A village along the Punpun river
Loka was one of the highlights of my long and congenial traverse: a refuge tucked next to the Punpun River, on the walking trail of the Buddha, that nourished my body and soul. ~Paul Salopek (Pulitzer Awarded Journalist, National Geographic Fellow) on his visit to Loka during his Epic Walk from Ethiopia to Patagonia.
Most students of Loka live with their families in mud huts or unfurnished brick houses in an authentic surrounding where the connections between production and use are visible and bonds between people close.
Loka’s School and Farm are located in Village Manikpur in Bihar, North-India. The village has a population of around 750 people who generally earn their livelihoods as small-scale farmers and labourers. Manikpur lies in Aurangabad district, which used to be part of ancient India’s Magadha Kingdom. The village is set along the Punpun river, a tributary of the Ganges. The state Bihar has a rich history, one of the most varied of all India. Once a centre of learning, culture and power it was the place where Prince Gautam attained enlightenment and became known as the Buddha and home of Nalanda, an ancient centre of learning that attracted students and scholars from all over the world. However, the last decennia Bihar has often been in the news due to weak governance, corrupt politicians and ongoing Naxalite violence. Due to extreme circumstances and negative media coverage, villages like Manikpur have remained more or less closed from the outside world for a long time. In recent years there is more stability in the region and changes are slowly reaching even the remotest of villages. While life for the rural population is challenging and its farmers often struggle to meet basic needs, this unknown part of India also sends a message of hope and goodness into the world. Village people are characterised by a strong sense of equanimity. They live simple, honest, healthy and beautiful lives, while maintaining strong human bonds, a down to earth mentality and a deep connection with their natural surroundings.
Loka School & Farm, Manikpur Village, Obra, Aurangabad District, Bihar – 824124, India
Visiting Loka is only possible by prior appointment.