Signs of genius are aplenty at the campus. From the line of poplars and willows that line the drive (also work as a wind breaker) and the tumble of green of the farms and garden. Then you look around and see how the site has been chosen atop a cliff—so that was more than luck at work when the heavens opened up and poured in 2010, a meadow nearby became a rough gorge. The buildings are built back-to mountains— solid protection against the cold, gale-quality wind that begins every afternoon .What looks like building at different levels is smart thinking that has taken advantage of the difficult terrain… rooms have been set into a cliff, and mud construction used to make the rooms weather friendly. The larger buildings have glass facades, but the floors are stone set into mud, like mosaic, with wooded pillars and wood first floor built up patta-style. Not anti-plastic – plastic sheets used where sensible, in the stairwells for instance.
Realized just how cold it was when I reached the airport which was bricks-and-cement built.
Thoreau would have been pleased. As also Emerson. Almost completely self sufficient. Solar power. Solar heating. Solar cooker. Tap water from harnessed from a glacier stream. Drinking water from a handpump, groundwater courtesy the Indus that zestfully flows by. Milk from their cows, Badol and Baskit (little Thoksar is too little to but moo).Abundant farms—on difficult terrain, yes they use IV-tube drip irrigation. Greenhouses set well into the ground, stocking up for those killer winter months. All waste is recycled into compost, or modified and reused.
SECMOL time is one hour ahead of India time, daylight saving time—you get up early enough to see the first orange glow outlining distant snow clad mountains. Awake to cardamom- cinnamon “Cha” in the friendly common room with its magazines and guitars and insistent cats!