Kairali-The Ayurvedic Healing Village Featured in Hotel Business Review

Ayurvedic health retreats

Ayurvedic health retreats

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Kairali- The Ayurvedic Healing Village Featured in Hotel Business Review

Kairali- The Ayurvedic Healing Village got featured in the Hotel Business Review magazine’s January- February 2015 issue. Hotel Business Review is an exclusive business magazine for the hotel industry and is the only bimonthly magazine that is entirely focussed at Indian hotel business. The magazine is fresh and exclusive and offers information on management techniques, the hotel layouts and the hotel’s prime lure.

 Retreat To Wellness

By Swarnendu Biswas

India is an ancient land of amazing dichotomies. Its public healthcare may be in a pathetic condition, but its potential for medical tourism, especially for the inbound tourists, isvery high. On September 2014, KPMG- FICCI released a study titled Medical Value Travel in India. According to the study, India has been placed among the top three medical tourism destinations in Asia. The study views that medical tourism sector in India was estimated at 78.6 billion USD in 2012, and it was poised to grow at an annual rate of 15 percent to attain a figure of 158.2 billion USD by 2017.

Besides medical tourism, wellness tourism is also a niche segment which together can bring impressive dividends for the Indian hospitality industry. However, to make medical tourism and wellness tourism to achieve their desired potential, we not only need more numbers of world class hospitals, but also more numbers of world class health and spa resorts which can find solutions to chronic ailments that the western world has been struggling to find.

And the five millennia old medicinal system of Ayurveda, together with yoga are the two cornerstones on which the wellness tourism of India should be developed further. I got the opportunity  to visit one such haven in the God’s Own Country, where the concept of holistic wellness, inspired by the ancient medicinal system of Ayurveda, is inherent in its day-to-day working philosophy.

Welcome to Nature

The solitude and unspoiled greenery of the place managed to transmit a much needed sense of serenity to my city jaded and tension afflicted nerves, which probably seeped into my soul too. The gently flowing water body interspersing the greenery further accentuated the feel of calmness. My companions in the tour also reciprocated the same view. It is a place where one can lose oneself to find one’s self…The warm welcome with the cool water of green coconut promised of the shape of things to come.

We were at Kairali — The Ayurvedic Healing Village, located some 10 km away from the Palakkad town of Kerala, and just a few kilometers from the world’s biggest mountain pass, that passes between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It was formerly known as Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort. Established in 1999, the Ayurvedic Healing Village has emerged as a wonderful health resort for inbound and well-heeled domestic tourists where they can get treated of their chronic ailments through holistic character of Ayurvedic medication, amidst scenic surroundings, and can also get their city-jaded nerves refreshed in the process, amidst scenic environment of greenery and serenity.

Background

The health resort or the retreat described here is under the ambit of the hospitality division of the Kairali Ayurvedic Group. This is a wonderful eco-friendly resort cum treatment centre by the Delhi-based Kairali Ayurvedic Group, which through its Ayurveda-inspired holistic well-being packages over the years has created a prominent place in the wellness tourism scenario of India. Headed by Gita Ramesh and KV Ramesh, the group has 25 Ayurvedic treatment centres in India and 10 in abroad, the first of which was established at Andheria Modh, New Delhi, in 1989.

Kairali Group’s first wellness center was launched in New Delhi in the form of an Ayurvedic day spa. All the treatment centres of the group offer an extensive and compassionate consultation by a doctor, and a rejuvenating course of Ayurvedic treatments and therapies which are delivered by a team of highly trainedpersonnel.

It was the huge success of its Kairali Ayurvedic Treatment Centres which prompted the group to start its hospitality division in 1999. Kairali — The Ayurvedic Healing Village is the maiden endeavour of Kairali Hospitality, which has been followed by another resort in Rishikesh, in the state of Uttaranchal.

Healing, not Holidaying

Coming back to the healing village, I found a hard time negotiating the healthy food on offer, which was not at all suitable to my cultivated and unhealthy tastes. “It is not your conventional resort, where people come for holiday and fun and games. It is a place where most of the guests have come and do come to get cured of their health problems,” asserted Sankalp Bansal, the Executive Director of Kairali Ayurvedic Group with a gentle reprimand, as he saw me fussing over the complete vegetarian diet of the healing village on the first day; a seemingly bland diet(for my tastes) which is also less salty, less spicy and less oily than your average diet.

