It is common practice for people to move to large metropolises in search of jobs and better life chances, but we rarely meet people like Narendra Pitale. Leaving the lights of the city and the imagination of the subway behind, he settled for a peaceful life in a village.
Pitale, who worked as an engineer in Pune and Mumbai, decided after retiring at the age of 59 to settle in a village called Shilimb. He built a house out of clay and all recyclable materials. His love for nature encouraged him to create an inexpensive and innovative home in a rural settlement. “It wasn’t an overnight decision, and I’ve loved houses like this from childhood and read enough about them,” says Narendra.
Pitale studied ecology and loves trekking
Pitale is a mechanical engineer who worked as a consultant on the side, but was never satisfied with his job. He has a penchant for reading about agriculture and ecology. “I was so interested in ecology that I even studied it while at work. I gained a lot of knowledge in the process, including that of a sustainable lifestyle. The life we lead is not good for nature due to this decision to switch from the subway to somewhere close to nature, “says Pitale.
In 2004 Narendra Pitale took an ecology course and his love for trekking brought him closer to nature. During his vacation he stayed in a nearby village. One of Narendra’s friends told him about his 20 hectares of land in Shilimb, near Lonavala. “I remember elders telling us kids that the best job is agriculture, followed by economics, and every other job comes after that. But we’re all doing exactly the opposite today, which needs to be changed, ”adds Narendra.
This prompted Narendra to build an agrotourism center on his friend’s land. At the same time, he began to build a small, environmentally friendly home in a nearby village. “I built a nice eco-tourism center for my friend and a small eco-friendly house for myself at the same time,” recalls Narendra.
He built a 500 square meter house with bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and veranda for 2 lakh. He completed the construction within three months.
Used mud and recyclable product to build the house
Pitale used mud, locally used recyclable items, used products from a scrap dealer to build the house. The doors, windows and roof tiles are all second hand. He used local, curvy wood to build the walls in which clay mortar was used. Amazingly, only one bag of cement was used for the bathroom area in the construction of the house. Narendra said he could not plant a vegetable garden because of his frequent business trips to Pune.
The floor is made of clay, on which cow dung is smeared every three months. The use of clay mortar keeps the house cool even in summer. He has also installed 100 watt solar panels that cover daily electricity consumption, as reported by The Better India.
Would like to help others build eco-friendly homes
Narendra’s wish is to help people build green homes. “Many people are interested, but at the same time are afraid of building sustainable houses. Safety and durability are their main concerns. But changing people’s mindsets is the number one priority, and this can eventually lead to lifestyle changes that protect our nature, “he concluded.
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