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Kairali – The Ayurvedic Healing Village offers authentic treatmentsin the lap of rustic luxury

Traveling through Kerala is a reward unto itself. Driving through acre after acre of coconut plantations or enjoying the emerald of rice fields where herons like jewels shine, one realizes why the place has earned the sobriquet of ‘God’s Own Country.’ So, there were only wonderful things to expect as we charted the 2-hour long road journey from the Coimbatore airport. Outside the car, culture flashes of Kerala passed me by, and inside, lilting Western music played on. It represented well the harmony of ancient traditions like Ayurveda being preserved and practiced in these modern times.

The Kairali Story

Established in 1989 with their first centre in Delhi by K V Ramesh (MD) and Gita Ramesh (Jt. MD), the couple poured in their legacy of Ayurvedic doctors within the family into Kairali. Since then, around 60 Kairalicentres have been born and are working towards delivering people from diseases with the help of pure Ayurveda. Of these, six centres are managed directly by the Kairali group, while the others are franchisees.

From resorts to day spas to research labs to medicine units, Kairali today has an umbrella of activities that takes care of all the health needs of a spa goer. Kairalicentres are spread across 23 nations but most are in the day spa format. The three major resorts are in India, with the main one being in Palakkad and the other two in Gokarna and Karwar. It is the Palakkad resort that is the brightest star among all Kairalis.

Little Kerala

Situated in the Palakkad district of Kerala, Kairali – The Ayurvedic Healing Village is a little haven for people looking for both – authentic Ayurvedic treatments and luxurious setting. Unlike most other austere Ayurvedic resorts or wellness set-ups found in India, Kairali offers a comfortable ambiance that is especially preferred by foreign nationals. The resort proper is 15 acres; however, adding the rice fields and the organic vegetable gardens that surround it, it adds up to a magnificent 50 acres.

Conceptualised by the famous architect Laurie Baker, the resort has 30 cottages built in the manner of traditional Kerala houses. The types, in order of luxuriousness, include the Maharaja, Royal, Classic and Deluxe varieties. Landscaping architect, Dr. Randave, made sure the cottages melded into the natural setting. In fact, not one tree was cut during the making of this 12-year-old resort. Of the 1000 trees within the property, some even grow right through the cottages! All cottages are unique in design and have been built as per the principles of Vaastushastra. In fact, every cottage has been named after its ‘birth star’. Internally, every cottage is shaped like a pyramid, which apparently helps circulate positive vibrations. A special conch shell placed in each cottage also helps spread good vibes.

The use of natural materials is abundant in these cottages. The walls mostly have the exposed brick finish, although in some places, one also notices the use of stone or sandstone. The flooring is done with traditionally-used red oxide. Apparently, walking barefoot on such flooring helps detoxify the body. The materials and labour for construction was mostly sourced locally. The roofs are all made with locally-sourced tiles, or so it seems on first glance. They are actually three layered-roofs, with the top layer being tiles, the mid-layer being concrete and the last being tile-concrete. However, the entire resort is eco-friendly and has been the recipient of the Green Leaf Certification – the highest level of classification for Ayurveda centres – by the government of Kerala. In fact, Kairali is touted as the model Ayurvedic health resort by the state body.

Apart from the cottages, the resort has many other facilities. The resort’s reception area is part of a three-level building, the other two being the meditation/Yoga hall and the administrative centre. That apart, there is a swimming pool, a tennis court, a leisure room with pool, card games and dart, a gymnasium cum library, two restaurants, a curio shop and last but not the least, the Ayurvedic Hospital.

The Ayurvedic Hospital

The quality of treatments and services offered at the Ayurvedic Hospital is what makes people come back year after year. The hospital has three resident Ayurvedic doctors and several therapists. The protocol for every client is that once they arrive, a thorough check-up is done and a brief medical history obtained. Based on the assessment of a patient’s Dosha or Prakriti, a treatment program is prescribed. The prescription may include permutations and combinations of various kinds of massages, Panchakarma, diet and medicines for a duration of one, two or three weeks.

The most popular treatments include the Panchakarma or Detoxification package, the Weight loss package, the Diabetes package, the Arthritis package and the Rejuvenation package among others. The resort sees a lot of repeat patients for arthritis in particular, as treatments via the Ashtangahridaya system of Ayurveda offers noticeable relief. Ayurveda is known to be greatly effective with problems of bone & neurological health and some lifestyle diseases.

