The word ‘luxury’ means ‘a state of great comfort’. In the fast-paced and the hi-tech millennial world that we are all part of, what is truly a luxury today? An expensive yacht trip on the polluted ocean waters – a study by the National Academy of Sciences says that almost 88% of the world’s ocean beds contain plastic debris; or a Uber relaxing trip to a spa destination where the air that you breathe is almost crossing the pollution danger level mark; or a chartered flight to a mountain peak where the snow is fast melting due to global warming? None of the above, in fact. Luxury, today, is no more about money or expensive.
What it has come to denote now, is –
- Time – priceless time that one can spend with his/her family, with oneself, with friends, with the community.
- Pure air – The opportunity to fill your lungs with purest of pure air.
- Digital Declutter – Being able to gift oneself a digital detox experience.
- Nature in her true form – Getting some quality moments with nature, in the original form – unharmed and untouched by man.
- The joy of a meal – Enjoying authentic native food prepared by the local cook using organic farm products by ditching the fast food concept.
- Community Help – Voluntarily working with the down-trodden local
inhabitants to help them sustain and provide them with meaningful
Luxury today is about simplicity and minimalism. The more minimalistic life you live, the more luxurious it gets. This is because you are back to the way things were and meant to be, when, unfortunately, man intervened with nature’s plan and almost destroyed everything, in the process. It is also true that we cannot go back to how our forefathers lived – the cost of living today is incomparable to what it was centuries back and hence, we need to be aligned with modern ways of earning our livelihood. ‘Conscious luxury’ is about making a choice – we all have the power to decide how we want to live. When we choose to go the simplistic way – purchasing and using things to the limit that is essential for life and not going over-board – we are truly living a luxurious life. Using and doing things that do not harm nature or any other living being is about luxurious living. When it comes to travel and tourism, hotels and hospitality, we can consciously decide to choose a conscious luxury travel and stay for ourselves. Here, ‘luxurious’ means choosing to stay at places where you can genuinely spend quality time with your own self, with your near and dear ones, where you can give up your dependence on digital gadgets and devices for a while, where nature is in her pristine form, where you get to experience the natural form of air, water and land, appreciate nature’s natural beauty (and not manmade beauty), and be involved in making small little contributions towards the upliftment of the indigenous people of the place.
Surwahi Social Kanha – a trendsetter in the hospitality industry – A perfect choice for a conscious luxury stay. Surwahi Social Kanha is an eco-friendly sustainable homestay built on the periphery of the Kanha National Park in Paraswada Tehsil of Madhya Pradesh. What makes the place interesting and unique is its commitment towards promoting the concept of conscious luxury or in other words, every small little element here is attuned to minimalistic and simple living. How?
- The concept of conscious luxury stands for ‘Less is More’ and Surwahi Social is leading by example – the property quintessentially reflects simplistic and minimalism.
a. Use of sustainable construction methods and techniques that were kind to the surrounding environment.
b. The homestay has been equipped with minimal resources because the use of limited facilities leads to less wastage and decreased use of natural and manmade resources. The use of limited amenities also lessens the maintenance requirements. More the amenities more is the usage of electricity, water, chemical etc., but nevertheless it is a perfect example of a conscious luxury stay.
c. Almost 90% of the land has been kept as it is – has not been touched,
interfered with or manicured to satisfy human egos. The purpose was to keep the natural essence intact without harming the land, water, soil, trees and vegetation.
d. The Four R’s are at the core of the functioning here – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Each of these R’s are thoroughly echoed from every corner within the property and promotes responsible luxury travel.
- The concept of conscious luxury stands for ‘shared and not private’
and Surwahi Social again exemplifies the same.
a. We completely believe in the ‘sharing is caring’ philosophy. The presence of the co-living dormitory or the hostel in this wilderness homestay is a befitting example of a responsible luxury stay.
b. The hostel space was a conscious decision for it leads to social engagement and connections – elements that are slowing getting replaced by social media today. Modern hotels encourage the concept of solitary living – we propagate social bonding.
c. Community help on a voluntary basis is an essential part of Surwahi which offers guests to partake their knowledge and experience with the local people here.
d. Sharing the living space with the natural flora and fauna, untouched and unharmed with artificial pesticides – the non-human living beings of the place – is our way to reconnect back with nature.
- The concept of conscious luxury is about ‘Going Local’ and Surwahi
Social is following it every day.
a. We are firm believers in using our local produce rather than importing and procuring from outside.
b. The construction and designing of Surwahi have been done in an eco-friendly manner using locally available raw materials like wood logs called ‘Myals’ that were bought from the village houses – pieces that were degenerating were purchased and re-engineered for use at Surwahi.
c. Stabilized Mud blocks were made from the local mud and soil instead of using cement for construction. Stones used for construction was also sourced locally.
d. Fly-ash, a by-product from an industrial zone in the region nearby was bought and used for plastering.
e. The contractual labour, artisans and helpers who worked during the construction phase were all locally sourced. These workers were taught and trained to use technology and other modern aids for effective performance.
f. Consuming locally made food cooked with vegetables that are grown at the in-house kitchen garden has also been our key focus throughout.