Satya Dhaam Farm Hostel

Satya Dhaam Farm Enclosure

Growing a Farm Hostel.

Satya Dhaam Farm logo
Satya Dhaam Farm
Well things are moving on apace. My India adventure is changing slightly as Mickey and I have thrown ourselves into getting the Satya Dhaam hostel going, see here. We’ve been out pricing materials and labour with a view to getting the first dormitory inhabitable. Some things are so cheap compared to the EU but other stuff works out at more or less the same price. I’m going to have to readjust a bit.

Now that my daughter has cancelled her India trip I’m not in as much of a rush to get on the road again and to be honest I’d like to do a little work. Most of you that know me know that I’m happiest when I’m doing something constructive. So I figured that a few weeks of work would be just as good as a few weeks on the road again. And besides, this hostel idea really interests me and it will be the way that I get to reside in this country. Which is, after all, what a part of this voyage of discovery is all about. Of course, if I end up with my residency here then there is no rush to see this lovely country, I can do it at a more leisurely pace.

You may remember Mustafa from a previous post? He’s the architectural student from Ahmedabad in Gujarat that got me to hospital in Udaipur when I took a dive down the stairs. Well a female friend of his, also an architectural student, has contacted me with reference to the work we are going to be doing. I think she’s now written her thesis and was asking us if she could come and stay with us with a view to getting some hands-on experience. Mickey and I are in agreement that to have a qualified architect (albeit newly qualified) on the job with us could be a huge advantage, especially as we want to do some actual building work. I’m hoping Swati will have some good ideas, techniques and technical info.

Satya Dhaam energy

Mangaluru in Karnataka
Some time ago I met Madan from Mangaluru (Mangalore) which is in Karnataka in south India. Karnataka is the state up (or north) from Kerala and before you hit Goa. Madan is very electronics savvy and has some big plans, big projects and big ideas on the go. He’s also keen to come up and visit me and Satya Dhaam. He’s offered his knowledge to try and help us with electrical wiring, alternative technologies and computerisation. This excites both Mickey and I as the farm is rural and has connectivity problems both with electrical supply and internet.

Obviously if this rural hostel is to have any degree of success we need electricity that is reliable. Big generators are available but at the cost of a luxury car and are therefore out of the question at the moment. But if Madan can come up with some cost effective solar solution (and there’s no reason why his experience shouldn’t) then we are cruising. Sun we have.

Tesla Powerwall
In India many houses have battery backups and inverters for their electricity because the supply is erratic. You may remember the photo of the electrical wiring in Chandi Chowk in this post? Well this type of cabling is not uncommon. So it is quite normal here to be running on battery power. This is something I understand a little bit because my brother lives off grid in Wales and has been generating his own electricity for years with sun and wind power. An example of this technology can be seen in Tesla’s Powerwall

My experience so far of Indian people is that they are so much more helpful, amenable, sympathetic, friendly and ready to muck in to help their friends than their European counterparts. I think this is because Europeans have to struggle daily for their work, the general cost of living and way of life that a goodly majority have become introspective and (understandably) self-centred to a certain degree. The Indian people on the other hand are used to helping their neighbours on the farm etc. it’s in their mindset. So the giving of time is much more common here and certainly fits much better with my ethos.

So, all in all, it looks like we have a hostel to build with some knowledgable, fun and friendly input. If Swati comes out to stay it will be great. Madan will turn up at some point for sure, probably sooner rather than later, and he knows perfectly well that when he needs graphics for his projects he only has to ask.

This is going to be hard work but fun. If you want to know more why not visit the website or the Facebook page?


CouchSurfing

couchsurfing india-with.me

Couchsurfing is a site I joined when I was in Costa Rica in 2012. I never had a chance to use it. This trip to India seemed like a good time to test it out. So I made out a new profile and uploaded a few pics. They charge €19 a year which, as you will see later is a bargain.

CouchSurfing applications

Well I applied to 4 people for a couchsurf and had 2 positive responses. I was a tad disappointed. That said, the two that responded have been in contact and one was Mickey mentioned in my second post Satya Dhaam Farm. As you’ll know if you read that I’m going to stay with him for a couple of weeks on his organic farm. The second guy will be away travelling himself but we’ve arranged to meet up when I return to Delhi. So far so good.

CouchSurfing mobile app.

Three days ago I was lying in bed going through the Couchsurfing site on the android mobile app (yes they have an iOS one too), just checking out how it worked in detail and seeing if there were people in the towns that I’d like to visit. One of the things that I noticed was a link that said something like “publish and up coming trip”. I thought about it a while and decided that I’d do it. Since then I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of Indian Couchsurfers offering hosting, help, meet-ups and more. In fact on guy a little more my age called Virender is going to collect me from the airport. How good is that?

Photo: www.jaipur.org.uk

I have been contacted by Vishal who lives in Jaipur. Jaipur is a must for me. The Pink City. I really hope that Vishal and I can hook up when I go there. He’s an artist, photographer and a model and way too good looking for his own good. 🙂 Just now I was contacted by Another Virendr (he spells it slightly differently) who lives in Khajuraho. He’s a student of english in Delhi but he’s home with his folks at the moment. I’ve been invited to stay and he’s up for showing me the Kama Sutra temple there.

missing
Kama Sutra Temple in Khajuraho. (image from Tripadvisor)

Am I going?
Is the pope a catholic?


It may be that I don’t get there before he’s back studying but let’s face it folk, my visa is for a year. I’m pretty sure that I’ll get to meet him in his home town.

Couchsurfing contacts

Shubham wrote to me in impeccable spanish! He’s studying that. Of course I want to meet him. He’s 21 years old but what do I care? I can talk to anybody. He offered hosting. Sujata works for Barclays (oh the irony – I’ve had so many problems with my Barclays’ account) and she’s up for meeting at the weekends to show me around and having a coffee. So far to date I have had 11 offers of one sort or another.

So all I can say is: if you’re travelling check out CouchSurfing. Granted, as yet I haven’t met these friendly people, but there is absolutely no reason to assume that they are anything but interested, helpful and friendly.