TEST Even before Greta Thunberg left the world in awe with her ‘How Dare You’ speech at the UN, sustainability had become a buzzword. While some made resolutions to cut down on their flying, others started looking for more eco-friendly options. And companies such as RARE India and TOFTigers ensured that no nature-loving traveler would be compelled to stop exploring new places.
Delhi-based RARE India has based itself around the idea of ‘conscious luxury travel’ and focuses on promoting destinations through the window of sustainability. “All our partner hotels provide a wholesome experience with inherent ethos of sustainability, preservation and conservation within the realm of luxury,” says founder Shoba Mohan.
Of RARE’s partners, 23 hotels have adopted policies to be free of single use plastic, 15 are working on safe garbage disposal, while 18 have implemented water conservation policies. Besides running their operations with teams trained from the local community, they also promote local craft, art, folk, farm produce and festivals. Instead of revving it up in a fuel-guzzling vehicle, most of its 45 partners focus on destination discovery through walks, bicycle rides and engaging in local activities such as farming, pottery or weaving.
At RARE India partner’s Pepper Trail resort in Wayanad, a 20-acre self-sustaining medicinal forest is being built under the guidance of a Bengaluru-based NGO called the Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions. The forest will act as a repository of native healing plants over the next decade. Premium rooms here would set you back by Rs.17,500 per night.
Another RARE India partner, Shahpura Bagh near Bhilwara in Rajasthan, has 250 man-made lakes built between 1850 and 1930, which create an interconnected water harvesting system for the hotel. A stay at a suite room here will cost you Rs.26,000 and a royal suite Rs.29,000 per night.
Premium rooms at some of RARE’s leading sustainable properties such as Mary Budden Estate in Binsar, Uttarakhand would cost you anywhere between Rs.27,560 to Rs.110,240 per night. Bookings for Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra in Kerala would come at a premium of Rs.30,000 and Rs.85,000 a night.
For those looking to enjoy in the wild comfortably, UK-based TOFTigers is the right choice. “Our campaign aims to help save tigers by creating eco-friendly economy that can turn living wild tigers into invaluable assets – via nature tourism. This is best done by looking for lodgings that are certified to international eco-friendly standards, like our PUG eco-certification,” says founder Julian Matthews.
In Ranthambhore, one can luxuriate in the 25 acres of restored habitat of TOFTigers’ Khem Villas for Rs.16000 a night. It is a water-based landscape that hosts a multitude of Rajasthan’s desert birds and small mammals.
For those who take their wildlife escape way too seriously, Bhagvan – A Taj Safari is perfect. The property is located beside Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh and a minimum of two evenings filled with drinks under lantern lit tress along with the safari and other jungle activities would come at a premium of Rs.43,500 per night. One can also soak in luxury and gaze over the Kabini reservoir, from the Evolve Black lodge and watch the sunset over Nagarhole tiger reserve in Karnataka for Rs. 28,000 per night.
If you are nature’s child and would do anything to get onto the green bandwagon, you need not compromise with comfort. In fact, you can soak in premium comfort all you want. So pack your bags and tour the country guilt-free, without Greta Thunberg’s speech ringing in your ears!