Abhilash K. Ramesh, Executive Director, Kairali Ayurvedic Group, talks about the recent renovations at the legendary Kairali Healing Village and the power of Ayurveda healing.
What are the five highlights of Kairali Healing Village?
- We do one thing and we do it very well, which is Ayurvedic treatments. We don’t cater to anything else, so people come here for a certain disorder and we help them achieve that goal. We thrive on prevention.
- It’s a hospital, but it doesn’t give a hospital feel or vibe. You get the same treatment or better, but in a holistic environment where you’re immersed in nature. We believe a lot of new age current disorders are cropping up because of stress and emotional imbalances, and that can be only treated in a serene environment.
- Our lineage and decades of experience with different types of patients and disorders. We have built up very good treatment protocols for various ailments. That’s unique to us and people keep coming back for that.
- We don’t claim to be anything that we’re not, and adhere to the traditional ways and standards that have always been there. We have been a certified hospital for more than six years, and a very high level of protocol has to be followed to get the certification, besides the annual audit inspections.
- We built Kairali Healing Village without cutting down a single tree. The entire asset was built on organic plantations before farm to table or the zero-mile concept were fashionable. The entire the vision was to live one with nature, so we built around the trees.
What recent renovations have been done at Kairali Healing Village?
We’ve not changed the exteriors of the cottages. All the royal villas have been fully redone. The bathrooms in all the rooms have been upgraded. There’s a beautiful IPS finish on the bathroom walls. It looks natural, lets the wall breath and is easy to maintain as well. Each room, in particular, has better lighting, which was earlier on the darker side. The reception is new. An extension for the entire Ayurveda wing on the women’s side has been built. There are new treatment rooms, new showers, new relaxation areas. The yoga and meditation hall is one of the largest you will see. We have also added 30 more species of plants. Going forward, we’re just looking at doing minor overhauls and improving the pathways and accessibility.
Was the pandemic to an extent a blessing in disguise, allowing you to go ahead with these renovations? Or were they already planned?
It was always planned before the pandemic, but then it was going at a very slow pace and there was no way we could have done such extensive construction and renovation in a running property. With the high demand from clients who keep coming year after year and running at nearly 90 percent occupancy, to shut down an entire wing and remodel it or extend and create a new building would have been impossible. So we were considering shutting down the property but then Covid happened, and we got a year and a half break in between.
Tell us a bit about the food at Kairali Healing Village.
The food at Kairali is very personalised. If you’re undergoing treatment for a certain ailment, as per your doshas the doctor and dietitian will usually prescribe what you can and cannot eat. That’s passed on to the kitchen staff and they serve you according to that. You may be in the same programme, but if you have a different dosha — maybe you’re not allowed garlic or tomatoes or onions or something that will increase or decrease your pitta — even if it’s a similar dish, the ingredients might change. We don’t use preservatives or frozen ingredients. Everything is made fresh and nothing is stored overnight.
Our farm sustains the properties produce needs. Throughout the year we plan according to seasons, and eat what is grown. We have 40-50 different types of vegetables, fruits and herbs growing here, all organic.
What chronic conditions has Kairali had special success with?
We are well known for addressing bone disorders and pain. A lot of people come to us slipped discs and arthritis. We do get a lot of panchakarma and weight-loss treatment patients as well. People who check in at Kairali see improvement within a few days. If you are here for a rejuvenation or weight-reduction programme, you will start seeing changes within a few days. More than seeing you will feel it. After doing pranayama and yoga for four or five days itself there is a drastic mood shift and energy levels go up. We also specialise in detox and deaddiction programmes. However, we don’t take in extreme cases for the latter.
What is the mix of domestic and international clients?
If you’d asked me this question 10-15 years ago, I would have said 90 percent international, 10 percent domestic. But over the years we have seen a huge growth in the Indian and Indian-origin people market. Pre-pandemic we were nearly at 65 percent international, and the rest Indians and people of Indian origin.
What is the kind of treatment you yourself prefer?
As a family, all of us come here once a year depending on our schedules and check ourselves in for two weeks. Of course, we started coming here at a very young age. For me it’s either panchkarma or the rejuvenation detox programme.
The Kairali Group has been around in some form for over 100 years. What is your vision for the next 100?
We have multiple verticals under Kairali, so for the Healing village we want to open multiple healing villages across the globe, at least eight more. We want our health retreats to be company owned and operated, and not on management contracts. So it’s a slower process. Kairali is very close to us and we are passionate about it. It’s not something we just want to scale.
Closer on the horizon is a 26-key hospitality project in Goa. It’s not going to be a pure health retreat, catering more towards a yoga and beach destination concept. We are also exploring the Andamans.
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