In the fast paced modern life style, our health always takes a toll. Stress, anxiety, palpitation, body aches, indigestion etc are just some of the symptoms displayed by our body to show it needs care. We go out for vacations to relax ourselves but most of the times the itinerary is so packed that another vacation is required to relax from the heavily packed schedule. Since they say it is best to go back to your roots and our roots lie in Ayurveda, this time, I travelled to Kairali – an Ayurvedic Healing Village in Pallakad in Kerala to relax and detox myself.
What is Kairali?
Kairali is a Company founded in 1989 that uses the ancient form of Ayurveda and is a pioneer in promoting Ayurvedic Treatment Centres, Hospitals and Resorts in India and abroad.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is derived from 2 words – ‘Ayur’ which means ‘life’ and ‘veda’ meaning ‘science’. Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of medicinal science that originated in India that uses natural resources like herbs and various parts of trees for treating ailments or keeping us healthy. Mention of this science has even been in our mythological books – where Lakshman is cured with Sanjeevani booti in Ramayan or the head of Ganesha was replaced with that of an elephant. It shows that earlier, Ayurveda was also used for surgery. However, when Buddha while promoting Ahimsa (Non Violence) treated surgery as ‘Hinsa’ (Violence), Ayurveda focused on curing patients without the surgical process.
How to Reach?
One can easily reach Kairali centre in Pallakad after a 90-min scenic drive from Coimbatore. Coimbatore is easily accessible to all major cities in India by flights and trains. For example, it took us just 3-hours by flight from New Delhi.
About Kairali – An Ayurvedic Healing Village, Pallakad
Kairali centre in Pallakad is one of the very few of its centres in the world to have residential facility. Spread over 90 acres (16 acres built up), it has 30 independent spacious villas that can be taken on single or double sharing basis. The property has a flowing water body around which all the villas are built and with palm, coconut, mango, jack fruit and other trees providing enough greenery, the atmosphere is very tranquil. Guppy fish in the flowing water body ensures they eat the mosquito larva and keep it clean. The air-conditioned villas have everything required for a comfortable stay including a TV to keep abreast of the latest. There are 4 types of villas – Deluxe, Classic, Royal and Maharaja all of which are made in unique style with each one different from the other. They are normally given as per your sun sign – however, the time I visited, most villas were already occupied and I was given a villa as per availability. Though Ayurveda does not talk about being a vegetarian, this property of Kairali in Pallakad is a fully vegetarian resort. Since most people come here for rejuvenation and detox, it also promotes abstinence from alcohol and smoking in the resort.
Body Massages (Treatment)
If you are like me who thinks that Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village is a spa resort then you are mistaken. It does offer massages but they are given to you after being prescribed by a doctor post knowing your body type and ailments. These massages have more of a medicinal purpose than the relaxation objective. There are various kinds of massages like Abhiyangam, Sirodhara, Elakizhi etc that are administered with one of the 100s of oil chosen as per the treatment and body type.
The massages are administered by same sex therapists while you are scantily dressed. Only piece that you wear is a small paper nappy on your pelvic region which is also opened when they massage your back side. Yes, ladies wear the same too! These massages are so well synchronised between two therapists that it feels your body is getting a mirror action. I tried these few massages:
Abhiyangam: This is a 4-hand massage that prepares the body for the treatment. It is the basic massage and can be taken by anyone. Perhaps, this is the only massage that you can chose even without meeting a doctor.
Elakizhi: You might have heard about the potli massage. ‘Kizhi’ means potli and in elakizhi, there are certain leaves along with herbs that are inside the potli which is dipped in warm oil. This massage is for chronic pains.
Naranga Kizhi: Naranga is basically lemon. Hence, instead of leaves the potli is made with lemon and herbs for a similar kind of treatment. This massage has anti-inflammatory properties and is done for acute pain.
I should rather call it a steam box. Such wooden boxes are unique to Ayurveda where one sits inside the box with only the head staying out of it (as they say the head should always be cold) and steam is released in the box. The 5-minutes of steam are very effective to open the pores for detoxification.
Facilities in the Centre
The resort has a fully equipped gym, swimming pool, meditation room and library along with the activity room that has a pool table, chess board, carom board, dart games etc. Cycles are also provided for you to enjoy riding in the serene surroundings. Kairali also organises certain recreational activities once every 15 days. We witnessed shadow puppetry during our stay. There is a trained yoga instructor who teaches yoga everyday in the morning. All these facilities along with meals are available in your package price.
Ayurveda cooking is very much similar to our everyday cooking. The basic principal of Ayurveda cooking is to use less oil and make the food fresh. Perhaps, there is a different set menu that is planned by them. Food is simple yet tasty. I ate two bowls of porridge that I would normally not even touch. Fortunately, in the 4 days of our stay, we got a feast of Saadhya which is a once a fortnight feature. Kairali also conducts workshops to teach Ayurvedic cooking for those interested.
Insider Tip: If you get too bored of the detox meal and are here at the resort as a preventive trip and not for any ailment, then you may want to explore Noor Jehan restaurant in Pallakad city that offers excellent sea food and black pepper chicken at very reasonable price.
Pharmacy and Manufacturing facility
Kairali is now a big company. Not only does it have 35 centres all over the world, it also has its own proprietary medicines and oils apart from beauty products. I have been using their soaps for the last 3 years and found them to be very effective. A factory visit is organised for us by the resort which is an hour’s journey from the resort. My visit made me realise that the soaps that I was using so far are artisanal. All of them have a hand finish.
There are various packages to choose from starting from 2N/3D to a month. I spent 3N/4D at the resort but it would be good to visit Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village for at least a week to detoxify. The packages are inclusive of stay, all meals and therapy. These packages start from Rs. 23,100 for 3N/4D in Deluxe villa and can go up to Rs. 80,000 in the Maharaja Villa for a similar offering.
Insider Tip: If you are low on budget, chose the basic villa. You may not even need the bath tub etc that are provided in the luxury category as most of the time you would be taking a bath at the treatment centre after the massage.
Staying away from the city in a tranquil environment can in itself be very relaxing. When it is accompanied with like-minded people, you eat right and get your treatments; this trip can do wonders for our well being. This is a break you not only deserve but is important from a health point too.