 Kairali Products: Propagating Holistic Health

Kairali Ayurvedic Group has presence in 10 countries and has a wide range of Ayurvedic herbal remedies to offer. Kairali’s impressive repertoire of Ayurvedic products includes over a hundred authentic herbal medicines, skin care products, body products and spa equipments. The Kairali Ayurvedic Group’s range of products includes 24 proprietary medicinal products too. Kairali Group manufactures and produces authentic traditional Ayurvedic medicines as well as patented remedies, which according to Dr. Saravan, are suitable for addressing a host of modern day ailments.

The products are produced at the two factories. One of them is at Pollachi, Tamil Nadu and another is at Palakkad. Its Ayurvedic medicines are not only used at the group’s treatment centres and resorts, but also made available to various Ayurvedic pharmacies and to numerous Ayurvedic doctors for retail/prescriptive purposes. The group’s spa franchises proliferate through three continents.

In fact, very few guests at the resort may come at the place purely for having a conventional fun-filled holiday, dotted with excursions and artefact shopping expeditions.

The healing village spruced with modern facilities offers personalised treatments and numerous detoxification programmes oriented around addressing specific maladies, such as stress relief, arthritis, migraine, post pregnancy care, beauty enhancement and weight loss. The team of three expert doctors prescribes the medication and monitors the cure of the guests at the resort. After a careful consultation with one of the highly trained doctors, you can choose (on the basis of advice of the doctors) from a range of Ayurvedic treatments and/or special health and beauty care packages, specifically designed to treat modern day maladies like stress, respiratory problems, eye ailments and skin diseases.

“A full range of traditional Ayurvedic treatments is available at the resort, and nothing pleases us more than seeing our guests get relief and remedy from chronic health problems after just a few weeks of guidance from our world-class team of doctors and ministrations from our expert masseurs,” observed Abhilash K Ramesh, Group Director — Kairali Ayurvedic Group. “The heart and soul of the property is based on ancient and perennial knowledge system of Ayurveda. We have tried to implement the precise instructions of authentic Ayurveda in every aspect of daily life at the retreat,” elaborated the entrepreneur further.

No wonder the place was voted as one of the world’s top 50 wellness destinations by the National Geographic Traveler, after investigating hundreds of places to create a list of the best wellness havens in the world. Kairali — The Ayurvedic Healing Village was also voted among the ‘Top 5 Health Resorts in India’ by India Today magazine, in 2012.

And foreigners it seem are greatly impressed by the healing facilities offered at The Ayurvedic Healing Village. “About 65 percent of our guests are inbound tourists, and among the inbound tourists at our healing village, most of them are from Germany, though we get lots of inbound tourists from other countries as well,” articulated Ramesh. I had a discussion with a German lady and an Ethiopian man, who came here for treatments. They seemed to be fairly satisfied despite the only vegetarian and ‘healthy’ diet and prohibition on drinking and smoking at the resort.

 I had two massages at the spa with the false hope of curing my chronic pain in loins that arrives habitually on the arrival of winters, and though I didn’t even expect temporary relief, to my surprise I managed to get that. “ If you had only taken a 14-day treatment with us, we would have relieved you of your pain in loins permanently,” asserted Dr. Saravan, one of the three doctors at the healing village. He informed that the therapies based on Ayurvedic principles at the resort are not only without side effects, but often are personalised in character.

Sustainable Character

The pragmatic philosophy of sustainability is ingrained in the character of the health resort, whose green ambience is dotted with plants having medicinal properties(in Ayurvedic treatment). Many of these trees also have delicious fruits like jackfruit, star fruit and guava among others. The resort is spread across 15 acres and beyond that there is about 40 acres of paddy fields and vegetable gardens, which is owned by the Kairali Ayurvedic Group. The 40 acre area has been leased to the local farmers at a very affordable cost for their livelihood. A part of their organic produce is in turn purchased by the group and is used by the resort for the guests’ consumption.

Besides fresh and organic food served at the two Ayurvedic Canteens of the resort, the other eco-friendly attributes of the property are reflected in its sewage treatment plant, in its rainwater harvesting facility, its CFL lighting in rooms, and in the eco-friendly construction of its 30 cottages. “Our sewage treatment plant is used to treat the impurities in water and oil and the so called ‘wasted’ water left after the treatment is used for gardening,” informed Raymond PJ, General Manager, Kairali Ayurvedic Group.

