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Healing holiday in Kerala

September 27, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Kairali-The Ayurvedic Healing Village at Palakkad is a holistic wellness place with a combination of Ayurveda, yoga and organic diet. Kairali, literally meaning Kerala in local Malayalam language, has 30 eco friendly cottages spread on 10 acres of serene environs at the foot of UNESCO World Heritage Western Ghats(mountain range).

“Take a deep inhalation and a long exhalation” said Hari, the yoga teacher probably for the hundredth time, at the end of the yoga session that morning. He said: “Deep breathing aids in upkeep of the body function, for prana or air is the core requirement of our bodies”. He made us pause for breathing after every warm-up exercise.   With active body cells and loose joints after 8 suryanamaskars, the sun salutation exercise that incorporates 12 yoga poses into one, we took a short walk on the stone path in the garden to Ayurveda canteen for fulfilling other requirements, water and food.

Breakfast at Kairali

Colours from warm, pink (boiled with padimugam bark) drinking water, fresh pineapple juice and cut papaya and kiwi fruit on the plate sure made a feast for the eyes at the breakfast table.  Dosa (rice and lentil pancake), coconut chutney and sambhar (lentil and vegetable curry) tasted great and refilled our energy. Organic ingredients are used in cooking at Kairali. Vegetables and fruits are grown at the 50 acre farm attached to the resort.

It was time to consult the in-house doctor as per the instruction at arrival. We had arrived the previous evening for a warm welcome of traditional off-white stole around the neck and fresh tender coconut water grown at the resort. After enquiring of our health and need for any special care, Dr Arati scheduled for abhyangam (cleansing) massage at 11. Guests can take up to two massages a day and at least one is recommended.

Walk back to the cottage breathing fresh air and listening to bird calls was enjoyable. Each cottage is unique and is built according to vastu, traditional architectural principle that brings in positive vibe to the dweller.  Blooming flowers, foliage, flowing streams and water bodies made the walk worthwhile every time, as we took different paths to check aesthetics of the other side.

Entrance to Kairali The Ayurvedic Healing Village

Massages administered simultaneously by two masseurs are the specialty of Kairali.  Massage centre is a beautiful place with individual massage rooms in separate male and female wings that are conjoined by doctors’ consultation rooms. A masseur accompanies the guest from the doctor’s place and offers a wraparound and a loin cloth at the changing room. The second masseur joins at the massage room. Special herbal oils prepared at the resort’s own facility are warmed and used for the massage that lasts for 45 minutes.

One just needs to close the eyes, relax and follow the simultaneous movements of four hands with occasional pats and pulls as muscles loosen and joints clink. A steam and a shower with herbal powders follow. A first time guest to a massage joked: “They just fell short of dipping me into oil. I took double the time than the massage to shower.”

As many as 18 herbs are used in preparing the oil used for a particular massage and each massage has different oil. Dr Saravan explained that Ayurveda has both preventive and curative treatments. Panchakarma is a preventive treatment for ridding toxins. It involves 3 phases of a week each. In the first week, toxins are brought to the intestine, then body is helped to throw out toxins and final massages are given for rejuvenating the body. An ayurvedic concoction might be ingested at a certain level.  Guests with less time can even prepare for their treatment through doctors telephonic advice prior to coming.

Shirodhara

After lunch and a small nap, General Manager Bharatan took us around to the organic garden in the adjoining natural forest cum farm. Paddy field glistened in orange sunrays as palms swayed along its borders. The farm next to it had variety vegetable and fruit plants. Okra and tomatoes had just been harvested for dinner. Fresh cucumber offered by gardener Anand was crisp and juicy, so was the guava. Variety gourds, specialty of the tropics, hung down from the supports extended to creepers. Alien fruits like cherries, sweet tamarind are also being grown with special care under the professional gardener. Bahratan said that it was the passion of Kairali owners to preserve every single tree with natural care.

Sunset time was set for meditation at the same yoga hall behind the reception. Girish, the other yoga teacher, transformed our minds to the oblivion as he put us to yoga nidra (sleep) by letting us detox our minds through his gentle yet compelling instructions. What a pleasant way to end the day’s activity?

A cottage at Kairali

As we walked back to our cottage after dinner, we wondered when was the last time we dedicated so much time to ourselves in a day. It sure was an activity filled day.  We had little doubt why most guests at Kairali are repeats. They come from near and far off countries and dedicate 2 to 4 weeks for wellbeing.

Varied activities for long staying guests include visit to the owners’ 25 year old ayurvedic factory where herbal oils, powders, medicine as well as cosmetics are made for in-house use as well as for sale. It’s a third generation family run business of ayurveda doctors. Ayurveda cooking class, village walk for a peek into traditional countryside lifestyle, rare puppet show or a classical dance program at the big thatched hall or even a visit to the nearby town of Palakkad are other options.

We also experienced Kadikiezhi, a massage given by continuous patting of hot, cloth wrapped flour and herbal mixture and Shirodhara, a streaming herbal oil on the forehead to relieve stress during our stay. Fellow guest Natalia from Estonia was staying for 28 days and said that this was her third visit in five years. She is totally rejuvenated when she leaves from here and returns when stressed again.

Stay at Kairali is indeed a blissful, healing holiday!

Fact File:

Kairali-The Ayurvedic Healing Village is 12 kms from Palakkad town in Indian state of Kerala

Nearest Airport: Coimbatore airport at 60 kms. Kochi airport is at 120 kms. Good road network connects both airports to Palakkad.

Website: www.ayurvedichealingvillage.com

Written by Anand & Madhura Katti

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