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The spa, Vaidyashala, at the Orange County Resort at Kabini is a melting pot of the healing secrets of Ayurveda

Among the best-rated resorts in India, the multiple award-winning Orange County at Kabini is located on the periphery of the backwaters of the Kabini River in the midst of the forest reserves of Nagarhole and Bandipur. Steeped in luxury, this natural paradise is located in a confined 15 acre space that is both secluded and tranquil. The in-house spa, Vaidyasala, is a melting pot of India’s ancient healing secrets from Ayurveda and here they are put to work in ironing out the kinks in people’s systems. Whether it is a simple rejuvenation massage or therapeutic treatments, the doctors and therapists on board will ensure that clients return in better shape. The focus here is on pure unadulterated Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word that, literally translated, means ‘science of life’, the world’s oldest recorded system of healthcare. Ayurveda offers natural herbal remedies, which counteract imbalances in the body and can successfully treat most health problems. A wide variety of healing techniques are used from medication, to massage – that involve the use of therapeutic oils and decoctions, Yoga, cleansing and detoxification. The therapists have been trained under experts and the spa is always running to capacity and with right reason.

Design Matters

The 2500 square foot spa, like the rest of the resort is done up keeping the philosophy of the ‘Spirit of the Land’. A thatched roof and a complete bamboo theme make the spa décor unique. The architecture has a tribal Kadu Kuruba leitmotif, inspired by the local tribe that inhabits this area. On entering the spa a central courtyard with the holy basil (tulsi) plant arrests your attention. Dr Talvane Krishna, who has been instrumental in setting up this spa explains, “The central courtyard is known in Vastu to be a point for the confluence of maximum energy. It is essentially an invigorating space and ensures that energy is harmonized and balanced. In fact, it is the Brahma Sthana (place of residence of the God Brahma) and the basil represents the God of health, Dhanvantari.

The spa subtly incorporate the colours and textures of the landscape in minute detail and the interiors are again done up in hues of brown and cream. Characterized heavily by the usage of local wood that is easily renewable, the ethnic furniture has been crafted by local carpenters and adds a rustic look to the space. Even the tribal patterned furnishings are a tribute to the local tribe and the lighting is primarily made from ‘bottle gourd’ (yes you read that right!) These light fixtures have circular holes that allow the light to stream out and give a classy look to the décor. The flooring is actually plain cement, but is given a textured finish with circular designs that gels with the overall theme of the spa.

The spa has two fully furnished treatment rooms, a common rest room and a unique quiet room. This room has a bed and a chair and is meant to be used by guests, especially senior citizens, to rest post treatment. In fact, a guest can also take a nap if they need to and this is something that is done to ensure that all spa guests can make the best use of the services offered. The massage table has been designed by Dr. Krishna and is made from teak wood. It is designed to take the shape of the human body. For guests who feel that the wood is very hard to lie on, a special vinyl mattress is used. The table is flat in the center and curves of either side to ensure that the person is comfortable on one side and all the oils used easily drain off and can be cleaned. Unlike usual rooms where Ayurvedic treatments are conducted, this space has granite flooring and as well as to a height of about 3 feet on the walls which ensures easy maintenance.

“Our treatments are delivered in the authentic traditional manner in a contemporary and modern setting which makes it unique. We are clear that Ayurveda is the mainstay here because the modern trend of hybrid treatments does not have the lingering cleansing effect. Our treatments here have effect at the physical, physiological, causal and astral levels,” says Dr. Krishna on what sets this spa apart from others.

Abhyanga Shirodhara Concept

With a philosophy that is deep rooted in being therapeutic and rejuvenating, the Ayurvedic treatments have a rich history backing their efficacy. I opted for Abhyanga and Shirodhara treatment that was recommended by the spa director. When I arrived, I was welcomed with an herbal drink that tasted rather sweet. On enquiring what it was made up of, I was told that this was a drink Sariva juice.

The therapy room with dim lighting and aroma wafting from a ceramic diffuser ensured that the tone was set for a session that was going to be blissful. The Abhyanga is a whole body massage done with special herbal oils prepared in house and aims to nourish and revitalize the body tissues (Dhatus) and to allow the toxins to be removed from the cells. The special oils used ensure that it has much deeper and more far reaching effects than an ordinary massage using mineral oils and lotions. It achieves deepest healing effects by naturally harmonizing the body, mind and spirit. I was first asked to sit and was given a relaxing head neck and shoulder massage. The therapist was well trained and this showed in the strokes she used. Using a circular motion, the head massage felt divine and almost immediately set my mind into a relaxed mood. This massage was performed symmetrically by two therapists who worked in tandem to put my body and mind to a state of complete and total relaxation. Naturally then the Abhyanga has a host of benefits like increasing tissue strength, improving blood circulation and also rejuvenates the whole body. It also helps removes the cellulite, beautifies the skin, delays aging, induces sound sleep, promotes vitality, pacifies Vata imbalance, reduces stress and removes toxins. The 45 minute procedure is an absolute must try and ensures that every frayed nerve in your body is smoothened.

Post this, I was asked to lie on my back and I was given the Shirodhara. This involved pouring a continuous stream of medicated warm oil on my forehead for about 25 minutes. The therapist first tests the temperature and once you are comfortable, they start pouring the oil through a brass container that has a small outlet. The oil is gently swayed from end of the forehead to the other and trickles into the head sending you into a deep state of relaxation. This procedure induces a mental state similar to a trance, which creates profound relaxation of the mind and body. It is deeply relaxing and revitalizes the central nervous system. Shirodhara gives the best results when taken after an Abhyanga and hence it is usually suggested as a package. I was explained that the Shirodhara has numerous benefits and helps in reducing anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hypertension and diabetic neuropathy. It activates the central nervous system, strengthens the sensory organs, reduces insomnia, prevents pre-mature graying of the hair and hair loss and can also help reduce stress. Post the treatment I was given a steam bath (Sweda) in a special wooden casket and a relaxing shower completed the completely awesome experience. I was also given two ayurvedic tablets called Laxveda made using Triphala and Trivrit and asked to take them post dinner. On finding out why my therapists explained that the ayurvedic body massage results in toxins gathering in the digestive tract which are removed taking these tablets with a glass of warm water.


A visit to The Orange County Resort at Kabini, and especially the Vaidyashala Spa makes for a perfect getaway for people looking for a short, rejuvenating stint. Authentic Ayurvedic treatments, coupled with the serenity of the locale, is sure to have guests returning for more.

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