Words by Bindu Gopal Rao
A holistic wellness getaway, Kairali – The Ayurvedic Healing Village is a pioneer in its field, and following an extensive refurbishment now boasts a completely new look. Located in Olassery, Kodumbu, in Palakkad District, one of the few land-locked districts of Kerala, the 30-room resort is an oasis tucked amidst verdant greens and a meandering water body that snakes itself through the premises. Surrounded by nature, the resort is full of birds and the only sounds you hear are the chirping of the birds.
The retreat is founded on the ancient science of Ayurveda, said to be over 5,000 years old, and is an alcohol free, vegetarian, caffeine free, smoking free space that focuses on organic farming and zero preservative food. Using a strict no-refrigeration policy means all the food is harvested and cooked fresh.
Abhilash K. Ramesh, executive director, Kairali Ayurvedic Group said: “Over the last two years, we have completely renovated this asset. All the rooms have been renovated completely, not just refurbished. The bathrooms were redone from scratch and the Maharaja suites were also overhauled. We have created an extension in the ladies’ treatment centre and renovated the entire men’s treatment section and have more treatment rooms, a quiet room facility and more space. Our new yoga and meditation centre is completely new and is the largest in this region.”
Spread over 60 acres, the resort is the only property to have a hospital license and all ayurvedic treatments are conducted after a doctor’s consultation. There are female and male doctors that you first need to meet who assess your health condition and prescribe a treatment plan.
With a focus on Ayurveda in its purest form, the retreat also offers yoga and meditation, a holistic in-house expertise including medicines, research, and a training centre. The newly built yoga centre is a massive 6,000 sq. feet and overlooks the paddy fields and hanging bridge. There is also an exercise room (with gym equipment) in addition to a well-stocked library where you can browse and read a variety of titles. There are live cookery sessions and demos also conducted, while weekly dance performances are a permanent fixture and are a great way to come close to the local culture of Kerala.
What makes Kairali a resort with a difference is that it is an all villa space, with trees and herbs assigned to birth stars which have immense restorative and curative power. In fact, each of the 30 rooms have a name that is also a birth star in the Hindu calendar. All rooms have attached bathrooms along with a television and Wi-Fi. There are no kettles as this is a caffeine-free retreat, instead, you will see a ‘Valambiri Conch’ in every cottage that is intended to provide positive vibrations.
The rooms are divided into three categories: the Deluxe Villa that is the starting range, the Royal Villa that has plush interiors and the Maharaja Suite, a name that implies it is fit for a king. The rooms also have ayurvedic soaps, shampoos, tooth powder and lotions that come in handy. And if you like the products, you can also buy them from the reception as Kairali has its own manufacturing facility that makes these products.
The retreat focuses on a strict vegetarian diet that is also dairy free. The idea is to give guests an authentic farm to table experience. As part of the refurbishment, the kitchen also has been upgraded and the team now grows an additional 35 species of plants on the retreat’s organic farm where, season permitting (it is very hot in summer months and too wet in the monsoons), you can request a guided tour.
The food typically consists of soup, salad, rice, roti, three kinds of curries and dessert. There is no use of refined flour or sugar and jaggery is used to sweeten desserts. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served individually on the tables at the in-house canteen, which is how the restaurant is addressed.
All treatments take place at the Ayurveda centre, which has seen an extra 5,500 sq. ft added to its existing 11,000 sq. ft of space. With its roots in Ayurveda, the retreat offers numerous programmes that can target specific health issues. Among the packages offered you have preventive and regenerative treatments, and treatments for a wide range of ailments including sinusitis, migraine, bronchial diseases, Hypertension, slip disc, Arthritis (Osteo and Rheumatoid), facial paralysis, Diabetes, Cervical Spondylosis, Psoriasis, and paralysis.
There are also treatments that help with eye care, stress and strain, weight reduction/obesity management, revitalization and strengthening treatment for cancer patients, Panchakarma therapy, holistic treatment for rejuvenation and detoxiﬁcation, and help with de-addiction and rehabilitation from alcohol/drugs/tobacco.
When you are at Kairali, there is much to do whether it is spiritual, historical, cultural, or even culinary. One of the must-see temples here is at Thiruvalathoor, home to an ancient temple that has some stunning woodwork and stone sculptures. It is believed that the temple is ancient, and its outer wall was constructed by the Gods themselves. While it was unfinished, as it could not be completed before dawn, it is said that many efforts to build the wall have since failed.
A stop at Tippu’s Fort, or the Palakkad Fort, built by Hyder Ali, in 1766 is recommended. A moat runs around its outer circumference which is home to several turtles, and you will also find a small temple within the premises. You can also head to the Malampuzha reservoir for a spot of boating and if you are interested in trying the local food, a stop at the legendary Noor Jahan restaurant (they have several branches across the city) is always a good idea.
Coimbatore International Airport is located 62 km away; Cochin International Airport is 113 km away.
Rooms can be booked from £100 pppn.
Images courtesy of Kairali