Kairali The Ayurvedic Healing Village
featured in the prestigious newspaper The Pioneer
A descriptive and well-informed article about Kairali-The
Ayurvedic Healing Village was published in the prestigious and well circulated newspaper
The Pioneer on 1st September 2013. The author writes about his own experience
of Ayurveda at The Ayurvedic Healing Village in God’s Own Country –Kerala.
The article beautifully describes that natural beauty of Palakkad
and The healing village, it also gives an idea about Ayurveda and the positive effects
of Ayurvedic treatments.
GATEWAY’S TO GOD’S
Sunday, 01 September
2013 | Pioneer | in Agenda
Palakkad is not only
about Ayurveda. The bright green of the paddy beckons visitors to explore its
rich history, which now lies in a shambles at Palakkad Fort built in 1766,
writes Navneet Mendiratta
You could smell the
rain and green at the same time, even with your eyes closed. It’s a fragrance
so rich that it overpowers your senses and directs your body to slow down its
pace and enjoy the experience. Monsoon in Kerala is different from any other
that the country enjoys. The rainwashed tiled rooftops look beautiful against
the lush green setup and dark clouds in the backdrop.
I tried to count the
shades of green as I drove past the misty Nilgiris that make for the majestic
mountain range between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. My destination — Olassery in the
Palakkad district — was about 65 km (or roughly an hour’s drive) from
Coimbatore, the nearest airport. Dark clouds loomed overhead, threatening to
let burst every now and then. Some kept their promise while others drifted away
in a no show.
I watched people going
about their chores in their farms along the highway. Women in saris with fresh
flowers adorning their hair rode pillion behind men with their lungis neatly
tucked in. Life starts early in this part of the country.
Even as I scanned the
scenic surrounds around, I was struck by the fact that I did not get to cross
any big town on my way to Palakkad. A small town surrounded by rich flora and
fauna, Palakkad draws its name from a sweet scented flowering tree called Pala
(Alstonia Scholaris) and Kadu meaning forest in the local language. This is
also the region which is said to be the birthplace of Ayurveda, with many a
rare herbs and trees growing in the vicinity.
Ayurveda, this ancient form of medical science may be catching the world’s
fancy now as a corrective measure for biorhythm imbalances; for people down
south, it’s a way of life. It is not surprising to see many foreigners take a
break from their busy schedules to join a Holistic Healing programme and find a
cure to their long impending lifestyle induced ailments. Panchakarma is one
sought after treatment at several authorised and registered Ayurvedshalas that
exist in the region.
My trip was meant to
be short, but I looked forward to regaining my balance. True, it’s no great
secret, but we all seem to have lost the right way in trying to match up to the
fast and stressful pace city life has set for us.
Situated in Palakkad
is Kairali, an Ayurvedic Healing Village started by Gita Ramesh and KV Ramesh,
where you are made to listen to your biorhythm and forget the concept of time,
just the way our ancestors did. Set amid 50 acres of lush greenery with 30
exclusive villas built in keeping with Vastu Shastra, incorporating the balance
of five elements, the village is a distinctive blend of natural surrounds made
up of green foliage, namely herbs and trees with curative and restorative
powers and resort comforts like a swimming pool, tennis courts, library, cyber
centre, recreation facilities for children, conference halls and an
amphitheater for cultural programmes. Only the inhabitants are made to follow a
strict routine that is meant to detox their bodies and souls; the kitchens
serve only vegetarian food and alcohol is strictly prohibited.
They say there is time
for everything. Even nature follows a certain discipline. You veer off the
track and you are punished by the way of adverse health effects. A typical day
at the village starts at 6 am with a glass of lukewarm honey and lemon
concoction. This is followed by an hour-long session of yoga including surya
namaskar and breathing exercises under the guidance of yogacharyas from the
Sivananda School, Rishikesh, and Kerala.
This was really my
wake up call. The one that my body had responded to when each part became aware
of its existence. This is also when I realised how unfit I was, having lost out
on any exercise that I should have done in each day of my waking up hours.
“Don’t worry you’d get better with time,” I was told. Only I must remain
committed and make the practice a habit.
Soon I was swept by
hunger pangs. Signs of a good system, I was told. I checked my watch. It was
only 8:15 am. An hour when most of my ilk are snuggly tucked in their beds.
