A slow November in Ladpur

india with me november satya dhaam

Ladpur in November

Well it’s been a slow month here in Ladpur, Uttar Pradesh. I was expecting to see my daughter to go travelling through the Himalayas for a month. But she couldn’t make it due to dental problems. So Mickey and I got on with more important things, we decided to get on with the hostel.

My friend Madan from Karnataka came up to take part in the project. I first met Madan when Couchsurfing in Faridabad. We got on immediately. He’s the same age as my kids, genius with electronics, micro-processors, C programming and all that kind of thing. Luckily I understand quite a lot of what he’s talking about.

distance ladpur to karnataka
Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka
Karnataka is in the south-west of India, just above Kerala and just below Goa, about 2250km south from here. He doesn’t speak hindi, he speaks Kannada and a couple of other southern languages.

The hostel project had met a few problems, some unforeseen, some unnecessary but seems to be back on track.

Ganges festival

Earlier in the month we had a festival of Ganesha nearby at the river Ganges, or Ganga as it’s called here. People for miles around make a pilgrimage to the holy river to pray for good fortune and work in the coming year. They take a week off from work to do it – which seems a strange logic from my standpoint. The returning folk was a spectacle. Horse, buffalo and ox drawn carts with families and friends aboard. Many of the animals had their winter jackets on as you can see in the photos. You could hear the returning pilgrims passing by all through out the night and see them all day. Tired but happy.

Planting season in Ladpur

It’s a planting season here. Cane is being cut and the now empty fields are being ploughed and resown. The back field under the teak trees at Satya Dhaam has been sown with wheat. The field immediately behind the farmhouse has chickpeas and the big kitchen garden has been laid out with vegetables for us and the visitors to the farm. The field to the side of the farm is having its sugar cane cut now and that field will be sown with peas.

Here in the Ladpur area three crops are cycled through the fields during the course of a year. In some of the adjoining fields mustard is already beginning to flower, a blanket of bright yellow. Over the road from the farm the weighing of sugar cane continues and will continue until March. Daily tractors and ox drawn carts bring mountainous loads of cane to be weighed. Some farmers choose to take their cane directly to the sugar mill and thereby gain a few rupees more because they don’t need to pay for the labour of loading the transport. That said, there are so many vehicles on the road that the traffic comes to a standstill. I makes me wonder if the few rupees gained are worth the time off from the farm duties?

The Ladpur weather has turned cold. The morning temperatures are about 7°C – 8°C (Sorry I don’t do Fahrenheit – it seems an illogical scale to me. You can read why here) but the daytime is a quite pleasant 18° – 25°. It’s got to the time of year that I have to start considering how and where to exit India in order to validate my visa. I was going to drive to Nepal with Mickey to give him some hostel experience, but he’s not available. So I think I’ll fly south with Madan to the jungles of Karnataka and get warm again.

Mickey has some work on the hostel to carry out before my or Madan’s skills are again needed. It seems a shame not to get on with seeing India instead of sitting on a farm in Uttar Pradesh with nothing to do for another couple of months. I’ve been back from Rajasthan two months now and I’ve got a bit side tracked.

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?

Flora and fauna of Ladpur and Bharna area.

flora and fauna - snake gourd

Exploring for flora and fauna of Ladpur and Bharna area.

flora and fauna - snake gourd
Snake gourd farm
Mickey and I walk pretty much daily. He would jog but my heart and age don’t allow that 😀 so we take ourselves off for anywhere between 6 and 12 kilometres. I want to see the flora and fauna of this area and take photos. Granted we see a lot of sugarcane and green fodder. They are staples of this landscape. There is the cannabis and neem that I’ve mentioned but one of the most interesting are snake gourds. These look like courgettes or zucchini, but grow on vines. The wikipedia entry has them as having white flowers, but as you can see these ones have yellow flowers. The plant is trained up a wire mesh to about 1·5m that is suspended over the fields, a little like hops or kiwi fruit. The collection takes place underneath. At the moment the fields are quite spectacular.

