Abhayangam for destressing
In a world where machines are fast overtaking human functions, there is a place in the Capital where the traditions of the ancients lives on. Here, hands and human techniques count, the knowledge of the ancients has been harnessed in the architectural structure along with treatment with medicated oils and herbal medicines. This is Kairali, the ayurveda centre offering massages and medicines, in the by lanes of Chattarpur, near Qutub Minar, Delhi.
Offering relaxation and cure through traditional massages and ayruvedic medicine, the centre is a trip back to the India of yore. Constructed in manner so as to remain cool even during the hot, humid months of Delhi, Kairali is an education on how some things never transcend time.
With therapists trained in the traditional way, I was treated to the detoxifying and destressing abhayangam massage. This 45-minute therapy with hot medicated oils needs two therapists who work in perfect unison, their hands not missing the beat even once. Together they work on both sides of the body, up and down with long swift strokes. And then the back is turned. Head to toe, the duo, one speaks in Hindi and the other in English and the massage continues.
Men work on men and women on women. The table is solid traditional wood and there are no air conditioners as the body needs to function on room temperature. The rooms are constructed in a manner that you don’t feel the hot weather outside. The red and white building has the feel of a cozy home with a courtyard in the centre and rooms around it. The towels and cover cloth are all south Indian cottons, soft and light. Even the spa wear is traditional style.
Then its steam time and I sit in a wooden box as the two keep turning the knob for steam high and low, depending on what I am comfortable with. Five minutes over and wrapped in a check cotton cloth, I am off to the shower room.
The soap is a dry powder and I take handfuls in my hand to rub all over me. This was my first experiment with dry soap. There are no plastic bottle containers for the shampoo and soap; it’s all in metal bowls.
The ambience is old world Kerala, warm, friendly and respectful. Dressed and ready to step out of the room, one of the therapists comes running, putting some herbal powder on my forehead and throat to prevent catching a cold or get a headache going out with wet hair.
If anyone needs advice for medical problems, then there is a resident ayurvedic doctor and a medicine counter. Depending on the nature of problem, you could be suggested different kinds of massages. Some need more sittings while others work for single sitting.
I was detoxified and I know where to head next time the metro pace gets to me.
Established on Ayurveda research in 1989 by K.V. Ramesh and Gita Ramesh, Kairali has a diverse range of ayurvedic medicines. The health retreat, Ayurvedic Healing Village is among the best wellness centers in the world. Visit www.kairali.com