Newspaper Bag Station at Cardamom County

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New member of PaperTrails stationed at Cardamom County

At Cardamom County, we have been working to get the local community involved through the group PaperTrails. PaperTrails helps provide jobs for people who could otherwise not get them. La Paz Group has appreciated the way it involves the locals by providing work and  re-purposing old newspaper. For La Paz Group they make gift bags out of recycled newspaper and sanitary bags from recycled paper. Now, we have a new member of the PaperTrails team stationed at Cardamom County. He is stationed on the second level of the Ayurvedic Center and makes bags for all the La Paz Group properties.. We like this because now guests can engage with the paper bag initiative in a new way. They can see how they are made and learn to make them as well.  Continue reading

Monkeying around in Cardamom County

Monkey mischief at the Periyar Tiger Reserve, neighbor of Cardamom County

I have never had to take monkeys into consideration when gardening before.

I am at this jungle-like Raxa Collective property in Thekkady, India. I am here to work as an intern to help with creating a more farm-to-table relationship in the restaurant at Cardamom County. There is an organic garden here that is already providing the restaurant with a decent percentage of their staple foods. However, we face a little problem with some main ingredients such as tomatoes, eggplants, and actually anything sweet that we might like to grow such as grapes or pomegranates.

Monkeys. Continue reading

Organic Farming At Cardamom County

Organic Farming

Organic Farming

At Cardamom County we believe in providing guests with the best experience possible, and an eco-friendly one at that. We not only provide this during their stay with things like rich flora on property and solar water heaters, but also through our food: with fresh eggs from our farms and a variety of greens for the most crisp and refreshing salads. Here are a few pictures of the farm. Soon, this fresh produce will be used in many of our upcoming properties. Continue reading

New Year and New Beginnings, 2014

 

Photo credits: M N Shaji

New Year’s Eve is a time of new beginnings.We believe in celebrating with all our guests all the achievements and learning of the previous year along with the joy of stepping into a new year with new expectations and beliefs and hope for new opportunities. We welcome our guests in the traditional Indian way with a small performance followed by aarthi and tikka and blessings from an elephant who represents the elephant headed god Ganesha, the god of beginnings. Continue reading

Cardamom Harvesting At Cardamom County

Cardamom Harvesting

Cardamom Harvesting

At Cardamom County we believe in organically grown vegetables and spices to provide our guests with the best produce that can be used to make the most sumptuous meals. We grow organic vegetables, fruits, spices and even eggs from our own farm. These pictures show our cardamom being harvested by staff members. Continue reading

Christmas Eve at Cardamom County

Photo credits: M N Shaji

Photo credits: M N Shaji

Every year both Cardamom County staff and guests look forward to Christmas Eve; from the eco-friendly bamboo and paper tree to the fun and games at our restaurant roof top. This year was also a blast with guests mingling with each other and being good sports by taking part in games as both families and couples. Continue reading

Al Fresco Ayurveda

Uruli

Brass Uruli

At Cardamom County we make every effort to ensure the uniqueness of our guests’ experience. One way is to invite them to watch our Ayura staff along with Dr. Pameela, our in-house Ayurvedic doctor, prepare the traditional herbal oils used in Ayurvedic massage. They first harvested the special herbs in our gardens. The herbs are then soaked in water overnight to extract a concentrate that by morning turns into a rich concoction called kashaya. This mixture is then brought to a boil in a large brass vessel called an uruli. Continue reading

Fine Arts at Cardamom County

Art Stall

Artisan at Work

At Cardamom County we’ve been supporting the fine arts in our community and beyond for many years. For the past few seasons we’ve invited a young man from Odisha to showcase his workmanship at the entrance to our restaurant All Spice. His handicrafts are amazingly detailed drawings carved onto palm leaves and then painted.  Continue reading

Pedal Powered Ecotourism

Eco Tourism

Pedal Power! photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor

At Raxa Collective we believe in conservation and what better example than Cardamom County, a plastic-free resort with rich gardens where we harvest fruits, vegetables and even eggs. Kerala is a beautiful state with many places to discover and there’s no better way to experience our neighborhood than with zero carbon transport.

