Eco Philosophy & Vision at Khaama Kethna
Philosophy: By doing our best to live responsibly and consciously by treading lightly as we can we make this shift into the next evolutionary cycle. By serving a life purpose and contributing something worthwhile to the whole, as we move through this process of living. We endeavor to do the best we can and as much as is practically possible to reduce the carbon foot print, impact and the damage that we cause to the planet.
The uniqueness and growth potential for sustainable responsible living and conscious tourism is vast. At a time when our civilization is facing increasing pressure to change our destructive habits and practices, there is a wave of consciousness spreading and growing throughout the world. “Going green”, food consciousness, spiritual awakening and the revival and revitalization of Earth honoring practices in various forms is fast becoming recognized as the only way to reduce and move forward to halt the devastating affects humanity has thus far raked on the Earth. As a result, more and more people are yearning for options for alternative and sustainable living, practicing responsible tourism, imbibing natural, healthy, wholesome seasonal and local food, and living in self-contained/sufficient spiritually oriented centers. More and more people are realizing that the only way forward is to live life consciously, ethically, responsibly, in equilibrium and harmony with nature and our fellow beings.-Recognizing that all forms and being of life are one and that what we do to any form of life is what we do to ourselves.
Architecture, Building & Design: At KhaamaKethna we realise that sustainable building and living is imperative to ensure the minimal damage and impact to the surrounding environment.With natural and organic growth as the main guiding principle, the architecture is free flowing and natural and the building practices followed to create spaces use a combination of simple natural materials that are ecofriendly as is practically possibleincluding a lot of mud, old wood, and other recycled material mainly obtained from the scrap yards,bamboos and canvasalong with a smattering of what we term as eco technology materials (modern high eco-tech materials which has a lower carbon imprint long term) that are more practical and easier to obtain without depleting the limited surrounding natural resources. Due to difficulties in sourcing and over exploitation of natural material, it has become necessary to slowly progress into using the best modern, technologically sound materials and accessories as alternative ecologically responsible solutions.
Although the focus is on simplicity, a lot of thought has been put into using the materials and incorporating the accommodation to blend with the natural surroundings. Years of experience and numerous influences have been incorporated into the designs and all accommodations are beautifully and spaciously situated and erected on the terraces of very quiet and secure hillside. All the tree houses and cabanas are distinct in design, varying in size and furnishing, offering a range of accommodation.The structures are almost all handmade, sensitively designed and sympathetically erected using for the most part renewable wood and roofing materials produced in the countryside or the scrapyards. The primary option is on using manual labor instead of machines whenever possible. Bamboo is a harvestable natural resource, which we cultivate and is by far the most eco-friendly construction materials compared to wood or log constructions.
So as to restore and tune into the rhythm of nature, the living spaces are wide open to the symphony of nature in a way that one is not sanitized from the jungle but are an integral part of it and giving a feeling of being part of the lush habitat, in such manner that is harmonious and freely flowing into with nature.The various individually designed back to nature tree house and cabanas are simple and fundamental, yet still comfortable in the style of bygone rural time rather than intrude into nature excessively and offering a complete immersion into nature experience by blending into the natural environment and reflecting the creativity that the nature inspires.
Workers: The centre employs both local and out of state workers to form the team of builders, carpenters, cooks, plumbers,electricians and servers that make the centre possible. We hire unskilled tribal people and train them in either a trade or give them lifelong skills to make a living in their new skillset or in thegeneral hospitality industry. Housing for the workers is provided on site in the ‘Worker’s Village’ at the centre. Living on site and in ecologically constructed homes in a sustainable community manner, they are provided with water, electricity and eco waste management solutions. A wheel is only as good as it’s spokes and the centre is only as good as its workers and caring for and investing in the people that make it work is a large part of the philosophy behind the project.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: This is the mantra used here at the centre. We frequent the scrap yard to recycle, reuse and refurbish whatever possible. From furniture to fabric we take it all to create the chairs to sit on and the beds to sleep in. We have an onsite seamstress who tailor makes the cushion covers, mosquito nets and even the mattresses. The mattresses are handmade from compressed coconut coir (hair) and are therefore fully biodegradable and these rest on simply constructed homemade sustainable bedframes. The rest of the furniture is mostly antique or refurbished pieces from scrap yards, auctions or passed from family and friends that has been restored here in the onsite workshop by our carpenters.
Mud/ Earth Hand Sculpted Structures:A predominant and defining feature here at the centre is the uniquely fluid ‘Earth Sculpted’ structures that form the benches, walls, counter tops, the squat toilets and even the flooring in the Shala’s and different spaces around the centre. This technique involves hand constructing and shaping mud formations and covering them with a mineral and cement based coating that hardens and forms the beautifully soft and free flowing multipurpose surfaces you see all around the site. This noninvasive technique can be shaped around the natural contours of the land and around trees and other natural features that are incorporated into the space and are easily deconstructed to leave the earth back as it was found.
Restaurant: The same philosophy behind thecentre as a whole applies to the onsite restaurant ‘KhaanaKhao’ and the food we eat and serve to our guests. ‘You are what you eat’ and what you consume and where is comes from plays a large part in living a holistic, responsible and conscious life. The name ‘KhaanaKhao’ directly translates from Hindi/Sanskrit to ‘Eat Food’ and this is something we take very literally. The food we provide is real food, it is unprocessed, fresh, organic (where practically possible), locally sourced, seasonal, plant based cuisine. Our cooks are local tribal women we have trained and empowered to work and adapt traditional local dishes to make a truly unique and delicious plant based meal. We have an inbuilt spring fed water triple filter system so we offer refills and refillable bottles to all our guests to reduce unnecessary plastic waste. Our pre booking system for meals at the restaurant not only ensures the quality of the food we provide but also significantly lowers levels of unnecessary food wastage normally associated with the restaurant trade. However hard you try there is always some scraps, spoilage and remains so whatever produce is left behind is fed to our totally free range chickens and ducks that happily live here on the property.
Waste & Water Management: Each room is fitted with an ‘Earth Closet’ style compost toilet. These toilets are designed to use minimal water and therefore have a dry composting mechanism. The lower quantities of water enable the waste materials to dry out as they break down thus reducing the amount of harmful (anaerobic) bacteria in the final compost product. Once fully composted the final product can be dug up and used in the garden to nourish and replace the nutrients to the earth from which they came.All the running water provided for the rooms, restaurant and workers village is supplied from a spring fed open well. The natural chemically untreated water is pumped throughout the property without any heating system in place. All the showers and sinks in the huts when in use are designed so thewater flows back into the earth from which it came.