Friday, February 23, 2007

Medicinal Garden in the Community of Pitchandikulam. I am totally blown away, awed and amazed

Auroville 2007 Teal and Imelda’s Adventure of Consciousness « First Crack at a Mission Statement.
As our time here ticks down, there is an increasing sense of urgency to see and experience as much as we possibly can each day. I was concerned at first that this would feel frantic or stressful, however, this has not been the case at all. Instead, our days have been full of wonderful, inspiring, events and interactions. Auroville is composted it seems almost entirely of interesting pockets of visionary ideas, goals, happenings and people. It would be impossible to recount all of the events of a single day here – especially since it will soon be time to go out and being this days adventure—but I would like to share some of the highlights of yesterday here.
One of our first stop offs yesterday was the “Laboratory of Evolution.” This Laboratory is a comprehensive multi-media library filled with books, recordings and videos on a vast range of “new-age” topics, as-well-as a public meeting space for talks and events relating to the conscious evolution of humankind. It is the sort of place that both Teal and I can spend hours browsing though, but with a full day of events and places to this would not be possible today.
We next visited the Tibetan Pavilion to see a new installation of paintings created by two Tibetan refugees living in Northern India. The artwork was stunning visually and very powerful on the spiritual and emotional levels. The artists were there and we spent awhile talking with them both about their work. Teal’s favorite painting and the Artist
For lunch we decided to return to the “Offerings Café” next door to the Tibetan Pavilion in Baharat Nivias. The Offerings Café is a wonderful food venue that strikes a deep cord with both Teal and I and the Aurovillian ideal. There is no set price for food at the Offerings Café. Instead patrons donate what ever amount they feel is justified or that they can afford for their meal. It is a relatively new venture but apparently has been doing very well here. People eating here that can afford to do so, give larger offerings for their food than what the standard price might be, while those who have little or no money make smaller offerings. In short, everyone is happy and fed. The décor and seating accommodations are simple, but clean. The atmosphere in the eating area is fantastic.
Our next destination is the Medicinal Garden in the Community of Pitchandikulam. The medicinal Garden is more than a complex collection of foreign and native flora species. It is the location of an Auroville flora seed bank – including the seeds planted for food in the entire over 100 Auroville micro-community gardens. But, one of its main functions is that as an educational, living, natural history museum of local folk-medicine.
India has an immensely rich folk-medicine history. The staff and community members of Pitchandikulam have been working for over 20 years to document it. Deforestation and erosion is a devastating problem in much of India. Tamil Nadu is no exception to this rule. At the time the medicinal Gardens at Pitchandikulam began many of the over 400 plant species used local folk remedies had been almost disappeared in much of Tamil Nadu. Without the help of the seed and living plant stores of this botanical garden/museum the folk medicine practices and health of the surrounding villages here would be at serious risk of extinction itself. Slate slabs label each medicinal species and in give information in English and Tamil about the traditional medicinal uses of each plant species. The winding pathways are punctuated by larger beautifully painted renderings of the endemic fauna of South India, as well as, other information on the history and composition of the natural bio-region of Tamil Nadu. In short, I am totally blown away, awed and amazed. This entry was posted on Friday, February 23rd, 2007 at 12:26 am and is filed under Uncategorized.

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