Kerala Offbeat (2)
Real Kerala Heritage Stay, Palakkad
INTRODUCTION Ordinarily when we find an unexpectedly unspoilt place, we keep mum for fear of spoiling the very thing it's precious for. There are no such worries with the Real Kerala Heritage Stay, an exquisite B&B. It has such character that remains unshaken by the assaults of the modern world and instead watches time go by, serene in its integrity. It has remained the same for three hundred years and will probably remain the same for another three hundred. SERVICE A big part of the charm is the warmth and genuine hospitality of Damodaran and Sreedevi who started this Kerala luxury B&B to keep themselves busy after retirement. She is a great cook and meals are authentic, delicious vegetarian feasts. He is very knowledgeable about Kerala history and culture and will gladly arrange for private Kathakali performances or suggest other cultural activities. Kalam Ezhutti Pattu, a rare religious ceremony is conducted in the main house on certain days and guests are invited to attend. You can also request for it on other days in return for a small donation to the priest. Watching a Kathakali performance in the birthplace of the art is also a unique privilege. HERITAGE The charm of this Kerala luxury B&B is in its priceless history and culture. This Kerala heritage stay was once the seat of one of the highest ranking Nambudiri families which produced many Vedic scholars, writers and poets. They were also patrons of the arts, the current form of Kathakali is said to have originated at their erstwhile school. The closest town to this Kerala heritage stay is Shoranur in Palakkad district. It is a long drive from there to get here but that has served to preserve its old world charm, tranquility and un-polluted air. Nambudiris were considered far above other communities in Kerala. This domination by caste, culture, clout and wealth continued for a long time till it started waning by early 20th century. In keeping with the extreme ritual purity and seclusion of their women, houses were set in large compounds away from populated areas. People from outside unless belonging to a similar Namboodiri family would not be allowed even near the periphery of the house. This Kerala heritage stay is a good example of the feudal system. Today, it is a privilege to have access to their innermost areas and gain a rare insight into a feudal system that has vanished. ROOMS This Kerala home is less a house and more a family complex with four heritage houses, many sub structures, wells and bathing ponds set in a large plantation. Rosewood and teak have been used plentifully in construction of the houses. The oldest house is about three hundred years old and is not used as a residence anymore. It is a large structure with three kitchens, two large courtyards and many architectural elements that dates it to centuries back. The two small temples within it continue to be used daily. The home-stay part of the house is a two hundred year old house with two floors. It has three bedrooms that can be used for double or more occupancy. The rooms have simple, clean furnishings and beautiful carved wooden ceilings. Each has a small ensuite bathroom with modern facilities. The house is light and airy and has a spacious enclosed verandah on the first floor. The chance to see the sunrise from the verandah of this Kerala luxury B&B is not to be missed. A small kitchenette with a fridge and a gas burner for coffee/tea has been provided for convenience. Three century old homestead of an ancient Nambudiri scholar family with two shrines in their home.Three century old homestead of an ancient Nambudiri scholar family with two shrines in their home.
B & B
All meals incl
Ayurveda Spa Palace, Palakkad
INTRODUCTION Luxury comes in many forms but this is one of the more unusual ones. A beautiful century old palace with every detail customized for the guests who have to get up at 5.30 am, are not allowed to wear their own clothes or step outside the palace grounds and follow a strict Kerala ayurveda regimen. Ayurveda Spa Palace, near Palakkad has been an unusual place right from the start. It was born out of an act of rebellion. Tired of fights with her uncle-the King, a young princess of the Vengunad dynasty in Palakkad decided to set up an independent household. By all accounts, she was a determined young lady and she did succeed in setting it up though it was unheard of in those days. The women-only palace flourished and patronized artists, dancers, musicians and writers. In later years, the Palace passed onto a Prince who added a new wing as he had many European friends who came visiting. SPA AND WELLNESS Today the palace is a wellness spa, a Kerala ayurveda hub with a great degree of personalization. The Kerala ayurveda treatments are targeted towards anti-ageing, anti-stress and general rejuvenation. As soon as the guests arrive, they are given pure cotton clothes and asked to keep away their leather footwear, mobiles and laptops. After a thorough discussion and examination, the Ayurvedic doctor decides on the vegetables, spices and herbs for each guest. These guidelines are passed on to the head chef who prepares a personalized menu that has to be approved by the doctor. Each guest eats a different meal . Even the herbal water is different for each guest. Similarly, the medicines, massages and other treatments are also personalized. The minimum stay is 14 days during which the guest is requested to stay within the palace grounds. The only common aspect for guests is the early wake-up and bed times, yoga sessions and evening cultural programs. ROOMS The palace has 18 suites and is set in 7 acres of greenery. The large suites are of two styles – the older heritage style and the newer colonial style. A striking feature of the old wing is the tiled floors with different patterns in each room. The suites are aesthetically furnished with large comfortable beds, antiques and large modern bathrooms. All the suites open onto a common verandah. Apart from the airy verandah, there is a library, two yoga areas and two ponds. Many of the Kerala ayurveda medicines are made on site with herbs from the gardens. Guests are welcome to watch the process. The staff is very friendly and open to questions and requests. SERVICE Food is prepared in a traditional kitchen using organic vegetables and a minimum of oil and spices. Vessels made of brass, copper and even stone are used for preparation of food. Although simple vegetarian fare, the food is tasty. When guests leave, they are given recipes from their personalised menu on a CD with the hope they would continue with the Kerala ayurveda treatment they were receiving here. Although it may sound like a tough Kerala ayurveda regimen, most guests settle in by the third day and enjoy the break from modern life. Many of them come back after a year or two for repeat Kerala ayurveda treatments as the mental and physical wellbeing at the end of such treatment is unbeatable.Experience Ayurvedic wellness programs, relish organic vegetarian food in a redone century old palace.Experience Ayurvedic wellness programs, relish organic vegetarian food in a redone century old palace.
All meals incl.