If you are looking for a complete detoxification and rejuvenation, you must consider the Aanandakosha retreat. After the sessions, you will feel stronger, happier, healthier, and more in control of life.
Inspired by the healing powers of Ayurveda, it has been created to nurture, nourish, and restore guests as they transition into perfect healthy individuals. The wellness retreat includes a series of healing treatments, mindful meditation, and yoga workshops alongside an abundance of nourishing organic food carefully selected by a resident home chef and ayurveda doctor.
Barely 20 minutes from Trivandrum airport, is Aanandakosha a paradise for wellness and nature lovers. Spread across an acre of unspoilt land and views across the Kovalam beach, it makes the perfect place to de-stress and connect with the natural elements.
They have health and wellbeing program for 21 days also called Panchkarma that focus on mind and body wellness. Nature Walks in the morning across the beautiful property and invigorating meditation sessions will help guests get the most out of their stay.
My experience at Aanandakosha
After a 3.5 hours flight from Delhi to Trivandrum, I am welcomed by the courteous driver from Aanandakosha, who drives me safely to the wellness retreat.
After a breezy ride, I reach my destination. I am greeted by Elizabeth, the founder who comes with an extensive background in hospitality. She has a diligent team of doctors, therapists and home chef who collectively work ardently in given guests a rejuvenating experience.
A freshly made pineapple juice devoid of chemicals is served. After devouring the sweet and refreshing drink, my check-in formalities begin.
The property has ten tastefully, simple rooms all facing the beach.
As I stepped inside my room, I was floored with the scenic view from the balcony. The beach, swaying trees look magnificent. One can literally spend hours just soaking in the view and the scenic beauty. The room comes with a queen size bed, neat bedspreads, soft pillows, side tables, a desk and chair with a window. There is a wardrobe, a mirror and a washroom with rain shower and soft towels.
After the check-in, the doctor does a simple analysis through consultation. There are few pages to fill in that help in analyzing the doshas and prakriti (nature of the person). After filling in the details, she prepares the therapies adviced for me and the dream analysis. These steps are done for a deeper understanding of the personality – the root cause of the ailment, behavioral patterns and the subconscious mind. It is amazing how these steps are taken to completely detox the mind, body and soul.
After a complete analysis, she advices the best diet, therapy and lifestyle correction to help maintain optimum health. I am adviced therapies for 3 days that included Abhyangam, shirodhara, njavaratheppu, udwarthanam, nasyam and facial on the last day.
The food at Aanandakosha plays a very important role. A plant-based menu carefully created by a specialized ayurveda doctor features tasty and nutritious organic food. Food is cooked fresh by a woman who isn’t a chef, but a homemaker who prepares the meal for her family.
At Aanandakosha, the food is prepared with love and devotion, so each time the meals taste fresh, suitable for the palette and are light on the gut. The first day I enjoyed a platter of red rice, lentils and vegetable dish made with cabbage and coconut. A wholesome platter that tasted divine and was easy to digest.
The buttermilk tempered with grated ginger, curry leaves and black pepper tastes great with the meal and aids in digestion. There is no chapatti served as wheat isn’t adviced while on a detox program, neither there is tea or coffee as it hinders digestion and causes bloating. Dinners are light, mostly at 6.30 pm when digestion power is good. Meals taken before 7 pm are preferred as per Ayuveda.
Mornings comprised of idiyappam, idlis and raagi dosa along with coconut chutney, a fresh juice of orange, pineapple or mango. Lunches are simple with red or brown rice, seasonal vegetables and lentils, sprouts and buttermilk. Dinners were lightest with rice and curry. Desserts are served in dinner like payasam made with jaggery. Sugar is totally avoided.
During my stay, I loved the Sadya meal – a meal fit for Gods. Sadhya is a collection of 26 different dishes, basically a vegetarian spread popular in Kerala that is served during festivals, religious occasions and weddings.
