One of the principal motives behind the conception of the Edakkal Hermitage was to call upon world wide attention to the significance and the value of the heritage that we as a nation have inherited in the form of pre historic etchings at the Edakkal Rock Shelters. Although certified by many a prominent historian as being unique world wide to these terrains and as the ‘richest pictographic gallery of its kind’, the academic interest that was generated was relatively mute and limited. Ever since the Edakkal Hermitage was established as a base camp, the interest in these rock shelters has risen to a great extent with an exponential increase in the visitor numbers. This also rejuvenated an interest amongst even the locals on the shelters, many of whom have found alternative employment catering to the needs of the increased number of
visitors. However the quest towards attaining an ultimate world heritage status and an enhancement in terms of the quality of the visit for the traveller still continues and we are striving towards it.
Edakkal Hermitage was conceived and is managed by the architectural partnership concern Contour Dakshin. As a basic principal, Contour Dakshin is committed to the conception and implementation of a design strategy that is sustainable in essence and respects vernacular traditions. We have adhered to the same during the establishment of the Edakkal Hermitage too.
We are founding members and active players in the Wayanad Tourism Organisation which is a conglomerate of stake holders within the tourism industry in Wayanad, established to bring about a responsible, controlled and sustainable form of tourism in the district.
Sustainable and Responsible Tourism
Environment: Our location being on the slope of a hill, primarily involved the challenge of preventing soil erosion, especially during the heavy rains. Pits at strategic locations to harvest the flow of rain water as well as contour based earth retention has enabled us to prevent this form of erosion to a great extent. It also supported us in our venture to plant over 500 trees on the relatively barren hills that we inherited about 10 years back. Spring water which is our main source is harnessed and brought to the resort using gravity, minimising the usage of artificial forms of energy for the same.
Size and nature of cottages were entirely based on the terrain available and the vegetation around it. Hence most of our cottages are perched on top of rocks and are wrapped around it. Materials have all been locally sourced and needless to say the design adheres to vernacular trends. The tree house is about as close to nature as it gets with a completely bamboo based structure supported entirely on a tamarind tree and executed by the craftsmen from ‘Uravu; a locally based NGO unit that specialises in bamboo crafts and workmanship.
Social and Cultural Concerns
We the people who own and run the property are locals and reside within Wayanad. Besides that, all our support staff are also resident locals from various disciplines who have been trained to work in this service industry.
Culturally we have responded to both the Kerala state on the whole with features that relate to the Wayanad district in particular in our property. An amphitheatre within our property, hosts various programmes like tribal dances of the local community as well as martial arts displays by groups from other parts of Kerala. An Ayurvedic offering by the local hospital Ayur Kendra from Kalpetta is amongst the facilities that the guests may avail of during their stay here.
We strive to instil amongst the locals a sense of pride in our belonging to this region and its culture through the appreciation that visitors from outside provide.
Economic benefits are all filtered down to the local economy. We encourage our guests to explore the rest of Wayanad, the wild life sanctuaries, utilising the local forms of transport like jeeps available. Besides the vegetables and fruits that we grow within the property, everything else is sourced from the local market.
Any one who visits our property, besides having had a good holiday experience can go back with a proud feeling that they have been able to contribute to the general well being of the populace and environment of the district on the whole. We do try and adhere to the Kerala model of development in general which combines ordinary people and ordinary materials and resources available no further than the local village to create an extraordinary global product