flora and fauna - tumeric
Turmeric root from which the spice is extracted
flora and fauna - turmeric plant
Turmeric plants growing at the edge of a field
In our wanderings looking for flora and fauna we have also come across turmeric (or curcuma). Apparently the root, which you can see in the picture, is mashed and boiled up and then left to dry out yielding the orange/yellow spice that has numerous health benefits. Again, as with the entry about neem, the webmd.com site lists possible side effects, so I have linked that too. My view is that the benefits outweigh the “possible” side effects, but who am I to say? Just someone that prefers natural products where possible over BigPharma’s offerings.

flora and fauna
Guavas grow wild
This is a guava. They grow wild here. Help yourself to nature’s bountiful supply. Guavas come in a couple of colours, white and pink. It can be eaten raw but it is often used in cooking. Guavas are sometimes sweet and sometimes a bit bitter. This one was sweet even though it wasn’t quite ripe. The guava is said to have a number of health benefits which you can read about here. For those wanting more technical details, here is wikipedia’s entry.

flora and fauna and water
Ganges water in the fields
flora and fauna and water
Ganges water at the farm
I have also mentioned that I was warned not to drink anything but bottled water. Well there is no bottled water on Mickey’s Satya Dhaam Farm. I drink the water from the Ganges which is about 12km distant as the crow flies. It tastes way better than the water I had in southern Spain. It doesn’t smell or taste of chlorine. It is fast flowing and well oxygenated and I haven’t had a problem. I suspect that the water in Delhi would be more likely to cause problems. In these to photos you can see the water I drink on the farm and me having a drink along the way on one of out hikes.

flora and fauna
Red beaked parrot
I still haven’t seen snakes! Monkeys I have seen but not in interesting situations that warrant a photo. I had thought after the warnings about snakes that the lushness of this area would have produced one – but I’ll have to wait. There are plenty of birds though. The crows wake me in the morning with their strident call and there are green parrots with red beaks but they are hard to spot and easily scared.

borrowing electricity
“Borrowing” electricity
Out here in the sticks amongst the tropical flora and fauna, the electrical supply is, erratic! We lose power at least once a day. Mickey’s farm has 3 phase and a battery backup with inverter but that isn’t enough sometimes. Walking down these country roads it isn’t unusual to find people helping themselves to the supply as you can see here. It’s so far out in the wilderness that the chances of getting caught are virtually nil. On the other hand it wouldn’t be easy to tell if the connection was legal or not in the photo I posted of the electrical supply in Chandi Chowk on this post.

Flora and fauna
Shady rest stop on Neetu’s land
ox drawn transport
Neetu on the left
We’ve bumped into Neetu a couple of times. It is on his land that you can see Mickey and I having a rest under the trees. We were then taken back to the village on the ox cart and invited over to tea in the evening. Neetu’s family house is a lovely place. I didn’t take my camera because I wasn’t too sure of the formalities. Under the circumstances it would probably have been fine. The house is on a walled property of probably the best part of 8002 m with shade trees. Entering the house we were lead straight through to the rear courtyard with another shade tree (related to neem) and a cooking area. Neetu and his three brothers, father, mother and the wives and children live here. A large extended happy family. As usual I felt left out not speaking hindi and I know Mickey was getting tired of translating because I have felt exactly the same translating for British people on the Costa del Sol who don’t learn spanish.

Photos from the flora and fauna expedition

Two days with Bhagat Ji and snakes

rice paddy

Bhagat Ji and the invisible snakes

The last two days it has been me and Bhagat Ji and snakes here on the farm. Mickey has gone to see his sister for a festival of The Sister. He was most apologetic about having to go leaving me alone, and even invited me to go with him to meet his mum and sister and all the kids. After a little discussion we decided that it was probably best if I stayed behind. His mum doesn’t speak english and I’d have felt like a prune. So I’m here alone and I don’t mind 🙂 It has given me a chance to get to know Bhagat Ji a little.

I was made to promise that I wouldn’t stray from the road outside the house. Mickey feels responsible for my safety. Not that there is much to fear except snakes. This is the monsoon season and when the rain comes the snakes vacate their holes or drown. There is one rule here on the farm, all doors are to be kept shut so that snakes don’t enter the house. Apparently there are cobras in this area.

