Outstanding Review of Kairali’s
Ayurvedic Healing Village in Exotica
Kairali- The Ayurvedic Healing Village was featured in Exotica
magazine’s September 2013 issue. The
author has written an outstanding review about her own stay at the Healing
Village. Her words describe the Ayurvedic
Healing Village as a haven for healthy living and authentic Ayurvedic treatments.
Exotica is a very popular travel magazine of the Pioneer
Group. It is an exclusive, upmarket,
trendy monthly magazine on wellness, travel and lifestyle.
The Clock Stops Here
At Kairali, the Ayurvedic healing village in Palakkad, you
are made to listen to your biorhythm and correct your lifestyle the ancient
Text Navneet Mendiratta
I watched the snail move,
creeping on its flat foot underneath its flubby body. Taking its own sweet
time, leaving behind a silvery track of slime it releases to slip itself
through roadblocks. Somewhere along the way it let go of its shell. Now bare,
exposed to the world, it didn’t seem to care. There was no rush to reach
any place. Just the movement….. and the moment….
This is just the pace with which
time moves at Kairali, the Ayurvedic healing village located in Palakkad, the
gateway to God’s own country, Kerala. This is where you are made to listen to
your biorhythm and forget the concept of time, just the way out ancestors did.
This is the place which gives you a chance to restart and correct your karmic
course should you choose to. This is where they even tell you how you do it. Need
you ask more ?
TAKING AYURVEDA TO THE WORLD
Director of Kairali Spa, Abhilash
Kalathil. has a very clear outlook of what he wants the brand to represent. He
shares his thoughts with Exotica….
Having grown up in a household
that live the way of Ayurveda, taking up his position to strengthen the family’s business venture – Kairali –
was a very natural choice for Abhilash
Kalathil. All of 31, he is proud of his roots and determined to take up the
glory of Ayurveda to newer heights. “My grandfather was a vaidya
and it was after him that my family started its first retail outlet for Ayurvedic medicines,” he says. “We are very particular about what we provide in
the name of Ayurveda. there are many products in the market today that are
herbal, not necessarily Ayurvedic as well,” he points out.
“ The basic is idea behind the
healing centre and the range of products was to promote Ayurveda as a
lifestyle. The first step that I took was to incorporate backward integration,”
he shares. “We made sure that the therapists are being initiated at our
training centres and our line of products is being manufactured by us.” The
entire process is integrated to ensure complete quality. The next step will be
education. We will be opening three centres across Gurgaon, Dibrugarh and
Palakkad to train the staff.”
Stepping into the family’s shoes
was hardly difficult for him. “We have always followed Ayurveda at home. We use
water treated by herb for drinking, always partake of seasonal fruits,
avoid cold food at night and observe al
such habits,” he shares. Working with his mother is also something he has been preparing himself
for. “when we’re at work, she’s the boss but when we’re back home, she’s my
mom.” he says.
Business is looking up at the
moment and Kairali is convinced that the days ahead will be promising. “ The
market is looking good And we are growing gradually. We are registering a
growth of 25 per cent at the moment, despite the market conditions and are
hoping for better days ahead,” says he. Kairali Spa made its first
international appearance in Japan in 1989 and there has been no looking
back.” WE are looking at 50 centres,
domestic and international, by the beginning of 2014,” he shares. Ina smart
move to promote growth brand recognition, Kairali Spa offers consultancy services
as well. “we have been approached by other retreats to consult and apart from
that we are also constantly researching on new products,” he tells us.
to him the key to happiness in
life is” living a balanced life. You can
choose to be with nature or be closer to yourself. That’s the science of life.
Instead of relying on external factors, one must look within oneself to find
true and lasting happiness,” he says.
Gateway to God’s own country
It was a long distance to cover.
But the one that I looked forward to, especially since I really wanted to catch
the rains here. Kerala is the most beautiful during monsoon. Even the lush
green is many shades greener and very therapeutic for the eyes. I drove past
the misty Nilgiris that make for the majestic blue hills between Kerala and
Tamil Nadu, having landed at Coimbatore. My destination Olassery in Palakkad
district was about 65 km (or roughly an hour drive) from the airport.
It is amazing to see how
topography changes as you move from one state to another, and with it the
attire and architecture. From the dryness that hits your eyes the moment you
drive out of Coimbatore to the lush , vast expanse of wet green on the other
side of the border, the comparisons are but hard not to be drawn. If there is
one constant, it is the coconut and the banana groves that grows on both sides of the busy highway.
Palakkad is a small town
surrounded by rich flora and fauna that draws its name from a sweet scented
flowering tree called Pala (Alstonia
Scholaris). Kadu means forest in the
local language. This is also the region
which is said to be the birthplace of Ayurveda, with many a rare hrb and tree
growing in the vicinity. It was, therefore, an obvious choice for Kairali to
start their signature resort back in the 90s. A dream child of Gita Ramesh and
KV Ramesh, who hail from a long family of traditional Ayurvedic doctors, this was to be the home ground
extension of day spa facilities that they had launched in Delhi to bring people
back into the fold of ancient sciences based on the correction of doshas in our body. This carefully
nurtured dream has not only grown big, but also spilled out ion beautiful
passages across nine countries.
I woke up to the sound of my
alarm at 6 in the morning. Nothing new about that, I thought to myself. For that
is when my day starts in Delhi. A glass of warm honey lemon water and a quick
shower later, I headed for the yoga room
where other residents or guests were waiting for the class to begin. Soon I was introduced to Emily yates, the yoga
consultant at the retreat. Originally from UK, she adopted and adapted to the
yogic way of life in 2008 when she came to India and perfected her postures
under the guidance of yogaacharyas at the Sivananda School, Kerala.
