Earthships — homes built on the concept of sustainable architecture using plenty of discarded consumer products — are here. Esther Elias takes us on a tour of Earthship Karuna, mainland India’s first such home, near Shembaganur, Kodaikanal.
In the Western Ghats, 1800 metres above sea level, a deviation off the road to Kodaikanal veers left onto a stony path to Prakashapuram village, Shembaganur. Over three steep kilometres, the stones give way to dirt and the unused track narrows to a jeep’s width. Green ferns, blue morning glories, pink lantanas and white daturas jostle with indigenous shola forests and eucalyptus trees baring white skin beneath stripped bark. The road ends. A trail of rubber tyres, filled with earth, begins. A 15-minute trek later, the forests break into an open space with a circular house, its sloped roof amidst clouds: mainland India’s first Earthship.