Thekkady is famous for wildlife activities and ayurvedic treatments. Thekkady is one among the next tourist destination after Munnar. Once in a while, Kovalam was the Ayurvedic massage hub for tourism in Kerala. But due to the lack of authenticity and awareness tourists were exploited by travel agents and local people by providing fake ayurvedic massage services.
Nowadays, Thekkady is growing up behind the way of Kovalam and there are more than 25+ massage parlors working in and around the town. Most of they don’t even have the basic amenities or government license to function as massage parlors or ayurvedic centers. According to the law, there must be an Ayurvedic Doctor available for consultation in each and every center. But most of the parlors don’t have the consultation of doctors.
Also, most of the massage parlors in Thekkady is running by targeting tourist from Travel agents as well as taxi drivers. They do pay a large amount as commission for them. If your taxi driver or travel agent is taking is taking you to some massage parlors, you will be charged approximately 50% extra than the real price and don’t get surprised that their commission on a sale is 50%. Just try to walk into some parlors yourself and you can get that 50% discount by bargaining with them.
Here come the authenticity factor and I was looking for some traditional Ayurvedic Massage centers in and around Thekkady during my last trip. I have found a few centers who offer real ayurvedic massages and one of them in Santhigiri Ayurvedic Center which is in Kumily.
Santhigiri Ayurvedic Health Care Center is also providing massage services for all three KTDC hotels located inside Periyar Tiger Reserve by joining hands with them. KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) is a public service corporation under Kerala State Government. Santhigiri has an ayurvedic center in KTDC Aranyanivas Hotel, Thekkady, and their main center is at Kumily near the bus stand.
The Santhigiri Hospital at Kumili offers an integrated system of treatment. Their tariff is very much affordable and the treatment style is typically traditional. They don’t have a hi-fi spa facilities and all. Most of their customers are local people as well as some foreigners who come to them by reference.
I have tried a full body relax massage of 60 minutes and the masseur really did a great job with some fresh ayurvedic oil. They could have to make the massage rooms and the bath facilities to attract more people. The massage was kind of embarrassed since it was a full body massage. The masseur has given me a langot to wear and I was a bit shy at the beginning and he handled it well. Since it was a relaxing massage, the masseur moved his hands slowly and steadily by applying the fresh ayurvedic oil all over my body. The massage took almost an hour to finish and I was asked to take a shower with hot water.
Santhigiri has treatments starting from Rs. 250-6000. A normal relax massage will cost you from 900-1800. A steam bath can be taken at Rs. 250 and an herbal steam bath will cost you Rs. 500.
Shirodhara is a process of medicated oil is poured continuously over the forehead and scalp in an oscillatory manner followed by a head massage. It is an effective treatment for relaxation of mind as well as the body. It also relieves mental tension, stress, and strain. It helps to cool down brain tissues and nourishes them. It improves memory and concentration. 30 minutes massage with 30 minutes dhara will cost Rs. 2600, 30 minutes massage with 45 minutes dhara will cost you 2800 and 45 minutes massage with 45 minutes dhara along with a steam bath will cost you Rs. 3000.
Apart from Relax Massage and Shirodhara, they do also offer treatments like Kizhi, Podikizhi, Elakizhi, Njavarakizhi, Pizhichil, Head, Face & Shoulder massage, Foot massage, Facial (mukhalepam), Nasyam, Januvasthy for Knee Pain, Kadi Vasthi for back pain, Greeva vasthi, Udwartham to reduce fat etc.
They also offer a one day package of Abhayangam (full body massage), Shirodhara and Elakizhi for Rs. 3500 and Abhayangam, Elakizhi, Greeva vasthi, Kadi vasthi, Shirodhara & herbal steam bath for Rs. 6000.
If you are looking for real and authentic ayurvedic massage at an affordable or lesser budget, go for this Santhigiri Ayurveda Center at Kumily. If you are looking for luxury or a better atmosphere you can try their branch at KTDC Aranyanivas Hotel. Treatments at Aaranyanivas will be a little expensive and may need prior bookings.
You can also try the Svaztha Ayurveda Retreat by Chempenkulam Ayurveda Pharma which is located a few kilometer from Kumily/Thekkady town.