Adventurers in Honnemaradu

Honnemaradu, where apart from a lot of swimming – I had the good fortune of meeting this extraordinary gentleman named Swami (founder of Adventurers club, you might have heard about him). I say fortunate because its not easy to encounter him, he hardly ever stays in one place.

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He and his comrades are doing tremendous work to save the forests in the western ghats – which is in grave danger *today* – forget about a decade later, next generation, etc.

His contact details are here:
[Thanks to this report Honnemardu – a place out of your world !!]

Mr. Swamy, Ms. Nomita (his wife)
The Adventurers
142, 69th Cross, 5th Block, Rajajinagar, Bangalore INDIA 560 010
Phone: 91-80-3305508 or 91-80-3409712

He was invited by the Malaysian government to formulate the syllabus for environmental awareness in their schools, just to give an idea of his credibility.
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While talking about humans versus forests/animals, the emphasis need not be on the “versus” . I dont think any wise conservationalist would be prejudiced against humans just for his love for animals, he would end up being a very lonely conservationalist 🙂 No one-sided approach would even really be practical. What is needed as Chaitra says is a win-win situation.

I try to summarize here what I gather from my discussion with the Adventurers – Mr. Swami and other comrades.

Problem:
Western Ghat forests are getting destroyed by tribals or villagers. They are in an economically bad state. What do they do? They chop down trees and sell the timber. That gets them money for a bit more time.

Alternative Solution:
Go around campaigning, save trees, save forests. Educate them about drought and famine and other havoc caused due to extensive deforestation.

— though this helps, it doesnt really work, because even if 5% get convinced, the required critical mass isnt achieved.

Solution given by Adventurers:
(a) There is one lady who has done a PhD in home science. She teaches the villagers to identify fruit bearing trees, harvest them, and make indigenous products like jams, pickles, etc out of them. Hence the forest which provided a short term financial benefit of timber, is now providing a long term financial benefit – because harvesting is something that can be done repeatedly.

(b) There are very talented people there – the villagers have a special kind of art – of drawing on walls with a twig of chronological events of a person. For eg for a couple who get married, they draw a marriage drawing on the wall. The drawing is very intricate and though it is by bare hands, it has amazing geometric precision. I saw some of it and was very impressed. This art is very unique, but is dying out since nobody is making any money out of it.

For both (a) and (b) the products or the art are unknown since it is a secluded world. There needs to be some channel for it to get to where they can make money out of it.

Wrt (a) – Some infrastructure was built. A society was established as a link between these products and the city. City contacts were provided so that the products can be delivered to them. The society (very informal) works similar to the proxy-stub design pattern (taking software terminology).

Wrt (b) – Several key expert artists were identified, and provision was made to train others in the art. Similar bridge was established between homes in cities so that people can get such drawings done in their homes. Not only on walls, they were encouraged to draw on paper also making greeting cards, paintings, etc. These two are sold in cities.

So you see these types of solutions are possible. There may be some glitches in my explanation – also I dont know how many things have actually happened, how many problems they are facing, etc. But just to give a brief idea. When I heard all this, I was really floored.

Here is a suggestion for anyone interested on these lines:

Go to Honnemaradu. Freak out in the water – (one of the visitors said to me that he had been to Maldives and this is better than that 😉 ) Learn specialised skills like canoeing and windsurfing at a very reasonable cost, and with high safety standards. Camp on the islands and climb the hills early in the morning to catch the sunrise. Explore forests and theres even an old fort nearby. It is a paradise for photographers. It has everything – water – wide variety of birds – a nearby ancient fort (I didnt go here) – rare plants and trees. Researchers come here from many places in the world to research on one of these areas. You will have to compromise on luxury, however 😉 Learn something about the place and its surroundings. This will be rewarding for oneself as well as the forest.

