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India’s Healing Forest: CMS VATAVARAN 2019 Nomination Series ​

India truly is an incredible country for a traveler.

From the forests of the Himalayan foothills to the jungles of the southernmost Western Ghats in Kerala, one would find tremendous peace and joy in the stories of these lands and those of the people who live here.

In Nature lies inspiration and nourishment like no other.

Sights of sun-dappled landscapes, multi- coloured fauna,mountain mists and sparkling rivers, have moved the human heart and mind since time immemorial.

In creative works and artistic expressions, Nature isn’t simply an evocative element but a living character that breathes itself in.

The film brings together science with examples of people who are doing wonderful work in absolute harmony with nature.

The Chirag School in Kumaon, for instance, focuses on laying the foundation for responsible, environment-friendly living.

The Sadhana forest in Kerala has been created out of an expanse of degraded land by an army of volunteers.

The film underscores the Director’s believe that while on the one hand, we are growing disconnected from nature, we are becoming increasingly health conscious on the other. But what we need to understand is that our health is dependent on the health of the environment we live in.

We have to loosen the nature-man disconnect.

Only when we rekindle our bond with nature will communities be formed. And their collective voice will have a far greater impact than any environment activist's will.

That forests heal is something we know intuitively.

While South Korea has established dozens of ‘healing forests’, Japan has long had the concept of Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing or immersing yourself in forests).

A 2016 study from Japan, ‘Physiological Effects of Nature Therapy’, reviewed existing research to find the therapeutic effect of Nature therapy on activities of the central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, endocrine and immune systems. Parameters like blood pressure, cortisol levels, heart and pulse rate were taken into account, to measure relaxation.

A 2018 meta-analysis published in Environmental Research, concluded that being around forests resulted in a reduction in diastolic blood pressure, salivary cortisol and heart rate. The environment boosts immunity, decreasing incidences of diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

This film hopes to make forest therapy a household term.

 Director: Nitin Das

 Photograph Courtesy- PSBT

 Chirag School

Sadhana Forest


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