Namaste! Coconut Lagoon, Kerala
I’m going to let you into a secret: India is my favorite place in the whole world. I spent two months traveling India in my early twenties and the country, the people, the culture and the food have captured my heart ever since.
We have recently welcomed the CGH Earth Group to the Green Pearls family. CGH is an eco-conscious hotel group offering a diverse range of properties in India, all run sustainably and with a commitment to social responsibility. We recently wrote about their Marari Beach resort and today, I want to tell you about the Coconut Lagoon in Kerala. My wanderlust radar is doing somersaults as I write…
It is now easier than ever to travel to India. There is no more tedious visa application process by mail, you can simply apply for an electronic visa. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to develop tourism with a particular focus on eco-tourism. And the Coconut Lagoon is a prime example for eco-tourism well done in India.
Kerala in southwest India is best known for its long tradition of spice export, Ayurveda (more about that in a minute) and tourism. The Coconut Lagoon is situated 45km from Cochin international airport and best reached by water transfer. The resort is nestled among canals that connect to India’s largest lake, Lake Vembanand. You know you are going to a special place the minute your boat turns into the canal leading to the resort, its borders lined with beautiful wildflowers. The boat docks directly by the building that houses the reception, where Coconut Lagoon staff awaits you, with a smile and a coconut cocktail. And relax!
Sustainability is the magic word at Coconut Lagoon. To preserve local architecture and use sustainable building materials, wood was transported to the hotel’s location beam by beam from disused mansions in the surrounding villages. It took months of searching for Aasaris: artisans who still possess the traditional skill and craftsmanship authentic to this area. There were only a few left and the team eventually gathered consisted of men well into their 60s. They spent years advising and building a jewel of a hotel honoring local architecture and tradition. Now the Coconut Lagoon wins over guests with its historic charm, elegant luxury and all the amenities expected by the discerning traveler.
When walking through the grounds of the resort, you’ll come across the Vecchoor cow. Despite the holy status of the cow in India, this variety is endangered. The hotel protects them, and has found an organic solution to mowing the lawns at the same time. There are animals all around in fact; especially many different types of birds can be spotted. The bird watching tour offered by the resort’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide is a highlight.
My personal favorite is the butterfly garden. What is more beautiful than stopping and taking time to observe these magical creatures? The making of the butterfly garden is another lovely and sustainable story: the staff at Coconut Lagoon discovered that a number of butterflies regularly congregate in the same spot in the grounds of the hotel. So they installed a source of running water and planted some plants favored by butterflies, and voila, the butterfly garden was born. It now attracts many different varieties of Butterfly. If you are lucky you might even spot the world’s largest butterfly, the Southern Birdwing, with a wingspan of 10-12 inches.
To eat Indian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Coconut Lagoon is heaven on earth for me. I love Indian food more than any other kind of food, and Kerala cuisine has a wide spread reputation for being especially delicious. It’s all about fish and spice here. You can have Karimeen, a local fish delicacy, prepared for you in the clay oven. Enjoy this treat by candlelight while listening to the crickets hum their evening song in the nearby rice paddies.
Many visitors come to Coconut Lagoon because of its renowned Ayurveda Center. This ancient, Indian healing method is celebrated with great pride here. Specialized and knowledgeable physicians advise on the ayurvedic techniques and recommend a highly personalized treatment.
The Coconut Lagoon is the place I will come back to to finish writing my book. Or just to read books while lying in a hammock, waiting for the sunset. Namaste!