This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Tamil Nadu and Kerala vacation, India
Responsible Resorts This tour will include stays at two CGH Earth Hotels that offer tourism respectful of nature and local ethos, in search for new harmonies, including nature as integral and respected part of the resorts. The CGH Earth Hotels adopted the construction methods of the Ooralie tribe of Periyar and the fishermen of Mararikulum and made them their own. They have borrowed the recipees of the local communities using locally grown ingredients for wholesome food that is unique to the region.
The CGH Earth resort Visalam on your trip is a heritage mansion of the noble land of Chettinad, restored only with materials that were faithful to the originals, woodwork and original art deco grilles. The walls and plastering at Visalam resort are unique to the region, made from an exotic recipe of egg shells, lime, palm jaggery and sea shells, ground together by hand. The final polishing is done with egg white, reflecting an attitude to craftsmanship now rare in the world.
Visalam is dedicated to ecological living, having a solar water heating system, a rainwater harvesting system, a sewage treatment plant to recycle waste water for gardens and even a pool that uses non-chlorinated, oxygenated water treated through a natural eco-friendly method.
You will also stay at the Vivanta by Taj resort, which is representing EARTH (Environment Awareness & Renewal at Taj Hotels), a project that reiterates the conscious effort to commit to energy conservation and environmental management. EARTH has received certification from EarthCheck, the only worldwide environmental certification program for travel and tourism.
Wildlife At the Marari Beach resort, you can learn from nature with the locals, for example on a morning stroll with a naturalist to discover the unique ecosystem of the Malabar coast with its 97 species of butterflies, more then 350 species of endemic plants, 3 varieties of turtles, 10 kinds of frogs and an uncountable number of birds...
In your trip, you will also visit the Idukki Wildlife Reserve. A land-locked district, Idukki is one of the most nature-rich areas of Kerala. Situated at an altitude of 450-748 m above sea level, this sanctuary occupies the forest land between the Cheruthoni and Periyar rivers. There is a scenic lake around the sanctuary, covered by an enchanting canopy of tropical ever-green and deciduous trees.
We also work with local partners that are part of TOFT (Travel Operators for Tigers), a pioneering international collective action campaign to advocate, plan, support and fund the protection, conservation and rewilding of natural wilderness and their wild inhabitants, especially tiger habitat, through the clever and wise use of nature tourism, using better visitor guidance, more community involvement, targeted green investment and enhanced governance and monitoring.
A fair deal We only work with local guides that come from the very region you are visiting, giving back to their families and communities. While many operators pay per day or per tour, our guides receive an hourly rate which allows a fair and fruitful reward for their expertise.
The CGH Earth resorts we choose for you also endeavour to employ people from local community, be it the naturalist who guides you through the wilderness or the therapist who rejuvenates your mind and body. CGH Earth resorts have been instituting community based programmes that help rehabilitate poachers and smugglers. Local tribes were taught organic farming techniques, which helped them to prosper and preserve their way of life. CGH Earth have adopted the local culture and way of life as a form of respect for the local heritage and traditional modes of living. They set up market mechanisms such us purchasing produce from the local community only.
The resorts and agents we chose are committed to serve its many local communities by furthering education and skills training, particularly among rural populations, and to preserve Indian art.
Local Crafts & Culture We also try when possible to give you a rural taste and really get the flavour of real India whether it be a visit to a school or lunch / or even cooking with a local family. It's not uncommon for our guests to offer to stand up in a local school and tell the children a little about where they come from and what they do.
At Visalam you will have the opportunity to join the local traditions practised by the local staff – be it for ‘kolam’ or ‘rangoli’ in the morning, a traditional art form of sprinkling rice powder and colour onto the floor, creating a kaleidoscope of geometric patterns, or making flower garlands, joining into the traditional Tamil board game "Pallanguli" or grab a pair of sticks to join for the 'Kolattam’ stick dance!
At Marari Beach, you can learn local & sustainable traditions by watching the fisherwomen using palm fronds to prepare sapling protectors, or the fascinating process of coir making, a wonder fibre that forms the basis of numerous items, from handbags to ropes to sandals to mattresses.
If you do want to shop, then we will take you to local collectives where local women of that very region craft their products and help keep the money earned in that very community.