Travel can change your world, but to travel consciously is a different high altogether. After all, there’s only one planet and it’s up to us to protect it. This Earth Day, take inspiration from these 10 destinations in India that are taking small steps to make a big difference, and promise to #ProtectParadise every step of the journey.
When it comes to travelling, being environmentally conscious is just one piece of the puzzle. Sure, it’s important to minimise your carbon footprint, but it’s also imperative to discover new places that lend authentic experiences and are good for the planet. By making thoughtful choices, not only can you make travel more fun, but the destinations can also be preserved for future generations. A true traveller is consistently making conscious choices, constantly evolving to travel better, and re-connecting with nature from a fresh perspective.
Understanding that travellers have the power to make a difference and protect the planet, Corona India and Travel+Leisure India & South Asia have teamed up to encourage every wanderer to make conscious choices that have a larger, more positive impact on the environment. After all, it’s the little things that can create a big change.
Content creators Ronnie & Barty, who champion sustainable travel, relate. They say, “Being green is a mindset. It’s about making small conscious choices consistently that will, one day, add up to make a considerable visible difference.”
With the #ProtectParadise campaign, the two brands aim to inspire travellers to take a step back from their busy lives, slow down, and embrace mindful travel. It’s all a matter of making small but meaningful choices — like opting for eco-friendly accommodations, cycling instead of driving, or supporting local businesses. Why? Because this way, you can experience and enjoy paradise for longer. And this year, for Earth Day, we pledge to #InvestInOurPlanet. After all, there’s only one planet Earth and it is up to us to #ProtectParadise come what may.
To begin these green adventures and become more mindful towards the planet, get inspired by these 10 destinations in India that are taking small steps to bring about a big change.
10 Destinations In India That #ProtectParadise
For years, Kerala has led the charge in responsible tourism across India, setting a remarkable example for others to emulate. From empowering women-owned restaurants to introducing eco-friendly tourism products, the state has been at the forefront of responsible tourism. Thenmala, for instance, is a sprawling eco-tourism destination that spans the hill ranges of Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, and Kollam districts, with an array of options for travellers. Whether it’s trekking through the forests, camping in the wilderness, seeking adventure or leisure, there’s something for everyone. No wonder Thenmala was handpicked by the World Tourism Organisation as a leading eco-friendly project!
Here’s how you can #ProtectParadise: Look for businesses and stay options that follow eco-friendly practices, such as using renewable energy, recycling, and reducing waste. You can also support by shopping local in the region, that help in the economic development of the community.
Chilika Lake, Odisha
Chilika Lake, a vast lagoon spread over 1,100 square kilometers, is brimming with an incredibly rich ecosystem, making it a buzzing biodiversity hotspot of national and global significance. The pear-shaped brackish water lake is nourished by 52 rivers and rivulets. Home to over 160 species of birds and touted as one of the largest wintering grounds for migratory birds in the Indian subcontinent, this gem is recognised as a wetland of international importance and is protected under international treaty. But beyond this global support, the paradise also receives immense love and support from the locals. Take the Mangalajodi Eco Tourism initiative, for instance. This community-led project not only promotes and facilitates green travelling, but is also involved in conservation efforts, such as wetland restoration and bird habitat protection.
Here’s how you can #ProtectParadise: Be mindful of the migratory birds that flock to the region and don’t feed any human food to the feathered friends as it could hamper with the birds’ health and wellbeing. Instead, watch from a distance and see them soar to the skies!
The village’s nickname as the ‘green village’ comes as no surprise. After all, Khonoma’s tribal population has long been leading a clean ecosystem, despite once being a village of warriors. Today, the lush space is dotted with terraces carved out of hill slopes and alder trees that are flourishing owing to organic manure actively sourced from composting. Homes, too, weave similar eco-friendly forms. Each abode is made of wood and bamboo accentuated by potted plants, while the floors come plastered with mud. Community water tanks streamline water supply, while streetlights powered by solar energy illuminate paths.
Here’s how you can #ProtectParadise: Live with the locals and experience the clean way of living. But take this learning beyond the village and return from the vacation with a new green blueprint for life.
Nestled amidst backwaters, Kumbalangi is home to a rich aquatic life. Underwater, the space lends itself as an excellent breeding ground for prawns, crabs, oysters, and small fish; on land, an array of mangroves add to the spectacle. But beyond this green beauty, the village boasts of waste management practices, such as composting and recycling. What’s more — the villagers have created a plastic-free zone within the village and actively promote the use of eco-friendly alternatives. In fact, in 2022, the village was credited as becoming the country’s first ever sanitary napkin-free village with a complete reliance on menstrual cups!
