A Sustainable Lifestyle Retreat: Solutions to Our Ecological Crisis

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In India, the Goddesses Prithivi-Mata and Bhumi-Devi represent earth deities. Like any Devi, these Goddesses command respect, reverence and honour. Therefore it is our greatest responsibility to show that respect in the way we are treading on Mother Earth. She gives us so much. The questions is, what are we giving back to Her?
 
Are we truly making an offering to awaken humanity from its material slumber, and making offerings to her well-being and benefit, like we make offerings at our altar? It’s only by acting in the spirit of a co-creative humanity that we will sincerely support her sustenance, and unite as One Consciousness.
 
At Karuna, we are a working experience of an international sustainable community based on living in harmony with Mother Earth. Karuna's main objective is to find balance of one’s physical and spiritual needs. Started 15 years ago. we aspire to present a comfortable lifestyle, leaving behind a low carbon footprint for future generations. 
It is with this clear and powerful intention that we are aiming to build on this vision to resolve our current ecological and cultural crisis, that seems to be solely fixated on consumerism and power. Where people from all over the world can participate in sustainable workshops like permaculture, organic farming, eco-building, afforestation, food processing, sustainable energy sources, etc.. They will then return to their respective communities and empower their peers with the skills and experience they gained at Karuna. This is the means in which we will truly affect meaningful change globally,  through conscious training in permaculture skills and development.
 
Background on Founder
My name is Nevil Moncher and I am a Mumbai-born Parsi, who came to live in solitude in Kodaikanal, South India in the 80s. I have been fighting to protect this pristine land ever since through a number of court cases to protect forests, lakes, close factories and illegal buildings, protecting and developing trees, wildlife, flora and fauna, as well as developing fair-trade for crops for locals, etc.

After nearly 10 years of environment activism I decided to ‘put to practice what you preach.’ Since 2000 I have put my total energy into developing Karuna – an off-grid, sustainable community, to bring it to what it is today.

Development & Activities to Date
  • Since the inception of Karuna Farm, the main activity has been planting fruit and indigenous shola trees. Eighty percent of the land has been covered with trees akin to a forest.
  • A one acre plot is solar fenced and has been prepared to grow vegetables where students have come to learn organic farming.
  • There is a cowshed with a fenced grazing plot ready for cows.
  • The community space has a full-fledged kitchen and dining area. There are some indoor games, WIFI and music for guests to meet and socialize.
  • Eight houses have been built on lease for permanent members to stay with their families.
  • There are 10 cottages that can accommodate 25 people.
  • A beautiful Yoga Hall that can accommodate 25 people. Daily Yoga classes are held there.
  • Several workshops have been held to train students in building Earthships, cob and other earthen style homes. Yoga Retreats and Organic Farming workshops have also been carried out. People come to experience an alternative lifestyle, to unwind from their hectic city life and feel peace of mind.

Overview of our Expansion Project 
Presently an initiative for the expansion of our sustainable development here at Karuna Farm is underway – and we need your support to make it happen!
 
Imagine coming to an idyllic, picturesque mountain retreat, away from the buzz of hectic city life – a place to rest, recharge, be inspired and learn essential skills. Amid the 30 acres of wild jungle in the mountains, you can be a part of an international movement that is practicing the wisdom of sustainable living. Karuna serves as a living model for eco-friendly development that can be replicated across the globe. We aspire to live this truth, amid implementing it, demonstrating it, and teaching it. Simultaneously, we are a sanctuary that inspires inner transformation.

At Karuna, we are offering another way to live and be, that is not the conventional concept of rat-race, 9-5, city dwelling – it is possible. And here’s how: just step onto Karuna and experience a transformation of mind, body and spirit. And help us go deeper into this commitment honouring our Mother Earth.

