Kerala Eco Resort Marari Beach

If initial predictions are any indication, 2015 appears to be the year of unplugging and choosing travel destinations to go off the grid. Deep in southern India I’ve found the spot for you to do just that. From the moment you enter any CGH property, you are aware that there is a special relationship with the environment. The Marari Beach Resort is no exception.
Housed on over 350 acres, it’s a testament to the CGH philosophy; reviving your mind, body and spirit as a key to good health. Equipped with an Ayurveda and yoga center, this is a hotel that wants you to focus on recharging your batteries. Nature is at the center of your experience. You can take advantage of as much or as little as you please, but you’ll find it difficult to ignore their philosophy.  Time to unplug at Kerala’s Eco Resort Marari Beach.
 marari beach resort kerala sunset
 We arrived at the end of the day, just in time to catch the sun setting into the Arabian Sea. Mararikulam is a small village where the fishermen have lived for centuries in harmony with the land and sea. The coastal culture is intertwined with the resort. Dinner in an open air pavilion gave many choices from the organic garden nearby. They also have a Farmers restaurant where you can pick from the garden and prepare family style with the chef. Local recipes are integral to the group experience.
The next day I met with Jijo, the resident naturalist for a private tour of the property. The resort was built in 1998 and the management looked to the local expert organic farmers for advice on how to incorporate their techniques into the construction of the property. Jijo was loaded with information and his enthusiasm and knowledge was quite contagious.
The butterfly garden represents 97 species that are found in Kerala at different times of the year. Butterflies are very sensitive to pollutants and a healthy butterfly population indicates a healthy Eco system.
I was not aware there were so many different kinds of spinach. The farm grows six varieties – everything from creeping spinach, which produces a great fushia berry used in natural dying, to red, green and miniature varieties.
The organic farm has several methods of pest control which I found interesting. They place reused plastic bags over some of the larger fruits and vegetables to keep the male flys from boring holes for the females to lay eggs.
Everything here is recycled and has a second or maybe even third purpose. Coconut shells line the vegetable beds. Grain and coffee bags are turned into planters. Gourds are used as natural insect traps in the gardens.
Most interesting for me was a trip to the bio gas plant. Here food waste {cooked only} is turned into fuel that powers 70% of the necessary fuel needs. Large bones and citrus are removed from the ingredients and the rest goes into a big vat.
marari-beach-resort-treatment-plant
Efficiency is the name of the game, and as a bacteria helps the biological process, yoke sludge slowly moves into a surrounding tank. Small fish patrol the edge of the floating tank, dining on any mosquito larvae that happen into the process and the resulting methane fuel powers much of the complex. Remaining is an after sludge– in the States, gardeners would call it black gold, that is rich in minerals and is used as a garden drink for the plants. There was also a vermi-composting unit with an active worm population making compost.
Ash from the fire is used in spray form for insects. An ingenious basil repellant contraption, when ingested in large amounts, is toxic to flies. Guinea hens are at work on ground insects, and a type of aerobic fish has been introduced to eat the mosquito larvae on the many ponds in the area. They also employ tobacco water {tobacco leaves soaked in water} and neem oil for insect control. It’s a busy behind the scenes hotbed of conservation and sustainable practices.
The resort definitely has lots of romantic overtones, appreciated by a couple of college gal pals, but i’m afraid much underutilized : ).
I learned more about sustainable practices on this trip to Kerala’s Eco Resort at Marari Beach, than any I have taken before. Though I did seek it out, the India we traveled through had an elevated focus on organic and healthy eating and mindful practices. Perhaps because the country has over a billion people to feed, it’s a focus of immediate importance, but I felt it was something more, a real movement in the country to make an environmental change.
Traveling to Southern India?  You might also like to read about travel to Kerala:

 

 

 

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  1. Alison I loved reading this post 😉

    The resort’s focus on going green, from the sludge, to repellent, to using coconuts, etc, is inspiring because it proves that if you’re willing to work in harmony with nature you can do amazing, amazing things.

    We visited Kovalam Beach about 13 months ago and loved it! Kerala really does rock.

    Ryan

  2. Oh this looks gorgeous. I’ve heard such wonderful things about Kerala – not sure I’ll ever make it there but if not, at least I can read about it!

  3. That sounds like that would be an awesome spot to go to for a while! I love places that try to be as eco friendly and efficient as possible.

  4. I traveled to Kerala many years ago and found no place like this one; gorgeous. Your writing and photos really make the whole place come alive in my imagination. Thanks.

  5. What a superb post on a superb place –
    The work they are doing here to ensure their resort is environmentally sustaining is positively inspiring – I love it and makes me want to immediately go and be a part of their world –
    Hats off to them 🙂

    • Luke-Kerala is completely different from the North. While a lot of travelers can’t take the chaos that covers most of India, Kerala is relaxing and calm.

  6. I entirely agree with you – I most memorable trips are when everyone else turns right and we go left. Less people, you meet the locals and are charmed and you enjoy the real world and the hotel is likely to be far lovelier! India I have never investigated – I think I look at the flight map and have no idea what’s where… you are probably right – 2015 is the year to find it!

  7. What a wonderful read Alison.

    I find this fascinating on so many levels. As a travel destination, Kerala has been on my bucket list for quite a while. The resort is absolutely fabulous. The off the grid factor is of great personal interest, as our aim for our own land is to be as off the grid as possible also.

    Lovely photos as always! 🙂

  8. Anywhere where nature is at hte heart of the experience will always get my vote!

    How interesting to see the gas plant… surely, though, that’s not 70% of the resort’s energy needs just coming from disposed cooked.. or is it?!

    • Paul, I went back to my notes and that is what I have written. But you are right, it does sound like a lot. The resort was pretty bare bones in terms of power needs. I have an email off to the management and will let you know what I find out. {but I’m sure the turnaround will not be quick}

    • There is something about this country that gets under your skin. Every time I get on the plane to come home all I can think about is my next trip there. I’m overdue now and hope to go back in the Fall.