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Published on: May 30, 2022, 2:57 p.m.
Ayurveda to the rescue
  • The 65-acre property has upgraded rooms/cottages, nearly doubled the ayurvedic centre, added a yoga centre overlooking paddy fields and an upgraded kitchen

By Suman Tarafdar

Kairali, the ayurvedic healing village, amongst the best known ayurveda centres in the country, if not the world, where a hospital doubles as a resort, has reopened after a gap of two years. Closing as the first lockdown started, the centre, located near Palakkad in Kerala, has since been renovated and upgraded. 

The 65-acre property now has upgraded rooms/cottages, nearly doubled the ayurvedic centre, added a new yoga centre overlooking paddy fields and an upgraded kitchen. As many as 35 plant species, fruits and vegetables have been added (over the already existing 108). The entire travel and hospitality sector, including the US, was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, points out Abhilash K. Ramesh, executive director, Kairali Ayurvedic group. And, the recovery is an ongoing process, with considerable challenges, he admits.

“Our customers are trying to save more money, so that they don’t face such black swans,” says Ramesh. Therefore, the industry has had to offer discounts to recover the losses and restart their businesses. Also, the increased prices of travel have dampened the recovery.” Other challenges he mentions include the high loan interest rates by the banks to the companies, changing consumer demands from luxury travel to economic travel, so that they can spend more time and merge leisure with work and the slow recovery of business to cover the losses in the last 18 months.

The group, established in 1989 by K.V. Ramesh and Gita Ramesh for ayurveda research, started the centre in 1999. A number of changes have come in with the reopening. “We are following all the Covid safety protocols like sanitisation, vaccinated staffs, social distancing, frequent cleaning of retreat, food sanitization and rigorous audits,” says Ramesh.

“During Covid, we had upgraded our technology for smoother operations and have automated our systems for a hassle-free booking. We have now introduced an automated feedback system, where the clients are required to provide immediate feedback so that steps are taken to cover any gaps. We have seen more than 97 per cent satisfaction rate in our clients during the stay, while 83 per cent bookings now come from our website.”

Ayurveda and Covid 

Covid brought ayurveda into a new limelight, Ramesh says. “People realised the importance of improving their immunity and living a healthy lifestyle and all this is what Ayurveda is all about – prevention. We saw an immense surge in the orders of our products like chyawanprash, anu thailam, ashwagandha capsules, turmeric with black pepper capsules, herbal teas and many more.”

Kairali’s product range consists of ayurvedic medicines, ayurvedic cosmetics, herbal teas, herbal cosmetics and sanitisers. Of course, ever since Covid began, the demand for sanitisers has shot up and supplying these was crucial to keeping the group afloat. 

“We had been making sanitisers for five years before the pandemic started; therefore, we were ready to take some benefits from the orders of sanitisers and ayurvedic products,” says Ramesh. “Our herbal sanitisers, which are safe and 99.9 per cent germ-free, became an overnight success. Kairali also does contract manufacturing of ayurvedic products and sanitisers for various companies, such as Godrej, Diversey, Burger King, Haldirams, IRCTC and many more. Pre-pandemic, we were making 359 SKUs, but today we are coming up with more than 823 SKUs.”

While ayurveda has not claimed to cure Covid, it has played an important role in strengthening immunity and work as a preventive aspect – something Kairali has been able to leverage, both at its ‘village’ and product lines. 

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