Spirit of the Earth’ was launched in Alwarpet in Chennai to make available Organic Heritage Rice, handmade products made by tribal women of Tamil Nadu and residents of Krupa Home, a residential facility for the differently-abled and books on Vedanta written by Swami Dayananda Saraswati.

Spirit of the Earth shelves single and par boiled versions of seven varieties of rice. Kaatuyaanam, Kalajeera, Karuppu Kauvuni, Kichili Champa, Iluppai Poo Champa, Mapillai Champa, Thooyamalli all of which are being grown in the rich alluvial soils of the Kaveri Delta – a region steeped in history and legacy that has also given birth to many legends including Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati.  Growing in the lush fields of Manjakkudi in Tamil Nadu in a 100% organic way, this Heritage Rice is not a hybrid quality and has been made using complete natural manure and modern techniques.

Krupa Home products include bags, folders, files, pouches, napkins while tribal women have carefully handcrafted areca palm plates, spoons, yoga mats, purses and clutches.

To celebrate the grand opening of the store, celebrity chef and curator Rakesh Raghunathan conducted a tasting ceremony comprising of traditional South Indian foods designed and cooked with the Organic Heritage Rice. Opting for a small and yet diverse plate territory, guests were welcomed with a refreshing Iluppa poo champa nombu kanji. Soft and smooth Pidi Kozhakattai made of Maaplai Champa, crispy and pleasant Kollu Adai made of Karuppu Kavuni. And all these were accompanied with equivalent main course – Thooyamalli kothamalli rice and Kanika, a sweet rice delicacy from Orissa made with Kalajeera rice. To top it all was the tickling sour Kaatu Yaanam Arisi Puli Vadai.

Many distinguished guests and well wishers of AIM for Seva came to grace the occasion. The store attracted members of the media who attended the event. Writers and journalists also got an opportunity for a face to face with our Chairperson and Managing Trustee, Sheela Balaji.

Smt. Sheela Balaji, a member of one of the country’s most respected business families, the TVS group, is a graduate of Fine Arts from Stella Maris in College, Chennai. Yet she has chosen a path quite different from the corporate sector. Inspired and guided by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati, she is deeply committed to community and social development projects. At present, she is the Chairperson and Managing Trustee of AIM for Seva and Swami Dayananda Educational Trust – both not-for-profit organisations that work towards societal transformation at the grassroots level. While AIM for Seva focuses on educating rural India through Free Student Hostels, Swami Dayananda Educational Trust focuses on creating a model village through sustainable rural empowerment initiatives, in the village of Manjakkudi, the birthplace of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. She is also the founder trustee of the publishing house Arsha Vidya Research & Publications, which publishes all of Swamiji’s talks and lectures on Vedanta. An articulate writer, Smt. Sheela Balaji has authored many books on the subject of Vedanta and also chronicled the life of her guru.

“Spirit of the Earth symbolizes sustenance, compassion and wisdom. Rice is our basic need for sustenance. India once had over 10,000 varieties of rice, today we barely know of 200 ones. Our people in the villages are extremely skilled and creative and deserve to get recognized. And for our residents at Krupa Home, weaving is a therapy and pleasure for them. There is no greater wisdom than what Indian culture has to offer. So we thought of bringing it all together under one roof.”

The store will be open from 10 am to 5 pm. Closed on Sundays.

(For store details contact: Sumita Pai: 9500082142)