IT IS A COMPLETE ANTITHESIS to the unfortunately predominant public image of Kashmir. An initiative at socially and ecologically harmonious living, it is a glimpse of what Kashmiris are capable of, if left to their own destiny.
Sagg—“to nurture like water nurtures the roots of plants”—is a small resort near Srinagar. Well, resort is a misnomer for its rather down-to-earth character. Conceptualised by the youth civil society group Mool, Sagg is an experiment in providing culturally rooted, environmentally responsible lifestyle examples and experiences to people, especially children and youth. For anyone willing to try something very different from the run-of-the-mill tourist and culinary experience that Kashmir offers in plenty, Sagg is well worth exploring.
Having been in touch with its founder, Fayaz Dar and facilitators Shaheena Parveen and Lubna Rafiqi, through the national Vikalp Sangam process, we were fortunate to be invited to spend a couple of nights at Sagg in the summer of 2019. Late June, and just the right temperature though a tad rainy (unusual for this time of the year; climate change?). We were plied with diverse (mostly Kashmiri) cuisine, and plenty of steaming hot cups of kahwa made just as it should be (not the insipid readymade powder variety one gets in the market). Not to mention the ubiquitous nun chai, salty tea, that is proffered to visitors anywhere one goes in Kashmir. Two spacious cottages with thatched roofs, mud walls, beautifully adorned in Kashmiri style, make for a calm, cosy stay. Over meals and beverages, and on a full tour of the campus, Fayaz gave us insights into the motivation behind Sagg and the various activities it hosts.
HOW it Began
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