Kalari Kovilakom is more than just a wellness retreat. It’s a chance to begin your life anew. It offers intensive programmes based on this ancient Indian science of healing in a magnificent setting that took years of restoration to transform.
Located near Kollangode in the Palghat District of North Kerala, India, and fringed on one side by the majestic Western Ghat mountain ranges, Kalari Kovilakom the 200 year old palace, is where history meets natural tranquility. Belonging to the Vengunad chieftains, direct descendants of Prince Dharmavar- man, the Kalari Kovilakom Palace was originally surrounded by land rich with Venga trees that have healing properties. The place naturally caught the attention of prince Dharmavarman, who turned it into a kingdom. Dharmavarman is believed to have come to Kollangode to seek healing for a serious skin ailment. The fresh spring waters and the mountain air cured him. Later his grandson Vira Ravi is said to have inherited the land and begun the legacy of Kalari Kovilakom. According to history scholars, when the Zamorins of Cali- cut established their powers over the Vengunad kingdom, one of their own family members took over the reins there and is believed to have brought with him a lamp or’villakku’ which was passed down the generations and worshiped as Goddess ‘Bhagavathy’. The shrine of this goddess is still a place of worship in the present Kalari Kovilakom palace, built by ‘Dhatri Thampuratti’ , the Ranee of Vengunad in the 19th century. This palace remains the last surviving aspect of this erstwhile kingdom. It took the visionary zeal of the CGH Earth Group to retain the palace’s legacy and historical value while converting it into a place for traditional Ayurvedic healing. Thanks to their efforts, the spirit of tradition has been kept alive at Kalari Kovilakom.
Since the Vengunad kings were patrons of the classical arts ‐ especially Kathakali dance and Carnatic music — such cultural programmes are an essential part of the daily ritual at Kalari Kovilakom. Dance and music performances, with the use of traditional Indian instruments such as mrudangam, flute, violin, harmonium etc depicting mythological stories are a way of life here as in early times. The ‘Kollengode Arattu’, a traditional temple festival held annually during the first week of January to honour the Kollengode deity ‘Avvappan’ has been another custom passed down through the generations with which Kalari Kovilakom is closely associated. Featuring a resplendent procession of elephants, along with the ‘Panchavadhyam’ – a classical musical ensemble of five different instruments and performances, the festival lends the whole atmosphere a carnival-like feel.
Food as Medicine
Ayurvedic vegetarian food is the mainstay of our cuisine at Kalari Kovilakkam. Diet – the food we eat – is seen as being integral to the healing process and follows specific guidelines in its preparation and consumption that we execute to the last detail with great care. Ayurveda distinguishes six different tastes or Rasas, which interact with the five elements in the body releasing vital energies that sustain and heal. Ayurveda also recommends the consumption of fresh and organically grown food and encourages mindful eating which helps in optimal assimilation of the food one eats. Both these, the type of food as well as the manner of its eating,contribute to total well being.
Health in Totality
Healthy living is about living wholly, in harmony with nature; our environment and our own core self. It is about integrating our mind, body and soul. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of healing and living, is the only one of its kind in the world that addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of our well being. With a therapeutic approach that gets to the core of our personality, behaviour and lifestyle, Ayurveda is more than a mere system for curing ailments; it in fact charts out a complete lifestyle for disease-free living.
The Ayurvedic treatments offered by CGH Earth Ayurveda at both its Kerala based healthcare facilities-Kalari Kovilakom adhere to the strict tenets of the old school of Ayurveda.
Being pioneers in responsible tourism in India, with a credible background spanning over five decades in offering uniquely immersive travel experiences, CGH Earth Ayurveda offers healthcare service which is about complete well-being based on the traditional and authentic Ayurvedic system of healing. What CGH Earth offers to anyone seeking holistic healing is something that is rooted in the group’s own core values.
A Palace for Ayurveda
Ayurveda Treatment Centre and Hospital
Mindfulness, awareness, a therapeutic engagement of the senses and an inward integration of the body, mind and spirit. All these and more aspects of the Ayurvedic healing process are what one gains at Kalari Kovilakom. In an ethos where the best of tradition spills over to all aspects of living and an ambience where history and culture are a throbbing, living presence, Ayurveda in Kalari Kovilakom, offered by the CGH Earth Group and certified and accredited by the NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers), is an experiential definition of the traditional standards and values of this system of healing.
What is Ayurveda?
How do you define something that’s all-pervasive, holistic, and addresses the most fundamental question regarding the individual self at a physical, emotional and spiritual level? This is why defining Ayurveda as just a healing system is tantamount to restricting the scope of what it offers. The crux of Ayurveda is that it prescribes a way of life that goes beyond merely prescribing remedies for ailments. Instead, it distils the essence of our biological, psychological, emotional and spiritual personae and accordingly arrives at a way of life that helps us realize our vitality. This was a path carved out by sage-physicians thousands of years ago which is still being followed.
