Kerala: India’s Spa Capital

Ayurvedic spas draw visitors to India's southern region

By: Judy Koutsky

The tradition of Ayurveda has been used in India for over 2,000 years. Its complex principles are based on the use of natural ingredients to restore the balance of mind and body. The origin of this practice and the area where it’s most well known is Kerala, a state located in the southern part of India, near the bottom tip of the country.

Kerala is a quiet place with a lush, green landscape. A series of canals traverse the region, making boat trips a must for travelers wanting to experience the rural side of the country. Vegetation coconut palms and rice fields shares the land with tea plantations and spice farms.

Spas, though, are the real focus of the region, and most hotels boast their own Ayurvedic center.

Visitors should start their trip in the city of Cochin, where one of the best Ayurvedic spas is located at the Trident Hilton Cochin in Willingdon Island. A good fit for business and leisure travelers, most of the hotel’s 85 rooms and suites overlook tropical gardens and manicured courtyards.

The Ayurvedic Center, however, is the highlight of the property. Like most Ayurvedic spas, this one is run by a trained, licensed Ayurvedic doctor. Dr. Ratheesh Kumar is a patient, learned man who calmly explained the practice of Ayurveda to me and extolled its many benefits. He personally meets with each patient before a treatment, inquiring about their medical background before recommending specific treatments (for me he suggested the calming Sirodhara forehead oil treatment).

For travelers suffering from arthritis, poor blood circulation, muscle aches, high blood pressure and a variety of other ailments, Dr. Kumar can put together a program designed specifically to target these areas.

Another good hotel option in Cochin is Brunton Boatyard, located right on the water. Here, visitors can drink cocktails while looking out at traditional Chinese fishing boats catching their daily fare. During the day, visitors should keep their eye on any movement in the water as this is a favorite playground for dolphins.

Make sure to advise clients to allow time for a spa treatment at the Ayurveda spa here. This is a highly acclaimed center with well-trained therapists. Again, each patient meets with a specially trained Ayurvedic doctor for in-depth questioning on mental and physical health.

Book clients at the Spice Village, located in the Periyar wilderness, high in the Western Ghats of Kerala. The hotel offers amazing views of the mountains and densely canopied forests. The hotel arranges custom excursions, including elephant rides, biking tours of the national park, yoga and mediation classes.

Here, many clients book treatments over a two- to three-day span, so slots fill up quickly. It is important to advise clients to make bookings soon after their arrival in the hotel.

WHERE TO STAY

CGH Earth Hotels
(Brunton Boatyard, Spice Village)
www.cghearth.com
Commission: 10 percent

The Trident Hilton
www.trident-hilton.com
Commission: 10 percent

CONTACTS

Incredible India
www.incredibleindia.org

Ker & Downey
www.kerdowney.com

Pacific Delight Tours
www.pacificdelighttours.com

Orient Flexi-Pax Tours
www.isram.com

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