If authentic Ayurvedic rejuvenation in the home of Ayurveda (Kerala) is what you seek then look no further than Kalari Kovilakom. Set in an atmospheric 19th century palace, once home to the Vengunad royal family, this enclosed retreat is very clear that it is first and foremost a hospital with strict rules and no exceptions.
TREATMENTS AND ACTIVITIES
Although many people come here simply for rejuvenation, we all have a few niggles and your doctor will work on these with you during your stay. Be prepared for an extremely strict detox over your first few days before the rejuvenation begins.
As well as adhering to a strict vegetarian diet, tailored specifically for you, you will undertake daily yoga and meditation practice and numerous Ayurvedic massages and treatments. In your spare time (of which there is surprisingly little) you are free to wander the gardens, read or chat to other guests.
Evenings are short with dinner commencing at 6.30pm and then some activity or entertainment (a performance of classical Indian music or an om chanting session for example) usually takes place at 7.30pm. Everyone is usually back in their rooms (perhaps after a final pre-bed lap of the grounds) by 8.30pm.
Each stay begins with a thorough consultation with your assigned doctor, who will fully assess your needs. You will see your doctor daily to discuss progress and how you are reacting to your treatment.
The grounds are pretty and filled with trees and plants. The medical wing overlooks a small lake and the yoga platform has been ingeniously designed so that it is open on all sides but protected from bugs by fine netting to make full use of natural light and any breeze.
The 18 en-suite rooms are large and gorgeous, if a little spartan, with antique wooden beds, art deco furniture and tiled floors. Guests (or rather patients) are supplied with everything they need including hairdryers, safes and free wi-fi.
There's no need to pack much as you'll be issued on arrival with sets of loose, white, cotton shirt and trousers to wear throughout your time here. These are refreshed for you regularly.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner take place at strictly-observed times, signalled by the ringing of a bell. Guests sit at separate tables and silence is mostly observed although talking is allowed. All your food is prescribed by your doctor so there is no choice of dishes but second helpings are freely available. All meals are vegetarian.