INDIA - Kerala, Kottayam
The Athreya Ayurvedic Resort had been tastefully designed in the traditional Kerala style, utilizing mainly wood and laterite. The ancient healing science had been practiced and taught by his ancestors for six hundred years, a tradition that continues to this day in a seamless progression. Handsome portraits Dr. Girish and Dr. Srijit family patriarchs going back five generations adorn the walls of the well appointed reception area. The retreat is nestled in a bucolic hamlet and surrounded by a network of canals flowing into the gorgeous Kerala Backwaters. Floating water hyacinths, vivid green paddy fields and gently swaying coconut palms, Ficus, Pipal, Banana, Papaya, Ashoka and Eleocarpus trees punctuate the Vedic symmetry of the resort. It includes a yoga room, a treatment center, ten beautiful residential cottages and a separate chamber for training in Kalaripayattu.
INDIA, KERALA, KOTTAYAM
Athreya Ayurvedic Resort is nestled in a bucolic hamlet and surrounded by a network of canals flowing into the gorgeous Kerala Backwaters. Floating water hyacinths, vivid green paddy fields and gently swaying coconut palms and trees punctuate the Vedic symmetry of the resort.
Photo: Papaya Media
Conveniently placed between the Western Ghats and the backwaters, Kottayam is renowned for being the centre of Kerala’s spice and rubber trade, rather than for its aesthetic appeal. For most travellers it’s a hub town, well connected to both the mountains and the backwaters, with many travellers taking the public canal cruise to or from Alleppey before heading east to Kumily or north to Kochi. The city itself has a crazy, traffic-clogged centre, but you don't have to go far to be in the villages and waterways. The Thirunakkara Utsavam festival is held in March at the Thirunakkara Shiva Temple.
On a quiet night, the joints in the rice barge houseboat’s bamboo frame creak with the current and a crowd of stars shines on the upper deck. Every now and then the waves lap a little faster on the side of the boat as fishermen in a dugout canoe pass by. Keralans never used these rice barges as houseboats - much less those with luxury bedrooms and personal chefs. Known as kettuvallams, the traditional barges were first built to bring rice and spices to Kochi via 560 miles of interconnected backwater rivers, canals and lagoons. Roads made them obsolete, but visitors later realised what a nice ride they were.
A lot has changed here, but women still wash dishes and laundry by the water’s edge and men anchor small boats and dive for mussels. And ‘toddy tappers’ glide along the water early each morning to palm trees along the shore, which they milk for sap used to make Kerala’s favourite traditional drink: palm wine.