Ayurveda dates back more than 2000 years originating in the Vedas, the ancient Hindu texts that contain practical information related to almost all aspects of life and is that branch of the Vedas which delves into the essence of right living and healing. Literally meaning the ‘knowledge or Science (‘veda’) of life’ (‘ayur), Ayurveda is an amalgamation of different knowledge systems that combine to offer a right and healthy way of life that is disease free. Some of the underlying principles of Ayurveda were laid down in the oldest known Ayurvedic texts namely ‘Sushruta Samhita’ by Sushruta, ‘Charaka Samhita’ by Charaka and ‘Ashtangahridaya Samhita’ by Vagbhata. These are considered the foundation texts of Ayurveda and what they reveal is an amazing insight into the human body based on pure observation and deep reflections without the aid of any of the tools that are available today. The findings and suggested techniques also reveal penetrating foresight for they seem precursors to many modern medicinal principles in the area of surgery and human anatomy.
Nature is the core of the Ayurvedic healing process. This means little or no dependence on chemicals and their toxic effects. Everything that Ayurveda prescribes is based on a scientific study of Nature: the herbs and their healing properties, the natural seasons and cycles and our own bio-rhythms tuned to them. The foods and medicines that Ayurveda prescribes are rooted in a knowledge base gathered from studying thousands and thousands of plants, medicinal herbs and our body’s response to them based on mutual chemistry.
Why it Works?
Today caught as we are in the compulsions of a stress-inducing lifestyle, health very often connotes the existence or the lack of certain physical and mental conditions or diseases. It very often takes a breakdown in our physical and emotional health to make us seek intervention. But modern medicine, with its approach of dealing with specific ailments that have to do with specific body organs, can exclude the crucial totality and therefore miss the root cause of our condition. What is needed is an inclusive approach to healthy living and healing and this is where Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of healing and living, comes in. In effect, Ayurveda makes us pause to reflect on some crucial questions regarding our daily living habits which are connected to our overall mental and physical health.
How it Works?
We are all part of a Universal Life Force that permeates every living entity on Earth. This is the underlying conviction behind the Ayurvedic approach. But where it goes beyond being an esoteric concept is in the way it integrates this tenet into its therapeutic and healing methods. With Nature being the most visible expression of this Universal Life Force, Ayurveda helps us become aware of our connect to Nature, its elements and cycles which are reflected in our own bodies. By guiding us to acknowledge the existence of these Natural elements in us, Ayurveda helps us tap into the right energies for living well.
Body Types & the Elements
Ayurveda derives its healing philosophy from the fact that our body is composed of all the five elements Panchamahabhoota) in Nature — Ether, Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Earth. These elements and their combination or proportion determine the constitution of our body. They are accordingly clubbed into three ‘humours’ or body types or what Ayurveda calls the Doshas. There are three types of Doshas (Tridoshas) and when joined with the ‘Universal Force’ that resides in each living creature, these Doshas make up the bio-energy of each body.
- Vata: This is composed of air and governs all bodily movements.
- Pitta: Pitta is composed of fire and water and governs heat, metabolism, digestion and other transformation processes of the mind and body.
- Kapha: Kapha is a watery humour that binds the elements in the body.
A large part of our illnesses may be attributed to lack of adequate attention to our body signals caused by an imbalance in the Doshas resulting in accumulation of toxins and blocking of energy points in the body. The curative process in Ayurveda therefore includes removing these blockages and toxins by making us listen to our body signals and accordingly taking corrective steps based on our Dosha.
Curative & Eliminative procedures
So Ayurveda can be classified into Curative and Eliminative procedures according to the body condition caused by the imbalance in the Doshas:
- Curative or Samana: This is to cure acute diseases and illnesses and includes all or any of these seven methods: Panchana (using digestives or medicinal herbs), Deepana (generating heat by increasing digestive fire) , Kshut (fasting), Thrit (regulating fluid Intake), Vyayama (exercises), Athapa (sun bathing) and Marutha (breathing exercises).
- Eliminative or Shodhana: This involves a remedial system to cure chronic diseases and long-term ailments through cleansing the body. An important part of this is the Panchakarma, an elimination process. Panchakarma, which literally means five actions, is essentially about purification of the body by eliminating away accumulated toxins and undigested metabolic wastes that clog bod channels leading to diseases. By eliminating these wastes, Panchakarma not only cures specific conditions, but also offers a preventive way of protecting the body from diseases. The five actions of Panchakarma are Vamana (induced vomiting), Virechana (purgation), Kashaya Vasti and Sneha Vasti (two kinds of medicated enemas), Nasya (nasal medication) and Rakta moksha (blood letting).
