A Responsible Vacation in Kumarakom, Kerala

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A place where small things matter; stories big and small unfold at each end, casual conversations, smiles and greetings exchanged while rowing through the narrow canals; Kumarakom, is a place to relive the simple life.

You would get a serious case of why life isn’t the way it is here; a village vacuum sealed and modern-proofed with eco-sensitive planning that transports you to a whole another era.

Talking about making eco-choices, Coconut Lagoon one of CGH Earth‘s properties should be high on your list of places to stay in Kumarakom.

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CGH Earth is known for their sustainable tourism efforts in South India; they have managed to build each property with utmost care for the community and conservation practices without affecting the landscape of the area. It fits in, right where it belongs, all of CGH properties are renovated heritage structures, with abundant ‘local’scapes around, as they say, its the thing or two they have learnt from observing the people of the land.

imageCoconut Lagoon, accessed only by boat, is a traditional Keralan heritage property with acres of land given to cultivate rice and studios built for villagers to learn ‘kalaripayattu’ – a form of martial arts practiced in Kerala. For a place where fresh water is scarce, rain water harvesting is a part of each structure in the resort.

Escapism meets Eco-tourism

The Coconut Lagoon experience begins from the jetty, where your private wooden boat awaits your arrival and after cruising in the narrow waterways for a few minutes, you are welcomed by the sound of the flute, and a refreshing coconut cocktail to slurp.  imageCanal streams that criss-cross the property

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imageIdyllic structures and passageways

imageTender Coconut Bar to cool you downimage

The reception of Coconut Lagoon has been washed with sunlight for over 400 years.  It  was transplanted here piece by piece, over several months.  By and large, we tried to preserve the soul, and let the rough edges be. Notice the elaborate carvings on the roof-fringe, a once-common feature of the tharawads, it’s replicated often, but rarely preserved, as it has been here. – CGH Earth

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Heritage Bungalows as they are called, are little houses by the canal with your own verandah to watch the slow moving canoes.

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imageThe decor and the furniture of the villa are sourced from traditional homes; vintage paneled roof, antique wooden furniture add to the flavor of the resort. imageBathrooms are quite a highlight as well, with an open-top and a little garden letting the light and the breeze in. Plastic is ofcourse not found anywhere, bathroom products are locally made.

imageThere is no Room Service – an effort to provide maximum privacy to fellow guests. There is also no TV or or Ironing facilities or any other electronics that you dont need in the room to conserve energy. (all to make way for the much needed air-conditioning)imageYour mornings are welcomed by the local ‘vechoor’ cows grazing in your lawn, part of a conservation effort by CGH to protect them. These cows are smaller in size and dont produce enough milk for a family to survive — the once prolific cows are now closer to extinction from cross-breeding. Today there are plenty of Vechoors roaming about, adding to Coconut Lagoon’s air of general contentment.

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A tranquil escape awaits at their canalside cocktail huts or the organic shaped pool – catch the breeze, watch the waters, sip a cocktail – mitigate the stress of ‘real’ life, right here.image

A hop skip and jump from one canal to another, is the restaurant that gets your attention with packs of distinct aroma from a mile away.imageBreakfast served buffet style in copper pots

imageOpening each pot like a kid on Christmas

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imageDinner served with local entertainment

Seafood restaurant ‘Ayamanam’ has flavorful Malabari dishes with a modern touch..

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My favorite dish of the evening – Karimeen Polichathu – Pearl spot fish baked with spices in a banana leaf. Packed with layers of delicate flavors, it was a divine concoction.

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Our morning ride in the CGH boat to the nearby villages discovering new waterways and the camaraderie of the local folk…

imageimageimage Maneuvering the thick marsh with the help of a couple other canoe’rs.imageBright Colors and reflections set the scene

One of the best ways to enjoy the lake is to take the sunset cruise, an hour-long idyll with flute accompaniment. imageimage

Moon rises and the water shimmers – Brilliant hues and surroundings, the village oozes character that would make you want a permanent Keralan holiday.

Curator. Dreamer. Designer. Founder of FreshGrub. Based in NYC. Seeking Inspiration Everywhere.

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