Our Program Development Vision: An accessible and rare opportunity to obtain skills, training and development through workshops, trainings, seminars, and courses in:
  • Organic Farming: permaculture, tree-planting, afforestation, breeding cows, composting, food processing (jams, preserves, ghee), etc.
  • Sustainable building: under the guidance of Alex Leeor, an experienced ecoBuilder with 17 years of experience in earthship building, earth bag, cob, as well as rainwater harvesting, grey water systems, etc. 
  • Alternative Energy: solar and micro-hydro electric systems for cooking and heating, mini windmill, peddle power, etc.
  • Forest Therapy Retreats: in private, comfortable cottages for groups, camps, schools (15-20 children), and corporate retreats (for up to 60 people). Includes daily yoga, meditation, spiritual philosophy, bhakti classes -- as well as creative arts like pottery, candle-making, home-made remedies, etc.
  • Group rental facilities: for up to 60 people where by experts come with their groups and Karuna provides workshop/seminar/training studio space, meals, accommodation.
  • Research Centre: in tune with the latest innovative sustainable technologies including soil testing, nutrition, sustainable energy techniques, organic farming methods, etc.
  • Free prasadam distribution to visitors and nearby school children.

Rewards for Your Contribution
  • 1+ LAKH - Recognition with a hand-crafted placard in your name when donating for a specific project like the total build of a cottage for example. (The beautiful placard would be mounted at the cottage entrance.); a gift package of spiritual books and Karuna farm products; and a custom-designed and framed certificate of recognition.
  • 1+ LAKH - 5 to 20 days free accommodation annually according to the specific quantum of the donation ; a gift package of spiritual books and Karuna farm products; and a custom-designed and framed certificate of recognition.

These revival and expansion projects are divided in the three phases. We are currently fundraising for phase I.  
 
Phase I Budget  - Revival & Expansion Projects:
  • Tree plantation maintenance (1 lakh)
  • Vegetable garden revival (1.5 Lakh)
  • Fruit Plantation area revival (1 Lakh)
  • Main access road maintenance (1Lakh)
  • Border Fencing (75,000 INR)
  • Construction of a first small sustainable eco home for staff quarters. This build will also be held as a workshop and training opportunity at minimal cost to trainees. (5 Lakh)
Phase I Total:  10.2 Lakhs  ($15,600 USD)
+ 20% Contingency
Phase I Grand Total:  12.24 Lakhs  ($18,600 USD apx)
 
FUNDRAISING FOR PHASE II & PHASE III PROJECTS WILL COMMENCE AFTER PHASE ONE IS COMPLETED. BUDGETS WILL BE FINALIZED USING DATA COLLECTED DURING PHASE I 

Phase II & III Revival
  • Garbage/waste management
  • Additional Fencing
  • Maintenance vehicles

Phase II & III Expansion
  • Construction of 10 guest cottages
  • Expansion of community space (café/kitchen)
  • Construction of goshala (cow shed)
  • Construction of research centre
  • Construction of three more staff quarters
  • Construction of office for administrative duties of the farm
For more detail on each point please refer to the attached PDF.

***Make your earth-friendly donation now! Be a part of the solution.***
 
MORE INFO ON KARUNA DHAM:
donations@karunatrust.org.in
Further information and project detail
Further information and project detail
Madurai Messenger Earthships @ Karuna Mantra for Sustainable Livining
Madurai Messenger Earthships @ Karuna Mantra for Sustainable Livining
The Hindu: Destination green earth
The Hindu: Destination green earth

Learn more about the initiative

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Rs.10,262
raised of Rs.1,224,000 goal

6 Supporters

63 Days to go

Payment options: Online, cheque pickups

Beneficiary: Karuna Trust info_outline

Supporters (6)

PK
Paritosh donated Rs.1,500
19 days ago

Would like to join the workshop, please let me know when it happens.

Ma
Markus donated $11.11
22 days ago

A little donation for this beautiful place.

Ms
MSH donated $50
22 days ago

Beautiful initiative!

A
Anonymous donated Rs.250
22 days ago
SG
Sasha donated $65
27 days ago

Let it be!

Alex
Alex donated $9
29 days ago

Proud to be the first donor ;-)