More invisible snakes

I have to say that I haven’t seen any snakes yet which is good in a way but I’d love to get some video. I’m sure that the opportunity will present itself. So I have spent the time writing these blog posts on my tablet in the absence of my Mac, taking photos and eating lovely food. This morning it was bhindi and chapatis for breakfast. Bhindi is also known as okra or ladies fingers. They are one of my favourite vegetables so I was happy.

My computer has been repaired and will accompany Mickey when he returns from south west Delhi, near the Indira Ghandi airport. Then I’ll have to process these photos and get this text on the blog site. That will take a while because I have the spanish translations to do too.

Maybe snakes

Just in front of the gates of Satya Dhaam Farm is an unused open piece of land. The passing buffalo and cow drawn carts often stop for a bite to eat. The patch is alive with butterflies in the morning. I’ve been out trying to get some photos but they are so quick and erratic in their flight. The best I have been able to get is some video. My little video camera has a WiFi connection so that I can set up the camera and control it from my tablet at a distance. The most common butterfly is a white one, which close up have mother of pearl colours. There are also some little bright yellow ones and some large orange ones. The orange butterflies seem to be the most timid. There are also some tiny grey/brown and lilac ones that are hard to see, they are the size of a thumbnail. I’m guessing there is the odd snake too, sunning itself, but I work on the principle that they are more scared of me than I am of them. So I make a bit of noise and hope they slither off in the opposite direction.

Some of the flora of this area

I’m also going to take the opportunity to write about some of the plants here. Firstly, of course, is the sugar cane. As you can see from the photo they are tied up with leaves. This is to stop them falling over which would make the harvesting harder. The cane is grown from cuttings from the first year’s growth, sugar cane has a two year cycle. Two “knuckles” are taken and planted. The cutting strikes roots and the next crop is on its way. A calculation is made as to how many plants will be needed for next year’s crop and the appropriate amount of cane is put aside. The first year’s cane is harvested in late December – March and second years growth is October – December. (For those that want more information, here is a link.) A vehicle with weighing scales parks outside the gates here during the harvest season, where the buffalo and cows breakfast. The local farmers bring their cane for weighing and payment. The cane is then shipped off to the sugar mill up in Simbhaoli for processing.

curry leaves but no snakes
Curry leaves
This plant is called, in english, curry leaves. It has nothing to do with curry per se other than it is used as a seasoning. It grows wild and has a slightly bitter, peppery taste. A lot of Indian cooking will use this plant as a flavouring.

lentils or dal no snakes
Lentils or dal
These plants are dal, or lentils to us Europeans. There really isn’t need to write more.

Jamun or Portuguese plum
Jamun tree
Unfortunately this Jamun tree has come to the end of it’s season so that there aren’t many fruit left to see. Jamun means “purple” in hindi. In english the tree is sometimes called Java plum, Malabar plum or Portuguese plum. There are plenty of fruit on the ground 🙁 It is a small cherry like fruit that has a slightly bitter/sweet taste. I am told that it is good for diabetes. Here is an Indian site that deals with Jamun farming. The Jamun tree has been introduced to many countries such as Brazil and Hawaii. In the latter it has become invasive.

Neem tree and berries
The neem tree I mentioned in this post, but for those that want more details you can find it here. In general neem seems to be a useful medicinal plant but I have included here a link with possible side effects. If you are in doubt it’s probably best to consult your doctor or an alternative healer. They say where there is neem there are no mosquitoes. I once thought of trying to bring neem to Spain, I figured it could have been a commercial proposition in the right areas. But now, having met the tree in its natural environment I think Spain would be too dry.

So, as you can see, really the only thing that I can find here that could be classed as dangerous are snakes 😀 and I still haven’t seen one. That said, we’ve just had a mighty monsoon downpour so maybe some will pop round for a photo call?

Uttar Pradesh farming community

Farming community rice paddy

Morning walk in the Uttar Pradesh farming community

This is the Uttar Pradesh country side, a farming community. The first night we hit the sack at about 21:30 and we woke at 05:30 and it feels good. Bhagat Ji brought the tea, rich with spices and ginger I think, and sweet enough to tempt a bee. The fresh air knocked me out last night.

