Sustainable and exotic: traveling through Kerala in India
When thinking about India sustainability might not be the first word that comes to your mind, right? Withal the southwest of India, specifically the region of Kerala, is home to several tourism initiatives engaging ins sustainable tourism. Since 2007 Kerala takes responsibility for sustainable local, social and economical development in the region, for example in promoting green projects such as community based tourism giving you the chance to immerse yourself in the foreign culture while supporting the locals – a win-win-situation for all sides.
Backwaters, forests and cultural treasures
The Backwaters are one of the highlights when traveling to Kerala: a branched net of water streets, extending on an area of 1,900 square meters. Unfortunately they have shrunken by two thirds of their original size since the 1950s. This is partly due to unlawful drainage to gain surface for agricultural use. Traveling around you can discover various good projects such as the following. In 1977 Abdul Kareem bought five acres of land starting to plant trees. His small forest developed slowly with Abdul taking care by watering by hand and by bike. In the beginning he was mocked by the people but after a few years the forest developed and the people started to respect him. Abdul bought 27 acres more and today he owns the exemplary forest project of India.
Sustainable tourism in Kerala
The Indian hotel group CGH Earth intervenes in nature as little as possible. Some time ago we already introduced you to the founder of the group, Jose Dominic, as a pioneer of sustainability. He layed the foundation for sustainable tourism in in Kerala, starting already in the 80s. For the construction of the resorts traditional construction techniques were used. In doing so they not only support local craftsman but make sure old traditions are not forgotten but rather passed on to the next generation.
Dances, martial arts and traditions
When staying at the Coconut Lagoon you not only get the chance to live in an eco-resort being built from 150 year old construction material of destroyed buildings. Furthermore you’ll get a deeper insight into Kerala’s culture, for example during presentations of the traditional Kathakali, one of the oldest dances. It combines drama, music and rituals telling stories about demons and gods of the Hindu mythology. Home to Kerala is also the martial arts form Kalarippayattu: in former days Indian military leaders made two Kalarippayattu fighters compete against each other. In their battle of life and death they decided the war and prevented huge combats.
Feel like you’ve traveled into times long past…
…when staying at the Spice Village. Embedded in the beautiful nature of Kerala, it is built like an old mountain hat with thatched roofs made of elephant grass. A must-do when being here is a ride with a bullock cart. According most locals that’s the only way to get to know the real India. For millennia the bullock carts have been the most popular means of transportation of the Indian people. While slowly driving through nature you will for sure be transported into ancient times. Fortunately the carts of the Spice Village are up to date: modern wheels and suspension make sure your ride is not too bumpy.