Earth Day 2021 was celebrated yesterday and instead of reminiscing about the trips you have taken in the past twelve months, for many it is a time to reflect on how future travels can have a more positive impact, both on the environment and on local communities.
After a year, the pandemic has amped people’s desire to travel more sustainably in the future and travellers have been re-evaluating what steps to take to ensure they are playing their part in helping to protect the planet. As per a research from Booking.com, over 53 per cent of global travellers admitted that because of coronavirus they want to travel more sustainably, with travellers in India (70 per cent), Brazil (71 per cent) and Colombia (74 per cent) being especially committed to this.
This eco-conscious determination is impacting traveller behaviours even once they arrive at their destination, as they pledge to continue to act with sustainability in mind. The travel platform’s research also shows that 98 per cent of Indian travellers are vying to stay in an eco-accommodation at least once. It has curated a list of seven eco-friendly stays in India to help inspire travellers in making more sustainable travel choices, when it becomes safe to do so.
The Kumaon (Binsar, Uttarakhand)
Surrounded by undulating hills and imbued with simple elegance, The Kumaon is spread across 10 luxurious suites, nestled in pairs across five structures with private overlapping terraces offering views to the Great Himalayan range. This eco-property is built on the principle of environmental consciousness by sourcing local materials such as pinewood for construction. This principle reflects on the design and the furniture as well, imbibing the local tradition of weaving woollen fabrics for beddings and furnishings. Travellers can enjoy organic seasonal vegetables that are harvested at property terraces and open spaces, making the property truly sustainable in its approach. Furthermore, the property incorporates an effective rainwater harvesting system and a drainage system that channels the water to a large holding tank at the bottom of the site.
Blackberry Hills (Munnar, Kerala)
Located amid the lush valleys of Munnar, Blackberry Hills is one of the most aesthetically alluring resorts that has been built. Spread across 15 acres of land which comprises of 16 cottages, this eco-friendly resort promotes co-existence and responsible tourism among travellers. As a part of its sustainability initiatives, Blackberry Hills drives awareness among travellers with regards to the conservation of life to protect the native flora and fauna. The accommodation was also recognised by the International Vetiver Network for their efforts in soil conservation through the use of an indigenous Vetiver system. When it is safe to travel, one can book a stay at the peaceful property that has wooden floors and furnishing which gives it an earthy feel, be closer to nature and also be a part of their efforts to maintain an ecological balance.
Anuraag Villa (Jaipur, Rajasthan)
Nestled within a beautiful garden, Anuraag Villa in Jaipur offers a blend of traditional touch with a hint of contemporary vibe, while incorporating sustainable practices. The villa emphasises on creating awareness through various initiatives such as energy management, water management and waste management and aims to signify the use of eco-friendly, recycled and environmental-friendly cleaning products which are increasingly efficient and sustainable. The staff at the villa is also devoted to reducing any harmful practices that will lead to an environmental imbalance in the long run.
Elephant Valley, Eco Friendly Farm (Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu)
The Elephant Valley Eco Farm Hotel is a nature reserve, organic farm and plantation located across 100 acres in the Palni Hills, Kodaikanal. Once an abandoned coffee plantation farm, the property has now been revived not only to offer a beautiful retreat, but also to minimise the impact of the retreat on the environment. Offering 20 uniquely designed bungalows, the Valley restaurant serves gourmet cuisine using organically farmed vegetables. The property consists of sustainable alternatives like solar lights, low consumption bulbs, and firewood-fuelled hot water showers. These energy saving substitutes that have been placed in the property gives a great message to the travellers about sustainability and how one can go environmentally friendly without burning any hole in the pocket.
Mela Kothi — The Chambal Safari Lodge (Agra, Uttar Pradesh)
Mela Kothi in Agra is an eco-friendly, self-sustaining, family owned property where luxury meets the wild. Built on a 500-year heritage, Mela Kothi is known for many reasons apart from its graceful interiors and beautiful gardens. The property promotes tree plantations to protect the rich wildlife in and around the area. This nature lovers paradise is home to around 198 species of birds, reptiles and small mammals. During 2006-2015, six acres of the property’s land was dedicated to develop a forest nursery to supply reforestation drives. Travellers can add this property to their checklist to witness the coexistence of nature and luxury, and contribute to Mela Kothi’s sustainability efforts.
Heritage Resort (Hampi, Karnataka)
Heritage Resort is a luxury resort close to the famed ruins of Hampi. The decor of the resort is rustic chic with walls painted with murals that reflect local art and architecture. With a negative carbon footprint, this beautiful resort has a special focus on being sustainable, eco-friendly and offering a helping hand to the local economy. The art here has been procured from local artisans to help the local community and the resort also tries to encourage and preserve the local traditional art forms by organising a local art form performance for the guests almost everyday. Heritage Resort also has four acres of organic plantation to grow their own vegetables and fruits. All the excess vegetables are used to create value added products such as pickles, jellies, juices and so on. Travellers can enjoy a feeling of space close to nature in this environment friendly-sustainable resort.
Bhakti Kutir (Goa)
Designed by a couple with a vision for eco-friendly life, Bhakti Kutir is located amid the coconut grooves of Palolem and Patnem. The resort has 22 back-to-nature cabanas that are crafted using local materials such as rice straw, coconut wood, and bamboo. The resort has incorporated several initiatives to reduce power consumption to preserve the environment. In a truly sustainable approach, Bhakti Kutir has linked the toilets to a robust compost system where the wastewater is reused to maintain the surrounding gardens. The property is ideal for yoga retreats and hosts regular workshops for travellers’ wellbeing.