ast weekend I had the
good fortune to visit Dhirasanta Prabhu at Tolcarne Angam. I want
to share with you some of my impressions.
Tolcarne Farm is situated
in Cornwall not far from the border of Devon. It is easily accessible via
the M5 and then from Exeter via the A30, which is a fast dual carriage
way. The last few miles lead one along a narrow country lane with lush
walls of green foliage on both sides of the road. One gets the feel of
being transported into a different world and a different age as well. Time
seems to stand still at Tolcarne except when the day is interrupted by the
constant call for prasadam.
My impression throughout
my visit was 'this is the ideal place for a retreat or a devotee
gathering.' Taking into account the great hospitality of Dhirasanta
Prabhu, Bhakta Neil, Rebecca and Bhakta Chris, it seems to be the best
place on earth for taking a spiritual break. One could have a campfire
kirtan till late into the night which only the sheep and wild horses on
the surrounding mores and the stars in the sky will witness.
The farmhouse with its
thick natural stone walls and its heavy stone slabs on the floor speaks of
a bygone age. Indeed Dhirasanta Prabhu told me that Tolcarne is over 1000
years old and is mentioned in William the Conqueror's Doomsday (Domesday)
Book, which was commissioned by him in 1085. There are some very old oak
trees nearby and the whole area is covered in a beautiful deep purple to
lilac sea of foxglove (digitalis). It is an absolutely
In the back of the estate
is a sizable organic garden with strawberries, a variety of herbs, salads,
beans, peas, beautiful bright orange calendula flowers and much more. The
daily diet at Tolcarne reflects all these various home grown specialities.
The sour dough bread is also amazing and original, what to speak of the
clotted cream, which is a speciality of Devonshire. It is also the
speciality at Tolcarne, served with bright red organic strawberries from
the garden and skilfully mixed with some spoons of honey. The only thing
perhaps missing was a beehive and a cow. The rest seemed very self
sufficient, natural and organic.
In front of the estate is
a large meadow full of foxglove and other nowadays rare grasses and
plants. It used to be Dhirasanta Prabhu's potato field which is not
cultivated at the moment. To find such a rich and original meadow today
with all its varieties of species of life is certainly not an easy task.
By Bhakta Neil and
Rebecca's kindness we were able to discover the famous mores of Cornwall.
The mores are sizable hills which are barely touched by modern
civilisation. It was a long way to the top and we had to initially climb
over fences and cross a field with cows and horses. The area is covered
with ferns and small trees and when we finally arrived at the top we had a
marvellous view over the entire area. We could see other mores surrounding
us and in the distance was a pack of wild hoses peacefully grazing.
Reaching the top we found a Celtic stone ring with an obelisk in the
middle. Looking at the other peaks we saw similar structures there. One
can only wonder what the Celts used them for.