The very first project of Design Jatra prior to the formation of Design Jatra is Varadahast. It is an attempt to make a house for residents who aim to be self reliant. It is a story of a family from an urban setting that wished to move to their long left rural locale gradually by constructing an agrarian tool house, employing the rapidly disappearing traditional mud technology that till recent times existed in that particular village. The house is an exercise to strengthen rural economy by employing local labour and reviving pride in their traditional materials by adopting evolved construction technologies.
The site faces Mandagini hills in Palghar district. A canal touches the plot which is diverted inside into a small pond designed to breed fishes. Also an existing nesting of a cobra was retained on site. The house utilises a biodiversity of local timber species and these tree species are planted on the plot again to maintain the balance of consumption and regrowth.
Many experiments relating to passive cooling, natural finishes, built in furnitures, building in black cotton soils with load bearing foundations, brick jalis, stabilised lime mortars, cantilevered staircase, timber floors, terraces, mud arches, thatch and mangalore tile roof were done first hand in this project. Along with many failures and trials and errors, the first house in the journey of Design Jatra still remains close to our hearts.