20 Responses to “Adventurers in Honnemaradu”

  1. Sanjay Mysoremutt » Blog Archive » possible career directions Says:

    […] fact campaigning is probably the wrong word. He has started the water sports facilities at Honnemaradu. He facilitates people going there and spending time with nature. The […]

  2. Sanjay Mysoremutt » Blog Archive » upbringing free of fear Says:

    […] by building our own interpretations of any bad experiences we have. Over the past week in Honnemaradu, I met many people whom I was very impressed with. People who don’t […]

  3. Sanjay Mysoremutt ಸಂಜಯ » Blog Archive » a bit of nature Says:

    […] n my best trips! Last (for now) but not the least… some pictures from India… Honnemaradu is a fantastic place overall, but one of the highlights of the trip w […]

  4. Sanjay Mysoremutt ಸಂಜಯ » Blog Archive » walls redefined - as giant canvases! Says:

    […] er example of art on walls … though I don’t have any photos… was from an old essay on Honnemaradu… (b) There are very talented people there [the tr […]

  5. Anu Says:

    Have also heard about the certificate and diploma course in eco-tourism and ecology offered by the Adventurers. Do they have their own website?

  6. msanjay Says:

    Hmm You’ve got me curious about that as well… if I find out I’ll post it here and let you know.

  7. Guruprasad Says:

    Hi,
    I am guruprasad working in HP Bangalore.
    I want to learn more about “Honnemaradu” & places near honnemardu.
    We team are planning for 2 days trip to “Honnemaradu” in between 12 – 18/06/2008.
    Could you please give us some tips :
    Transportation (package tour & our own).
    Cost (both)
    Places we can cover (package tour & our own).
    Other necessary details one should know.
    Awaiting a postive response !
    Cheers,
    Guruprasad.

  8. msanjay Says:

    Hi Gurprasad, its a small world as I am your ex-colleague 🙂

    All details that you have requested are present at the end of this page by Nitin

    You may contact Mr. Swami (contact details included in that page) for scheduling your trip.

    Hope you have a lot of fun! Some tips from me:

    this is a place to really overcome your fears, so try to learn as much as possible.
    boating is a wonderful skill and you get a chance to learn it here, learn as fast as possible so that you can keep going to the next level

    Feel free to ask anything you want.

    Wrt Anu’s query above: they do have their own ecology course. I dont think they have a website but I saw their brochures and other information when I went and visited their place recently.

  9. Rishi Says:

    Had been there nearly 5 years back. The following link may help people getting an idea abt the place.. which no doubt is just superb!!
    Rishi: 2004-09-25: Jog Falls and Honnemardu, KA

  10. Jasjeet Singh Says:

    Hi Sanjay,

    I have done through the wonderful text you have written while introducing “Mr Swami” and “Honnemardu”. I want to be a part of Adventure people’s drive to conserver Western Ghats & forests.

    Do you have email ID of Adventures?

    Really appreciate the effort put in by you to introduce us with the real environmental problem.

    Regards,
    Jasjeet Singh
    09xxxxxxxxxx [number trimmed for privacy]

  11. Sanjay M Says:

    Hi Jasjeet, thanks its nice to see your comments. I just called him up – his email id is honnemardu at satyam dot net dot in Will also mail you his mobile number. Its been quite a while since I met him again, so thanks for the reminder maybe its a good time for me as well to visit Honnemaradu.

  12. nAVEEN Says:

    PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO REACH HONNERMADU.
    With my friends i want to stay their at 2 days with night camp fire. Is food facility is their? will u provide some materials like boat, life jacket etc. If so how much we have to pay. If we come their will u assist us?

  13. Sanjay Says:

    dEAR nAVEEN, Please have a look at the link posted earlier i.e. to the DreamRoutes site all the details you want will be available there, have a great trip and do post a link here if you upload any photos… 🙂

  14. Deepika Says:

    Hi Sanjay,

    A group of around 15 of us are planning for a trip to Honnemardu and we are trying to find contact details of Mr.Swamy/Ms.Nomita of “Adventurers”. The details here i.e.,Phone: 91-80-3305508 or 91-80-3409712 doesn’t exist. Any pointers as to how to contact them would be highly appreciated. TIA 🙂

    Regards,
    Deepika

  15. Sanjay M Says:

    Hi Deepika, just prefix the numbers with 2. I just called the number and it worked, and right now they’re already in Honnemaradu, and I was given a mobile number: 9449004748 you can reach them on that for any booking.

    The thing is all Bangalore numbers are 8 digit, so usually if you come across a 7 digit old number, you can try prefixing a 2.

  16. Deepika Says:

    Hi Sanjay,

    Thanks. Actually I tried prefixing nos. with 2 and 1 no. didn’t work and the other though got connected was a wrong no.!! But thanks a lot will try the mobile no. .

  17. Nikhil Says:

    Just a note to say that the mobile number given above works, i was unable to connect to either of the 2 landlines.

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