Meet Fayaz Ahmad Dar, an entrepreneur from the Ganderbal district who has established the first eco-village here with the desire and ambition to make a positive contribution to society while promoting and preserving the rich culture and traditions of his native place.
The first eco-village called “Sagg Eco Village” has been established in the Lar area of the Ganderbal district by Fayaz Ahmad Dar, an ecological entrepreneurship coach, sustainable development consultant, and speaker from the district.
Sagg Eco Village showcases and promotes Kashmiri culture and tradition. He spent almost three years setting up and launch the environmentally conscious business that embodies Kashmiri culture and tradition.
Sagg is presently a camping, eco-cultural, recreational, and educational complex.
Sagg, an innovative project to promote sustainable living and conserve Kashmir’s cultural and traditional legacy, is located in the foothills of the Sindh River.
The eco-village, which spans about 1.5 acres and adheres strictly to the zero-waste idea, has lovely mud cottages to stay in and an organic garden for fresh produce.
This promotes sustainable tourism.
Making the most use of space and abandoned goods decorate the path as one enters the Sagg.
Traditional hand-made items from Kashmir are widely available in homes and coffee shops. The restaurant’s simple soil floor emits a calming odour when it is moistened for mopping. Wood and wicker are used to make the seats and chairs there.
Similar to this, mud walls and floors are decorated with outmoded reed mats.
Fayaz said that he purchased the site to build Sagg in 2013. It was a plot of deserted, abandoned land in the foothills. It was entirely covered in rocks and thorns and lacked even the most basic amenities like power and water.
But I believed that I could successfully develop this plot of land. We were able to gradually and slowly change the property into what it is now thanks to the assistance of our volunteers and staff.
”Born in a farming family background in Ganderbal, Fayaz travelled out of Kashmir for education and started work when he was 15.
Over the next two decades, he studied commerce, business, human resource development, sustainable development and conflict transformation. He worked for about 10 different organisations in educational, organizational and developmental practice, administration and research in diverse cultural settings. Fayaz travelled to about 20 different countries for work and education. He returned to Kashmir in 2010 with a mission to share his experience and learning with younger generations.
“The first eco-village in J&K was established in 2013 and is called Sagg. Sagg is a natural farm, a cultural retreat, and a regenerative lifestyle venture that designs, develops, and promotes leisure, educational, and lifestyle services, spaces, products, and programmes for individuals, families, and groups using a unique synthesis of ecological, cultural, and scientific wisdom. Sagg is situated in Ganderbal near a multiethnic area with a rich cultural heritage, on the lovely Harmukh foothills overlooking the Sindh and Nigeen Valleys “said Fayaz.
“We prepare and sell healthy foods based on natural ingredients and traditional recipes, and handcrafted lifestyle products based on eco-friendly processes,” said Fayaz who coaches individuals, groups, and organizations to achieve the desired transformation for personal development, and professional enhancement and social wellbeing.
A localized ecological entrepreneurial venture Sagg is now a significant contributor to the economy of this multi-cultural and economically disadvantaged area. The infrastructure has been built using local materials and workforce.
The operational crew is local, and many consumable items are also sourced from the people living in the vicinity. Sagg also organises capacity-building programs for the local children and youth on scholarship. Sagg offers a weekly session of life skills development with the local children. Sagg has organised several training programs for local youth as Nature Guides.
With a mission to build integrative and regenerative lifestyles and communities, Sagg Eco Village is emerging as the best offbeat recreational destination in Kashmir. Spread over 12 Kanals the facilities at Sagg include Village hostel with mud huts, dormitories and tents in a blend of traditional and modern conveniences,
Garden cafe that serves healthy, traditional and natural foods based on traditional recipes,
Indoor and outdoor offbeat recreational and therapeutic spaces and activities, and Natural farm and traditional food processing unit.
Since 2016, Sagg is offering recreational retreats and expeditions including shepherd trail treks and offbeat recreational activities and has hosted many individuals, families and groups from both inside and outside of Kashmir.
Sagg also organises women-only adventures and has female facilitators in senior positions. Sagg further provides camps and programmes for strengthening recreational capacity for children, teachers, parents, farmers, enterprises, NGOs, executives, and other communities. Sagg is well-liked by both residents and tourists who visit.
The peaceful environment, rich culture, and wholesome food promote relaxation. Visitors to Sagg feel refreshed and de-stressed. Tourists from other countries are drawn to Kashmir for its natural beauty, integration of cultures, and opportunity to visit a traditional Kashmiri village. Sagg has been referred to as Kashmir’s “Hidden Gem.”