Opinion | Sagg Eco Village: Nurturing Roots and Embracing Tradition

In the enchanting realm of Kashmir, where nature’s beauty is woven into the fabric of everyday life, the word “Sagg” carries profound significance. In the Kashmiri language, “Sagg” signifies the act of nurturing or watering, symbolizing the delicate care of one’s roots, and indeed, this is the essence that Sagg Eco Village embodies. Tucked away just 8 kilometers from the bustling heart of Ganderbal, this hidden gem finds its home in the picturesque landscape of Watt Lar, specifically on the tranquil terrain of Wuddar. Sagg Eco Village, a brainchild brought to life by the visionary Mr. Fayaz Ahmad Dar, is not just a place; it’s a commitment to merging tradition with innovation and offering a haven for those in search of healing and respite.
Mr. Dar’s journey, as fascinating as the Eco Village itself, is a testament to the magnetic pull of one’s homeland. Having spent substantial periods in the bustling cities of the United Kingdom and New Delhi, he was forever drawn back to the embrace of his roots. In 2010, he finally heeded the call of his heart and returned to his beloved Kashmir. In a candid interview, Mr. Dar revealed the serendipitous discovery of the Sagg Eco Village. In 2013, he stumbled upon this land, seemingly abandoned by its people. It was a canvas marred by overgrown thorny bushes and vast, daunting stones. With determination and a dedicated team by his side, he embarked on a mission to transform this dormant land into a haven of tranquility. The arduous task of hammering the imposing stones and uprooting the thorny bushes was a labor of love, a physical representation of his deep-rooted passion for this land.
What makes Sagg Eco Village truly captivating is not just its breathtaking beauty, but the profound sense of peace that infuses every corner of this oasis. Here, amidst the unspoiled splendor of nature, tradition is not lost but instead nurtured and celebrated. The Eco Village stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of ancient customs and innovative sustainability, where the past and the future intertwine seamlessly. As we delve deeper into the article, we will uncover the rich tapestry of traditions, the innovative approaches to sustainable living, and the undeniable sense of serenity that permeates this remarkable haven. Join me on a journey through this eco-conscious paradise, where the echoes of nurturing one’s roots resonate with every rustle of the leaves and every gentle stream that winds through this extraordinary landscape.

Embracing Tradition and Modernity in the Mud Houses:
At Sagg Eco Village, the allure of tradition seamlessly blends with the comforts of modernity, and this unique fusion finds its most captivating expression in the charming mud houses that grace the landscape. There are approximately 3 to 4 of these remarkable mud houses, each a testament to the innovative spirit of the Eco Village. These mud houses have been thoughtfully infused with modern amenities, such as exhaust fans, contemporary curtains, and comfortable bedding, ensuring that guests can relish the perfect balance between rustic charm and contemporary convenience. But it’s the walls themselves, constructed from earthy mud, that make these dwellings truly exceptional. They serve as natural insulators, cocooning inhabitants in warmth during the unforgiving winters and providing a refreshing coolness during the scorching summers. In this way, the mud houses themselves act as guardians of comfort and solace, adapting to the changing seasons just as the land around them does.
The interiors of these mud houses are a homage to Kashmiri tradition, boasting the traditional Patij and Wagoo matting that harks back to a bygone era. These materials not only transport guests to a simpler, more primitive time but also envelop them in an aura of generosity and serenity. As one steps into these mud houses, the past comes alive, and the present slows down, creating a sense of harmony that is truly rejuvenating. But the charm of the mud houses doesn’t end with a day’s visit. Sagg Eco Village extends an invitation for night stays within these cozy abodes. Here, under the starry Kashmiri sky, guests can find respite, recreation, and rejuvenation in equal measure. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the heart of this extraordinary village, where the traditions of Kashmiri hospitality meet the comfort of modern living.
For those seeking a more whimsical experience, Sagg Eco Village offers a tree house that beckons adventurers and dreamers alike. Nestled amidst the welcoming embrace of apricot trees, this elevated sanctuary adds an element of enchantment to the stay. Spending a night in the tree house, cocooned in a tent, allows you to bask in the warm ambiance created by the surrounding fruit-bearing trees. It’s an experience that speaks to the very essence of Sagg Eco Village: a place where nature, tradition, and innovation harmoniously converge to offer a sanctuary for the soul.

