A Book Village Amidst Strawberry Fields In India

Mansi Rohilla
Jun 21, 2019   •  38 views

A cosy warm sofa surrounding a stunning valley ahead is all there at your comfort to provide you the best possible environment for a book delight!

What's added romantising to this place is the quiet village and the tart strawberry fields which lit your senses even more!

This is one of the home of 25 villagers at Maharashtra which have made their homes a host to open library for any visitors or tourists to offer a welcoming book-reading environment.

This village, Blihar is few kilometers away from Mqhabaleshwar and Panchgani and until recently was known for growing the best strawberries in the country. But now its 'village of books'. Well strawberries and books just sound an appealing combination ain't they?

What inspired this place?

There is a Welsh village of Hay-on-Wye, nicknamed as 'town of books' which hosts second hand and antiquarian bookstores. Yes, the golden muse behind Maharashtra's 'book of village'? Probably! But this 'book of village' is completely owned by Maharashtra's government in all forms- its concept, ideas.

What this book Village has to offer?

Here the Marathi experts put together a collection of over 30,000 books of varied genres. Every 25 of homes serves a distinct genre in its shelf.

This place is as welcoming towards locals as it is for any far-travelled tourist from across the country without even having disturbed feel.

"We carry on with our work even when the visitors come. One family member shows them the books kept in the cupboards in the hall and then they can sit on the sofas or the balcony and read for as long as they want. They are not hindrance to us."

Almost around 2000 villagers share the same will and enthusiastic towards serving humanely. A helper at one of those home is of the view that hosting tourists and any visitors will provide productive interaction to their children as they will get to meet prominent thinkers and writers. It will also help building interest in literature.

The Blihar village falls in proximity to the tourist trail and hence just provides a hot-spot for tourists strolling by. Initially the the library was started with 15,000 books but due to spontaneous book collection by villagers, the collection has now grown larger.

Another host of books with different genre, another house in proximity. Few meters away lies home of Shilpa Sawant who manages a library of comics and humour books. A homemaker and fond of books, she feels she's doing her kind of bit for the society.

"Unlike in cities, our homes are never locked, we always have someone dropping by. They just come, read a book for few hours and go", says Mangal, another villager who hosts books.

This 'village of books' just sounds right for anyone who loves it either way round: 'with books and nature' or 'books with social club'!