FEATURE: THE WEEK/PALGHAT`S AYURVEDIC SPAS

THE WEEK





Come alive




 Sheila Kumar  



Discover your inner self at the ayurvedic resorts in and around Palakkad

Health tourism is in, and traditional ayurvedic treatment is in demand. Palakkad came suddenly and rather unexpectedly into the tourist spotlight recently, with a set of ayurvedic resorts, all with the Green Leaf certification. Blessed with breathtaking scenic beauty, this stretch on the Palghat Gap provides a perfect ambience-a blend of tradition and modernity-to relax and soothe the mind, body and soul. 


A 13 km drive to the east of Palakkad town takes you to Chittoor, the rice belt of the area. Further down the hay-covered roads at Kodumbu is the Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort, where a 5,000-year-old discipline of life blends with five-star comforts. Spread across 50 acres of artfully landscaped gardens, Kairali has that natural touch in every aspect: be it the food offered, toiletries used and the treatments. All this is provided in luxurious settings like presidential suites and executive villas, complete with a swimming pool, badminton and tennis courts.

The resort promises rejuvenation of the self and incorporates yoga, meditation and astrology in the therapies. There is a fully-equipped health centre, and an art gallery where local people exhibit their paintings and sculptures. Cultural art forms such as Kathakali, Kalaripayattu, Mohiniyattom and Kaikottikkali are staged at the auditorium on request. The resort also arranges sight-seeing trips for the guests, once the in-house vaidyans (physicians) feel they are fit. They also hold workshops and training camps on ayurveda and panchakarma (rejuvenation).

Of course, all this does not come cheap. The special packages may cost anywhere between Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 or more. The treatments are a neat mix of hedonistic relaxation, rejuvenation and ayurveda. 


Manager George Mathew says the resort has an impressive track record, which is evident from the repeat visitors. The Leesons, a couple from Durham in the UK, are here for the second time for treatment of spondylitis. It has proved so effective that they want to make this visit an annual affair. 









If 'isolated and calm' is your idea of rejuvenation, then Rajah Island is the perfect abode. Situated closer to the temple town Guruvayoor, in Chettuva, this resort is set on an island. An ayurvedic spa on 18 acres spilling over with herbal plants and lovely cottages overlooking the water offers something more than the usual. The resort has a floating restaurant, a fishing jetty, jogging track, and two houseboats-one done in Kashmiri style and the other in Kerala style.

It is not just all luxury, though. The in-house doctors insist on a disciplined treatment regimen. Says Dr Sreeraj of the Rajah Ayurvedic Hospital on the mainland: "The doctors take all requirements of a patient into consideration, and draw up a strict specialised schedule of yoga, ayurvedic treatments and diet. Some clients find the restrictions tough to follow initially, while others get into the disciplined pattern easily. However, everyone goes home thoroughly satisfied." Biju Verghese, a guest at the resort, says the secluded island is the perfect getaway for some serious relaxation and rejuvenation.

The resort offers specialised therapies for all ailments-from obesity, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, psoriasis, arthritis, disc prolapse, to eye diseases, ulcers, allergies, depression and gynaecological problems. The traditional ayurvedic treatment methods of uzhichil, pizhichil, elakizhi, sirodhara, nasyam, snehapanam are put to effective use for the best results.









Set in an equally enchanting locale is the Kalari Kovilakam Ayurvedic Resort. The manor house-which was once the Kollengode Palace, home of the Vengunad rajas-was taken over by CGH Earth.

"The concept of the resort is an ayurvedic lifestyle in its most substantive and purely authentic form, with absolutely no slack," says Jose Dominic, managing director of CGH Earth. Bhakti yoga and karma yoga to cleanse the mind and body, beauty treatments, meditation to calm the inner self and healing time spent in the kalari-all this is part of the package. "Yoga [imparted by teachers from the Bihar School of Yoga], meditation, kalari and beauty, these are the four cornerstones of the resort. Guests will have to doff both their shoes and their clothes when they sign up for a stint here, as well as give up other indulgences like wine, meat, colas and cigarettes! No mobile phones, dining in silence, no water during meals."


The controlled diet, regimented living, and treatment brings out a new you... a refreshed self. Palakkad is perhaps the right destination if a healing holiday is what you are looking for.

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