My wife and I came to Gokarna in 2006 to take a break from the fast-paced western world and to learn more about yoga and meditation. After teaching on Om beach for some years, we decided to create and build a place at the golden sands of Kudle beach with the help of Govinda, which is one of the directors now. Since 2007 we have lived in treehouses, first on a cashew tree and then on different banyan trees around the property. A childhood dream come true. Now we have received the 11th Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor, which shows that our costumers are happy with the accommodation and management style we provide at Namaste Yoga Farm.
With the help of local workers, we modified little by little, striving to make the place make it more beautiful, comfortable, and relaxing. So Guests feel a sense of home away from home. Luisa and I try to make your stay as pleasant as possible. If anything is destressing your vacation, please feel free to talk with us. We are here to help you. India has become our second home for most of the year since the incorporation of the company and before we spend many months in Europe organizing retreats along the Spanish coast or just traveling around Europe. Mostly Germany and Spain, though this year 2014, we taught yoga only at the Camping Riedsee close to Donaueschingen. Now five years later we still live in a tree, don’t make retreats in Europe anymore, but have registered our own company,
Zenlike Yoga Farms Privat Limited with the brand name of Namaste Yoga Farm
As a traveler, you will have an impact on the environment and culture of the place you are visiting. Here are some rules of thumb to make this impact positive!
Eco-tourism is more than a catch-phrase for nature-loving travel and recreation. Eco-tourism is consecrated for preserving and sustaining the diversity of the world’s natural and cultural environments. It accommodates and entertains visitors in a way that is minimally intrusive or destructive to the environment, sustains, and supports the native cultures in the locations. In all Eco cottages at Namaste Yoga Farm, we use thick volcanic, laterite stones for the walls and terracotta tiles are placed on coconut wood rafters for the roofing, coconut fiber mattresses and wastewater goes back to the plants. We spread awareness about plastic pollution in front of the entrance gate, stopped using plastic straws and plastic bags, provide bulk drinking water, dispose garbage at the local dump, and don’t burn it and use energy-saving lights.
Eco-tourism also endeavors to encourage and support the diversity of local economies for which the tourism-related income is important. With support from tourists, local services and producers can compete with larger, foreign companies, and local families can better support themselves. Each year, my first yoga retreat was donated to local charities. We give work to about seven local persons, and each of them gets paid over average. Included in their salary are a 13th-month wage and medical check-up.
Fundamentally, eco-tourism means making as little environmental impact as possible and helping to sustain the indigenous populace, thereby encouraging the preservation of wildlife and habitats when visiting a place. Eco-tourism is a responsible form of tourism and tourism development, which encourages going back to natural products in every aspect of life. It is also the key to sustainable ecological development. The International Eco-Tourism Society defines eco-tourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” Hence, everybody implementing and participating in eco-tourism activities should follow the following principles:
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.
- Support international human rights and labor agreements.
Carry back all non-degradable litter such as empty bottles, tins, plastic bags, and everything not belonging in nature. All nondegradable items should not be buried but disposed of, only in municipal dustbins. Observe the sanctity of holy sites, temples, and local cultures. Cut noise pollution. Do not blare aloud radios, tape recorders, or other electronic entertainment equipment in nature resorts, sanctuaries, and wildlife parks. In case temporary toilets are not set-up near campsites, after defecation, cover with mud or sand. Make sure that the spot is at least 30 meters away from the water source. Respect people’s privacy while taking photographs. Ask for prior permission before taking a picture.
Do not take away flora and fauna in the forms of cuttings, seeds, or roots. It is illegal, especially in the Himalayas.
The environment is delicate around Gokarna, and local bio-diversity must be protected at all costs. Do not use pollutants such as detergent, in streams or springs while washing and bathing. Do not use wood as fuel to cook food at the campsite. Do not leave cigarette butts or make open fires in the forests. Do not consume aerated drinks, alcohol, hard drugs, or any other intoxicant and throw bottles in the wild. Do not tempt the locals, especially children, by offering them foodstuff or sweets. Respect local traditions. Polythene and plastics are non-biodegradable and unhealthy for the environment and must not be used and littered.
When you travel, learn about your destination before you get there. Read guidebooks, travel articles, histories, and or novels by local authors and pay particular attention to customs such as greetings, appropriate dress, and eating behaviors. Becoming aware and sensitive to these customs will increase local acceptance of you as a tourist and enrich your trip. Follow established guidelines. Ask your eco-tour operator, guide, and or the local authorities what their instructions are for limiting tourism’s impact on the environment and local culture. Staying on trails, packing up your trash, and remaining set distances away from wildlife are a few ways to minimize your impact in sensitive areas. Seek out and support locally owned businesses. Support local businesses during your eco-travels to ensure maximum community and conservation benefit from your spending.