With today’s frenetic pace of life, getaways that offer more than just a plush suite and great room service are increasingly in demand
Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakal
The 114-year old Arya Vaidya Sala is among the country’s oldest continuously running ayurvedic treatment centres. What began as a village clinic has now grown into a multi-functional organisation, which includes hospitals, colleges and manufacturing facilities. AVS focuses only on medication and treatments, with an aim to cure and reverse health conditions. The food is very simple, as the ayurvedic doshas specify, and not much activity is built into the treatment regime; this is a place meant for hardcore ayurvedic treatment. Facilities are basic, and costs range from RS 300 to Rs 6000 for a room, and Rs 1500 a day for treatments.
Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore
One of the most popular Ayurvedic wellness centres in the country, this 70-year old institution stands out for the personal attention provided to every visitor by its Medical Director, Dr K.G. Raveendran. His ‘siddhi’ and his very own plant formulations have made him one of India’s best known Ayurveda specialists. Not surprising then, that it is a hands-down winner in the ‘curative’ space. AVP is invariably full all year round, and the waitlist for an appointment can stretch to three years. Besides general rejuvenation, the place has built a reputation for treating people with a variety of diseases.Run by a trust, and an excellent team of doctors and therapists, the facilities here are basic. Cottages have attached massage and treatment rooms. Food is ‘satvik’ (vegetarian). For best results, stay on for five weeks, because that is how long it takes for the panchakarma to work its way into one’s system. AVP has two more centres in Navakarai and Mangere, both also in Tamil Nadu. Prices for rooms and cottages start at Rs 1000 per day, and go up to Rs 7500. Treatments, which include oils, medicines and doctors’ visits, are approximately Rs 1500 to 1800 per day. The main centre accommodates about 150 people.
Soukya Holistic Health Centre, Bengaluru
Soukya uses an ‘integrative medicine’ technique for treatment, which is a combination of various disciplines including ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, siddha or unani and allopathy. The belief is that using combinations of different complementary therapies enhances the efficacy of treatment. Soukya has an open approach to treating any disease or ailment; there is a strong emphasis on prevention and clinical evaluations. People come here for a variety of treatments, including detoxification, anti-ageing, weight management, hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, smoking, de-addiction and skin conditions. Recommended stay ranges from a week to a month, and the cost starts from Rs 10500 to Rs 26500 per day. There are also shorter duration packages and customized packages.
Kallari Kovilakom, Pallakad
Located in an old palace and owned by the Casino Group of Hotels, famous for Kerala hotels like the Brunton Boatyard, Spice Village and Coconut Lagoon, this is a luxury facility meant mostly for rejuvenation, with packages like a 22- day slimming programme and 29-day anti-ageing programme. They also provide personalised disease management programmes for ailments like diabetes. The approach is a mix of ayurveda, psychology and spirituality, with yoga and meditation. They believe in providing a total ‘wellness experience’ that includes working with local communities, being one with the local ethos and caring for the environment. The food is vegetarian, based on ayurvedic principles. Prices range from around Rs 5 lakh for a 15- day de-stress programme to nearly Rs 8 lakh for a 29-day Panchakarma programme.
Vana leans on the philosophy of being one with nature and offers ayurveda, Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan medicine) and yoga, combined with complementary therapies like reflexology, physiotherapy (for pain management), exercise, swimming and hiking. The emphasis is on relaxation, rather than on the ‘curative’. They’d like to take you to a better place of health, be creative, eat well, develop awareness, be one with nature and explore your inner self. Unlike most other wellness places, the food here is not strictly vegetarian, with a focus on locally sourced produce. Herbal medicines, decoctions and infusions come from their own apothecary. You need to check in for a minimum of 7 nights, and the costs (depending on the room/ suite chosen) range from Rs 30,000 to Rs 1 lakh per night.