Responsibility to our community was not an afterthought for us that we assumed would look good on our website and presentations. It is part of our DNA. Neelambari was not an answer to our quest for profitable investment. Neelambari did not start as a business idea. Unlike most other resorts, Neelambari did not start with the objective of promoting or capitalising on a destination. It was an idea that came up when we were pondering what we could do meaningfully in our own village.
Our little village Arattupuzha is on the lee side of Kerala’s established (?) tourism network. The promoters of Neelambari have no background in this industry. We were advised caution and reconsideration by several knowledgeable tourism veterans when we talked to them. Our village community however provided us with a lot of encouragement and support. And this gave us the necessary motivation and encouragement on our journey. We did not treat the advice of industry veterans with disdain. Rather their words of caution have made us more vigilant and more perseverant - to vindicate the encouragement we received from our community.
When Neelambari took off, our village community became an integral stakeholder in our concern. And as long as we exist, it will continue to be so. All our staff are recruited from our village community. Most of them are women and most of them are from less privileged sections of our society. In addition to the people we employ directly, Neelambari has benefited farmers, vendors, artists and artisans over the years. We are happy that hundreds of travellers from around the world have visited our little village just because Neelambari is here. We are glad that we could be of significant help to our village community when the 2018 floods submerged and devastated most of our village. And we are proud to confidently state that Neelambari has tangibly improved the quality of life for at least a few women and families in our village. And for every little bit we have contributed, our gracious community has given us back many fold. The journey so far has been well worth it.
We were novices in the travel industry when we started our journey. Few years on, we are still very green behind the ears. But the little we have learned so far has increased our sense of responsibility. We have been environmentally conscious right from our construction practices. We keep our planet in mind when planning each aspect of our operations. But we still see immense possibilities to improve upon here. We have curated several interesting cultural and rural experiences and is considered a reliable destination for experiential travel in central Kerala. But the rich possibilities around us overwhelm us and we realise we have just scratched the surface.
We dream of inspiring others on a similar journey. We would like to be a counterexample for the mores of mass tourism and over tourism. We would like to enable delightful discoveries in the rural backyards of Kerala. And we would like to reaffirm that travelling is not about going places but about meeting people.
If you are interested to understand or discuss more about how we have engaged our community and how we have received their unstinting support, please write to me directly email@example.com
Sreeni and Meera made our stay at Neelambari feel more like visiting close relatives than staying at a resort. They made every effort to make us feel welcomed, comfortable and happy. Sreeni was very kind to take us on multiple occasions to the local music and dance festival with him aswell as organising day trips around the area to keep us entertained and excited. Meera spoilt us rotten with a desgistation of delicious local dishes for every meal! We were there for 7 days and not one meal was a repeat from the other and much of the produce was grown on the property or region. She even gave us a cooking lesson so hopefully we can recreate some of the meals at home. The resort itself is a work of art, literally! It feels like it has been part of the landscape for centuries. That being said the accommodation was luxurious and has all the comforts and percs you would expect from a 5 star resort. We had booked in for daily yoga and Ayurveda treatment, our Yogi and and Dr were really great and our daily routine left us invigorated and relaxed. I would stay at Neelambari again in a heartbeat.