban terrace farms and some were simply curious.

Narsanna skilfully guided the participants though the fundamentals , the basics of permaculture practices and principles.  Lectures & Interactive discussions, plenty of hands-on practicals, Palikade Farm site visit and tree identification walks.

The Native Place garden, a permaculture project in progress, spread over many levels, packed with bio diverse plantings and an impressive list of native trees - provided the perfect setting. After the initial talk in the yoga room a semi open meeting space at the bottom of the garden, Narsanna led them out into the garden where he preferred the many shady seating areas in the garden  much to the delight of the participants.

Each day the program went on till late in the evening followed by dinner,  a short film on permaculture,   singing and bonding.

They were a lovely bunch of people from Mumbai,  Pune, Nasik, Bangalore, Germany and Canada.  They came together as individual participants but emerged into a cohesive group bound by common interests and the promise of growing sharing and supporting each other in the journey to apply permaculture in their lives. 

Cheers to the Permaculture Patshala and all who energize it

 Astrid Rao & Sneha Shetty 

Narsanna Koppula is a permaculture pioneer in India. Along with his wife Padma Koppula, he founded the organisation AranyaAgricultural Alternatives that works with rural farming communities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in applications of permaculture and natural resource management. In recent years, through his Permaculture Patshala, Narsanna has also been sharing the wealth of his 30 years of experience with urban folks from across India and the world, who are attempting to return to land and live in harmony with nature. His organisation is also hosting the 13th InternationalPermaculture Convergence in India in November 2017. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Millet and Traditional Cooking Workshop at Native Place with the ' Cooking Pilgrim'

She is  passionate about cooking traditional dishes and using fresh organic produce and this sentiment led Latha Sagi to become the  Cooking Pilgrim, wandering about the country visiting organic farms where she can harvest fresh local seasonal produce  and turn them into into balanced nutritious tasty dishes. She shares her knowledge and her passion with generosity and her ability  to feed and to serve led to her being fondly called 'Latha Devi'.

Monday morning 4 excited women arrived at Native Place for a 3 day cookout only to find that the kitchen had been cleared out.  It was a classic Oops moment but after an initial shock we settled down and began to see the plus points of cooking on hte tandoor terrace ( temporarily set up as kitchen) the place was a mess but the big bonus was it was like cooking in the outdoors,  we had lots of space and great views of the garden. We even had some cheeky bulbuls come by to share a few crumbs.

3 days of  popping grains other than corn ( that was a whole bunch of fun) experimenting with various grains and oilseeds and pulses , making dosas , idlis, khichdi, payasams ladoos,  a variety of chutneys,  cool refreshing  and warm beverages. We made use of  many ingredients from the garden including flowers, , local grains and oilseed – so much to learn so much to taste – it was a sensory feast..

Our 3 day cooking bonanza did not stay just that – we found time to explore the garden, walk in the rain, visit Palikade, admire wild flowers and wade in the monsoon  streams.  An idyllic time it was.
Thank you Sneha for organising it all, thank you Latha Sagi for your generosity and warmth , thank you Tejal for your unflagging  exuberance and thanks Anushree for finally coming by 
Was a great weekend girls, lets do it again soon

To see more pictures check check the Native Place Facebook Album

Astrid Rao