The organic way of life : CGH EARTH MARARI BEACH RESORT
After a mini pool session I was totally tired and wanted to hit the bed immediately, but my Zavi had other plans. He wanted to play and do some google search on his favourite topic ‘Animals’. He didn’t seem a bit tired, but we finally convinced him that the next day was going to be even greater, only if he slept. I could finally catch some sleep.
Our first day at Marari Beach Resort was fabulous and if you have not read it, please do check out at 'RELAX IN THE LAP OF NATURE’ : CGH EARTH MARARI BEACH RESORT.
Rise and Shine
I was up and the first thought that popped up in my mind was to go on a walk early in the morning. Laya and Zavi seemed to be sleeping but as soon as I freshened up and came out of the washroom, Laya was up too. She too wanted to go around the resort. So with Zavi asleep in the room, both of us sneaked out of the room for a walk. The atmosphere was totally relaxing. We first walked towards the beach. The beach was awesome, but the tides were high and the sea was rough so it was not at all recommended to go near the water. There was even a lifeguard at the beach, who kept a watch. After watching the mesmerising beauty of the dancing waves, we made our way back. I noticed that there was a beachside restaurant, but due to COVID restrictions, it was not open now. There was also a beach ball court set up. We continued our walk. We decided to explore Marari’s vegetable garden. As the resort was shut down for a long time, the staff had already told us that the vegetable garden was not well kept now. They were just in the process of cleaning up. But still we could see that a lot of vegetables that are being used for the food were being grown in their garden itself.
Way back in 1994 when organic farming hadn't caught up in India, there was one panchayat in Alappuzha district that went ahead and advocated the practice to its villagers, in the hope of making them self-reliant. This Panchayat was Kanjikuzhi. Now in 2021, this panchayat located on the shore of the Arabian Sea near Mararikulam, is a vegetable-sufficient panchayat in the state, and a prize-winning model for regions nationwide.
Every household in Kanjikuzhi grows its own vegetables and the villager's do not need to buy vegetables from the market at all. People here use what they need and sell the surplus, so be it pensioners or homemakers, everyone has some income.
Inspired from the Kanjikuzhi model, Marari Beach Resort practices organic farming integrating the garden to create a lifestyle with minimum impact on the natural ecosystem. Farming here is based on the needs of the earth as well as human beings in the long term. The soil here is loose and sandy due to the proximity to the sea; it is very humid and hot in summer and rains heavily during the monsoon which makes it difficult to grow vegetables all year round. Yet endemic vegetable cultivation is made possible.To overcome the lack of nutrients in the soil they use materials that is available in their own backyard like dried leaves, bird droppings, vermicompost, biogas slurry and farmyard manure which is locally called jeevamrutham (nectar of life). By adding the biomass regularly, the organic carbon content in the soil has improved gradually.They allow the plants to self-seed and are intercropped for diversity and natural pest control. They also share the harvests with working animals and native birds. They grow more than 30 varieties of vegetables, mostly native vegetables and also some western vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots thus keeping them engaged and excited about growing their own food and at the same time taking good care of Mother Nature.
Their organic garden patterns and designs are also inspired from Permaculture. By having a successful model, they have been able to inspire the villagers around to grow their own vegetables and have broken the myth that nothing can be grown on loose beach sand. Marari beach has always remained as a referral model for this and other hotel projects in the vicinity too have adopted this for a guest experience.
As we walked along, we came across a cow shed and a vermicompost pit. If you are wondering what vermicomposting is, “Creating compost using earthworms like the red earthworm species Eisenia foetida is called Vermicomposting.” It is a mesophilic process where the earthworms feed the organic waste materials along with other microorganisms and pass it through their digestive system and give it out in a granular form of excrement which is known as vermicompost or castings. The compost can improve biological, chemical, and physical properties of the soil. The chemical secretions in the earthworm's digestive tract help break down soil and organic matter, so the castings contain more nutrients that are immediately available to plants.
Vermin tea or vermin wash is the liquid produced in the process which is rich in nutrients. This tea may be applied directly to plant foliage, and enhances disease suppression in the plant. It may also be added to soil as a supplement to increase its biological activity.
Although due to covid, all these were not being currently used. I totally want to come back, when this place is 100% functional.
Naturalist led walks
After a while we returned back to our cottage and there Zavi was waiting for us, brimming with joy. He was totally looking forward to this day. Everyone quickly got dressed up and proceeded for breakfast. The breakfast spread was decent and filling. After breakfast, all of us once again went to the beachside to play around. Zavi was playing in the sand and at sharp 9am it was fish feeding time ,so we decided to go to the lakeside. But unfortunately, it began to rain and we had to get back to our room. Zavi was sulking all the while because he wanted to go to the butterfly garden and see the fishes but all his plans were spoiled by the flash rains. We cheered him up and told him we will get into the pool. That just instantly cheered him up. He was all ready for pool time. Pool time was fun. Zavi was trying to swim, he drank some water and then still tried. We played around and goofed around for sometime. By this time, it was almost time for lunch.
