Volunteer at a sustainable community space and exchange culture in Naggar, India



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 Min stay requested: 1 month or more

  • Description


    We are two friends settled in the Naggar town of Himachal. Well, not exactly in the town, but on a hilltop with hardly any people nearby. It was a bit overwhelming at first. The terrain, the people, their culture, ancient beliefs, local herbal knowledge, farming practices, their traditional Kat-Kunis that stood the test of time and all. They say their Devi-devta and these mountains provide for all their needs. And it's true to an extent. Fresh air to breathe, glacier water to drink, fertile ground, Shanthi Samadhaanam...what more someone could wish for! But the sudden boom in tourism during the past few years has made a weird impact on the pahaadi people's mindset. Even the remotest of villages haven't been spared.

    In short, what we are trying to do is to preserve what needs to be preserved for the generations yet to come. For example, the place that we leased out is a 150 yr old Kat-Kuni house made of geographically abundant natural resources like stone, wood, and mud. A home that has a soul of her own and breathes through her walls and tiny windows. It's an indigenous building practice suitable for this terrain. Known to withstand high magnitude earthquakes and the test of time and harsh weather.

    But over the years, people have slowly abandoned this sustainable building practice. Centuries-old houses are being demolished every day just to be replaced by cement boxes. We are slowly learning how to restore an old house as such or completely rebuild it elsewhere using reclaimed wood and stone from demolished Kat-Kunis. This is just one among many things that keep us awake at night, Taking one step at a time.

    Gradually we'll start growing our food, generate enough solar power to run the whole place while finding sustainable solutions on our own for all those daily challenges that off-beat living hast to offer. We want this place to be as self-sustainable and beautiful as it once was.

    Like their traditional food grain farming system which used to be rich in rajma, millets, buckwheat, barley, and veggies which are now replaced by unsustainable cash crops like apple and apricot. This terrain is native to rare medicinal herbs and shrooms. Sadly people here don't make the most out of it.

    There are a lot of centenarians here. But their wisdom is not being passed down to younger generations. All they dream about is life outside Himachal, either abroad or in some metro cities. Handlooms and knitting needles are getting rusted, farms are gone, sowing songs and harvest songs forgotten, ages-old pahaadi songs are being replaced by Bollywood songs.

    We are trying to bring back the good old days where people used to gather around the fire on a starry night, singing pahaadi songs and dancing for hours, talking, laughing and telling stories, gazing at the sky, spotting shooting stars.

    Roohi - as we call our home would be more like a community co-living space where like-minded people could come, live a completely off-beat life associating with the local community, learn more about their indigenous culture and practices and do whatever we could to preserve it. It would be more like a symbiosis where the local community and people like us live, learn, and grow together.

    After winter, we'll be hosting residential 7 days dedicated beginners workshops for Woodworking, Macrame, Pottery, Ashtanga yoga, and Basic mountaineering, lead by experts in those respective fields. All these workshops will be limited to 7 people. They'll have a taste of an off-beat mountain life while developing their life skills.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You'll learn the ways of the old Himachali traditions, be with nature, learn about the ancient technique of Kathkunis and live a life that's far more satisfying than being in the city.

  • Help


    We are looking for a friend who can understand this life and the changes that come with it. It will be a proper mountain life here where you will have to walk to town for stocking food for the coming month. You should be accustomed to cooking, cleaning, and the entire maintenance of this old wooden home. Obviously, you wouldn't be doing it all by yourself. We want someone who feels at home here and takes care of Roohi just like she's yours. It's a friend we need with whom we can share our days, have conversations with and be a part of our home.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Malayalam: Fluent
    Hindi: Intermediate
    Tamil: Intermediate
    Spanish: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    Italian and Spanish has always been of interest.

  • Accommodation


    Our cozy little attic room is all yours. Food and stay will be on us.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    There is a one-day trek through the forest to Malana village. You can also visit the not-so-touristy Jana Waterfalls. You can also rent a bike or take a bus to visit tourist destinations like Manali, Attal Tunnel, etc.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    This host has indicated that they love having digital nomads stay.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 984821965531