How often do we go on a holiday and come back cribbing about the amount of weight we’ve put on due to gorging on junk food, lazing by the pool all day and catching up on sleep? Pretty much after every holiday, isn’t it? But do we ever think of taking a “holiday” that is actually beneficial to our well being? Where we wake up early to do Surya Namaskar while facing the rising sun and when “happy hours” is literally that – a meditation session that allows you to feel happy and serene from within? I recently had such a “holiday” and it has made me realise just how important it is in our fast-paced, stress-filled lives to simply disconnect from 4G/3G and re-connect with our inner “jiva” once in a while. I am referring to my experience at The Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village – the world’s first Ayurvedic Health Farm and Retreat in Palakkad, Kerala.
If you follow me on social media, you would have seen the Instagram stories that I did from there as well as the pictures I had posted during my visit to the Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort. In fact, I have also put up a little video giving you a glimpse into this wellness retreat on my YouTube Channel which you can see here as well:
About The Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village
“The Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village provides a refuge of complete stillness, in which to focus entirely on a wellbeing retreat experience. A full range of traditional treatments is available at the resort, and nothing pleases us more than seeing guests solve chronic health problems after just a few weeks guidance from our world-class Ayurvedic team. If there was an apt word to describe everything in the world, the word for this Ayurvedic village would probably be “Natural”. Everything in this resort has an imprint of nature on it. Be it the lush of greenery that is abundant throughout the village or the gentle flowing stream that soothes the mind, nature is the prime occupant here and the effects of this presence is relaxing to say the least. It is very easy to lose oneself here in the laps of nature and unequivocally, nature treats everyone here as her own children.
The Ayurvedic Healing Village remains true to ancient Vedic practices in every respect; from its highly qualified Ayurvedic doctors and renowned health practices to the Vaastu Shastra architecture of its thirty guest villas”
Before you decide to check into this wellness retreat, you have to be aware of one thing – they are extremely strict about not allowing any kind of addictive substances and narcotics into the property in keeping with the Ayurvedic principles. Unfortunately for me, the “addictive substances” include coffee and that killed all the visions I had of sipping piping hot filter coffee while listening to the birdsong. Of course, they do serve normal Indian tea as well as herbal and green tea while the warm herbal water that they encourage you to sip all day long keeps the coffee pangs at bay.
The Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village is situated among acres of Ayurvedic farm land and has more than 600 coconut trees, over 40 mango trees as well as others like fig, guava and jackfruit. In fact, almost 80% of the vegetables and fruits used in the retreat restaurant are grown in-house. This profusion of flora also ensures that the temperature at the resort is 3-4 degrees cooler than it is in the town of Palakkad.
What struck me the most when I entered the resort premises is that unlike most other hotels and resorts who’s trees and plants have a groomed, manicured perfection to them (like the Riverview Retreat, Corbett), the vegetation at Kairali has a rustic, almost wild feel to it that is just perfect for the one-with-nature vibe this place has.
There are a large number of birds that roam around the property as well as several beautiful and rare butterflies. Flowers of various hues add bursts of colour amidst the green vegetation and are a welcome relief for eyes accustomed to the dreary urban landscape.
While there are four categories of cottages at Kairali, each cottage is unique and different from the others, in the exterior design as well as the interiors. Each cottage also has a little sit out where you can peacefully sit and sip the warm herbal water or exchange life stories with other wellness seekers from around the world. Each cottage is also named after a different Nakshatra. No tiles are used anywhere in the retreat with the flooring everywhere being red oxide which helps in keeping the interiors cool even during the blazing, hot tropical summers.
However, as bright and airy as the exteriors are, the interiors of the cottages are disappointingly drab and gloomy. As you can see in my video, even with all the lights on, the interiors of the room are very dark and gloomy. The decor too, needs a makeover as does the bathroom (which is something I am extremely finicky about). I did, however, like the little ceramic jars (like mini versions of the pickle jars our grandmoms used) of toiletries kept in the bathroom which included “Dant manjan” – ayurvedic tooth powder.
” The food offered at Kairali carries with it the genuine taste and texture of pure Ayurvedic cuisine. With an extensive assortment of pure vegetarian food, this village incorporates with it the most fundamental principle of Ayurveda: healthy living.”
Ayurveda believes that food can be either Sattvik, Rajasik or Tamasik depending on the kind of effect it has on the body and mind. Sattvik food – such as fruits and nuts, cereals, grains, vegetables and spices such as turmeric and ginger – increase the energy of the mind, produce cheerfulness and are conducive to good health. Needless to say, the food at Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village is entirely sattvik and shuns Rajasik (heavy, spicy) and Tamasik (overcooked, stale, processed and fermented) foods.
Upon checking into the resort, each person first has a consultation with the Ayurvedic doctor who then determines the diet for the duration of the stay. While only Sattvik food is served, based on a person’s health conditions, certain foods may be permitted or quantities restricted.
During each meal time, they also serve hot herbal water (a delightful pink colour thanks to the red sandalwood in it) that helps detoxify the body and keeps skin ailments at bay. A thermos of the herbal water is also given to you in the room so that you may sip it through the day.
The food is just one aspect of well being in this Ayurvedic resort. The other aspects are the Ayurvedic treatments, Yoga and meditation as well as ayurvedic products all of which combined make for all-rounded, holistic wellness. However, seeing how long this post has become, I shall write about those in a separate blog post.
Have you ever gone to an Ayurvedic wellness retreat for a detox or for a cure for any illness? Let me know your experience in the comments below.
Disclaimer – I was invited to ‘Wellness Bloggers Meet, Edition-2 organised by Ayurved Sutra at Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village, Palakkad, Kerala‘, but my views and opinions are honest and unbiased.