A healing village for your mind and body: Kairali is a must visit

Kairali Ayurvedic Group’s signature resort is a perfect option to detox and re-energise yourself, anytime of the year. But, mind you this isn’t just a spa, it’s a healing retreat for overworked souls bearing the burden of crazy-paced modern lives as also a certified centre for treatment through alternative medicine –Ayurveda. I spent a few days in this lush green retreat and came back rather refreshed, with no signs of remorse, except for the guilt of ignoring my health all this while.

When we’re planning our itineraries for a trip or visiting a brand new place, the first most natural thing to do is browse the World Wide Web for videos and pictures of our destination. But, in the case of this Ayurvedic group’s flagship property called Kairali Healing Village in the Palakkad district of Kerala, pictures just don’t do justice.

The resort is breathtakingly beautiful, soaked in heritage, surrounded by nature as also simplicity. I flew to Coimbatore from Delhi and then the destination was a two and a half hours away by road, through the foothills of the Western Ghats.

A decent green cover surrounds the property, along with which keeps it pleasantly cool. As you enter through the huge gate and make your way up to the flight of stairs, you could easily miss the reception area for a simplistic yet striking thatched kerala style entry arch of sorts, welcoming you with all its might.

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With the clean air, green everywhere you look and an invisible cover that spells wellness, rejuvenation begins right there with these sensory delights.

Kairali has cottage style accommodation built in keeping with the ancient science of Vaastu Shastra, cottages are assigned to guests according to an individual birth star or zodiac. A prominently build man-made stream gushes is full might,  through the residential area a couple of times through the day and is inhabited by a few varies of fishes along with frogs. The sound of water gushing through adds to the therapeutic persona of this resort and runs along the entire guest accommodation area.

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I was allotted a room in Maharaja Cottage which ‘is grand’ by definition, has two adjoining rooms, a small garden area and a tulsi plant at the entrance.

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As the management would reinforce the notion of the resort being more of a healing outfit, you see they mean it rather seriously with no frills in the vicinity. The beds and linen are basic, simple and clean and the food strictly healthy – which by no stretch of imagination would mean not yummy.

The days begin with early morning yoga sessions by the pool side, amidst fig and other fruit baring trees.

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After a healthy dose of fresh air and yoga, you get to the breakfast table with ‘healthy’ food which is true of all courses. And healthy it might be, but don’t mistake it for being a burden on your taste buds the meals are tailor-made (according to your body type and health needs) sumptuous and high on nutrition while been low on fat, obviously.

Lentil and vegetable based soups, fresh salads along with main course made from all organic veggies and herbs grown by Kairali in their own garden make all the difference in the taste. The freshness is unmistakable. We were also given a short tour of the herb garden which is the base for not only kitchen supplies but also massage ointments and mixes. Well, we city slickers can get a bit homesick in the absence of unhealthy food, so I did once get to cheat on the health eating with lip-smacking banana fritters on one occasion, yet to regret that.

Here’s a look at my foodstuff during my stay:

And of course I can’t forget the yummy detoxifying pinkish-red drink made of the bark of the Pathimugam – Red Wood or East Indian Wood tree. The multipurpose tree and its bark is widely used in several forms of ayurvedic practices across kerala and drinking this warm drink itself is said to cure and keep away several ailments while also acting as purifying agent.

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To help us take home the good food habits, the super chefs at Kairali gave us a masterclass for on Ayurvedic style cooking and the good folks at the resort have us a heavy-duty coffee table book with these nourishing recipes for different courses, equipping us to keep up the ‘health first’ attitude  when we were back home.

On day two after settling down, it was time to consult with the in house  ayurvedic doctors (the process usually happens soon after checking in), who diagnose an individual body type and accordingly chart out a food menu along with other prescribed ayurvedic massages.

Needless to say that both massages sessions were spectacular; I was in the heart of God’s Own Country after all, which has been upholding the ayurvedic tradition for centuries. Kizhi or the potli massage was one of the two massages I tried. Honestly it was be a little overwhelming to be boxed with hot little sacks of herbal powder but the relief comes soon after.

The good old oil massage – Abhayangam, of course soothed every frayed nerve and knot in the body. Post the sessions I was deposited in a wooden box like chamber, with a place to sit and only enough space on top for your head to pop out. Swedhana, essentially a fomentation therapy or a steam bath in plain language, is used after several ayurvedic treatments to help with detoxifying the body through flow of sweat.

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Just after the last therapy, while I was wondering what soap would possibly help to get the oil off, one of the therapists came and handed over an ubtan and herbal shampoo. Nothing else, quite frankly would have worked in my opinion to get the heavy duty oil out.

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Which brings to another highlight of the Kairali group, their herbal skin and hair care products used throughout the property are more than decent. I can’t say I’m a fan of all the fragrances of the soaps in particular but they work well on the skin surely. The shampoo on the other hand is volumizing and worked well even for my temperamental long hair. If you’ve got a long length to deal with you may consider applying a serum to help with de-tangling before.

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All in all, I would recommend Kairali to one and all. Not only as a getaway or holiday but as an essential ‘detox and re-energise’ annual routine. The surrounding, food and therapies work well for both your mind and body.

I also had a chance meet with the young scion of Kairali Ayurvedic Group, Abhilash K Ramesh (Director), who spoke passionately about the strides the group is making towards popularising ayurveda and wellness together as he gave us a tour of the property. He believes the combination of wellness and ayurveda will continue to rise due to the lives people are leading today, induced with stress, exhaustive working styles and leading life at a breakneck speed. We are already seeing a rise in category with numerous ayurveda wellness centres cropping up throughout the country. Lifestyle related issues aren’t just physical afterall.

That one breath of fresh air by the poolside after your yoga session in wee hours of the morning, a walk during twilight by the stream… these are moments which will help you sail through your mad everyday life, like no therapy would.

The world is looking at alternative medicine as a solution for many lifestyle related problems as also serious ailments, Kairali is a leading name in that category, so don’t mistake it for a cosmetic getaway. Having said that, even if you don’t have any health issues and would simply light to work on some grey areas surrounding your health and lifestyle, Kairali Healing Village is a dream getaway.

Some more picture postcards from this amazing getaway.

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A lotus pond close to the treatment centre
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A unexpected sight within the herbal garden
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Takeaways from the local market, brass all the way.

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