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  • Writer's pictureLieke Hulshof

A start in Indian mountains

September 2021

The path leads me up onto a steep slope. On both sides nettles are growing, some reach high above my head. Shadows of trees dance gently over the red tiles. A butterfly flaps its wings. I stand still to catch my breath. A few more stairs to go. Behind me the sounds of honks and bells doom up from the street into the air. Some monkeys swing from branch to branch in the walnut tree. They have eaten well from it, I see. Broken shells lie scattered across the ground while my shoes find their way, avoiding some cow pie.

Coming to India

Over two years ago I walked my first steps on Indian ground. I came for a course in ecofarming and to experience the country. It was the beginning of a new phase in my life from where stories lined up like a beaded necklace. I had the pleasure to experience India as a country of many people, sparkling colours and diversity. Yes, a country of endless possibilities. She shows her versatility in her landscapes, climates, rich history and culture. It does not come too much to rules and precision. For some this means insecurity, for others freedom. Cows participate in traffic, ever calm while the chaos rushes past them. It’s one of the many examples that make India what it is. Do you find it strange, inefficient or dirty, then this is a country of many challenges. Can you see the charm and humour, then it’s exquisitely beautiful.

Layer after layer the mountains appear, and if you are lucky, like today, you can see the snowwhite peaks of the Himalayas shimmer against a blue sky.

A house in the mountains

There I am. The rusty gate squeaks open. A small grass field spreads out up to the front of the house. Here and there chicken scratch in the garden beds. I look at the house that was once built with all the love, care and materials available. Thick stone walls and wooden windows and doors reveal a rare memory of the colonial times. There are not a lot of these buildings left in the region. An Englishman named Winston had absolutely made the best out of this one: a main house with ten rooms, four fireplaces and two outbuildings surrounded by terraces and fruit trees. I walk over the grass to the porch. The vast landscape stretches along my side. Layer after layer the mountains appear, and if you are lucky, like today, you can see the snowwhite peaks of the Himalayas shimmer against a blue sky. Yes, this is what we have come for. For this, and for so much more.

An inspiration centre

Meanwhile the house has been in Karan’s family for a few generations. We decided to start our project here, in Pauri, in this somewhat decayed house that bursts with chances for a new purpose. We are building an inspiration centre. A place where everyone is welcome to walk paths towards simple and aware life. There will be a homestay and an organic garden. My body tingles when I think of what we are starting here. Dreaming is a strong quality of mine and I have always given it the necessary attention. First dreaming, then daring, then doing. With both feet I jump, we jump, into the Indian soil, into this project, and we are going to experience it all. The small and the big adventures. From the cow pie to the renovation and further. And you are very welcome to surf with us on the waves of this project.

With love,



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