Long years of working in the travel space has helped me realise the importance of sustainable travel. The result, soulless resorts, and destinations too touristy with little to no scope of culture exploration doesn't interest anymore. While planning the beautiful Konkan road trip with a stay at Ratnagiri, the challenge popped up, deciding on the right retreat.
Unlike Goa, Ratnagiri lacks heritage resorts or beach front villas, leaving us with very little options. But thanks to social media I came across a mango-farm stay, run by a mother-daughter team who opened their lovely ancestral home to eco-conscious travellers.
The laterite stone-Mangalore-tiled roofed cottages with a gorgeous wraparound of mango and coconut plantation and hammocks swinging on the outside space instantly lured me into it.
Sustainability At The Core
Atithi Parinay, the farmstay comes with cottages designed in local architecture that includes a rustic cowpat brushed flooring that initially felt like a soft rug. Tasteful wooden furniture, bed linens, organic bath kit, LED lights, plants and broken tiled mosaic in washrooms and the gas geysers for a warm bath reminded how aesthetics go hand in hand with sustainability. Interiors are minimalist and more about textures than colour.
For Medha Sahasrabudhe, the host, both an architect and environmentalist, it was natural to go back to her roots where laterite brick houses and terracotta roofed tiles formed the architectural foundation since ages in her village. Inside the farmstay, the architecture looked and felt classic and eco-friendly. Thick laterite walls help lower the temperature. Also, she believes using natural and endemic materials native to their ecosystem also means preserving the dying craft. To minimize the carbon footprint they kept few cottages non-AC, and the laterite walls coupled with airy layout does away with the need for air-conditioning in summers.
All the cottages look out to a small patio under the shade of a tree where you can sit alone with a cup of tea.
Use of plastics, packaged food, (only organic food), and smoking are a big no within the premises. 'Carry back your own plastic waste' is one of her pointers towards protecting the environment. It delighted me to know Atithi Parinay is a dog-friendly homestay.
Set in the lush Kotawade village of Ratnagiri heaving with mango orchards, this hideaway is a short drive to many unspoiled beaches. It may seem like a remote destination but takes 15 km from the Ganpatipule beach. The nearest being the 15-minute short drive to the unmarred twin beaches of Aare Ware.