Kairali does great business in the retail of Ayurvedic medicines, some even patented, through their pharmacy. A modest estimate of sales per month can be pegged at Rs. 80,000 per month. The pharmacy retails traditional concoctions in the forms of pills, syrups, oils and powders, as also herbal cosmetics. Kairali famously produces its own medicines in its three factories. Two units, located at Palakkad and Pollachi respectively, produce classical medicines, while the Spa Labs unit in Bangalore makes the patented medicines. One remarkable thing about Kairali-manufactured medicines is that they are not marketed the usual way. Only ethical promotion of the medicines is allowed, whereby only a qualified Ayurvedic doctor who knows and understands the product fully can prescribe and endorse a product.


Treatments at Kairali are based entirely on Ayurveda. Within the Ayurvedic hospital are two wings – one for men and the other for women – that comprise five treatment rooms each, where traditional treatments like Abhyangam, Shirodhara, Pizhichil, Udvertanam, etc. are administered. Treatments and medicines prescribed at Kairali are, as mentioned above, according to the Ashtangahridaya school of thought. Under this school, no metal-based medicines are prescribed, thus putting at ease many clients about the one controversial aspect of Ayurveda.

The treatment rooms are rather Spartan, in keeping with the simplistic Ayurvedic philosophy. Each room has the standard exposed brick finish look, and typically has one Dharapathi (a wooden Shirodhara bed), and one Shirodhara stand. Incense and traditional music playing through speakers placed in handis add to the ambiance as therapists go about their treatment. There are no attached steam or shower chambers. One has to go to the bath area, but since the areas are gender segregated, privacy is not a problem.

Yoga, meditation and diet are other aspects that support a treatment and improve its efficacy. The diet is of special import at Kairali. There are two restaurants in the place, the main one being an Ayurvedic canteen. The canteen has pre-fixed menu for every meal, and serves wholesome, Ayurvedic vegetarian cuisine. While ‘casual’ visitors like me get to have at least one slightly rich dish, those on prescriptions get moderated diets. Breakfast is typically a serving of fruit, a glass of juice, one South-Indian snack like idlis or dosas, followed by tea or coffee. Lunch and dinner begin with a soup, a salad, papad, chapattis, choice of two vegetables and dal, rice and a sugar-less dessert.

Staff and training

There are six male and six female therapists at the resort, who are all highly experienced, and have been recruited from reputed learning centres. Three years ago, Kairali started its own academy to ensure authentic treatments. Now, most of their recruits come from their own academy. These Kairali-trained therapists are also sent to franchise centres so that treatments across the centres are uniform. The Academy offers several short and long term courses, especially for Panchakarma. The 6-month course is preferred by locals, who want to take up Ayurvedic therapy as a full time profession; the 3-month course is preferred by foreigners who want to take away the essence of Ayurvedic practices; while the 1-month course is popular with physicians who wish to learn the basics of Ayurveda to supplement their general practice.

The franchise fraternity

That brand Kairali has grown so big and so trustworthy within a few years, thanks to their rapid increase in the number of franchisees. In fact, Kairali owes its global footprint to franchisees. All franchise centres are built on the day spa model. There are so many takers for this prestigious tie-up because the franchisee has only to provide infrastructure. The parent company supplies the franchisee with equipment, staff and medicines. A day spa will usually have one Ayurvedic doctor and 5 therapists. All therapists are trained and certified by Kairali.

Characteristically, a franchise centre should have 3000 sq. ft. of carpet area that would accommodate at least two treatment rooms. The initial investment amounts to approximately 30 lakh INR. Kairali charges an initial franchise fee, but thereafter, the centre can operate independently without sharing profits. It has only to pay a small royalty of 5% of the annual revenue or a maximum of 1 lakh INR.

The franchise model works so well, because it helps take Kairali’s authentic treatments and quality service all over the place, and the franchisees, in turn, act as mouthpieces for the main Palakkad centre. Patients in need of long-term treatments are advised to go to the resort in Kerala. Kairali also has tie-ups with many travel agents, which explains why so many international health travellers prefer Kairali.


Places like Kairali – The Ayurvedic Healing Village have a way of getting under one’s skin. While you go there to detox, to get rid of your addictions, and realize that you are intoxicated by and addicted to the clean, simple and healing way of living. It is little wonder that 70% of Kairali’s patrons are return visitors, who keep finding their way back to the little haven. I suspect I will too.

Writer | UrmiChanda-Vaz

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