While I entertain myself with walks around Cochin, which I have not been to for 4 years, my friend, an Indian businessman, offers to organize the next part of my Indiana for me: “Would you like to go to Munnar? My colleagues have several hotels there, I’m sure you’ll like them.” I have not been to Munnar yet – I gladly accept this offer. 4 hours by taxi from Cochin – and I am in Munnar, a small paradise in Kerala, in the realm of Kerala hills and serpentine roads, tea plantations, spreading trees and birds that live in their crowns. At first glance, Munnar reminds me of Sri Lanka. its mountainous part. Noir Eliya and Kandy. The road is already filling me – I am ready to admire these huge trees forever. But here I am at the gates, they are hospitably swinging open … – and I am in Sugati Retreat. In the Ayurvedic resort of the Spice Tree chain, in the Munnar mountains, where flowering has already begun, and large red flowers adorn the bare branches of huge trees …
Oh Indian gods! Is my Indian karma really that good?
After two and a half months of Goan noise, hundreds of events and thousands of people around, I was finally left alone. One (!) in the whole resort, in a spacious suite with huge, wall-to-wall windows into which tall trees look, and in the lowland I notice the nearest town of Rajakumari, which translates as a princess, and I myself am here – like a princess, because all the hotel staff works only for me: they catch my every word, fulfill my every whim, and every evening lay flowers on the bed and different figurines from towels …
But everything is in order! From the road, I relax by the heated salt water pool, and then go to the spa for a relaxing abyanga massage with warm oil (by the way, there are special rooms for couples with a spa area right inside the room). After the massage, sitting comfortably in an easy chair, I enjoy a cup of fragrant tea from the Munarian plantations and admire the spreading tree through the open window, in the branches of which birds are hosting, and sometimes the wind that blows dry leaves into the room.
And before dinner, walking along the paths of Sugati and noticing all the splendor of this uniquely designed resort by Hybin Thomas, the owner and builder of the resort. 4*, 9 classic villas in the style of colonial hillside architecture, blending perfectly with the lush surrounding landscapes. 9 elegant rooms with panoramic views of the valley, luxurious beds, beautifully appointed bathrooms overlooking landscaped gardens and private balconies.
My delight knows no bounds! I am alone in this realm among the Munnar hills! And I have a whole week to enjoy all this grace. But the time for dinner has come and, having pulled out a silk dress from my suitcase, I head to the restaurant, which cozily beckons with its lights.
At the restaurant, the chef is personally interested in my evening preferences. Here you can taste the best dishes of Indian, South Indian and continental cuisine, and almost all products come to the kitchen from their own organic plantation located nearby. There is a big emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products with no added preservatives, colors or flavors. The menu of the restaurant is based on recipes based on the Ayurvedic principle, which is based on three body types or doshas – Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth-water). Tired of Kerala seafood (in the port of Cochin it is simply beautiful! Oh, it’s crab curry! But you can get tired of it too …) and getting ready for a detox, I ask the chef to cook my favorite Indian vegetarian dish – upma (semolina with vegetables) and I go with him to the kitchen to learn how to cook it (cooking master classes are included in the entertainment program for guests).
After dinner, I go to my room to go to bed early and start enjoying all the activities of Sugati in the morning. I fall asleep to the beaters of frogs, the chirping of cicadas and the creak of crickets, and I wake up from the fact that at 7 in the morning from the fact that a large bird, similar to a woodpecker, for about seven minutes very obsessively wants to enter my room through the window, from a running start, more precisely from a scatter. Her attempts could not be crowned with success, but I was even grateful to such a living alarm clock that raised me to yoga.
The first thing I see in the morning when I leave my room are pink lotuses and dragonflies hovering over the pond.
Did you know that the delicate creatures of the lotus open in the evening and close around noon when the sun begins to beat down? I didn’t know until I observed this amazing process for several days: this is also a wonderful leisurely stay in Sugati – daily observation of nature, admiring it, its beauty and wisdom, which you don’t always notice in everyday bustle.
Yoga and pranayama with an experienced instructor in a yoga sala bathed in the morning sun with a stunning view calms the mind and fills you with energy for the whole day. And I’m already ready to go to breakfast to enjoy the Kerala cuisine I love so much, in particular idli or dosa, but it wasn’t there!
