The concept of eco-resorts in India has been on the rise, and globetrotters are becoming increasing conscious of travelling responsibly. Here are some luxury eco-lodges from Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu in South India that are a must-visit. By T+L Team

These eco-resorts help preserve the region’s natural and cultural history as well as help boost the local economy by employing people from the surrounding communities. So while you travel, do so with a conscience, we say. Here’s where you need to head without delay!

  1. Rainforest Retreat at Mojo Plantation, Madikeri, Karnataka


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Rainforest Retreat is an eco-lodge that practices sustainable tourism and emphasises on environmental awareness, while making the stay as comfortable for the guests as possible. They are located on a certified organic spice farm (Mojo Plantation) in one of the most scenic parts of the Kodagu district. Established in 1994 by a botanist couple, you can book a stay in tents, deluxe cottages or plantation cottages that are made of natural materials and powered by eco-friendly 12V solar lighting. A percentage of the organic waste from the hotel makes its way to the biogas plant that help in the kitchen, while the rest is used as a fertiliser for different crops of coffee, kokum, cardamom, and vanilla.

2. Evolve Back, Kabini, Karnataka


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Formerly known as Orange County Kabini, Evolve Back is one of India’s best wildlife and jungle eco-lodges. It sits right on the edge of Nagahole National Park, surrounded by the Kabini River. Their philosophy is simple: to provide an exquisite vacation and wildlife experience while preserving the nature and culture of the land. Guests are accommodated in 28 spacious huts; the design inspired by local tribal villages. The huts either have a private plunge pool or an outdoor Jacuzzi. Their main eco features include reverse osmosis water filtering in every room to eliminate reliance on plastic bottled water and state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant to reduce impact on nature. They also use windmills to generate electricity.

RELATED: Sikkim Becomes World’s First Fully Organic State, Wins Top UN Award

3. Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom, Kerala


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With the great Vembanad Lake in the vicinity, Coconut Lagoon is a resort nestled in a tiled roof bungalow, a portion of which is believed to be 400-years-old. Designed and crafted by the local craftsmen, some of the artefacts showcased in the rooms here are sourced from across Kerala. The resort has a composting plant that converts waste to manure; offers rides to guests on its solar-powered boat, and has adopted an organic farming strategy.

RELATED: Find Out Why The New Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty Is The Talk of the Town

4. Spice Village, Thekkady, Kerala


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The fact that Spice Village is located so close to the Periyar Tiger Reserve makes it a superb choice for a stay. The sprawling eco-resort covers an area of 14 acres featuring rooms with thatched roofs made of elephant grass, earthy backyards, lush green gardens, fruit trees, rare herbs and a variety of flower plants. Spice Village is uncannily similar to the traditional tribal village of Periyar. The food served in the restaurant here is grown on vegetable patches within the resort. The hotel takes sustainable living rather seriously; the waste is segregated and recycled in the vermicompost plant to make organic manure for the vegetable and herb gardens. There are no air conditioners in the resort — the solar panels meet all the electricity requirements.

5. Vythiri Village Resort, Wayanad, Kerala


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Featuring India’s first artificial waterfall, the resort is a great place to unwind amidst the chirping of birds, great vistas of the beautiful Chembra peak, and an aroma of spices deliciously hanging in the air. Set on 24 acres of lush green forest dotted with a rather huge variety of vegetables growing in the gardens, Vythiri is tucked away in the hills at an altitude of 2,600 feet above the sea level. It’s a must to have a cup of coffee in the traditional Kerala Houseboat design restaurant — it’ll make you feel like you’re on the backwaters of Kerala. They promote cultural and traditional activities like zip line, archery, stream walk, yoga and campfire that allow you to taste authentic village life.

6. The Dune Eco Beach Resort and Spa, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu


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This funky property is one of the best places to stay near the beach in Pondicherry. It’s a sprawling 35-acre beachfront resort with 30 villas and 20 rooms, all designed by various artists and architects from around the world. The property’s spa offers Ayurvedic treatments, yoga and meditation, and other alternative therapies to completely rid you of all the stress. On the eco front, they are quite committed to serving organic food. Apart from this, they rely on solar-heated water, reclaimed timbers, and waste-water treatment plant, to make the resort as green and as healthy as possible.

7. Banasura Hill Resort, Wayanad, Kerala


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This is India’s only “Earth” resort and possibly the largest in Asia. Banasura is a quintessential rammed earth architecture inspired by the building craft of the ancient Mesopotamian era. Its 31 rooms are always cool because of this even in the peak of summer. The 35-acre eco-friendly lush farm is in close proximity to the cascading waterfalls, historic caves, and a tribal village, giving the travellers plenty to do on their stay. The resort uses CFL lamps minimising energy consumption; a bio-gas plant that recycles organic waste and fires the resort’s kitchens along with planting thousands of Guadua bamboo saplings in the surrounding area to create a natural bio-fencing for the property. Furthermore, the vetiver grass encircling the property helps in preventing soil erosion.

8. Karuna Farm, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu


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This property should be on your bucket list if you believe in the need trumps greed philosophy. Located on a hill-top overlooking Kodai Valley, Karuna farm is off the power grid, which means on some days there may be no more power other than just for lights; when even cellphone charging may not be possible. They grow their own organic coffee, avocado, lime, jackfruit, custard apple, and passion fruit and run a tree plantation programme for people staying with them. So if you wish to redeem yourself and save some carbon footprint, you know where to head. The farm’s most inspiring achievement, however, is the “bio-home” that looks both rustic and futuristic. The self-sufficient hut is made from reused tyres and tin cans rammed with earth and relies completely on solar energy. This place borders on the monastic, but that’s a small price to pay for the solitude and gorgeous views you get in return.

9. Parambikulum Tiger Reserve, Palakkad, Kerala


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At Parambikulam, travellers are accommodated in old renovated buildings, tents and tree-top huts. Either way, you’re in the amidst of teak plantations that’ll give you the most cherished memories amidst nature. You can hear birds chirping in your balcony in the morning, and at nights you may see a herd of spotted deers or big elephants walking by. This wildlife reserve has taken up eco-measures like providing reusable steel bottles with filtered water and banning plastic bottles. They also segregate garbage, and any plastic that is detected is fashioned into key-rings that you can take back as souvenir, along with organic spices like ginger, pepper, and turmeric.

10. SwaSwara, Gokarna, Karnataka


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A wellness retreat like this at one of the best beaches of India is what we all need. Imagine doing a yoga asana or meditation facing the sun with the sound of the ocean as the back drop. SwaSwara, a luxurious treat is built on a 26-acre land is committed to promoting ecologically-sensitive and culturally-responsive tourism in the country. The farm and swimming pool inside the property runs only on harvested rainwater. All the villas here are made of local laterite stone and have clay tiles, thatched roofs, and open-air showers. They’re big on eco-practices like vermi-composting and recycling waste water in the garden. Travellers can also avail activities like short hikes with field naturalists here, or sign up for kayaking, or even learn clay pottery from local artisans at the resort’s arts centre.