India is home to many eco-conscious resorts, but Evolve Back stands out from the pack and is known for its commitment to the environment and the local community.
There’s a reverse osmosis water filter in every room, a state-of-the-art sewerage treatment plant, electric buggies and windmills that power the lodge’s electricity.
“When guests visit, they can contribute towards social, economic and community development and learn more about environmental impact,” Kanthi Aneesh, general manager of Evolve Back Coorg, tells CNN Travel.
“Nowadays, it is necessary for our generation to learn how to preserve nature and how to contribute in smaller ways.”
Evolve Back's history:
Evolve Back’s Coorg lodge traces its roots back more than 90 years when executive director Cherian Ramapuram’s family acquired a coffee plantation.
“About 30 years back, my siblings and I decided to diversify from agriculture and go into hospitality,” says Ramapuram. “We thought it would be a fantastic place to build a holiday retreat because we ourselves love to come back to Coorg.”
The region is often called the “Scotland of India” because of its cool climate, dense woods and green hills, but with Elephants roaming around the plantation grounds.
“Coorg is so unique because of its coffee, spices and pristine nature,” says Ramapuram.
“When people open the window of their cottages, they can reach out to touch the coffee bushes and the leaves come into your room. That’s the kind of feeling that we want people to have.”
Home to four types of rustic villas and cottages, the property’s traditional Kodava-style architecture combines local touches with romantic accents of woods and stone.
“You can’t see the Kodava culture anywhere else,” says Ramapuram. “Inside the forest, about seven kilometres, you’ll find this village. There are lots of stories — there is a tribal doctor who lives there and sees people from all over the area, coming to him to find cures.”
Whether you’re staying in a Lily Pool Bungalow or a Heritage Pool Villa, you’ll find open-air terraces, thatched roofs and private pools.
Evolve going green
Evolve has made extensive efforts to reduce its footprint in this biodiverse region.
“It’s tourism with a conscience — it’s a practical thing,” says Ramapuram. “There are three parts: One is to reduce waste, the second is to reuse whatever’s leftover, and the third art is recycled.”
The lodge follows these principles carefully - it’s banned plastic bottles, installed filtered taps for drinking water in every room, implemented renewable energy and mandated recycling.
With these practices in place, Ramapuram estimates that the company saves 200,000 plastic bottles a year across its 3 properties.
The team converts roughly 150 kilograms of kitchen refuse daily into biogas, which is then used as manure for horticulture.
Evolve also works closely with the local community, employing 60% of its staff locally at its Coorg location, all of whom study in the company’s job training program and they encourage interaction between guests and the community, by arranging visits to local schools, villages, shops and markets.