Friday, January 13, 2017

Travel: Learn to survive in the wild

Learn to fish using nothing but a mesh basket and some sturdy branches
Learn to fish using nothing but a mesh basket and some sturdy branches

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you were caught in a Man vs Wild situation? Would you be able to do all that’s needed to survive? If not, sign up for a unique overnight survival skills workshop organised by Grassroutes.

The workshop will teach you methods used by the Hindu Mahadeo Koli tribe that inhabits Purushwadi village. The tribals are rice cultivators and skilled animal herdsmen. “These are useful skills that have been handed down from generation to generation,” says Richa Williams of Grassroutes.

Day two: Go with the flow
>> You will set out early in the morning to River Kurkundi, where you will first be shown how to identify clean water sources. “Water has two types of impurities — bacteria and solid waste. You will be taught how to filter out the dirt using stones or any cloth you have at hand. Following this, you boil the water to kill most of the bacteria,” says Williams.

>> Surrounded by water and need to cross over to the other side? Building a raft is simpler than it seems. Use bamboo and other types of wood to make your own raft, and, at the end of it, take it out into the water for some fun.

>> The villagers don’t use a rod and line to fish. Instead, they make “baskets” that are then dunked in the water to catch fish. “It’s a hand-woven mesh basket, and making
it involves a long process,” explains Williams. Once ready, you need to place it at a spot where the current is stronger. Check it after a while, and you’ll find fish caught in it.

>> What do you do when you have no rope to tie things together? You make rope using grass, of course. The raw materials will be provided to you, and you will be shown how to fashion a strong rope out of it.

>> When you’re out in the wilderness, leave aside gourmet food, you won’t have access even to meals you’re used to eating at home. In times like these, you need to hone your hunting skills to survive. Here, you will learn how to fashion traps out of thorns, bushes and sticks, and set them up to hunt small game like wild rabbits.

Day one: Hit the ground running
>> The residents of Purushwadi shun modernity, and instead of umbrellas, make use of basket-like sun shades, which are woven together using dried leaves. You will learn how to make one yourself at this camp.

Learn how to build a basic shelter our of grass and bamboo
Learn how to build a basic shelter our of grass and bamboo

>> Head out into the forest to pick up raw material, and also to learn how to identify which plants can be eaten and used as medicine. “One basic factor to keep in mind is that green (plants and leaves) is good, while red is bad. However, this is not the norm; there are exceptions to this rule, like in the case of poison ivy,” says Williams.

Make sun shades
Make sun shades

>> After this, you will be taught how to build a simple shelter using grass and bamboo, both of which are widely available in the region. Williams adds, “It’s not just the construction of the shelter that is important. You also need to know how to pick the right spot, and learn how to clear it.”

Collect wood for a fire
Collect wood for a fire

>> Learn to make a catapult. Find a branch that is of the right shape, size and strength, and figure out how to strap the rubber bands to it.

>> For the longest time, we have been foraging for food in the wild. From collecting honey or fruits to finding a good place for shelter, climbing trees is a skill you need to survive in the wild.

>> In the wilderness, cooking isn’t as easy as lighting a stove. Here, you will learn how to select the right kind of tinder (not the app), like dry moss, grass, and twigs. Then, you will learn to build a fire for cooking without the use of kerosene.

On: January 28 and 29, 1 pm
At: Purushwadi, Akole block, Ahmednagar district
Log on to:
Call: 8879477437
Cost: Rs 4,500 (30 seats available)

Getting there
Located in the Akole block of Ahmednagar district, Purushwadi is situated around 200km from Mumbai, en route to Nashik. If you’re driving down, take NH160 (passing Thane and Asangaon) and get off the highway after Igatpuri. If you’re travelling by train, Igatpuri (71km away) is the closest railway station.

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