In the next one hour that I spent
with her, she guided the group through fluid postures, breathing exercises and surya namaskar. This was really my wake up call. The one that
my body really responded to with each part becoming aware of its
existence. This is also when I realized
how unfit I was, having lost out on any exercise that I should have been doing
back home. “ Don’t worry you’d get better with time,” she said as if reading my
mind. Only, she didn’t know it would take more than a casual commitment to
continue with the practice.
Hunger pang were beginning to
grow, and before I realised , we were headed for the dining area. I checked my
watch. it was only 8.15am. Back in Delhi, I wouldn’t have even bothered to
venture into my kitchen to rustle myself a meal. And there lay my biggest
mistake. “You must have your breakfast before 8.30 am under all conditions,”
warned Dr Sarvan, one of the two resident Ayurveda doctors at the resort. All treatments
are prescribed and carefully supervised by doctors here.
My breakfast was a simple healthy
spread of fresh cut seasonal fruits, sprouts and spinach dosa , served with a selection of freshly prepared chutneys. As I
reached out for my glass of water, I noted that it was warm and unusual to
pink. “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
diabetes, the yellow one is prescribed to those who are struggling to combat
water retention. The water is the most beneficial when consumed warm,” he elaborated. Practically without any
distinct flavour, I was quick to take both the versions.
Time for treatment
Breakfast over, I was sent off to
consult the doctor at the treatment centre. Ayurveda is serious business at the
healing village, where patients come 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.
I was immediately made to feel
guilty about the unhealthy lifestyle that I lead in cosmopolitan set-up- bad
timings, poor eating habit, even a worse diet and practically no exercise. At
this rate , I would perish soon or call in sick. In separate consultations, the
two doctors decoded my body type and prescribed me a new lifestyle chart, should I choose to
Ayurveda 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 meaning fire, and Kapha meaning water and earth. The perfect
balance of these vital forces results in true health and the coordination of
mind, body and soul.
I was prescribed two different
treatments spread over two days. The treatment on day one tool care of my
aching muscles and was meant to move some stubborn fat around the belly called
Kdikizhi. The treatment involved a hard massage using
linen balls stuffed with pulses, herb and seeds. The poultice was streamed in a
herbal decoction and used to massage the entire body, neck, shoulders and back.
“The treatment would ease joints and soothe 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.
When undergoing this, I could
relate to it as the potli massage.
The other treatments that are a hit with people going in for rejuvenation 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 box with head sticking out like you are
about to be beheaded. To be honet, it was one of the best I had in as many
years- very practical and non-fuss. This was followed by a warm shower to wash
off the excess oil and I was done.
Day two was more pampering.
Called Royal Spa, 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. At the end of it, I was all glowing and feeling beautiful.
The village that is
Kairali’s Ayurvedic healing
village is set amid 50 acres of lush greenery eith 30 exclusive villas. Each
has been built keeping with Vastu Shastra, the Indian version of feng shui, incorporating the balance of five elements. So
what you get to see here is a very distinctive blend of natural surrounds made
up of green foliage, namely herbs and trees with curative and restorative
powers. None of the villas, Umesh told me, looks like the other and each has a
distinct zodiac name. “ We like to
assign a villa that matches the specific requirements of guests, based on their
birth date. This makes sure that the energy around works to heal you
effectively,” he said.
The landscaping of the village
ensures that a water body run through the entire village and every villa inmate
gets to see it rustling by. In keeping with the times, there is a swimming pool, tennis courts,
library, cyber centre, recreation programs. Given that the inhabitants are to
follow a strict routine and meant to detox their bodies and sous, care has been
taken to keep the resort pollution free. The kitchens serve only vegetarian
food and alcohol is strictly prohibited. After all, you cannot cling to vices
if you wish to break habit and transform into a new and healthy being.
Other than the vills, the village
also houses a herb and a vegetable garden that feeds its treatment centre and
the kitchen. As Umesh put it, “ You get healthy by merely coming to this place.
Ayurveda is not only the USP of this place, it is the way of life.” Having lived
it briefly over a weekend , I figured that out for myself. Yes, this is the
only way you live here- healthy.
Sounds of night
As the evening set in, I moved
towards meditation centre. Fragrance of sandalwood and agar wafted towards me as I adjusted my eyes to the low lighting.
In a corner, Yogacharya Guruprasad J
was preparing to initiate the participants to a lesson in inner peace. He put
on some music that resonated of bells and sitar and in deep voice guided us to
Even meditation ha a technique, a
friend who practices it regularly had once told me. You must get guru to guide you on what suit you the bets,
he has said. We were doing Tibetian meditation. In all my earnestness, I
followed his directions and soon found myself lost in world that he led me
into. It was a very funny feeling, heavy at one time, light the other. The yogacharya guided the group through
myriad experiences ending in a triumph of positivity.
As I slowly opened my eyes at the
end of the exercise, it stuck me how once again I had lost track of time.
Later, as others folded their mats and quietly walked out, I stayed back to
speak to the yogacharya.
He is actually a trained
therapist from Shivananda Ashram, Rishikesh. A local, he chose to come back and
guide others find their way of living. His pet project he shared was working
with special children and helping them find their release. “I may not be able
to prove it, but from my experience, I can tell you yoga and meditation help to
put these special children of God at ease with their selves and even get a
healthy response towards growth and understanding,” he shared.
It was getting dark and time for
dinner. The magic of the day was working its way and I was soon looking forward
to calling it a night. Much at peace with myself, I promised to live healthy
once I got back and keep up with the new routine that I had recently been
introduced to. For how long would I be able to stick to it was a challenge only
I could set and meet.
Published on: September 2013