Everything you need to know about an Ayurveda Holiday in Kerala

Indus Holidays

Explorer Team

For Valerie, it was like a prayer; she surrendered completely and was healed. Valerie closed her eyes as Radha massaged warm golden oil on to her back in slow rhythmic movements. Around her, the ethereal fragrance of incense filled the air while flowers danced. Nothing could disturb her new found inner-silence. Today was the last day of her two week long Ayurvedic holiday. Two wonderful weeks of herbal fares, rejuvenating regimens and curative baths. Two weeks that wiped away a seven year old backache.  Put the confidence back in her stride, the dance back in her rave, youth back into her spirit and glow back on her face. As she packed, she knew that Kerala had become an integral part of her life, her yearly trip to eternal youth.

In this article, we bring in that experience to give you some perspective on the relevance of ayurveda, directions on planning for ayurveda holiday and some tips along the way.

It is the experience of thousands of such travellers that has shaped the fame of Kerala’s Ayurveda. With a little over a decade’s experience in this field, we have had the joy of having touched the lives of many a traveller with healing effects of ayurveda. 

Waking up to an age-old way of life 

Long before the world woke up to Ayurveda, it was a system that was deeply integrated with almost every aspect of daily life in Kerala. I’ll take you four generations back to the times at my ancestral home in Kumarakom. Our family patriarch Dr. Kumarakom Parameshwaran Pillai, a pioneer in ayurveda, was the chief physician to the Royal family of Travancore (Kerala) and founder of the prestigious Sree Dhanvanthiri Madom Ayurvedics (1912) in Trivandrum.  At a corner of our large family home lies a garden of rare herbs and the medicine for most common ailments was just a leaf pluck away. Medicated oil bathes were a daily fare and even the diets of our cows were changed in accordance with the season. The very fact that this generation of my family lived on till their better 90s when the average life expectancy in Kerala (at that time) was around 50 years is in itself testimony to the benefits of the Ayurvedic oriented lifestyle.

If you really want to appreciate ayurveda, besides understanding the science of it, you will also have to understand how integral it is to our lifestyle in Kerala.

Four generations down this Ayurveda legacy, our family still produces stellar ayurveda doctors but more importantly many customs which have its roots in Ayurvedic traditions still run down the family. The way we see ayurveda is not as a medical system we run to when we fall ill, it is something which influences our way of life on a day to day basis. So when you come to experience ayurveda, you are not only going to bid bye-bye to years of suffering (if any) but also going to get introduced to an age-old system which is going to help enhance your lifestyle forever.

Why come to Kerala for Ayurveda?

Photo by:Vincent LaConte

Whether it is for treatment specific needs or wellness/rejuvenation, there is a reason why the world heads to Kerala, the home of ayurveda. For starters the climate is lovely and pleasant round the year and with the ’Gods own country’ tag fitting like a glove. The humid air and natural beauty makes it a perfect setting for Ayurveda’s healing touch to take effect. Be that as it may, I’ll talk specifically about the marked edge that Kerala has when it comes to ingredients and wealth of traditional experience. 

A part of the effectiveness of your treatment/ rejuvenation depends on the quality and potency of herbs used. This is where Kerala’s abundant herbal wealth (2000 odd medicinal plants), potent as it is growing on the rich alkaloid soil comes to play. A comprehensive documentation of 780 rare plants in Kerala was done by former Dutch Governor of Kerala, Van Rheede, in his book called Hortus Malabaricus (The Garden of Malabar) in the 1680s. 

Nowhere else in India will you find such an unblemished and unbroken tradition in the practise of Ayurveda. 

Unlike the other Indian states, the status of ayurveda as a medical system in Kerala is not alternative but mainstream. The treatment system is less oriented towards clinical tests and relies heavily on insight which is gained through generations of tradition. Veteran doctors can draw broad diagnosis of your disease by just looking at your face. This is fundamentally the reason why a few families still hold the fort of authentic ayurveda treatment in Kerala. The influx of professional education systems has only added the benefits of modern diagnostics to the wealth of traditional knowledge.


Lastly, Kerala government has been proactive in ensuring the standards of treatment with certifications for centres like green leaf and olive leaf. This has gone a long way in preventing fly-by-night operators and bringing reliability and reputation to the Ayurveda centres in Kerala. 

When to come and how to plan your Ayurveda experience

The most frequent queries we get regarding ayurveda are ‘When should we come?’ ‘How much will it cost?’ And ‘How do I choose a place’. Before answering these questions, you have to be clear what you are looking for (ayurveda wellness or treatment) because it opens up a totally different way to searching for a place. 

Choosing a place

If you are in for some pampering, rejuvenation therapy, a new look for a new phase of life then you should read up on this article’s section on Ayurveda Wellness below. We will delight you with some mind-blowing options. However, if you have some serious ailment and searching for treatment we will have to link you up with the specialists in curing your kind of disease. Do read up on our section on Ayurveda treatment below.

You have to be clear on your requirement (wellness or treatment) and then shortlist based on budget, location and theme of interest.

When to come: 

Traditional texts bill monsoons as the best time for ayurveda treatments which make June to November an excellent time to come. Essentially, the body pores become more receptive to the oils in the favourable climate and dust free air. However for rejuvenation therapies today is as good a day as any. 

The costs: 

The pricing will vary with days of treatment and facility you are staying in. Just to give you an estimate, Spartan facilities and ayurveda hospitals will charge around $250 a week for treatment and nominal fee for accommodation. Ayurvedic rejuvenation at good quality resorts will vary between $100 and $150 per day. 


