Govardhan Eco Village, Maharashtra, India

Govardhan Eco Village (GEV) was established 12 years ago by His Holiness Radhanath Swami as a rural farm community offering spiritual education, rural development, Ayurvedic healing, environmental-sustainability R&D, and a sattvik (peaceful and spiritual) guest experience. Govardhan Eco Village is rooted in the Krishna Bhakti tradition and is a sister community to the prominent ISKCON temple in Chowpatty, Mumbai.

Over the past dozen years, GEV has developed on its 29-acre property eight acres of organic farms, a large goshala, a school for village children and orphans, a world-class Ayurveda center, a yoga center attracting students from all over the world, a brahmacari ashram serving over 100 monks, and a lush meditation forest with more than seven temples. Dotted amongst all these centers are small research and development facilities for sustainability sciences. Groundwater recharge ponds. Plastic pyrolysis plant. A plant- and soil-based sewage treatment plant. Rain-fed irrigation ponds. Biogas tanks. Giant ‘bathtubs’ for vermicompost. Heirloom crop research. Natural building methods. A center developing crop care methodologies based on ancient Ayurvedic texts.

Nutrients and energy are recycled throughout the system

The village’s 300 full-time residents are all engaged in a mix of services, from studying and teaching Sanskrit texts, to caring for cows, to turning giant piles of vermicompost, to cooking for hundreds of people, to hosting the thousands of local and international guests who visit every year. The village also has trained medical, educational, and agriculture extension staff who visit the twelve nearby villages that have been ‘adopted’ by GEV. Schools and wells have been built in these villages, and teachers and farmers trained by GEV staff. GEV is highly motivated to produce zero waste and to design everything such that it can be re-used, re-purposed, or recycled.

The spiritual practices, ecological efforts, and community service of GEV are rooted in the Krishna Bhakti tradition and the community’s thoughtful efforts over the years to practice their beliefs in context of the modern world. “The ecological crisis is fundamentally a crisis of the human heart,” writes founder Radhanath Swami. While the Bhakti teachings provide a pathway to flourishing of the heart, practices like permaculture, community service, and selfless service provide a pathway to flourishing of the whole person when inspired by Bhakti. Residents of GEV attend daily arati and kirtan, study sacred texts like Srimad Bhagavatam, and participate in festivals throughout the year that celebrate the best of nature’s gifts and God’s gifts.

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