Green fodder farming community
Green fodder for livestock

wild cannabis in a farming community
wild cannabis growing on roadside verges
My first morning’s walk in this Uttar Pradesh farming community was about 6km down little country roads with its fragrant verges. I still can’t take in the wild cannabis everywhere. So I put a pic on Facebook. We strolled amongst the fields of sugar cane, the green fodder (which Mickey tells me is a barley) that grows to ten feet tall, maize, lentils and pulses and rice. The smell of the growing rice is heavy in the still humid air.

Cutting green fodder by hand
Cutting green fodder by hand
People are in the fields cutting these crops by hand. Families, neighbours working side by side. No big machinery here just honest labour. The transport is buffalo driven carts. In one field is a neighbour of Mickey’s harvesting corn. They stop to talk. Namaste. I’m inspected. And why not? A white man in a sea of happy brown faces. Apparently this corn is someone else’s but this group are harvesting it in exchange for the plant matter that will be used to feed livestock. No tax man here this is a farming community where barter is practiced! We stop and talk to an elderly man having a rest. He too is a neighbour of Mickey’s and this is his abode in the picture. These people have been up for hours working. We’re the lazy ones.

The Jat, Jut or Jaat people of Uttar Pradesh

Mickey had told me that these people are Jats, they originated in Jutland, northern Denmark. It’s hard to imagine these people being of Scandinavian origin but as you’ll see in the linked articles [1] [2] [3] there is some basis for this assertion.

Indian kingfisher
Indian kingfisher
There are kingfishers on the electrical wires, white long-necked birds whose name I’ve yet to find out, peacocks, the national bird, roam wild and they are tricky and cunning. Getting a photo is no easy matter. Neem trees grow all over. The neem is known for it’s benefit to health, so I’m munching the leaves daily. There are mango orchards. (Oh why didn’t I come a month earlier?) This is the land of plenty.

Second walk in the farming community

Our second day’s walk we walk a circle, meeting up with where we were the day before. More neem for breakfast. Passing through the village of Singanapura we hear an English class in the primary school.

I is for ice cream.

I is for India.

Farming community village elders
Singanapura village elders
A young man stops on on his motor bike. His English is good and he’s called Pawan. Pawan has just passed his exams to be a policeman and is waiting his first posting at the end of this month. As in UK (and I guess elsewhere) he will be sent out of his area to serve. We meet his grandfather and a village elder, both in their eighties. I pose for photos with them. Let’s face it, I’m an interest factor. In return the two elders pose for me. Pawan invites us back for tea. We accept the invitation but ask if we might walk a little further first.

farming community village school
Singanapura village school with Mannpreet Singh Khaira
Primary school children
Primary school children
I guess the news has hit the street of this farming community. Pawan has a foreigner coming for tea. Passing the primary school on our return we are greeted by the teacher of I is for ice cream. This is Manpreet Singh Khaira and he comes from Hapur to teach these children. He welcomes us and invites us to see his class. They are youngsters, maybe around 6 to 7 years old (I forgot to ask) some may be younger. I think they are a bit overawed by the white foreigner but they recite their english alphabet well. It is a classroom with no books. This is on purpose. It is also where they get their government lunch. And it’s nearly lunch time. I pop next door to what would be the kindergarten in Europe. The hindi alphabet is on the blackboard. This is where I belong! I pose for photos with some of the children, Manpreet, his principal and a colleagues.

Kindergarten with Hindi alphabet
Kindergarten with Hindi alphabet – were I belong

The school uniforms

Handing out school uniforms in a farming community village school
Handing out school uniforms in a farming community village school
We are just taking our leave to go for tea when we are called back. Would I do them the honour of presenting some of the children with their new uniforms? I promise you the honour was all mine. I was sat at a desk with the new packaged uniforms. The children’s names were read off the labels. Let’s face it, I hadn’t a hope of reading this beautiful script. I’d only stuck my nose into the kindergarten room with the letters on the blackboard. The children accepted the uniforms with the “namaste” greeting, which I returned not knowing if that was correct or not. But no one corrected me and it seemed the right thing. I have to say I found the whole thing quite emotional. These folk are probably the most friendly, open people I have ever met. And I say again, it was an honour and a privilege above my station to have been allowed to not only see but participate in their day.

