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Ayurveda (Sanskrit ayus,"life"; veda,"knowledge"), ancient Indian system of traditional medicine, writings about which date from about 2500 BC. This unbounded natural science took its roots in Kerala. It is still widely practised in India, and is becoming increasingly known outside Asia. The theory that informs ayurveda is wide-ranging, involving philosophy and spirituality, as well as science and medicine. Traditionally, ayurveda stresses the importance of self-care and practitioners claim that treatments help maintain health and prevent illness, although they can also help a wide variety of health problems.
Ayurveda is based on the idea that the mind, body, and environment are part of an all-encompassing field of energy and intelligence that creates and sustains life. Followers of ayurveda believe that perfect health is possible through connection with this field. Ayurvedic treatments therefore tend to focus not only on an individual's physical, mental, and spiritual condition, but also on astrological influences and on social and environmental factors, such as the weather and seasons.
Ayurveda teaches that humans and our environment are made up of five elements referred to as air, fire, water, earth, and ether (or space). Each of these corresponds to one of our five senses. They combine to give rise to three main physiological tendencies, or doshas, known as kapha, pitta, and vata. These relate to the levels of energy (prana) affecting the body. Each dosha is most evident in specific organs of the body: kapha, for example, predominates in the lungs and chest.
The detection of imbalances in our doshas is one of ayurvedic medicine's main ways of diagnosing ill health. It is claimed that, while all three doshas are found in everyone, their relative proportions vary from person to person. The doshas influence a person's emotional and physical characteristics, as well as their lifestyle and habits.
Under the ayurvedic system, the predominance of vata dosha makes a person slender, intuitive, energetic, and prone to mood disorders and constipation. Pitta dosha promotes a medium build, reddish hair and ruddy skin, and proneness to anger, acne, heartburn, and ulcers. Those predominant in kapha dosha are more pale and relaxed, and prone to obesity and allergies. For each type of dosha, there are recommended diets, which can be general, such as eating hot foods in the cold season, or very specific; herbal medicines; cleansing treatments; exercises; and lifestyle choices.


The word 'kalari' has been derived from the Sanskrit 'Kholoorika' meaning a military training ground. It is the comprehensive system of martial arts of Kerala, regarded as one of the oldest in the world. It is taught by the “Gurukkal” or master who is an exponent in the field. It is taught by the master to the students and is considered to be a sacred art form of Kerala. Kalaripayattu developed during the 9th century was practiced by the warrior clan of Kerala, the Nair community, to defend the state and the king. The training in Kalaripayattu aims at the perfect coordination of mind and body and also includes specialisation in indigenous medical practices.


Kathakali is a 500 years old classical dance drama, which combines facets of ballet, opera, masque and the pantomime. The costumes and makeup are ornamental and elaborate. The actors do not speak or sing but enact the story through mudras (head gestures), graceful movements and facial expression. The pomp and magnificence of Kathakali is partly due to its decor part of which is the ‘kireetam’ or huge headgear and the kanchukam the over sized jackets, and a long skirt worn over a thick padding of cushions. A Kathakali actor enacts his ideas through mudras. For this he follows a systematic sign language based on Hastalakshana Deepika, a treatise on the language of hand gestures.


Theyyam is a ritual dance popular in north Kerala that has over 400 variations.It is associated with the cult of Goddess Bhagavathi, glorifying the Goddess. It incorporates dance, mime and music. The themes of these dances revolves around the triumph of the Goddess ovet the evil characters like demon Daraka. It has evolved from ancient tribal cultures, which attached great importance to the worship of heroes and the spirits of ancestors. Theyyam is always performed by men in front of temples without stage or curtains, and they are often costumed as women in excotic make-up. The headgear and other ornamental decorations are impressive in size and appearance.


Mohiniattom which literally means "the dance of the enchantress", is sensuous and lyrical. It is a fusion of 'Bharathanatyam' and 'Kathakali'. The performences are done only by women. In Mohiniyattam, it is the 'Lasya' element that is dominant. Swati Thirunal who was a generous patron of all fine arts extended his patronage to Mohiniyattam. Malayalam poet Vallathol too extended his patronage on this art by including it in the syllabus of the Kerala kalamadalam. In fact, Mohiniyattam as dance form has been developed in Kalamandalam to such perfection as to attract the attention of students and teachers of art from other parts of India and even abroad.

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