It isn’t often that you come across a luxury property so committed to the cause of giving back to the earth and its surroundings. And this is where Aahana Resorts, at Village Sewaldeh in Ramnagar district (more famously known as Jim Corbett National Park) not only stands out but emerges aces in its commitment to preserving the environment.
In fact, shreds of evidence of how committed they are to support local ecology are apparent as soon as one steps into the entrance is one of the biggest sewage treatment plant in Asia, which runs, not on electricity, but on gravity. The waste water from the WCs enters two large chambers of a capacity of 3000 cubic litres each. The sewage segregates into solid and liquid waste in these tanks. Solid is settled at the bottom of the tank and the liquid is syphoned out from this tank.
Anaerobic bacteria mostly digest settled solid over time.
The liquid from the tank and the waste water from washbasins, bathrooms and kitchen go into the four baffled chambers filled with nearly 50 mm of gravel. These baffled chambers are approximately 1000 cubic feet.
The water from here enters into five chambers (5000 cubic feet) filled with 10-20mm of gravel on which Canna plants are planted. The mesh-like root of the plant acts as a filter. Also, the microorganisms in the roots further degenerate the remaining solid waste matter in the liquid. Mostly the liquid is passing through gravel matrix, plant roots and microorganisms to filter out clean water.
The filtered flat water goes into the storage tank having a capacity of 1, 50,000 litres. The treated water is then pumped to the sprinklers used for gardening.
This is only the beginning. As you proceed on the premises, there is a sort of bridge, or walkway, elevated over a narrow village path, that connects the welcome area of the resort with its residential quarters. The land is a part of the property but the owners chose not to block the traditional walking route used by villagers to reach their farms on either side of the resort, and thereby add several kilometres to their treks.
Committed to the conservation of nature, Aahana strives for zero waste production through recycling waste. Use of CFL and LED lights saves power and reduces the emission of carbon dioxide from the generators. At Aahana solar energy is used for heating 70 per cent of the water. During the day, they put to use the abundant solar energy for the boilers.
The entire property has been landscaped with forest species and grass native to the surroundings to provide extended space to birds, insects and sometimes, animal life. The lawns are not mowed and no chemical fertilisers or pesticides are used. Doing so attracts a large variety of insects, which in turn draw flocks of birds the resort. There are about a 100 species of birds that throng the premises of the resort itself. The resort offers a bird-watching experience within the resort premises itself.
This is not just lip service to being environment-friendly. A stay at the resort also means one knows that no harm has come to the ecosystem that one had set out to enjoy in the first place.
As an Eco-tourism destination resort, Aahana undertakes many initiatives.
• They use recycled materials for stationery and laundry bags.
• Small refillable toiletries are kept in the bathrooms
• The banquet setups are kept clutter-free by using less of linens and frills.
• Besides the Sewage Treatment Plant for gardening, they also do rainwater harvesting.
• Solid waste management best practices are adhered to.
• A large number of herbs and medicinal plants have been grown inside the property. Herbs such as lemon grass and citronella keep mosquitoes at bay.
• A significant portion of the kitchen produce comes from their organic garden on the premises.
Text by Aarti Kapur Singh
Images courtesy: Aahana Resort