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Thank You to All Cardamom County Staffs & Friends

Even though I’m truly happy to be back at school, saying farewell to the staffs that I have been working with for more than 2 months was not easy. Every day I would pass by them saying “Namaskaram” which is “hello” in Malayalam or “Sukamano?” which is “how are you?” For every encounter, they kindly answered back to my poor Malayalam greetings and made my Kerala experience SUPER (as Indians often say)! To show my gratitude to all resort staffs, I drew some sketches as thank you notes. Thank you all, and I hope to see you soon. 🙂

A Great Finale To Our Kerala Experience

Photo: Milo Inman

Our time at Cardamom County in Thekaddy, Kerala was way too short.  After returning from a wonderful trip with River Escapes in the backwaters of Kerala we headed for the state’s iconic hill stations in the Western Ghats.  I suggested to my husband Dave that we take a taxi, but being a former backpacker, he urged me to give the bus a chance.  I stood my ground, insisting the trip would take several hours and I could bet the buses wouldn’t pass an inspection. But Dave was persistent and persuasive – I acquiesced and don’t regret that decision for one moment.  It was a wild ride.

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Delicious vs. Tasty & Cardamom Calm

Guest Author: Neema Morajevi

I work at a computer.  Too much.

It stresses me out.  And I run the Calming Technology Lab at Stanford.  Ironic?  Well, I started the lab for a reason; I am my #1 client (my students are #2).

I want the productivity and efficiency of technology but I don’t want the stress usually associated with it.  And I am not alone.

I’m trying to figure out how to live sustainably in an always-on world.  One foot in the browser, the other on the grass. But which one is supporting the bulk of my weight?  It varies hour to hour.

When my wife and I decided to travel for several months, starting in India, I was more explicit in my desire to “unplug”: surely I’d be able to disconnect if I leave the country… right? Continue reading

“Suzuki, Samurai, No Problem”

I frantically grabbed the phone and dialed the front desk.  I hastily told the night auditor of my situation and begged him to send help.  Within minutes, not one but two maintenance men were at the entry path leading to my room to redirect the furry night creature that (in my imagination, at least) seemed intent on spending the night too close for my comfort.  A few minutes later “it” had exited back to the forest, and I had met three new members of Cardamom County, one of whom managed to gain my trust through a single phone call: Faruk.

He works the night shift at Cardamom County and is quite a remarkable person.  This gentleman is oft my unfortunate sounding board when I can’t sleep or arise before the rooster crows (a reality next to the beautifully quaint farm here).  He was manning the reception desk after my enlightening night visit to the kitchen.  When I wrote about meeting Jimmy he said if I ever were to write about him I should use him as an example of night shift mishaps, laziness, or incompetency.  I didn’t think much of his suggestion at the time, but in hindsight, I scoff at the thought of doing such a thing; Faruk is likely the furthest thing from the aforementioned negativity. Continue reading

Many Stripes. Many Tales. Few Tigers.

When I decided to come to Kerala this summer for my internship, I got most excited not entirely about my work, but really about seeing a tiger. I can’t even remember the last time I went to a zoo, but I know deep in my closet I have a dusty photo of me and a tamed tiger from Thailand. At this time, seeing a wild tiger was actually more of a WILD idea. Since I’m working next to the Periyar Tiger Reserve, a home to approximately 40 tigers and many other animals, I’m practically neighbors with them and awaiting a miraculous moment to see a tiger before my trip to Delhi.

As a Korean descendent, I must introduce you all to some Korean culture and explain why I’m writing a blog post that is dedicated just to tigers. I’m sure a lot of my Korean folks will agree that tigers and Koreans go way back. My relationship with tigers started when I was 3 years old when my grandmother told me a story about a tiger that smoked using bamboo pipes.  My reaction was: “Really? Tigers smoke, too?”

Source & Credit: Picture of a Tiger at SamChunSa (삼천사) at BookHanSan (북한산)

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Cardamom County, Kids’ Country

The energy was different at Cardamom County today. The delighted squeals of children replaced the semi-usual morning chatter of monkeys outside my room. Infants, toddlers and their pre-teen brothers and sisters outnumbered the adults at the buffet line at least 2:1. The splashes in the pool were made not by raindrops but by curious children, the plasticky click of ping-pong balls filled the recreation area, and each unexplored nook of the property made a perfect hiding place for games of hide-and-seek. It’s a virtual summer camp around here! Parents followed their young ones, not even feigning a chase, patiently flicking their billowing saris over their shoulders. I felt like I was reliving family field day at my primary school all over again, but in an alternate cultural and physical context. Continue reading

Culinary Contentment at Cardamom County

Sometimes, when you experience something so good, you want to share it with the world. This is what’s happened to me as I’ve dined at All Spice, the ethnic fusion restaurant at Cardamom County Resort. As I mentioned in a previous post alluding to the pleasures of growing one’s own herbal ingredients in an urban setting, I’m a huge fan of coriander, also known as cilantro. So when I sat down for dinner at All Spice last night, I ordered the sliced cucumber, lemon and coriander soup knowing I would love the flavor of this dish, which is an original house recipe.

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