We went through a time warp and got a glimpse of the future in the hills above Pokhara. We saw sustainable food production, local building materials, and renewable energy use. It was the year 2072! Actually, we celebrated Nepali New Year (which fell on the night of April 13) at this serene haven of eco ideas and education. The Nepali calendar is based on “Bikram Sambat” and is 56.7 years ahead of the common Gregorian calendar. The Nepali calendar (which is based on lunar cycles) was started by the emperor Vikramaditya (somewhere in India) after an important military victory. The new year always falls on the day after the new moon in the month of Chaitra. So, happy new year 2072. Apparently I will be turning 102!
The Annapurna Eco Village is a family-run enterprise that combines simple comfortable accommodation, great local food, and opportunities to explore meditation, massage, and relaxation in general! It can also provide a window into Nepali village life and is a good starting point for hiking in the Annapurna region. Cam couldn’t cope with too much relaxation (LOL), so he stayed for one night and then set off on his Mardi Himal hike, which he described in the previous blog entry. Actually, he had planned for the one night stay and the ambitious hike before we left Pokhara. Kaia, Jake, and I stayed a second night to soak in the mountains from a distance and from the comfort of a hammock!
On our first day there, the four of us took part in a 90-minute yoga/meditation/relaxation class. Our instructor, Yubi, was excellent and really explained the reasons for all the various components of the class. We even did lion roars (because lions represent strength, self-esteem, calmness) and laughter therapy (which Kaia excelled at)!
We liked it so much that we went back for more the next day. Our favorite part was when Yubi lead us through the relaxation process step by step. We can still hear his voice saying, “Bring your awareness to the right buttock. Totally, completely relaxed.”
So, what’s so “eco” about the Eco Village? Well, the owners are committed to environmentally friendly practices; they research extensively and have traveled to India and France to learn about various green technologies and farming practices. One of them gave Cam a tour of the facilities (while the rest of us were chanting “Bodum… Saranum… Ganchaaami” in the meditation room).
For more info about their mission and amenities, visit the eco village website: http://www.ecovillagenepal.com .
We met many interesting people at the eco village, including Claire and her 8-year-old daughter Salome, who are from France. I explained to Claire the gist of our trip and said (as I have said many times over the past 8 months), “We pulled the kids out of school for the year.” And for the first time, the response was , “Oh yeah, so did I.”
In the evening we had the chance to “help” milk the cow.
Nepali New Year was celebrated in a fairly subdued way: we had a nice meal and then Vishnu and Basantha (sons of the Adhikari family — owners) played the flute and drum while the family and some of the guests danced.
You can listen to this popular Nepali folk song here.
We had such high hopes for a prosperous new year. Who could have guessed that less than two weeks later, Nepal would suffer its worst earthquake in 80 years? I hope that 2072 sees a lot of healing and maybe the beginning of some type of building code that takes into consideration the likelihood of earthquakes and can protect people in the future from such catastrophes. Nepal is one of the countries we’ve visited this year that I feel I must return to some day. The natural beauty; the people; the culture; the food… all is stunning.