Although I’ve been to India many times for business, this was the first time for a lot of things about India that I’d like to share with you.
First of all, it was the first time I’ve been to India, not on a business trip to buy jewelry. I was invited to join a group of nine women who were studying Ayurveda medicine with Laura Plumb, the Ayurveda guru who is a very good friend and neighbor of mine in Coronado. I was invited to tagalong though I am not an Ayurveda practitioner. I must say I learned a lot about Ayurveda and I now have a new respect for this 4000 year old healing method which I participated in almost daily. It included daily two person, massages, herbal oil, treatments, sandalwood and oatmeal facials, and the truly healing hands of the practitioners. And a special diet that after learning I was a “Pitta” I realized there were certain foods that certainly agreed with me more than others.
Another first was traveling to the south of India, the very southern tip, Kerala, much different than what I had experienced in my past visits to the north. Not only was it slower paced, but it had an ancient rhythm to it. The people carrying on traditions that have been passed down for generations. Kerala embraces many spiritual beliefs. We visited a Jewish synagogue, a catholic church, a Jane temple, and a sacred Shiva temple. Also, the Indian dress was very different though the women wore colorful cotton sarees, they were not embellished with sequins and shiny beads as in the North and the men wore dress shirts and long wrap skirts called dhoti’s.
The trip had 4 parts. It started at Manaltheeram, an Ayurvedic Hospital and Research Center in Kerala, India. Here, Ayurvedic doctors recommended daily body treatments, herbal formulas, Ayurvedic food, and practices to follow for the next 8 days to help us restore and feel rejuvenated. We celebrated my 76th birthday here with all the staff singing to me in their native language.
An Ayurvedic buffet carefully curated to help balance our Doshas was served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food was absolutely delicious! Our Ayurvedic massages and body treatments were also carefully designed to help us move toxins, remove stagnation, and rejuvenate our body, mind, and spirit. We were immersed in Ayurveda and had yoga and meditation classes available everyday. It was unbelievably enlightening.
The next part of the trip started in a private bus down a winding road leading us to our next stay - a house boat! We tried more traditional foods from Kerala and traveled through a series of canals that gave us a glimpse of how people live in that area for centuries.
It was a very peaceful one night stay on our way to the third part of our trip up into the hills of tea and spices. We stayed at the “Spice Village”. Here, we explored the jungle, organic farms, and spice farms. We got beautiful Mehndi (henna tattoos) on our hands, and generally immersed ourselves in the culture. We also celebrated another member of our group, Hannah’s 30th birthday.
We then traveled north to Fort Cochin. We stayed at what used to be a the beautiful governor’s house. Here we experienced more of the city life. An ancient seaport town that had so much history, and a mixture of cultures and religions as its building blocks expressed in its architecture and vivid colors. To complete this magical journey, we celebrated Diwali on our last day. Diwali is the traditional Indian festival of light. We dressed up in sarees and joined in a ceremony celebrating the light we all carry within. It was a beautiful blessing to receive as we ended our 21/2 week adventure.