Now tea.

We walk back to the centre of the village in this farming community, to Pawan’s family house. Cold water is served while the tea is made. It transpires that one of Pawan’s ancestors (probably his great grandfather) was a freedom fighter. Freedom from the British rule. Pawan earned credits in his police entrance application for having an ancestor that was a freedom fighter.

We are accompanied by Manpreet Khaira and a colleague. Little snacks appear and the rich tea is served. Tea here is taken like coffee in Europe, in little cups. We talk about the education of the children and how difficult it is for them to maintain a standard of english in a tiny village where everyone speaks hindi. But english is one of the national languages for which these children will probably never have a use. Manpreet and I exchange emails, facebook, phone numbers etc. and I am told that if there is anything he may do for me or any help he can give that I am not to hesitate in contacting him.

Why isn’t the rest of the world like this? I think we may have a lot to learn from India – AGAIN.

Uttar Pradesh farming communities

Seeing some of these farming community villages, some would be lead to think “poverty”. You would be wrong. These people are educated people with rich lives that Europe has long left behind in it’s obsession with consumer driven capitalism and a “free market economy”. I feel at home here and I’ve only been here a few days. In some sense I am dreading my return to Delhi for the remainder of my dental treatment.

Two days walking in the Ladpur area

Satya Dhaam Farm – Uttar Pradesh

Satya Dhaam Farms

Leaving for Satya Dhaam Farm

Leaving Delhi for Satya Dhaam Farm was like music to me. Even the incessant honking of horns sounded, melodious? No it didn’t, I’m lying. If there is one thing that I could say against India it would be that they don’t let up with the horn. Sometimes it seems that it has to be sounded to break the silence because I can see no logical reason for it. There may be someone 50m ahead and in no way impeding or needing warning of the on coming vehicle, but BEEP BEEP.

Virender collected me from the hotel at about 11:30 and we set off to the east in search of Mickey and the Satya Dhaam Farms. Our journey would take us through Ghaziabad which is in Uttar Pradesh, the next state to the east, and Hapur in search of Simbhaoli and the sugar mill. Leaving Delhi was a relief and horror. The roads were congested, smelly with diesel and petrol fumes, chaotic and above all, NOISY. It took some time to exit the Delhi conurbation only to reach Ghaziabad, which is a huge manufacturing area as noisy and developed as Delhi. The road, the equivalent of a motorway in Europe, is lined in places with stalls selling food, crash helmets, drinks. There are people repairing tyres, people just stopped on the hard shoulder for a rest or relieving themselves. Things you wouldn’t see in Europe or that would be plain illegal. The cars, trucks, tuk-tuks and bikes knit themselves in and out of each other, and as mentioned before, the lane markings are more of an indication than instruction. Women ride pillion on bikes side saddle! Three up on that Honda. Crash helmets – only if you feel like it. They are a legal requirement but what the hell?

The further behind we left Delhi the quieter the road became. We witnessed one scooter accident where the driver and woman pillion seemed to have hit the central tree and bush covered reservation. Cars were stopped on the road side with the outside of the two lanes filled with helpers and onlookers. Pandemonium! I hope they were alright.

We reached the outskirts of Hapur and stopped. Monkeys strolled up and down under the shade of the trees. There seemed to be a bypass. Consulting google we determined that going round would be easier than getting held up in another city. By now the roads were quite empty and the air fresh. The humidity is high, high, high. Sweat rolls of with the exercise of breathing. BEEP BEEP. Sheer exuberance at being on an empty road, or maybe it’s for the bike 300 yards ahead?

