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Exploring the Community Heritage of Assam on a Land Rover North-East Tour at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark

Escorted in our very own first-generation Land Rover, 19 members from Land Rover arrived in style in 5 new discovery models to the biodiverse haven of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark.

After travelling to the unexplored and densely forested hills of the land of dawn-lit mountains, Arunachal Pradesh and the fascinating wildlife sanctuaries of Assam; they took in the forest experience at Kaziranga and Nameri National Park and also visited Dibrugarh, the Tea City of India. The group ended their North-East Tour exploring the bio-cultural heritage of the Eastern Himalayas at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark and Wild Mahseer – where history is your host.

The group arrived on the morning of 9th February’18 and were given a traditional Wild Mahseer welcome of Aarti along with a welcome drink of fresh coconut water for a refreshing start. This was followed by viewing a documentary on Rural Futures in the Eastern Himalayas – the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark, the story of a parking lot that has flourished into a lush green forest of flora and fauna of the Eastern Himalayas and communities that have tended to the Ark. The Eastern Himalaya Botanic Ark has been nurtured by forest fringe communities, living around the Ark.

Conversations with Nature - a nature trail was demonstrated to explore and sight many rare plants and flowers such as Cassia Nodosa, Cleisocentron pallens, Papilionanthe teres and exotic butterflies such as Common Imperial, Lime blue, Common Jezebel, etc. Encouraging them to connect with nature and feel rejuvenated, detoxed and energized.

The Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark is a social enterprise that fosters Rural Futures in the Eastern Himalayas through the concept of Naturenomics™ - creating socio-economic and environment interdependence. Towards this activities at the Ark focus on highlighting the interdependent relationship between nature and its nurturers.

A splendid fashion with live models wearing ethnic and handwoven Eri and Muga fabrics, to showcase the handlooms and hand-crafted jewelry of the rural communities was also organized. If you are a lover of culture and anthropological practices then the traditional dresses of the North-Eastern states will fascinate you a lot.

To make the experience more engaging, we conducted a live organic dyeing workshop and silk weaving. Natural organic dyeing and weaving helps generate livelihood for artisans and keeps the precious ancient knowledge alive.

Also at display were live silk worms to explain their lifecycle and the process of Eri silk making.

The group also encountered an on-going Bamboo and Cane Crafts workshop that is being organized for local villagers for capacity building and to enhance their skills. Through these activities and workshops at Naturenomics™ School, we aim to emphasize on and encourage sustainable fashion, reduce the carbon footprint, display tribal fashion heritage and provide a platform to local artisans to showcase their skills and products.

Visit to the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark is incomplete without a visit to the Naturenomics™ Store that display Elephant County products, Assam tea, community products, handcrafted souvenirs from Assam and coconut shell and bamboo handcrafted products.

Famished from their travel, the guests were pampered with continental & Indian food at the 108 years old Heritage Bungalow. The lunch consisted of a scrumptious spread of baked dishes, organic vegetable stew, fresh salad made with locally grown produce, pulao, dal and a variety of home-made pudding and soufflé to indulge their sweet tooth. After a satiated meal, the group rested for a while in the heritage bungalow, that has an old-world charm and is tastefully decorated with artefacts that resonate British colonial history, wall hangings highlighting the biodiversity in the region and Rhino and Elephant figurines that symbolizes national pride.

Bidding adieu, the group left the bio-diverse haven with memories of Assam’s rich culture, tea heritage, British- colonial architecture, nature capital and the diverse, vibrant and hospitable communities.


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