Here’s how you can #ProtectParadise: Get inspired by the plastic-free life here and look out for alternative materials such as bamboo, jute, cotton, and the likes.
Imagine a place stripped off automobiles. Instead, picture traversing the green landscapes on foot or riding into the sunset on horseback — that’s Matheran for you! Declared an eco- sensitive zone in 2003 by India’s Ministry of Environment and Forest, the paradise is home to numerous species of birds, insects, and mammals, including the endangered Giant Squirrel. Plastic, too, has been banned in the area for over two decades! Thanks to these green steps, the hill station has a flourishing population of Crested Serpent Eagles, elusive Leopard, and Pied Hornbills.
Here’s how you can #ProtectParadise: Ditch the cars in your regular lives and walk around town wherever possible. For longer distances, hop on a cycle and peddle away!
Being credited as India’s cleanest village is no simple feat. The trick? To pray to nature, literally! At Mawlynnong, local communities and Khasi tribes consider Mother Earth sacred and worship the planet. Here, waste is collected in bamboo dustbins, directed to pits, and used as manure that helps nourish the agricultural produce that thrives in the region. A community initiative mandates all residents to participate in cleaning up the village. This further helps in promoting a sense of responsibility and ownership among the locals, leading to better waste management and overall cleanliness. Plus, this destination plays host to India’s iconic living root bridges, too!
Here’s how you can #ProtectParadise: Volunteer for environmental organisations that work to protect the planet. You can participate in tree-planting campaigns, beach clean-ups, and community garden projects.
The key to #ProtectParadise is to understand various cultures and communities, and Odisha’s Mayurbhanj is a repository of intriguing traditions. With culture deep-rooted in the lives of the locals and ancient cultural sites, monolithic rock edicts, and remarkable temple architecture making up for the landscapes, it comes as no surprise that the town cemented its name as one of the World’s Greatest Places of 2023! On the ecological front, the Similipal National Park here doubles as a home for the only rare black tiger on Earth.
Here’s how you can #ProtectParadise: Meeting with local communities is step one of promoting responsible tourism. Plus, it’s always fun learning more about other cultures!
Majuli is no stranger to the tag of being one among many destinations in India that are taking greener steps for a better future. Credited as the world’s largest river island, this unique spot is a hub for various migratory birds and several endangered species like the Gangetic dolphin and the greater adjutant stork. To help conserve these beauties, the Mishing Tribe — who have been living on the island for centuries — encourages tribal village walks and readily gives an insight into their unique customs and traditions. In fact, the region’s tourism industry, too, sheds the spotlight on these green initiatives, such as promoting local handicrafts, supporting community-based tourism, and offering eco-friendly accommodations.
Here’s how you can #ProtectParadise: Community-based tourism supports the preservation of local cultures and traditions by encouraging visitors to respect and learn about local customs. And it gives a fresh perspective to how you discover new places as well.
Auroville, Tamil Nadu
Unique and internationally recognised as an ongoing experiment in promoting human unity and transforming consciousness, Auroville is truly one of a kind. Located off Puducherry on the eastern coast of India, this destination is also dedicated to practical research and action towards eco-friendly living, as well as meeting the future cultural, environmental, social, and spiritual needs of humanity. Harmonious living aside, the hectare Green Belt here provides a zone for organic farms, orchards, dairies, forests, and wildlife habitats. In doing so, the belt also acts as a barrier against urban encroachment, promotes diverse wildlife habitats, and serves as a source for food, timber, and medicinal plants. No wonder, then, The Green Belt is considered the lungs of the entire township!
Here’s how you can #ProtectParadise: To #ProtectParadise, living in harmony is key. And Auroville is a great example of this. Extend this symbiotic style of living beyond the township to lead a greener, cleaner, and happier life.
Coorg has a long history of agroforestry practices, which involves cultivating crops and trees together. This agricultural practice helps maintain soil health, conserve water, and enhance biodiversity. A coffee haven, the farmers of this tourist destination rely on relatively greener farming practices that involve the use of organic fertilisers, crop rotation, and natural pest control methods. Not only does this help reduce the strain on natural soils, but also results in aromatic coffee yields.
Here’s how you can #ProtectParadise: Look for businesses that have eco-friendly practices, such as using renewable energy, recycling, and reducing waste.
So, let’s take the road less travelled, embrace new experiences, and journey consciously to indeed #ProtectParadise for generations to cherish.