There was something special about this Monday morning at my
office. I have never felt so fresh before. The credit goes to the three day
trip as the break had so well relaxed me that I felt as though I?d been away
from work for three months. What was the cover story this week? I?d known what
it was even at 10 am the previous Friday, when my flight landed at Coimbatore
Airport. But by 10.01 am, just the next minute, the perfume of fresh, olive flora
and the original, pure oxygen I?d breathed in had smoothly penetrated into my
head. I?d forgotten all about Mumbai. And by 2 pm, after I?d been at the
Kairali ? The Ayurvedic Healing Village or a couple of hours, I?d forgotten
even that I work for a living. No wonder Monday morning ? and reality ? was so
The Big Easy
I must admit that I got more than I could ask for as I
hadn?t known what to expect when I was invited to visit the Kairali ? The
Ayurvedic Healing Village in Palakkad, Kerala, endorsed by the National
Geographic Traveler as one of the top 50 wellness Meccas in the world. I?d
never been to the state before, so all I knew about it was what I?d read in
travelogues ? that it is green, beautiful and the perfect place for fresh-from-the-Arabian
Sea seafood which always sounded pleasant to the ears, but then I was to stay
at the Kairali ? Ayurvedic Healing Village. And I hadn?t an inkling what a
health resort would be like. Likely to be self-righteous and grim?
Well the food was pure vegetarian and low in salt as it is a
Healing Village so there was not even a glimpse of seafood. It was early to bed
simply because the Healing Village is quite far from any town, and except TV
and books, there wasn?t anything else to do. It was, therefore, early to rise,
but not for earnest yoga if I didn?t want to do it although I did.
It was gentle, serene, filled with smiley, helpful people
who?d chat if you wanted to chat but leave you alone if the only company you
wanted was your book.
To my surprise, I didn?t languish in this non-urban (the
Healing Village is set in 55 acres of land, 45 acres of which are devoted to
growing organic food for its kitchens), slow-paced environment so different
from my own.
People often go to Kairali with some ailments or complaints.
It is a Healing Village after all, and its Ayurvedic hospital with doctors and
trained therapists, is the reason for its strong identity and existence. Though
there is a swimming pool, library, gym, business centre and curio shop within
the Kairali premises (not to mention the fact that every room is actually a
charming little villa), this isn?t really a place for the ordinary holidaymaker.
It?s a place to get cured. A week is the minimum you?d require if a health
programme is to do you any real good; ideally two weeks to a month. In any case,
before you sign up for a stay at Kairali, you have to consult either online or
on the phone with one of the two Ayurvedic doctors of Healing Village who will
advise you on the kind of package you could take.
Treatments are holistic (and yes of course, they include amazing
herbal massages!), and this is where Kairali?s relative isolation helps. Along with
providing amity and calmness of a kind you?d never find in any city, what adds
more to the joy is the distance from the city so that no obstruction comes
between you and your healing process.
You could hire a car and take off for a bit of sightseeing,
shopping and perhaps the occasional non-sattvic meal. So on Sunday morning,
even though I could have wandered off to the sit-out by the waterfall with my
book and sat around doing nothing for longer, I consented to get into a car
instead to see a bit more of Kerala than Kairali.
After experiencing an enlivening walk across the dam at the
Malampuzha Garden and a look around the Palakkad Fort, built by Hyder Ali,
father of Tipu Sultan, it was time for some pocket shedding (shopping). I
wasn?t paying attention to clothing and knick-knacks. All I wanted was sambar
powder and banana chips, and I found the real things. The sambar powder now
jazzes up my daal at home, and what can I say about the banana chips? I
actually stood at the shop and watched the plantains go through the slicing
machine, drop into the hot oil, and emerge crisp, ready for the salt and my
one-kilo packet. So there wasn?t seafood. But there was the pleasure of banana
chips. It was the pleasure of being in Kerala.
Posted On: April 28, 2011