Cool Stays That Are Leading The Change Towards Responsible Travel In India
Cool stays that are leading the change towards responsible travel in India
Picking the right places to stay plays a large role in traveling responsibly. In India, there aren’t really too many rules and regulations in place to further the cause. However, there are some great hotels that are taking on the challenge, and paving the way towards more responsible travel. The ways they do it are manifold. Everything, from sourcing local to harvesting rainwater. To working with the community and paying attention to sustainable and eco-forward construction. And also architectural methods. Here are some unique stays that are making it easier to be a responsible traveler in India.
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Apni Dhani Eco Lodge Nawalgarh
This charming little hotel in the heart of Rajasthan’s Shekhawati region, sure punches above its weight when it comes to being ecologically responsible! They aren’t just paying lip service when they call themselves an ‘eco lodge’. Renewable energy sources, locally-sourced building and decoration material, and an organic vegetable garden are all part of the program. An NGO does the sourcing of hand-made paper made from waste textile fibres, that they use to make their printed material. The staff is well-versed in ecologically-forward practices. They guide guests on how to be a more responsible traveler. In fact, Apni Dhani also opens its doors to locals who want to learn more about sustainability and renewable energy! On top of all of that, it’s an absolutely great place to stay.
Chhotaram Prajapat’s Homestay, Jodhpur:
This homestay is in the village of Salawas. On the fringes of Jodhpur city, it embraces the traditional Rajasthani way of life in all aspects. You stay in huts that are made following age-old practices. They trap the heat in the winters, and stay cool through the harsh summer months. The meals consist of Rajasthani delicacies, using ingredients commonly found and consumed in the region for it’s preparation. There’s an emphasis in all their excursions on being sensitive and aware. The owners offer safaris and treks to the areas surrounding the home-stays. Ensuring that there are no negative impacts on the environment or the communities that are visited.
Chandelao Garh, Jodhpur
Chandelao Garh is the place to go to experience a slice of life in a Rajasthani village. It is located about 40 kilometres outside Jodhpur. This ancestral home in Chandelao village, embraces the traditional way of life. The hotel is well-appointed and comfortable, but don’t expect to veg out in front of a TV all day!
Chandelao Garh runs Sunder Rang, a project that aims to create a sustainable income source for the women of the village and support local crafts. The women create high-quality textiles and handicrafts using traditional Rajasthani techniques and patterns. Using this in clothing and accessories, home décor and knick-knacks, which are displayed in the ‘Jhopadi’.
Bamboo Retreat Gangtok:
The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “Responsible travel to natural areas, which conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people”. This is what the folks behind Bamboo Retreat also strive towards. All waste is segregated and recycled, and organic waste is composted for use in the organic garden. They try and source locally as much as they can, and are focused on using renewable, eco-friendly resources in their décor. The 12 rooms here are each designed keeping Feng-Shui’s directives in mind. They are colour-themed accordingly. The warm staff is regularly trained on best practices, and Bamboo Retreat runs workshops for both locals and interested visitors.
Coconut Lagoon Kumarakom:
It’s refreshing to see larger resorts embracing responsible tourism, and Coconut Lagoon does it wholeheartedly. Part of the CGH Earth chain of hotels, Coconut Lagoon is constructed using materials from dismantled homes. It’s called tharavads that are brought from the surrounding villages. This is a way of preserving this ancient school of thought. Jobs are always put out in the local communities first, as a way of providing sustainable employment. And, they do their bit on the environmental front, too. They’re always finding inventive ways to reuse any plastic waste generated, and wet waste is composted. Coconut Lagoon even rears Vechoor cows, a rare breed that’s in threat of dying out. They can often be seen wandering along the lawns, feeding on the lush green grass!
Yab Yum Resorts Goa:
Yab Yum feels like an oasis along Ashwem beach, looking out at the Arabian Sea. The rooms (called domes and pods) are the stars of the show here. Locally-sourced materials, such as palm leaves, mango wood, lava rock and local clays are used to make them. Unlike most places, that look towards the past for design inspiration, Yab Yum has looked forward. Thus, the domes and pods look like a vision of the future! As the rooms are close to the beach, the breeze blows in from across the sea making you not miss an air-conditioner.
Dune Eco Village & Spa, Pondicherry:
This sprawling resort is nestled along the beach outside Pondicherry and embraces organic living and holistic well-being. The focus is on an alternative approach to life. “Eating healthy and feeding your mind as well”. Apart from standard rooms, you will find a range of eco-bungalows, constructed of casuarina trees with coconut palm leaf roofs. There’s an impressive 7-acre organic farm onsite, where all the fresh ingredients that make it into the meals are sourced – even the flowers that decorate the rooms are grown here.
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