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Home » Welcome to Sagg Eco-Village: ‘Auroville’ of Kashmir

Welcome to Sagg Eco-Village: ‘Auroville’ of Kashmir

Welcome to Sagg Eco-Village: 'Auroville' of Kashmir

Fayaz Ahmad Dar, a resident of Ganderbal, Kashmir, established the first and only Sagg Eco village in his homeland to promote sustainable tourism and the Valley’s culture and heritage. Spread across 11 dirt channels, Sagg founder Fayaz Ahmad Dar, 45, believes he is reclaiming the pristine past and healing the tainted present with universal core values.

“Sagg (Kashmere word for nurture) is an educational, recreational and eco-cultural farm with camping facilities, as well as hosting and facilitating individual and group recreational stays, events and retreats, social gatherings, walks, hikes, bike rides and ecotherapy sessions”, said Dar, who leads a team of ten members. “When someone enters Sagg, they are coming home, as it is a place where one reconnects with oneself, reflects, rejuvenates, detoxifies”. De-stressing is natural as visitors are away from the hustle and bustle and fast-paced life.

“Sagg is not only an attempt to build a sustainable recreational space, but also an effort to mold the younger generation, especially here in Kashmir, to realize their real potential and to guide them towards better life options,” says Fayaz Dar.

Fayaz speaking to Groundreport.in said that he was very well exposed to various cultures and people. “I worked in eight to ten organizations in different sectors and I traveled a lot. My travels, in fact, helped me understand different cultures and those experiences made me realize the need to do something for my own homeland”.

Sagg Eco-village

“This is a completely unique town where you can see that we have created things in wood and wicker. We have made little kothas (mud houses) and mud huts to tell how old people lived in the past and what we are missing now. We are also serving the food in the utensils made of clay,” Dar said, adding: “It is also the favorite place for visitors to de-stress and find peace of mind.”

According to the official website of Sagg Eco Village, it reads: “Called the hidden gem of Kashmir, Sagg Eco Village facilities include nomadic mud huts, village lodge and camp, garden cafe, indoor and outdoor recreation spaces. for all age groups, separate for men and women. bathroom blocks that include composting and flushing toilets, and hot and cold showers.”

Sagg Eco-Village

“We organize special recreational camps and expeditions for children and families in which our guides also participate. Here, the stunning natural beauty, local cultural wisdom and famous Kashmiri hospitality will help you de-stress, rediscover your peace and rejuvenate to the core.”

Mud huts at Sagg eco-village

“We organize special recreational camps and expeditions for children and families in which our guides also participate. Here, the stunning natural beauty, local cultural wisdom and famous Kashmiri hospitality will help you de-stress, rediscover your peace and rejuvenate to the core.”

Sagg Eco-Village

Working from clerk to assistant to a counsellor, Dar has seen many ups and downs in his life. “In 2009, he was in Delhi and was planning to return to Kashmir, but then I decided to pursue a program in the United States. After spending a year there, I came back and started meeting like-minded people. In 2012, he launched Mool (Root), a charitable trust that works for sustainable socio-economic development through participatory capacity building, sustainable development and rehabilitation in Kashmir. Mool was also working towards ecological sustainability through the use of ecological systemic practices. It’s where Sagg was born,” he said.

Dar said that he was carrying the baggage of childhood traumas and in the process of healing; he began to work out the pitfalls that others, especially young people, can walk through.

“I wanted to tell people what education and schooling is. Schooling is not necessarily education. Education is life,” he said. He began to engage with young people to find like-minded people.

In 2013 he bought the land to install Sagg. “It was an arid and abandoned land in the foothills of the mountains. There were no basic services like water and electricity, and it was completely full of rocks and thorns. But I felt that I can transform this piece of land into something successful, ”he smiles. “Slowly and steadily, with the help of our volunteers and staff, we were able to transform the land into what it is today.”

Sagg Eco Village

It took him about three years to establish and open the green business enterprise that exudes the true essence of Kashmir’s culture and heritage. He spent an initial investment of around Rs 60 lakh to install it, using his savings and borrowing money from his friends and family.

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“At Sagg we promote the concept of zero waste by practicing composting, organic farming, etc., and we make and sell healthy food based on natural ingredients and traditional recipes. We use the products of our farm in our kitchen, as well as in workshops for the locals, where they are taught to make value-added products such as pickles, jams, handmade soaps, etc., with different products”, explains Fayaz, adding that ensures that all recreational and educational camps have at least 20 to 25 percent local participation, providing them with scholarships.

Since Sagg has become a brand in Kashmir, they also produce their own products that are completely organic and healthy to eat.

Includes vegetables, fruits, poultry and meat. There are a number of products that Sagg sells, such as Kashmiri wuer (a traditional mix of herbs and spices), wild honey, dried apples, lotus stem, pickles and jams. Sagg also offers a wide variety of handmade lifestyle products based on eco-friendly processes. “We make the broth with pure, natural ingredients,” said Dar.

Since Sagg has become a brand in Kashmir, they also produce their own products that are completely organic and healthy to eat.

Includes vegetables, fruits, poultry and meat. There are a number of products that Sagg sells, such as Kashmiri wuer (a traditional mix of herbs and spices), wild honey, dried apples, lotus stem, pickles and jams. Sagg also offers a wide variety of handmade lifestyle products based on eco-friendly processes. “We make the broth with pure, natural ingredients,” said Dar.

Sagg Eco-Village

Dar said that since their main focus is youth, they have kept the fees genuine and minimal for everyone. “We have kept 500 rupees per person including breakfast, while 3,000 rupees for a mud hut that sleeps four people, including breakfast too,” he said.

He said that as the tourism industry is reviving in the valley, he too is seeing a good flow of visitors. “We are hopeful that this will continue,” he said.

Having launched the forest farming village academy in 2020 with a mission to help 100,000 people create green businesses by 2030, Sagg envisions an ecologically sensitive and regenerative future that is socially inclusive and equitable, and economically self-sufficient.

So far, more than 8,500 youth have participated in capacity-building programs. “It is an open-source green entrepreneurship company. Aspiring people can come and replicate the model,” said Dar, insisting that he provides consulting services to train and equip people to become green entrepreneurs.

Sagg Eco-Village

Sagg is supported and sustained by the revenue it generates from its products and services. “I need more investment and will convert it to a limited liability company to organize it better,” said Dar as he worked to grow it. Sagg charges Rs 199-499 per adult free of charge for girls and only up to Rs 15 for boys.

sagg eco-village

sagg eco-village is a regenerative farm cum cultural retreat center located on the Harmukh Foothills overlooking Sindh and Nigeen Valleys in Ganderbal, Kashmir! We design, develop and promote recreational, educational and lifestyle services, spaces, products and programs uniquely blend natural cultural and contemporary ethos.

Emerging as the best offbeat recreational destination in Kashmir, Sagg Eco Village hosts and facilitates individual, family and group recreational stays, events and expeditions including nomadic home stays, parties, meetings, retreats, treks, walks, bike rides, etc.

Called the Hidden Gem of Kashmir, Sagg Eco Village facilities include Nomadic Mud Huts, Village Hostel and Camping, Garden Cafe, Indoor and Outdoor Recreational Spaces for all age groups, separate male and female washroom blocks that include composting & flush toilets, and hot & cold showers.

We organize special recreational camps and expeditions for children and families in which our female guides also participate.

Here, the breathtaking natural beauty, the local cultural wisdom and the famed Kashmir hospitality will help you kill the stress, rediscover your peace and rejuvenate yourself to the core!

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