Pre-wedding Pampering for a Healthy Glow on D-Day

A glowing face, a radiant aura and a healthy, flexible body – if that’s your idea of how you should look and feel on your wedding, then consider a pre-wedding wellness retreat to get you into the perfect shape and mood. At Kairali – The Ayurvedic Healing Village in Palakkad, Kerala, you not only get a complete detox from the junk food, pollutants and chemicals of the city, you also get a complete ‘reboot’ to your lifestyle, taking you back to the ‘default’ of your natural state, with a healthy glow in time for D-day.

Set across several acres of lush green landscape in the heart of Ayurveda country, the resort of thirty villas specializes as a healing centre where people from across the world converge for cures to various ailments, from arthritis to multiple sclerosis to lifestyle disorders such as obesity. But it also has much to offer a single person or couple on a break from the pressures of city life. The carefully designed meals, yoga, meditation and relaxation routine here ensure you return home calm, serene, flush with health, and yes, slimmer too, if you so wish.

Situated at a drive of about 90 minutes away from Coimbatore airport, the first thing that strikes you as you enter the Kairali zone is the difference in temperature – due to its painstakingly maintained forest-like ambience, it’s actually cooler here than a few miles around. Typical Kerala hospitality greets you at the reception with a sandalwood tikka on your forehead and tender coconut water to sip on. Guest villas are spread across a large area and have been planned meticulously as per astrological and Ayurvedic principles – for instance, the pyramid structure of the roofs will ensure that your headache (if any) will ebb in just a few minutes. You are allotted a room based on your date of birth and corresponding auspicious direction.

According to Ayurvedic principles, ‘nutrition’ is everything taken in by the mouth (food and water), the nose (breath), the ear (silence, mantras and music), the skin (sunlight and minerals) and the eyes (our surroundings). Hence, all these aspects are considered and offered to guests in measured abundance. Meals are served at fixed times and are mostly vegan with a dairy dessert thrown in once in a while; the menu is based on your personal diet as recommended by the doctors here. You can even attend cooking classes to learn how to reproduce the nutritive Kerala dishes back home. All guests are recommended an hour of yoga at 6.30 am daily, and an hour of meditation, chanting and pranayam at 6.30 pm. Facilities for entertainment the rest of the day include swimming – which is also recommended as therapy for certain patients – and indoor games such as billiards and carom. There’s a gym and a library for those so inclined. Most people, though, prefer to just take a walk – the heavenly scenery and pathway through the green gardens and natural stream here make for a compelling stroll all by yourself, lost in thought. The day goes by in a jiffy with the tranquil cacophony of nature for company.

Besides the natural beauty and organic lifestyle, the treatment centre here is definitely a highlight. With several different Ayurvedic treatments to choose from, the doctor will assign you one that is best suited to your needs and body type. The therapists have decades of experience and know just how much or how little pressure to apply. Those looking to lose weight are guaranteed to lose a few kilos after a few of the Abhyangam or Potli massages here. You can also stroll into the store and buy some of the locally produced lotions and potions – from herbal tea to moisturizer to body scrubs – all of which are completely natural and highly effective.

It is best if you spend a week here a few days before your wedding, but even just four nights here will ensure that you return with a complete holistic makeover. Your family will comment that you look younger, your skin is glowing, you seem to have lost weight – and they will be right. You will notice you have a new clarity and calm in the face of stressful circumstances, and that you don’t lose your cool despite the hectic mayhem of the wedding. Perhaps you will adopt some of those changes into your lifestyle for good. Either way, it’s a healthy way to head into the most significant phase of your life.

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