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An Eco-Home In The Hills



An Eco-Home In The Hills

We explore Meena Bagh, an eco-home with sustainable practices at its core

If you plan to escape the Indian summer and visit a cooler locale, consider travelling to the queen of the hills, Shimla. And with World Earth Day just around the corner, why not consider an eco-friendly homestay?

A Greener Way To Holiday

Meena Bagh is a traditional Himachali B&B set in the stunning snow-clad hills. What makes it special is the fact that it’s an eco-home with sustainable, planet-friendly construction. It is owned by Sanjay Austa, a writer, photographer, entrepreneur and explorer. Speaking about Meena Bagh, he says, “We had this property in Shimla which was depleting. I came up with the idea to renovate it for the tourists to stay. I do not like concrete. The best way to go was traditional.”

Sanjay used mud plasters and recycled wood for the walls instead of paint, which saved a lot of his time and money while making the place more eco-friendly. But this eco-home is no dorm! It has beautiful interiors, fully equipped with all the modern amenities you might need for a warm, comfortable stay.

Meena Bagh sets a good example for hotels and resorts to take up sustainable practices. It has a water harvesting and recycling system in place. For the harvested rainwater, there are filters and pumps installed to bring the treated water into the house for use. The hot water comes from solar geysers, which helps with a lot of conventional energy saving.

What’s more, the home is gay-friendly, pet-friendly, and there’s a 50 per cent discount for writers, journalists and people involved with conservation activities. Sanjay’s second eco-home will open in Ratnari soon.

Inspiration For Eco-warriors

Any home or building can be made planet-friendly with some effort going into its architecture, which needs to be low on energy consumption and waste generation. An eco-home is either purely or partially organic in its usage of materials as well as techniques.

Can you make your home eco-friendly? Sure—water harvesting, separation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, recycling old glass bottles and waste wood, using mud instead of concrete or synthetic paints for plaster, and using solar energy as a primary source for electricity, are some of the techniques you can adopt.

Sanjay adds, “At places with water shortage, one can harvest rainwater on the rooftop of the house, store it in an underground tank and then pump it for shower or flushing. We are hoping to go through the monsoons without using any water from the municipal corporation.”

Keeping these few tips in mind, you too can take a step in the sustainable direction.

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A writer and explorer living her ultimate dream of travel and writing. Tishta is a seeker of spiritual legends and myths in the Himalayas. An avid reader, she can be found looking for constellations in the night sky with a telescope when not lost in the solitude of the mountains, seeking meaning to life and beyond.

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