Eventually we arrive at Simbhaoli, a town alongside the NH9 road. Off to the left the smokestacks and buildings of the sugar mill could be seen. Mickey will be somewhere here in the chaos waiting. We spot a road to the left in front of the sugar mill gates and there is Mickey’s car. He greets me like a long lost brother with a big hug. I feel easy in his embrace. He offers a ride in air conditioned comfort but I’ll stay with Virender until we get to the farm.

satya dhaam passing traffic
Passing traffic
Mickey leads, we follow. First through a market in full swing and on possibly one of the worst roads I have ever been on. But the road gets better as we exit the town. It is a narrow road, a country road as you’d find anywhere. The only difference is that some of the traffic are buffalo drawn carts. Yes, buffalo. These animals are kept for labour and milk. Some of the carts are drawn by cows or bullocks too. BEEP BEEP. Motor bikes with multiple crash helmetless people roar up and down. I can smell what seems to be marijuana. Suddenly I realise that the road verges are covered with wild hemp! Covered as an English or Irish roadside would be with nettles. It’s everywhere. Mostly male plants but with the odd female running to seed. The smell alone is intoxicating. Eventually, some 8kms later we reach Satya Dhaam Farm.

Satya Dhaam farm rear
Satya Dhaam farm rear
Satya Dhaam is a walled enclosure with yellow gates (soon to be navy blue according to vastu shastra, the “feng shui” of the Indian tradition). The front courtyard has litchis, mud apples (sapodillas or chickoos, which I’ve never tried) and jackfruit. Unfortunately the season has just ended 🙁 No mangos either. We’re into the (boring) apple season.

Mickey shows me round and introduces me to his farm manager Bhagat Ji, a man of my age with silver hair and a smile. Bhagat Ji has a little english and was a plumber but swapped it for a life on Satya Dhaam Farm with Mickey following the loss of his wife and his children’s adulthood. He cooks, cleans maintains the water pump and electricity (which is erratic, to say the least). He deals with the sale of the sugar cane and produce. Mickey has known him since he was a child. Bhagat Ji was a friend of his father’s.

Satya Dhaam sugar cane under teak trees
Satya Dhaam sugar cane under teak trees
The farm is 6 acres (or nearly 2.5 hectares) and predominantly sugar cane, which gets sold to the Shimbaoli mill. Part of the land is given over to green fodder for livestock at the moment. The sugar cane is shaded by teak trees which represent Mickey’s pension. When the sugar cane is cut the land will be put over to nitrogen-giving peas and some vegetables for consumption here on the farm. All the food I have eaten so far, aside from the tomatoes, is grown here without the help of BigAgriculture. This is a land where you throw a seed at the ground and it grows. It is green and fertile. The water is from the Ganges. I have been warned to only drink bottled water but there isn’t any near by so it’s fresh, fast running well oxygenated water from the Holy River – and it’s lovely. And no I haven’t been hit with any stomach disorder – yet!

Satya Dhaam Farm Photos

Satya Dhaam Farm

Satya Dhaam Organic Farm

Staying with Mickey at Satya Dhaam Farm.

satya dhaam farmSo this is really the first proper entry of this blog and I haven’t even left the UK. Mickey, the farm manager, and I have been in contact on whatsapp. He’s been more than helpful with directions and advice for getting to Satya Dhaam Farm. It feels like I already know him. We’ve text daily since I reserved my place.

I had told Mickey that I was coming to India in search of new teeth and my grandmother’s roots. He immediately told me that I could rest and recuperate with him on the farm. That wasn’t my intention. I told him so. I want to help out the best I can round the farm. Whether that’s grafting on the farm or building him a website – I don’t care. But one thing I’m certainly not going to do is sit on my arse doing nothing watching others get sweaty.

So tonight he sent me some google maps of how to get there and where the bus station and drop off points are. I decided to make a google map of where these points of my journey are. I told him that I was just going to upload the half dozen photos he’d already sent to this site. “Wait” he said, “I’ll send some more“. So Mickey’s photos are the first ones on this blog, and I’m delighted to be able to show you where I’ll be at the end of the month.

Kind of get you all jealous in advance. 🙂

Mickey’s Photos of Satya Dhaam Farm

Organic produce of Satya Dhaam Farm with some photos of the surrounding area.

Here is the location of Satya Dhaam Farm

You can see the Satya Dhaam page on Facebook by clicking the logo.