The weather was pleasant and Zavi had already made plans post lunch. The food was delicious. Post lunch, I totally wanted to relax and maybe take a nap. But Zavi had other plans, he wanted to do fish feeding and also visit the butterfly garden. After lunch, we met Mr Shibu, our naturalist. Both Zavi and Mr Shibu were very eager to meet up again. While I went back to the room, Zavi and Laya went for the activities. It had been almost an hour since Zavi and Laya had gone and while I relaxed and took a nap, they were back. Zavi was too excited, he spoke non stop about how the fishes jumped out of water to eat and how the butterflies were flying and how the frogs waited at the pond side and he went on and on. His enthusiasm was infectious.
At tea time, we were all up and ready to go to our tea cart. As I stepped out of our cottage, I spotted a tiny little turtle. Mr Shibu had told us that we would be able to spot turtles and mongooses often in the premises. There were a couple of families by the tea cart. Some of them were playing archery, some of them were playing cricket and many of them were just enjoying the tea and evening snack which consisted of yummy fried bananas. All of us once again tried our hand at archery. It was a fun session. As soon as the archery session was wound up, Zavi wanted to go to the butterfly garden again. It was like he had made the butterfly garden his Second home. Mr Shibu was also eager to take Zavi again and again to the butterfly garden. Mr. Shibu was very patient and he explained in length about different species of butterflies. There was a tiny pond also here where there were even different species of frogs. Zavi wanted to go back to fish feeding next. As we walked out the butterfly garden, we were in for a surprise. The GM of CGH Marari Beach Resort along with a whole lot of his colleagues were all waiting to hand over to Zavi a special “Young Naturalist’ cap. We were totally surprised and they told us they give this to children who are totally into nature and animals and such stuff. Zavi remained himself and wanted to proceed to the fish feeding lake.
The rest of the evening was spent well and my family loved CGH Marari Beach Resort. The next morning was our check out morning and none of us wanted to get back to our mundane life. But as soon as Zavi woke up and came to the living room, the first thing he spotted by our window was a colourful woodpecker. I was just reminded that this place is alas nature at its best. Also there is one thing that I noticed here, there is no television in the room. Actually, you don’t need a television here, nature's beauty is overwhelming and it fills your mind with happiness.
COVID-19 Enhanced Safety Protocols @ CGH
CGH Earth takes health and hygiene very seriously and they are always updating protocols to ensure their standards are the best in the industry. To ensure that all their public spaces are completely safe, they have enhanced their existing strict safety and hygiene protocols to include cleaning surfaces with hospital-grade disinfectants and sanitising all public areas many times a day. They follow these same stringent protocols in rooms, every morning during the housekeeping service and in the evening during the turndown service, as applicable.
All entrances to CGH hotels and resorts, including the staff and vendor entrances, are disinfected at regular intervals. Even the interiors of the vehicles hired for guest use are thoroughly disinfected before each trip and any luggage accompanying the guests are properly disinfected before it is brought into the room. Everything is being done to ensure their guests can enjoy the beautiful community spaces at CGH hotels and resorts without any worry.
Technology Enabled Safety Protocols: They use technology to ensure seamless, yet personalized check-ins, check-outs and dining experiences. They also strongly encourage pre check-in and digital payments. As mentioned earlier, the menu, the map and the activities at CGH Marari were whatsapp to us even before we had arrived at the resort.
Guests are requested to submit a self declaration of health prior to arrival. Guests exhibiting COVID-19 like symptoms are dissuaded from arriving at the hotel or resort and are strongly advised to postpone their trip to a later date. All guests arriving at the hotel are also screened for Covid-19 symptoms.
To eliminate the possibility of transmission from person to person, they have signages in all our public areas reminding guests to maintain covid appropriate behaviour, which is, use a mask at all times in the hotel public areas, always maintain social distancing, and practice hand hygiene. Seating and guest movements have also been reorganised to ensure that there is proper physical distancing in vehicles, lobbies, banquets, restaurants, service areas, common areas, as well as, during guest related activities.
Visitors to the hotel and walk-in clients are restricted and allowed only against prior reservation.
We as a family felt totally safe and didn't have to worry even for a second about the Covid 19 pandemic, although we ensured that we all wore masks whenever we were in common areas and also ensured frequent sanitisation. But what can I say, that is the new normal and we had an awesome time during this new normal.
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