Would you believe us if we said that as much as 97% of Indian travellers are vying for sustainable tourism plans and don’t mind paying up a few extra bucks for it? Well, believe us or not, eco-tourism in India has taken a higher seat and given the distinguished and absolutely customised experience they offer, as opposed to the standard itineraries by most tourism companies; it’s no surprise that they are gaining more favour among tourists. If you’re on the lookout for a travel experience that makes for more than just selfies, souvenirs, and going from one place to another, we suggest you give these sustainable tourism companies a shot. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Kipepeo

Northeast India can easily be compared to a a Pandora’s Box of unexplored and unexpected surprises. To understand their distinct culture and a set of traditions that give us a real-life idea of the sheer diversity that India boasts of, it is imperative to look a little deeper, with more insight. And that is exactly what Kipepeo helps you do. Instead of taking the usual charted routes, Kipepeo takes its travellers closer to the people and lives of Northeast India by hooking you up with local homestays and making custom trips from the scratch.

2. Evolve Back

Evolve Back, operating in Karnataka through multiple resorts, is the shining testimony of the fact that eco-tourism and luxury don’t have to be two separate things. This hotel chain based in South India was perhaps the first of its kind to not only practice but also propagate responsible travel in every way possible, while also pampering its guests with unimaginable luxury and opulence. With resorts in Kabini, Coorg, and Hampi in Karnataka, Evolve back, given its responsible practices of waste management, energy and water consumption, ought to be on the top of your list for accommodation options when travelling to these places.

3. Spiti Ecosphere

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Weekly feature: #Journeysofchange⁣ .⁣ 👉 Photo by @beingmeraki⁣ who volunteered at the Sol Cafe with us in 2018 . “During my sabbatical I went all out doing all the things I ever wanted to do.⁣ Running a cafe in a place far away in the mountains was one amongst them. ⁣ I got a chance to talk to couples who visited the cafe, traveling from across the globe to India and I would ask them a dozen questions about their own country. Some of these couples were backpacking on their bicycles and some were here just for a while. 🌸⁣ ⁣ However, it was almost the end of the tourist season in Spiti and I would spend my afternoons reading a book (Looking for Alaska by John Green and something about the Dalai Lama) and enjoying the little Sun-time before it was all cold. I would also take walks to the river end during the non-rush hours in the cafe to sit by the river stream all alone. 🌸⁣ ⁣ Sometimes I would have my favourite lemon cake in the other eatery nearby and enjoy the book. ⁣ It was a very special time of my life. I would live all by myself and I had close to no mobile network. I would walk home from the cafe in the late evening, hungrily gulping down the starry skies and of-course the gorgeous milky way. Oh My God, that is something I can't get out of my mind. 🌸⁣ ⁣ And I would wave at this jewellery seller next to the cafe every time I would pass the lane. He knew me and I knew him. It made me realize that I am not a tourist and that I live here. And we would exchange a few words in Marathi just for the kicks as he had lived in Maharashtra for a while. ⁣ I am glad I was here. ❣️⁣ Until next time ☺️”⁣ . .⁣Hashtag your travel photos with #journeysofchange for a chance to be featured on our gallery.⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #spitiecosphere #himachalpradesh #journeysofchange #makeadifference #bethechange #instahimachal #responsibletravel #travelresponsibly #incrediblespiti #india #indiapictures #instago #himalayangeographic #sustainabletravel #ecotourism #himalayas #spitivalley #himachal #incredibleinida #travelindia #himalayas #bbctravel #cntgiveitashot #natgeotravel⁣ #solcafekaza ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣

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Spiti Ecosphere is one of those tourism companies who are leading by example by incorporating every practice that needs to be inculcated while travelling in the delicate ecology of a cold desert region. Spiti Ecosphere makes it possible for the travellers to stay in community-run homestays, help supplement the meager incomes of the locals from farming, and also light up someone’s house using solar energy, facilitated by the money we spend during our travels. Given that Spiti has recently come under the radar of tourists from all across India and the world, it is imperative to make sure irresponsible travel doesn’t turn it into yet another high altitude garbage-bin in the name of a mountain destination.

4. India Untravelled

A very important aspect of responsible tourism is to help the local community grow, prosper, and gain advantage from the guests who come to witness the beauty of their hometown, city, state, or country. India Untravelled, operating across the country, makes that happen by reeling in rural farmstays and homestays in the remote parts of the country wherein you can interact with the locals, be a spectator of their traditions, cuisines, art forms, culture, history, and a lot more. In short, India Untravelled is for everyone looking for authentic travel experiences that are anything but mainstream.

5. Green People

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Reposted from @rushinamg . When I hosted my first Garhwali pop up 3 years ago I was not sure I would find any takers. And here I am. Yesterday we cooked and fed 40 people (between lunch, dinner & local deliveries). Swipe to see more pictures. I'm overwhelmed with all the messages of appreciation for my food. But more so by all the Garhwalis that are writing to me with encouragement and thanks for showcasing their culinary culture. To them I just have to say I am the fortunate one to have the priviledge. And to have married right! . In the thaali are -JAKHIYA ALOO​ (baby potatoes cooked with a tempering of Jakhiya (wild mustard or dog mustard). -JAMBU KE TADKE WALI ARHAR MALKA KI DAL (Pigeon Pea & masoor dal uniquely smoked with Jambu, a wild herb akin to chives.) – KAFULI A gravy of leafy greens and rice flour. – MALAI LAUKI (Subtly spiced Doodhi, finished with cream) – NAAL BADI KA SAAG (an hierloom recipe of special badis made from collocasoa stems. – CHAULAI KI SUBZI (Amaranth greens subzi) – PAPAWALA MUTTON (A family recipe for slow cooked Mutton) – MANDUE KI ROTI (Finger Millet flatbreads) made with #bakrichhap mandua (ragi/nachni) – GARHWALI RED RICE (from #bakrchhap) – KADDU KA RAITA (Squash in yogurt with a special Garhwali masala​) – BHUNE TAMATAR AUR DHANIYE KI CHUTNEY (Charred Tomato and Coriander relish) – JHANGORE KA HALWA (Jhangora or barnyard millet grows on hills of Uttarakhand. This is my special creation, redolent of desi ghee and lots of love just the way Garhwali homes cook. . Garhwali food has given me so much. I wanted to give something back. So happy to share that I am supporting @greenpeopleind with these popups. The mandua and lal baat in my meals are from their brand #bakrichhap (Also available on @amazondotin now). Each packet bought supports a farmer in Uttarakhand. . In case you want to get a taste… your paste chance is on SUN 7th April, lunch is almost full up but we have just added a dinner slot. This will be the last time I'll do this meal this year ->(https://www.authenticook.com/meal/garhwali-summer-meal/149/3974/ dinner on April 7) also in stories!

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At a time when the West has successfully sold us the idea of superfoods that travel from halfway across the world over what we grow on our native land, Green People has stepped up to do what is best to make reverse migration of farmers happen in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. How? They have created “Goat Villages” in Nag Tibba, kanatal, and Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand, setting up a supply chain of the superfoods that grow in the region, like amaranth, goji berries, foxtail millet, and etc. They’ve hired and trained locals in hospitality who host travellers at luxury resorts built in the style of Garhwali-style houses.

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