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A day at Urali Kanchan




Scented air and soft nights, heady with the fragrance of mogras, give way to the green blaze of corn fields. Pastel roses climb seductively into the garland arms of a hundred year old banyan tree. Nearby, across the beaten pathway, a silver strip of water gleams against misty hills, and violet irises, growing wild, race each other up a sweeping slope. If that is ' Nisargopchar Ashram' at Uralikanchan, so is this.....


8:30 am "The Arm Welcome"

The AshramAt the gate, a big bull lay all sprawled across the entrance. Probably a handy substitute for a watchman I presume. It was only after we wielded a stick at it, did the bull decide to permit access to us. Slowly getting up on its four geet, it snorted disdainfully at us and trotted off. Now in front of us lay a pile of bovine residue! A sea green lawn gives way to sapphire waters of a pond. Peeping through the dense foliage are brick coloured cottages. The contrast is stark, but eye-catching. Another group of men are jogging on a nearby track that leads away from the ashram.

Suddenly, the bell rings and a flurry of animated activity follows. Every living soul stops mid-activity and starts ambling in one direction. Their destination: the Ashram kitchen. It's breakfast time folks. People here sure have their priorities right!. With a majority of people coming to the ashram for their weighty problem one would expect less enthusiasm for food but then obviously realities are far different than expectations! "It's always like this," explains one enlightened soul with a wry smile on his face. "Only goes to show that conquering hunger is not everybody's cup of tea." We order it only to be rebuffed "No Tea". A few moments later, realisation strikes that Tea and Coffee are taboo words here. Their consumption is considered an unpardonable sin by these enlightened souls!

Realisation 1: Nisargopchar Ashram also doubles up as a Tea and Coffee de-addiction centre.

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