The Vaidya and the Therapists
An Ayurvedic doctor is called a Vaidya and is central to the whole healing process. The Vaidyas who are part of CGH Earth Ayurveda are closely tuned to the healing philosophy of Ayurveda and also to the Group’s core values.
Every therapy has a personal touch at Kalari. Our treatments are individually developed for you by our doctors, often combined with yoga and other complementary methods to bring about deep-seated and lasting healing from within.
The therapists engaged in offering massages and other treatments as part of the process of healing, further play a vital role by being able to exude Positive energy. They are able to achieve this through effective training and practice of Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial art form from Kerala, which effectively brings healing energy and flexibility to the body. The therapists/masseurs offering Ayurvedic treatments at CGH Earth use Kalaripayattu to increase their own energetic potential and recharge themselves with positive energy.
The Ayurvedic treatments offered by CGH Earth Ayurveda follow the eliminative process of Ayurveda called Shodana. They are offered at both its healthcare facilities in Kerala, India. Kalari Kovilakom (certified and accredited by NABH-National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare providers) and Kalari Rasayana (the newer property which is awaiting its accreditation). These treatments offered at CGH Earth Ayurveda adhere to the strict tenets of the old school of Ayurveda. A patient is made to understand the complete procedure of the treatment and they are expected to follow through strictly to for the best results from the treatment. In keeping with our principles, we take only residents of 14 years and above.
Manashanthi Chikitsa Treatment (duration- 14 -28 days)
Literally meaning mental peace, this anti-stress treatment aims at helping you combat the symptoms of stress, insomnia, lack of concentration, fatigue and headaches that are part of today’s hectic lifestyles and help in improving your mental health. The treatment course for Manashanti chikitsa/treatment follows the 3 stages, Poorvakarma- preparatory phase, Shodana – cleansing or eliminating phase and finally Samana which is the corrective and rejuvenation phase.
During the first stage, the body is prepared for removing toxins through Snehanam- internal and external oleation, followed by Swedanam -therapeutic sweating. Once the body is prepared, the doctor will determine the cleansing or panchakrma treatment based on each individual’s body constitution and medical condition. These two stages of treatment will ensure that the imbalances in the doshas (body constitution) are stabilized. The third and final stage of treatment is Samana or Paschatkarma where the body is slowly brought out of the intense cleansing and elimination stage by giving corrective medicines and moderate therapeutic treatments, appropriate diet and yoga aasanas to correct and rejuvenate the body.
Sthoulyaghna Chikitsa Treatment (duration – 21 to 28 days)
This Ayurvedic treatment for weight management works by increasing metabolism, which will help in utilizing the fat and increasing the body’s vitality so that less fat is accumulated in the body. It is essentially about purification of the body by eliminating excess cellulite deposits and preventing the body from disease.
Treatment for healthy aging
Rasayana Chikitsa Treatment (duration – 21 to 28 days)
Rasayana Chikitsa is the treatment for rejuvenation and regeneration of tissues, mental well-being, intellect and boosting of immune system. Rasayana treatments are done for those who have low immune system and lack vitality. There are two reasons for this treatment: one is to help diseased person get back to normalcy and the other is help a normal person enjoy enhanced vitality, immunity and intellect. This treatment starts with a two-week process of cleansing to eliminate toxins. It is only after this that the rejuvenation treatments start along with the specific medicines and diet. The aim is to arrest the degeneration of body cells and increase immunity. In fact, the treatment helps to keep individuals free from diseases even at an advanced age. During the first stage, the body is prepared for removing toxins through Snehanam, which involves making the body unctuous or oily internally and externally, and through Swedanam which means therapeutic sweating. Afterward Shodhana or elimination is done by appropriate Panchakarma techniques. By making the patient undergo these treatments, his doshas (body constitution) and its imbalances are stabilized before the rejuvenation process is started. During the rejuvenation stage treatments are given to improve vitality.
Specific Ailments & Conditions
For patients who have more than one issue to address, the Vaidyas will decide the appropriate treatment protocol. For conditions which are not listed here, please contact our Vaidya to know the healing prospects. We do Panchakarma procedures only in those patients who are fit for that particular Panchakarma procedure as per the guidelines dictated by classical Ayurvedic text books (Ashtangasangraha, Charaka samhitha and Susrutha Samhitha) Bedridden, wheelchair bound and critically ill patients cannot be treated here.
Please note: For further information, regarding the process for each of these treatments, please contact one of our Travel Specialists.