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Doorways to Nature, Community & Ecology
Tourism can so often be a window, a space where cocooned in the comforts of the modern world, people look, snap a picture or two, and move on. At CGH Earth, we do our best to provide the door.
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And we feel when we are involved. When we are no longer onlookers, but deeply engaged with all that is going on around us. Isn’t that also a good description of travel at its best? When you can connect with the soul of a land, drink in its natural beauty, know its people and their ways, you become a participant rather than a passer-by. And authentic new experiences are born. At CGH Earth, our goal is to create experiences that involve and immerse you. Experiences that are not just enjoyable, but also environmentally aware and culturally rich.
CGH Earth (formerly known as Casino Group of Hotels) develops and operates travel experiences in multiple locations. A family owned enterprise, we opened doors in 1954 with Casino Hotel in Willingdon Island, Cochin.
What began as a small hotel catering to the Port's visitors, has evolved into a large experiment in a form of tourism that's immersive, yet respectful of nature and local ethos. Today, the group's hotels include Bangaram Island Resort in Lakshadweep, Spice Village in Thekkady, Coconut Lagoon in Kumarakom, Spice Coast Cruises on the Vembanad Lake, Marari Beach in Mararikulam, Brunton Boatyard and Chittoor Kottaram in Cochin, Maison Perumal in Pondicherry, Visalam in Chettinad, SwaSwara in Gokarna and Kalari Kovilakom in Kollengode.
We've made our roads as we've walked upon them, introducing ideas and practices that, we're happy to say, have now been widely adopted. Yet, the experiment continues apace, as does the search for new harmonies. So welcome to our world. And enjoy your stay.
At CGH Earth, nature and the environment take centre stage. Every experience is inspired by and built around this core, be it the forests at Spice Village or the fishing villages of Marari Beach. Our structures become part of the landscape, using natural as well as modern materials to blend in. Modern day life fades into the background, allowing you to experience nature in its most pristine form. Your houseboat on the Spice Coast cruises allows you to dwell amidst a unique ecology. Bangaram Island will envelop you in the magic of the turquoise sea and coral reefs. Every CGH hotel is its own unique experience, allowing nature herself to replenish you.
We believe that we can learn much from the local communities where we operate. After all, they have lived harmoniously with the environment for many centuries. And so we adopted the construction methods of the Ooralie tribe of Periyar and the fishermen of Mararikulum and made them our own. We borrowed the recipes of the local communities using locally grown ingredients and refined them, helping you experience the joys of tasty, wholesome food that is unique to the region. And we didn’t forget our obligation to give back. At all our resorts we have endeavored to employ people from the local community, be it the naturalist who guides you through the wilderness or the therapist who rejuvenates your mind and body. We instituted community based programmes that helped rehabilitate poachers and smugglers. Local tribes were taught organic farming techniques, which helped them to prosper and preserve their way of life. Its been our privilege to give back a little, where we have gained so much.
Our culture teaches us respect for our elders. This translates into a respect for our past and our heritage too. All our hotels have adopted the local culture and way of life. Paying homage to traditional modes of living. The transplanted Kerala tharavads at Coconut Lagoon were restored by hand, in a process that took years, bringing to life Kerala's gracious mansions of old. At Brunton Boatyard you will experience the varied and rich histories of Fort Kochi in every aspect, from the interiors of the hotel to the cuisine. And Visalam is a celebration of the noble land of Chettinad. Heritage, we believe, is the ground beneath our feet, giving us roots in a changing world.
A holiday is more than amusement. Reviving your mind, body and spirit is the point, and that can only come from within. We understand the importance of sending you home with your batteries totally charged. And so, most of our resorts have Ayurveda, yoga and meditation centers, where you can benefit from these ancient sciences.
Ayurvedic massages by experienced therapists will revitalize you physically. Other therapies will cleanse your mind and spirit, draining you of the negative energies induced by the stress of modern-day living. At Kalari Kavilakom you can experience the full range of Ayurveda’s benefits, right down to the food you eat. Trained instructors initiate you into the ancient practices of yoga and meditation, also helping you to renew all aspects of your being. This is the true pilgrimage. The pilgrimage of the self.
We know that on holiday, everyone you meet is an intrinsic part of your experience. And so, just as our destinations reflect the land and the culture, so do the human beings you encounter. Most of our staff are local people, born and brought up in the neighborhood. So not only do they know the land and the culture intimately, they are deeply concerned about preserving them both. They undergo a simple, practical discipline that we’ve evolved ourselves. They learn from their seniors, in a manner that echoes India’s ancient ‘gurukul’ system. It, somehow, allows a naturally hospitable people to be their naturally hospitable selves.