The lust to wander seems to be growing more than ever before. With 30s becoming the new 20s, and what were called retirement plans becoming the new career paths, travel has become everyone’s muse.
But every footstep leaves a carbon footprint behind. And every such footprint hits the health of the environment. How can itchy feet then go places? At this point, the need to travel responsibly and sustainably becomes imperative.
Narayan Menon, Co-founder of Bengaluru-based Wandertrails, couldn’t agree more.
“The concept of sustainable tourism points towards a considerate way to travel the world, ensuring that the natural, social and artistic environment of any place is not disturbed and that there is minimal or no environmental impact around tourism-related activities.” He recommends five eco-friendly and experiential places in South India that will satiate our thirst for travel and help us become eco-conscious tourists.
Uravu Bamboo Village, Wayanad, Kerala
Wandertrails tied up with the Uravu team to open up this Bamboo Village to the world. Narayan explains that it is very popular as a destination, and the guests love to stay here. Bamboo craft workshops are also offered to guests.
“The food here is often sourced from the homes of villagers. The visitors get a hands-on experience of the local ways in a truly eco-friendly environment. This also fuels the micro-economic growth of the village,” he points out.
Bamboo has significant environmental impact in the world as it helps rejuvenate degraded lands. Its products are biodegradable and eco-friendly in a multitude of ways. An entire village thrives on bamboo. Amazing, isn’t it?
Shola Shack, Wayanad, Kerala
Shola Shack is an experiential stay that aims to enhance the lives of the communities living around them through eco-tourism. “A part of the proceeds from the stay go towards creating a corpus fund for the healthcare needs of the tribal people. They also facilitate studies on the music and art forms of the local tribes,” Narayan says.
Not only that, the place showcases natural, indigenous flora and fauna instead of green lawns with ornamental plants, and has toilets that don’t contaminate the region but contribute to the environment.
Turtle Pond, Coorg
Narayan describes this place located in Kutta, Coorg, as “exotic and beautiful” with its Estonian-styled huts. Set amid coffee plantations, these huts are furnished with everything you need. “The warm hospitality of its hosts makes it a dream coffee haven to spend your weekend.”
The story of Turtle Pond goes back to a time when an Estonian traveller fell in love with the lush greenery of Coorg and decided to make it a splendid place to stay for the like-minded traveller.
Soreena Farms, Chikmagalur
If escape is what you’re looking for, then Soreena Farms is where you must go. “It’s a farm stay that blends in with nature, and is a popular abode for those seeking a peaceful getaway. The stone structure and farm-fresh delicacies that are available here add to the charm,” Narayan says.
This farm stay is a wholesome package because of its location as it is close to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Hebbe Falls, and Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka.
Nook and Cranny, Coonoor
At this getaway nestled on the foothills of Nilgiris, amidst plantations, experience is the key word.
“Nook & Cranny offers the opportunity to indulge in nature walks, attend pottery sessions and experience farm life. You can also indulge in some baking and chocolate making workshops here,” says Narayan.
Speaking of these five unique, nature-friendly places, Narayan points out the added advantage of the climate. “The temperature tends to be a few notches lower, since it is amicable with nature in terms of construction style, materials used, greenery around and much more.” He takes pride in his team that promotes sustainable tourism along with its partners.