Sustainable Practices and Savory Delights:
At Sagg Eco Village, the commitment to sustainability goes beyond words; it’s a way of life. Plastics, often considered a scourge of modern living, find no place in the embrace of Sagg. Instead, they have embarked on an inspiring journey of plastic collection, repurposing this once-harmful material to nurture the growth of diverse plant life. The result is not only an eco-conscious approach but also a heartwarming example of innovation meeting environmental responsibility. The dedication to natural farming and the cultivation of spices and vegetation add a unique and unforgettable dimension to the culinary experience at Sagg. Here, the connection between the land and the plate is tangible, and the flavors are a testament to the organic, wholesome produce. What you taste here is more than just a meal; it’s a symphony of nature’s bounty, enhanced by traditional farming methods.
In the heart of Sagg, artificial fertilizers find no place. Instead, traditional ploughs are employed to till the land, preserving age-old farming practices that have been passed down through generations. This commitment to heritage agriculture not only ensures the authenticity of the produce but also contributes to the sustainability of the ecosystem. For those looking to take a piece of Sagg’s charm back home, a delightful array of organic and health-friendly products is available for purchase. From the aromatic blend of Kashmiri Werri (a mixture of various spices) to homemade pickles, lavender soaps, nourishing dry fruits, and golden honey, each product encapsulates the essence of this unique place.
When it comes to dining at Sagg, the difference is palpable. The vegetables served to guests are not only fresh but bursting with flavor, a stark contrast to the produce typically found in markets. Here, every meal is a celebration of nature’s gifts and the commitment to a more sustainable way of living. Meals are lovingly served in earthen pots, eliminating the disastrous effects of plastic and adding an extraordinary dimension to the dining experience. The sensory pleasure of eating from earthenware connects you with the roots of the earth, making each bite a moment to savor. Sagg Eco Village serves as a shining example of how conscious choices can transform an ordinary experience into an extraordinary one. It’s a place where sustainability, tradition, and flavor converge, offering a glimpse of what’s possible when we harmonize with the land and honor the Earth’s gifts.


Preserving Tradition: Souvenirs of Sagg Eco Village:
As we journey towards Sagg Eco Village, the path leading from the macadamized road to the village’s welcoming gates is a passage steeped in tradition. Deliberately narrow and flanked by stone fences, this path serves as a poignant reminder of the traditional roads that crisscrossed the land.
Upon my visit, I was captivated by the presence of cherished Kashmiri artifacts that have become increasingly rare in modern homes. The Yinder, a once-ubiquitous spinning wheel used to transform fibers into yarn, evokes memories of traditional self-employment, a practice we now call entrepreneurship. It is a tangible link to a time when self-sufficiency was a way of life.
Wagoo and Patij, both forms of traditional matting, offer poignant insights into the resourcefulness of generations past. They remind us how our predecessors found comfort in simplicity, a stark contrast to the anxieties that often plague today’s GenZ. These simple yet enduring traditions are an inspiration to live life with resilience.
The Khraaw, traditional slippers, stand as a symbol of perseverance. They encourage us to keep walking through life’s various terrains, regardless of the conditions we encounter.
Earthen pots, a staple at Sagg Eco Village, are a direct connection to Mother Earth. They serve as gentle reminders of the importance of preserving our planet and treading lightly on the Earth’s surface. These artifacts at Sagg Eco Village are not merely decorative; they are tangible echoes of the past, connecting us to a time when life was simpler, and values were rooted in tradition and sustainability.

Sagg’s Literary Haven: A Traditional Library and Carved Wisdom
Sagg Eco Village houses a time-honored library, a sanctuary of literature where old and new books coexist. It’s a place where the world of words meets tranquility, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the hushed embrace of reading. The library provides an oasis of silence, a gift for those seeking solace amid the written word. In this serene literary haven, you’ll find an added layer of inspiration – wooden blocks adorned with motivational and insightful quotes. These carved gems not only ignite momentary motivation but serve as enduring beacons of guidance, enriching lives for a lifetime.
It’s not merely a place; it’s a journey into a timeless realm, where the echoes of the past guide you towards a more serene future. Sagg Eco Village invites visitors to disconnect from the chaos of modern life and rediscover the nourishing embrace of nature. It’s a must-visit destination, a place where tranquility is a given, and the opportunity for respite is abundant. Here, amidst the unspoiled beauty of nature, one can find the inner peace and rejuvenation that often elude us in our bustling lives.
But Sagg Eco Village is more than a hidden gem; it’s a treasure waiting to be discovered on a grand scale. It beckons for the attention and support of governmental organizations, poised to become a high-profile tourist destination. The potential to showcase the region’s rich culture, tradition, and sustainable practices is immense. This remarkable initiative, nurtured by the visionary Mr. Fayaz Ahmad Dar, is not only a recreation of history but also a creator of opportunities for the local community. By employing locals and maintaining the Eco Village, Mr. Dar has not only preserved the past but breathed new life into the future. Sagg Eco Village stands as a testament to the healing power of nature, the beauty of tradition, and the promise of a more sustainable and serene tomorrow. It’s a call for recognition and a symbol of what can be achieved when we embrace our roots and nurture our surroundings.
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