The meal is served on a banana leaf and devoured with hands. While eating with hands, the fingers give signal to the brain when you are full, so you don’t overindulge. This principle of Ayurveda keeps lot of diseases at bay.
What is served on the banana leaf –
From tip of banana leaf – Salt, Papadam, Nendran banana, chips, upperi, Puli inji, Pickle, Olan, Kalan, Erissery, Puliserry, Avial, Kootu curry, Thoran, Mezhukkupuratti, Pachadi, Kichadi. In the center of leaf : Rice, Parippu curry, ghee, Sambar, Moru curry, ulli theeyal, rasam, Sambaram, Parippu pradhaman, Payasam varieties on the top corner.
Each dish is satisfying to the palette the heart. The wholesome goodness of the dishes is worth experiencing.
Besides the meals, water intake is also given equal importance. There are different kinds of detox water like cumin water, mint water, hibiscus water. Each signifying the healthy metabolism.
The ayurveda therapy room is well equipped with a bed, fresh towels, a steam chamber, a washroom. The therapists are well trained and come with a good experience in ayurveda therapies. They are welcoming and pleasant and always ensure the guests feel relaxed during the therapy.
My all three days comprised of Abhyangam, a full body massage with medicated oils. The 45 minute massage lies at the foundation of Ayurvedic massage treatment. It works wonders on the body, giving it strength, keeps the limbs firm, improve circulation and helps in anti-aging. The therapy begins with a small prayer, followed by massage while lying face down. The oil for abhyangam is not fragrant but is definitely healing and helps to relax the aching joints and muscles.
The warm oil soothed my lower back almost instantly. The therapist worked up the magic of her hands in a circular motion that helped me to relax and fall asleep. The medicinal herbs are magical and help in releaving pain from body. The thing I loved about the massage was the long one powerful stroke from the neck to the ankle. The soothing music only accentuates the relaxing process and paves way for a good sleep. It is recommended to simply surrender to the therapy and enjoy the experience.
I also experienced Nasyam – a therapy for blocked nose, which helps you to breathe better and unclog nasal tissues. Njavaratheppu was another therapy I experienced. This is a traditional treatment in Ayurveda that involves applying the warm Navara rice paste all over the body. This warm paste is said to stimulate sweating and removal of toxins through the skin.
Navara rice is popular for its internal effects too and is a great health supplement. The treatment is effective in rebuilding the muscular and immune system of the body. It help to rejuvenate and nourishing the body, help to reduce stress and alleviates pain, Improves skin texture and strengthen the nervous system.
Shirodhara on my last day was one of the best I have experienced. The medicinal buttermilk is poured on the forehead which instantly helps in relaxation and letting go of stress, migraine or any chronic mental ailment. The therapy helped me to relax instantly, making me drift off to a deep sleep.
Guests are usually adviced not to take bath for an hour at least to take the best advantage of the medicinal oils and herbs. They have comfortable bath robes in pastel shade – soothing for the skin. while paking clothes to stay in Aanandakosha, it’s better to pack light as most of the time you would be in robes before and after therapy.
Guests and avail the pool that is like water therapy – you can literally drift in the pool on your back and gaze at the coconut trees and the moving clouds. It’s an experience to cherish. There is a hammock tied to the trees, where you can enjoy a nice snooze in the evenings. The library in the lounge area is equipped with fiction and nonfiction books that you are welcome to pick up and read. While on a panchkarma therapy, make the most of your idle time by reading these self-help books.
Dream analysis and mindful mediation
Our dreams say a lot about our personality. Our subconscious has some of the best collations for life. Dram analysis is a powerful tool to tap those points that would help you get your power back and create a better life. Guided meditation and yoga is conducted daily at 5 pm that would help you in relaxing better.
What I loved most was the constant soothing sounds of flutes and sitar being played in background. You get those sounds register in the mind and each activity becomes musical. Even while I am back in Delhi, I can still reverberate to those healing sounds.
The therapies for 21 days are always adviced as they help in complete detoxification. You must come with an open mind and a willingness to transform yourself.
KS Road, Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695527