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 magnificent sight.

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.

Tolcarne estate has many rooms and corridors in which I regularly got lost. The kitchen with its heavy oak table, chairs and rustic furniture gave enough space for a dozen guests to respect prasadam. And guests do come regularly to find spiritual enlightenment, taste the delicious Krishna prasadam or take a break from the hectic and stressful life of the modern world. The temple room is magnificent and I must congratulate Dhirasanta Prabhu and his team for creating such a thick spiritual atmosphere.

The secret is obvious, early to sleep, early to rise, concentrated japa, kirtan, Srimad Bhagavatam and lots of nourishing Krishna prasadam. Above all we felt the deep and moving mood of loving Vaishnava relationships which governs everything we experienced during our short stay. I can only recommend a visit there for everyone to see for oneself. Besides that I must also mention how well trained and mannered the devotees at Tolcarne are in terms of mood and practical service. All credit goes to Dhirasanta Prabhu who himself undertakes their training in all aspects of Krishna consciousness and Vaishnava etiquette.

Last not least we had a visit to the nearby beach. It was breathtaking. The Atlantic Ocean brings a constant line of white hooded waves to the sandy shore which break in a powerful display at the rocky cost on either side of the beach. We also discovered some deep caves which can only be entered into at low tide. Then there is of course the vast variety of sea life ranging from crabs to fish, shells and sea algae etc. We even found a star fish waiting for the high tide to take him back to the ocean.

All in all the visit to the sea side was well worth and I only wish we could have spent a full day there with picnic and kirtan. The fresh and salty sea air brings about a great appetite too. Next time I will sit there chanting japa and admire the mighty ocean. It is not difficult to think of Krishna in such an environment of nature's awe inspiring displays. A sunrise or sunset at the beach must be magnificent and the sound of the rhythmic breaking of the waves seems a suitable background for a kirtan with many devotees. Who knows, we might all be able to gather there in the near future to have an unforgettable get-together of such wonderful Vaishnavas as on this forum.

To give you all a really good and practical idea of Tolcarne Angam please have a look at the slide show. There are some great photos of Tolcarne itself, our trip to the mores and our short visit to the sea side. See and judge for yourself.

Thank you again Dhirasanta Prabhu for all your hospitality and friendship. I am impressed of what you have created there. We had a really inspiring and uplifting experience. You can be sure that we will come again soon.

 

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