Oldest nudist colony


Gay activist Edward Carpenter wrote about the first known nudist club in India in 1892. Image Credit.

The Oldest Nudist Colony in the world is thought to have been the The Fellowship of the Naked Trust, founded by a judge and member of the British Raj, Charles Edward Gordon Crawford in 1891 in Matheran near Tulsi Lake the Indian state of Maharashtra. It consisted of just three members, Crawford, and two sons of a local missionary. The club's motto was Vincat Natura (Let Nature Win)."

Its existence is recounted by pioneering gay activist Edward Carpenter in his autobiographical book, From Adam's peak to Elephanta: sketches in Ceylon and India (1892). He writes:

"I have discovered the existence of a little society in India — of English folk — who encourage nudity, and the abandonment as far as possible of clothes, on three distinct grounds — physical, moral, and aesthetic — of Health, Decency, and Beauty. I wish the society every success. Its chief object, as given in its rules, is to urge upon people "to be and go stark naked whenever suitable," and it is a sin qua non that members should appear at all its meetings without any covering."