It turns out that Dr. Vijay Parthiban, who is in charge of Ayurveda&Yoga at Sugati Retreat, is already waiting for me. The doctor is ready to run tests and give me a type of Ayurvedic diet for this week based on my dosha type.
Each Ayurvedic meal is an “inner doctor” prescribed according to body type and lifestyle. My type is vata-pitta (air-fire), and the food that suits me is the one that balances these doshas. For vata balance, I am prescribed a mix of fatty, wet, and heavy foods, along with sweet, sour, and salty foods. And for balance, pita prescribe cool and heavy foods with a sweet, bitter and pungent aroma. Dr. Pati also explains to me that Sugati means “happy state” or “happy course of existence.” All aspects of Sugati Retreat, including architecture, nature, food, yoga, Ayurveda, fragrances, music and art (relaxation music is always played at the reception, unique paintings are hung on the walls) are aimed at lifestyle modification and detoxification.
“Most chronic diseases are the result of modern lifestyles, which are now becoming an epidemic. The key to healing is the ancient wisdom of Indian medicine, “Ayurveda” with a tradition of over 5000 years. Its ideology is rooted in the idea that each of us is born with a completely personal plan for optimal health. Ayurveda leads a person to complete harmony of the human body with the elements of the surrounding nature. It is based on the idea of five elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether (space). Every substance, every cell, contains all five of these elements,” Dr. Pati tells me.
This is a very attentive and sensitive doctor with vast knowledge and experience, he shares with me stories about the miracles of healing for the clients of the clinic and reminds me of the need for daily exercise, demonstrating an excellent complex himself, tells why the architectural plan of Sugati involves so many ladders, descents and ascents — so that people accustomed to moving on flat surfaces use muscles that they do not use in everyday life, and this would trigger new processes in the biochemistry of the body.
The doctor also prescribes the necessary Ayurvedic preparations for me, which you can’t even call medicines – they are so tasty that you ask for supplements: they normalize digestion and improve appetite, and also prescribes me a course of procedures for this week, which includes abyang oil massages, soaring , organic body scrubs, flower baths and rice bag massages. All these procedures are already familiar to me from the courses that I took at SwaSwara and Kalari Rasayana. I have great love and respect for Ayurveda and I know perfectly well all the benefits of this system. Ayurvedic packages from 3 to 28 days are aimed at rejuvenation, healing and relaxation. It includes consultations with a doctor, special meals, massages and other Ayurvedic treatments, and of course yoga and meditation. In addition, Sugati also offers special therapeutic packages for all seasons, including the monsoons, which is considered the most suitable period for healing.
The week in Sugati is long, and every day is stretched even more because you get up very early to do yoga at dawn. During the day, you manage to do everything: relax in the hands of masseuses, who give you an abyanga oil massage with 4 hands, and then wash off the remaining oil with an organic scrub and pour flower water on you, swim in the pool and think: “This is how many people put their money into you every day.” energy! How much love for you in this ministry of theirs..” And that’s all in the first half of the day! The second one is to walk around the neighborhood with a naturalist, observe the surrounding nature and, of course, spend an hour or two in the library with an excellent selection of books about Kerala. It is very comfortable to read and work here. Especially at sunset, when the golden light, breaking through the large windows, fills the space with special magic.
However, in my suite with a view of these huge trees with red flowers, I work best. I open the windows wide open, sit on a soft sofa and observe this harmony dissolved in nature, filling myself with it to the very brim. Sometimes the sound of bells from the Christian temples of Rajakumari is heard here.
On one of the leisurely afternoons, I go to this small town to walk around the temples, admire the beautiful sunset and drink masala tea with milk and spices. Watching life in its daily manifestations, feeling life, being filled with it, contemplating it, touching it, tasting it is the best way to slow down…
And in the evening, when dusk descends on Munnar, I listen.
I listen to night Munnar and Sugati.
I listen to crickets and frogs, which delight me with their music every evening. I listen to the calls of night birds.
I learn to recognize by sound who is jumping on the roof at the moment – birds or palm squirrels …
The day of farewell is coming – it’s time for me to move on, to another royal nest – Spice Tree, twisted in the Munnar hills.
All hotel staff line up to see you off.
And you thank, thank, thank – life, people, nature, who daily showered you with these blessings. Like a real princess Rajakumari.
Thank you Sugati 🙏
You have so much love!