Between the mystical lands in the realms of the mountain lies an ever serene place – where sustainability is the prime goal, known to the world yet it seems like a heaven out of the planet, GOVARDHAN ECO VILLAGE (GEV). Located on the out skirts of Mumbai, an astonishingly beautiful place that is striving to achieve the next step in the evolution of mankind. GEV is an award winning Eco-community spread over 70 acres at the foothills of the legendary Sahyadri Mountains. Coupled with the spirit of the mountain and the implementation of Vedic & Modern ways of life, GEV has successfully achieved the level of sustainability that the corporate organization can’t even think of in their CSR initiatives. The village is self-dependent in terms of food, shelter, energy & water. A marvelous place for nature lovers, GEV is an example in itself to the whole world seeking solutions for the survival of our mother earth.
An amazing opportunity sprang up for the students of Adtiya Institute of Management Studies & Research (AIMSR), when a trip to GEV was announced for the sustainability club, YES AIMSR does have their own sustainability club- contributing their think tanks for the betterment of the planet & the inhabitants. November 16 was the date, everyone was super stoked for the visit – intrigued & excited, we sat in the foyer of the institute awaiting our bus. The journey to GEV was joyous, people signing along the morning bird melodies & soon we were about to witness the Lord’s own paradise. We were greeted by the fragrance of fresh flowers and mineral rich soil. GEV was a treat to the eyes, an announcement each of us was waiting for, finally fell on to the ears “Get in the line for breakfast” – just the smell of the food was sufficient enough to imagine the taste let alone the sight of it. In about 20 minutes or so, everyone had fuelled up their engines for the day full of learning & frolic activities.
First thing on the list was an hour long seminar about the GEV’s Symbiotic Development Model which featured- Organic Farming, Animal Care, Green Building, Water Conservation, Alternative Energy, Soil Biotechnology, Waste Management, Rural Education, Rural Empowerment & Global Outreach. Next up was a visit to the cattle shed where numerous cows & bulls glared upon us as we entered their shed, the kindness in their eyes could melt even the cruelest of hearts. The highlight of this visit was the cute little calves and watching their urge to embrace the warmth of their mothers. AIMSR’s students also witnessed a 900 kg humongous bull who was responsible for the population of the entire shed. At the exit of the shed some of the students voluntarily picked up cow dung and started shaping it in a circular manner which would later be used as fertilizers & fuel.
GEV’s water conservation spot was up in the line now, a magnificent pond hid between the lush green bushes and trees as high as sky, we were asked to guess the water holding capacity of the pond – some said ten thousand liters, some said fifty. But the actual number is a rather jaw dropping figure – 10 million liters. Following the pond was a mechanical device which helps in providing the water to the entire village and the farms from the pond. An extension of the self-reliability of GEV was up on display, a huge field of rice cultivation; it held 12 different varieties of rice. Lunch time approached & the members of the club headed back to refuel their engines. They serve Satvik food at GEV – which literally means having or showing high moral standards. The fuel used for cooking this food is organic, for instance they have their own biogas plants which provides sufficient energy required for the whole community. GEV’s waste disposal plant was located just a little away from where lunch was served, a perfect application of modern tools for a better living was showcased here- a waste management system so unique in nature; what they do is, they first collect all the waste from the village- separates the solid & the liquid waste, the liquid is freed from its impurities and the clean water is used to water the plants and for the consumption of the farm animals. The leftover solid waste is later processed into two different categories. The best available waste, content wise is used as fertilizer, the remaining residual substance is put to good use at the biogas plant.
Approaching the end of our trip, the students headed towards the brick building station. The process of brick making at GEV is uncommon, the moist soil is molded in a rectangular shape as normally done but instead of drying the water content in the blasting heat of the furnace – the bricks are left at the mercy of the sun. By doing so they save a lot of fuel required in the furnace, also the bricks that are dried off in the scorching heat and these bricks acts like a natural thermostat. AIMSR’s club members took an active part in making some of the bricks. A knee deep squared shaped hole was dug into the ground and the students started mixing the layers of soil like a mother mixes dough & water for making the bread.With soil all over the clothes we headed towards the last activity for the day, in the enclosed room of the dome shaped structure – the students had to make a tower as high as possible using duct tape & newspaper. They were divided in small groups of 6, and the battle of tower building began. After a session that involved team building & co-ordination in making the paper towers we were left with zero energy in our systems.
We packed our little luggage that we had carried with us and on we moved to click many photographs of the colorful landscape around. Walking down the road we were amazed to see so many different types of butterflies flying parallel to path of the cool breeze. At the entrance of the village there a beautifully stone carved temple of Lord Krishna, all of us offered a pray and bid a farewell to GEV.
To summarize the events of the day in single word would be difficult, it could be described as transformative. The thought process of every club member for sure has been influenced by GEV and the principles it stands for, “Simple living & High Thinking”. We the students of AIMSR have a lot to look up to as the members of sustainability club & learn as well as implement what GEV does every day- Rise from the life of consumerism & live life to its true potential. Make this planet grow, not just economically but organically. A memorable day in the lives of the students, but a day that has had a huge impact in achieving the next step in the evolution of mankind.
By – Akash Jani (PGDM 2014-16)