How about a warm herbal oil massage that lulls you to peace as you lounge in a traditional thatch-roofed houseboat on a rainy day with lush green rice fields and coconut groves spreading away into the distance? Feeling rejuvenated already?
Holidaying in 'god's own country', Kerala is not just about serene beaches, tranquil stretches of backwaters and exotic wildlife but also about a healing touch -- that of ayurveda, a system of traditional medicine in India that evolved around 600 BC.
Kerala's abundance of forests with a wealth of herbs and medicinal plants and the cool monsoon season -- June to July and October to November -- are best suited for ayurveda's curative and restorative packages.
Even though the arrival of monsoon is nearly two months away, resorts in Kerala are making last-minute arrangements to welcome the new 'ayurvedic season', the most sought after tourism product when the rains lash Kerala for several weeks.
K. Muraleedharan, one of the chief physicians at the famed Kottakal Aryavaidya Sala in Malappuram, says ayurveda is most effective during the monsoon because the body gets weak during that time.
'Hence, any ayurvedic treatment taken during the monsoon time boosts the immunity and it has a long-lasting effect. It also takes into account the vagaries of the weather,' Muraleedharan told IANS.
Moreover, ayurveda believes in the treatment of not just the affected part, but the individual as a whole. It is the natural way to refresh oneself by eliminating all toxic imbalances from the body and thus regain resistance and good health, he said.
Over the years, resorts across the state have come out with tailor-made ayurvedic packages. The duration could go up to three weeks and the cost from as low as Rs.500 to as high as Rs.30,000 (500 euros).
Though the most preferred treatment is a rejuvenation package of massages, tourists also look forward to body slimming, stress management and beauty care packages.
John Muthoot, managing director of Muthoot Hotels here, said over the years they have had an incremental business in bookings at the Taj Green Cove hotel near Kovalam during the monsoon season.
'In our state-of-the-art spa here, we use high quality ingredients which make ayurveda treatment a pleasurable experience,' Muthoot told IANS.
Of late, tourists are seeking ayurveda packages for treating various modern- day ailments like obesity, mental tension, spondylosis and skin problems.
The various treatment protocols in ayurveda include various types of massages -- pouring of a herbal liquid through a special vessel on the forehead and other parts of the body, application of herbal leaves and powders (that are made into pouches and immersed in warm medicated oil) all over the body and herbal juices and medicated oil applied through the nose.
Tomy Pulikattil, who owns a fleet of houseboats, has remodelled one for tourists to get a massage as they leisurely cruise the lake.
'I have one boat with two rooms where I offer clients a day's package which includes massages and food. For two people, the rate is Rs.6,800 all inclusive. Last season, we had more than 30 bookings and this time we are planning to roll out one more boat, because the bookings appear good,' said Pulikattil.
A Mathrubhumi Article