Ayurveda Wellness/Rejuvenation

Photo by: Adam's Homestay

How it works: At its root, ayurveda wellness is about purifying your mind energies which reflects in your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The idea is to combine yoga, pranayama (breathing) and selected beauty treatments at a theme destination to experience a healthier side to an otherwise indulgent holiday. Yoga works from inside out while ayurveda from outside in, working in tandem to the wholeness of being. 

A wellness holiday is an invite to a slice of the good life, a chance to slow down and restore the vitality lost due to modern day stress. 

Just to give you a flavour of Kerala’s famed healing touch, we have featured some of the most popular rejuvenation holidays below. 

My experience with ayurveda wellness: 

Besides the routine stuff, I make it a point to pamper myself to a week-long wellness plan at least once a year. I love the experience of being cut-off, finding new friends in a small community of people across the globe and doing precious little. The way I see it, a wellness holiday is small journey in self-discovery. At the end of it all, you will invariably feel inspired by your rejuvenated body and freshness of thought making you ready for your next leap in life. Can’t wish for more can you? 

Planning for an ayurveda rejuvenation holiday: 

Firstly, you got to finalise on a destination theme. When you spend anywhere between 7 to 30 days at a place, would it be in a village, by the backwaters, beach or in a heritage palace? Kerala can spoil you with options. Also, in between your treatment you will have enough time for some creative pursuits like painting, cooking, reading, pottery or photography. Our take is, chose your destination theme and activities in discussion with travel experts to bring depth to your ayurveda holiday. 


Secondly, there is a need to be mentally prepared for fitting into a lifestyle which may have some suggestive diet plans and restrictions. This will immensely add to the effectiveness of your programme. Plan well in advance so that you are mentally tuned by the time you reach here. Also the best of properties get filled months in advance so that would be another reason to plan early.

Here is the part where we give you some mind blowing options to consider. Our wish is to show you the range and quality of experiences on offer besides the specialties in treatment. Read on! 

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In Kerala, you will find plenty of Ayurvedic resorts and some are certainly better than others. A great place and a good deal for it can take you miles in the best of ayurveda experiences. This is where we believe we can help you out

Ayurveda Treatment

Even though ayurveda has an answer to almost every ailment known to man, we have seen that it has been exceedingly effective when it comes to metabolic, stress/lifestyle related and chronic conditions. Unlike wellness centres, ayurveda treatment hospitals might not offer a glossy ambience but they bring to the table 4-5 generations of traditional knowledge for specific treatments. Many of the famed ayurveda hospitals in Kerala are century old institutions.

In some cases, Ayurveda’s age old specialised treatment mechanisms have succeeded where modern medicine had no answer.

How treatment works: 

Your treatment analysis and communications with your doctor will begin long before you physically come to Kerala. Your case history will be studied by a specialist ayurveda doctor who will suggest a treatment. On your arrival, you will be subject to lifestyle evaluation and in-depth personal examination to understand your body type and current balance of elements. Your detailed treatment with specifics for your disease will be prescribed accordingly. Personal attention and interactions with your ayurveda therapy team will take you a long way in a transformative curing experience. 

Over the years, we have had the joy of being instrumental in relieving people of years of suffering with diseases related to spine, psoriasis or even life-style diseases like obesity. Some of our successful treatment plans are featured below.

Planning for ayurveda treatment: 

A treatment focused trip needs a totally different approach towards selection. Today, we live in a world of super-specialisation where results matter the most. It is totally the same for Ayurveda. Linking up with a team of specialist doctors who have a proven history of cure in your specific type of ailment would be your best chance to overcome your situation. We can help you out there.


Before we introduce some of the famed ayurveda treatment centres in Kerala it would be worthwhile reading about the Ashtavaidyas, the legacy of Kerala’s ayurveda. We know Kerala as the ‘Cradle of Ayurveda’ and that it was the most popular treatment system in existence. The most hailed practitioners of Ayurveda were called the Ashtavaidyas (Ashta means 8). These practitioners were called so because they had achieved mastery over all the 8 branches of traditional medicine. 

Their talent was such that they needed no modern diagnostic methods to spot the imbalance and identify the disease in a patient. 

There were 18 such families in Kerala and some families with all their traditions intact are still in existence generations down the line. Some of these Ashtavaidya family institutions are still among the best in Ayurveda treatment.

Below we have featured some of the most reputed treatment centres in Kerala. Do read the ‘fun to know’ part, you are about to stumble upon some interesting tales on ayurveda.

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Spartan traditional centres to full-fledged hospitals, you are likely to find a lot of ayurveda hubs in Kerala. But when it comes to treatment it is always advisable to go to places known for curing your kind of ailment. After all, ayurveda is a traditional science and many secrets remain with the specialists. This is where we would come in handy. We bring in a decade of experience in helping people like you get to the right place for your particular ailment within your budget and ensure you get the best of services too.

If you want to combine travel and Ayurveda, complete your travel phase first. Check out this trip for some ideas.

Tips for your Kerala ayurveda experience

While booking a place ensure that the centre is authorised and has certifications like ‘Green leaf’ or ‘Olive leaf’ awarded by the state’s tourism department. As mentioned earlier, ayurveda sees the strong connection between the body and mind, so being mentally prepared will take you a long way in reaping the best benefits of ayurveda. Also take the help of travel experts to make the best your chance to blend wellness with leisure when traveling to Kerala.

When you come to Kerala – ‘the cradle of Ayurveda’, you get introduced to a new culture and a way of life. The experience is as insightful as it is effective. Do chime in with your thoughts in our comments section here. Here’s us welcoming you to an inspiring healing holiday in Kerala.

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