Native Place is the name of our holiday home in the hills of western India. It is also home to Nirvana Adventures, a paragliding school, run by my husband. My gardening adventure began in 2003 when we finished building Native Place and moved in. It is an all consuming hobby that I juggle along with paragliding on weekends. During the week I’m back in the city and gardening online
A while ago i was talking to my friend Samiksha
Agarwal who lives in the buffer zone of the Kanha National Park and she
mentioned to me that she had a visitor over who was on a trip around the
country visiting places where mahua grew, interacting with the local people
sharing recipes on cooking mahua flowers and fruit in an attempt to revive the
wild food foraging habits that are fast dwindling.
I was instantly intrigued - Mahua is one of my favourite trees and although
i was aware that alcohol was distilled from the flower and until not long ago the villagers collected
the seeds and expressed oil to use for cooking purposes, I was not aware of it being used as food in
A series of coincidences led to Aparna visiting
us and putting Native Place and Kamshet on the Mahua Yatra Map - but that’s a long story.
What I’d like to share with you here is that we discovered that in one village in our area
the tradition of storing the fruit and
eating it as a vegetable still persisted albeit by a few.
We had a wonderful two days of sharing recipes –
Aparna introduced us to the art of cooking with Mahua and guided by Pasaba we
showed her a few wild edible traditions in our area.
A wonderful time it was! The beginning of new
food traditions, a celebration of the
forests and the abundance of nature.
The Mahua Yatra travels through 10 states interacting with farmers and tribal communities to learn and
share and celebrate Mahua (Madhuca longifolia),the tree of