“You must have your breakfast before 8:30 am under all conditions,” advised Dr
Sarvan, the younger of the two resident Ayurveda doctors at the resort.
All treatments are
prescribed and carefully supervised by the doctors. These are mainly oil massages
as different from your regular spa and aimed to cure you of your ‘ailment’,
even if that happens to be an unhealthy lifestyle.
My breakfast was a
simple and healthy spread of fresh cut seasonal fruits, sprouts and a spinach
dosa, served with freshly prepared chutneys. As I reached out for my glass of
water, I noted that it was warm and of unusual pink colour. “You are only
served special water, boiled with local herbs to strengthen your immunity,”
shared Alavoor Umesh, the general manager of the resort. “While the pink water
is said to be good for diabetics, the yellow one is prescribed to those who are
struggling to combat water retention. The water is most beneficial when
consumed warm,” he elaborated. Practically without any distinct flavour, I was quick
to take to both the versions.
Ayurveda is serious
business in Kerala and patients come from far and wide seeking a cure for their
ailments. The duration of their stay varies from the time prescribed for the
completion of a treatment to therapy-oriented detox packages.
The science has some
basic principles that deal with the natural way of living a healthy life. Every
human being is said to be a unique combination of the five elements — earth,
water, fire, air and space, making up the three vital forces of life. These are
best described as Vata representing ether and air, Pita combining fire and
water, and Kapha meaning water and earth. The perfect balance of these vital
forces results in true health that comes from the co-ordination of mind, body
My body type decoded,
I was prescribed different treatments spread over two days. One of the
treatments took care of my aching muscles and was meant to move some stubborn
fat around the belly. Called Kadikizhi, the treatment involved a hard massage using
linen balls stuffed with powdered pulses, herbs and seeds. The poultice was
warmed in medicated oil and used to massage the entire body, neck, shoulders,
and back. “The treatment eases the joints and soothes aches and pains all over
your body. If repeated over a period of time and combined with strict dietary
and routine regulation, it also aides weight-loss,” Dr Sarvan told me.
The other treatments
that are a hit with people going in for rejuventation and detox are abhyangam
and sirodhara. To round it off was a nice steam bath in specially made chambers
that required you to be seated inside a cabinet-like structure with head
sticking out like you were about to be beheaded. To be honest, it was one of
the best I had in many years. This was followed by a cold shower to wash off
excess oil and I was done.
For those who come
here seeking pampering get to try out the Royal spa. This also happened to be
my prescribed treatment for day two when I was treated like a queen and
slathered with pastes made from fresh, local ingredients from the kitchen, and
a head spa all aimed at relaxation.
If the body must be
trained to fall in line with discipline and correct diet, the mind must be
stimulated with spiritual fodder in the form of meditation. As the evening set
in, I was guided to the meditation centre. Fragrance of sandal and agarbattis
filled the room that was dimly lit and quiet. Yogacharya Guruprasad initiated
the students to a lesson in inner peace. With soothing music for backdrop in a
deep voice he guided all to look with and counter the fear and other challenges
and let the positive energy flow.
Other than holding
meditation classes at the resort, Yogacharya, a trained therapist from
Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, works with special children and helps them find
their release. “I may not be able to prove it, but from my experience, I can
tell that yoga and meditation help put these special children of God at ease
with their self and even get a healthy response towards growth and
understanding,” he shared.
Palakkad is not only
about Ayurveda or the resort. The bright green of the paddy beckons a visitor
to explore its rich history, which now lies in a shambles at Palakkad Fort that
dates back to 1766, when it was built by Hyder Ali of Mysore. It was later
captured by the British. Also known as Tipu Sultan’s fort, it today houses a
functioning jail and a Hanuman temple.
Or, you could visit
Malapuzha Dam which is situated about eight km from Palakkad town. The dam,
completed in 1955, is the largest reservoir in Kerala. It is also known for its
scenic beauty and sprawling gardens and makes for a perfect spot for
Then there is the
historic Jainimedu Jain temple situated on the western border of Palakkad town
and not far from the railway station or Nenmara, the foothill town some 24 km
from palakkad town.
As I drove back to the
airport from Palakkad, I wished I could have prolonged my trip a little longer.
It’s not a trip to be made in a hurry. If at all the rush only defeats the
Published on: 1st