Kochi: The possibilities of Ayurveda are endless. The Global Ayurveda Summit organised by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) at Le Meridien here is revealing in this regard.
Visitors learn that Ayurveda blends naturally with several other industries like textiles, tourism and technology. The stalls at the summit and the sessions held there prove that Ayurveda is already becoming a major international brand. Dr Ali Irani, the former physiotherapist of the Indian cricket team, who commented that, "The world will soon realise the importance of God's own country and God's own medicine," reflects this reality.
Kumarakom is the first choice for most of the foreign tourists arriving in Kerala. 'Tharavadu,' a heritage home at Kumarakom that has preserved the ancient traditions of Kerala and offers stunning views of the Vembanad lake, is among the favourite places to stay for tourists at Kumarakom. An ancient 'tharavadu' (traditional house of Kerala) believed to be 140 years old has been converted into a facility to accommodate tourists, providing them a unique experience.
Along with excellent hospitality, Tharavadu offers Ayurveda treatment and rejuvenation therapy (sukha chikitsa). The USP of Tharavadu is a stay at one of the most scenic spots in Kuttanad at moderate rates.
While the tariff for air-conditioned bamboo cottage is Rs 2,000 during peak season, that of AC heritage rooms is Rs 3,500. The tariffs during off season are Rs 1,800 and Rs 2,800 respectively.
At the Global Summit, stalls of other heritage hotels like Somatheeram, Sukhayus, and Punarnava that blend Ayurveda and tourism have also been set up.
The stall of Niramaya, an initiative based at Fort Kochi, displays clothes processed using Ayurveda medicines. Natural colours are utilised to make the clothes attractive and artificial shades are totally avoided. Niramaya's products include churidhars, shirts, yoga mats, and bedsheets. An interesting fact is that a whopping 99% of the production is exported!
The firm has two sales outlets – at Fort Kochi and Mattanchery. Handloom clothes from northern districts of Kerala are purchased and their chemicals washed away. These clothes are then dipped in
Ayurvedic preparations of the required colour. A mixture of turmeric, wild turmeric, outer covering of pomegranate and 'nalpamaradi thailam' (oil) is used to give yellow colour. Different combinations of red sandalwood and medicinal herbs 'pathimukham' and 'manjistha' give colours like red, pink and purple.
The potential of 'Ayurvedic' clothes was recognised by Mathew, a native of Kochi, years ago, inspiring him to launch Niramaya.
Among the major discussions held at the summit, the session on utilising technology to enable growth of Ayurveda stood out. Various start-ups that aim to promote Ayurveda share with visitors their functioning as well the scope of Ayurveda in the digital world. Ekavaidya's stall belongs to this category.
'Dravya' is an app offered by this start-up that provides detailed information on Ayurvedic preparations and products. A quick search also gives pictures of medicinal plants and fruits with descriptions along with facts on traditional medicine. Producing posters highlighting important health tips is another activity of the start-up.