The concept of eco friendly tourism is growing in India. Nowadays, India has eco friendly hotels to suit all interests. There are luxury tented accommodations, homestays, eco villages, and nature resorts. Not only do these places offer a refreshing approach to tourism, they're located in some of the most beautiful and picturesque parts of India. Many of them also offer unique local activities that you won't find elsewhere. It's a fabulous way of experiencing India at its natural best!
Here are 10 top India eco friendly hotels.
Coconut Lagoon, where water and history are the defining elements, is a CGH Earth property. The beauty of Coconut Lagoon is that it's only accessible by boat, making it a wonderful escape from the world. The stately resort beautifully captures the Kerala of old. Sunset cruises, backwater cruises and Ayurvedic spa are some of the activities on offer.
- Address: Eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, Kumarakom, Kerala. Ph: (0832)5623796.
- Price: Expect to pay 15,000 rupees ($250) upwards per night for a double. Low season discounts are offered.
- Eco Features: Conversion of waste into fuel, chemical free zone, use of vermiculture and composting, organic farming, cows to eat the grass.
Asia's largest "Earth" resort, Banasura is predominantly constructed from mud known as rammed earth. Its 31 rooms are nestled on a 35 acre eco-friendly farm, surrounded by rich nature. Guests can enjoy hiking through the countryside to visit waterfalls, caves, and a tribal village. The resort also has a rejuventating Ayurvedic spa.
- Address: Vellamunda, Wayanad, Kerala. Ph: 91(4935) 277900/01/02/03/04.
- Price: Rates start from 6,000 rupees ($120) per night for a double, including breakfast.
- Eco Features: Constructed from mud and recycled wood. Natural light is exploited to the fullest. CFL lamps minimize energy consumption. A bio-gas plant recycles organic waste and fires the resort's kitchens.
As its name suggests, Mountain Trail is situated amidst a thick mountainous forest and orchard, around an hour east of Nainital. Mountain Trail has 10 charming cottage style rooms, with attached bathrooms. Guests can enjoy a wide range of activities including picnics, birdwatching, jungle walks, and bonfires -- and fresh mountain air. There's also a library, children's play area, and stunning sunset point on the ridge just behind the hotel.
- Address: Mukteshwar District, Nainital, Uttarakhand. Ph: (91-05942)286040.
- Price: 4,000 rupees ($80) per night for a double, including breakfast and dinner.
- Eco Features: 100% local labor & services, energy conservation, naturally sourced water, recycled waste, organic garden, chemical free.
- Address: 300 meters behind Blue Planet vegetarian restaurant, heading towards Palolem from Agonda.
- Price: From around 2,000 rupees per night upwards. Substantial discounts given in the monsoon season.
- Eco Features: Natural materials used in construction, permaculture projects, organic farm, creation of jobs for locals.
Wildernest is a wonderfully serene nature resort, set on over 450 acres of forest land on the Goa, Maharastra and Karnataka state borders. Tranquility is in abundance there. The resort has 16 eco-friendly cottages, built in simple rustic style with wood paneling and tiled floors inside. Guests can enjoy nature walks, bonfires, folk dances, and village excursions.
- Address: Swapnagandha, Off Sankhali, Chorla Ghats, Goa. Ph: (91-831)4207954.
- Price: Rates start from 3,800 rupees ($80) per night in the Summer/Monsoon season. Peak season from 6,000 rupees ($120) per night. Includes all meals and activities.
- Eco Features: Constructed out of eco friendly materials, eco friendly washing and hair products, no plastic, operates conservation programs.
What better way to visit the jungle than to stay in exclusive tented accommodations on the fringe of Kanha National Park. Shergarh has six well spaced "tents", each with a large front porch, attached bathroom and hot water. It's run by a naturalist, so you're assured of an authentic experience. Open from August to May.
- Address: Kanha National Park (Mukki side), Village Bahmni, Madhya Pradesh. Ph: (07637)226215.
- Price: 5,500-7,500 ($110-150) per person, inclusive of meals and activities (two safaris per day, elephant rides etc).
- Eco Features: Responsible tourism by reducing waste, use of plastic, and impact on the surrounding area. Meals prepared with home-grown vegetables, local produce and fish farmed from the nearby lake. Local labor.
As well as being eco friendly, Yoga Magic is one of the best yoga retreats in Goa. It has a magical atmosphere, tucked away amidst coconut palms and rice paddy fields near Anjuna beach. It aims to provide a relaxing experience that's as close to nature as possible. Open from mid November to mid April each year.
- Address: 1586/1 Grand Chinvar, Anjuna, Bardez, North Goa. Ph: (0832)5623796.
- Price: around 6,000 rupees ($140) per night per tent and 7,500 rupees ($175) for the Maharani suite, depending on the time of year. Weekly rates are available.
- Eco Features: Use of sustainable traditional materials: rammed earth, cow dung, stone, bamboo and coconut. Solar power. Composting eco toilets. Off-site composting of all organic waste.
- Address: Vythri, Wayanad District, Kerala. Ph: (91)94430-23320.
- Price: $95 per couple per night, all meals included.
- Eco Features: Self generated electricity, water sourced from natural springs, recycled waste, composting, negligible use of plastic, local labor and services.
The Dune is a very interesting concept indeed. Situated on a sprawling 35 acre property, with a beachfront location just north of Pondicherry, The Dune has 30 villas and 20 rooms. They're all unique and themed. It's quite amazing. Arty types will love it! The Dune is fun, funky, and is home to the Artists in Residence program as well. The property also has a Vedic Spa.
- Address: Pudhukuppam, Keelputhupet, (via Pondicherry University), Tamil Nadu. Ph: (91-413)2655751.
- Price: Rates from 5,500 rupees ($110) per night for a double room, including tax and breakfast. Air conditioned villas start from 11,950 rupees ($240) for a double.
- Eco Features: Solar heated water, reclaimed timbers, waste water treatment plant, organic farm.
Have you ever wondered what life in an Indian village is like? You can get a taste of it at Our Native Village, around one hour from Bangalore. Our Native Village is a fantastic place for a family holiday with a difference! The resort offers a range of unique activities such as cow milking, bullock cart rides, kite flying, bicycle riding, organic farming. Comforts aren't overlooked though. The resort's Soul Spa is the perfect place to rejuvenate.
- Address: Survey 72, Kodihalli Village, Mudurai Hobli, Doddaballapur Taluk, Bangalore. Ph: (91-80)41140909.
- Price: From 5,500 rupees ($100) per night.
- Eco Features: Renewable energy, eco construction, waste recycling, organic produce, chemical free pool.