He also informed that the coolness of the ambience as a result of it being nestled in greenery had helped the property to not opt for centralised airconditioning, thereby saving energy in the process. “We discourage wastage of water and frequent changing of linens in therooms,” offered Raymond. He also talked about enhancing the rainwater harvesting capacity of the resort.

The healing village or the resort comprises 30 cottages or villas(depending upon how you look at them), of which 27 are interestingly named after Malayalam zodiac signs. The cottages, according to Raymond, are segmented into four categories — Deluxe, Classic, Royal Villas and Suite. The Suite is the highest among these four categories, in terms of facilities, followed by Royal Villas, Classic and Delux respectively.

“We have four Deluxe category cottages, which are ideal for one person, 17 cottages under the Classic category, seven Royal Villas and two Suites,” stated Raymond. I would not say that the rooms are embodiments of unbridled opulence, but they are spic and span and are spruced with a fairly impressive range of amenities suited for modern day living.

“The roofs of the cottages are made with mud tile and red brick, and red oxide and mud are used in flooring of the cottages, which give the floors a cool and pleasant feel,” informed Bansal. Moreover, the raw materials used for the construction of these picturesque cottages are locally sourced and involves low maintenance cost. In fact, most of the people engaged in the resort are also local, which further endorses the Kairali Ayurvedic Group’s emphasis on the culture of sustainability.

Food for Health

As discussed before, the inherent resonance of wellness of Kairali — The Ayurvedic Healing Village is very much evident in its food & beverage offerings too. There are two canteens at the resort with seating capacity of 30 each, where guests can come for breakfast, lunch and dinner. According to Ajosh Joseph, F&B Manager of the resort or the healing village, every day the menu changes for the general guests, though the menu never wavers from its healthy stance. It is always less spicy, low on salt and less oily than your average diet.

However, every day at the breakfast table you can get a different fruit and a different fruit juice, which I liked very much. Though the menu changes every day, but on a given day the menu is fixed for all general guests. That is the guests can order only those items on a given day which are placed on the menu on that day.

 “And for patients with some specific ailments like patients afflicted with diabetes, obesity, etc. diet chart is prepared after consultation with the doctors and food and beverage as per that diet chart is administered to them,” explained Joseph. “We not only know the guests for whom special diet chart is being prepared but also their room numbers and their specific ailments, which ensures that we never make the mistake of administering them a different diet than what is being prescribed for them,” he pointed out further. Most of the vegetables served are grown on the organic farmland surrounding the center.

 “We have four types of diet here, which are classified as Panchakarma Diet(for those taking Panchakarma treatment), Diabetic Diet, Strict Diet(for addressing the weight loss) and Normal Diet,” expressed Joseph. To those not in the know, Panchakarma happens to be cleansing of the body according to principles of Ayurveda.

Regular yoga and meditation sessions, a visit to the gym and spa, walk through the herbal garden and a dip in the swimming pool(preferably in the summers) complement the healthy sojourn at the place.

The Business in Leisure

A spacious air-conditioned conference hall with a capacity of 40, and a well appointed board room with a capacity of 20, provide the perfect settings for educational retreats and conferences.

The resort offers gym, tennis courts, badminton court and a jogging track for guests to address their fitness concerns and their love for sports. The indoor recreation room of the resort offers billiards, carrom and a cards table among other amusements. Those with ongoing business responsibilities can make use of the resort’s business center, which is equipped with a cyber café, Photostat machines and fax machines. The guests can also avail the services of an astrologer. The tour of the herbal garden with Dr. Saravan helped us to get a passing awareness about the Ayurvedic medicinal applications of the plethora of plants dotted throughout. Overall, despite the gentle chirping of birds, time seem to stand still here, just like the placid waters of the swimming pool.

The Sights and Sounds

However, for tourists who are looking for a conventional holiday, I must say that there isn’t much to see in and around the health resort, except for the Malampuzha Dam and Garden, the Palakkad Fort, built by Hyder Ali of Mysore in 1766, and the snake park. But despite the paucity of conventional tourist attractions around the healing village, I made a mental note of visiting this unique expression in hospitality again, in the near future, as I boarded the flight to Delhi, from Coimbatore. For as I said before, it is a place where one can find a healthier and a rejuvenated yourself.

Published on: January - February 2015