Sunday 13 July 2014

Thirumal, the traditional Kerala massage for the Wellbeing

Karkidakam would be the best time for having a Thirumal, a traditional Kerala massage, people say. Karkidakam is the malayalam month from mid of July to mid of August. Then monsoon has started in Kerala, the climate is pleasant cool with lot of rain between warm sunshine, with wonderful cloud formations, colorful illuminated during sunrise and sunset. 

What a pleasure, during that time plenty of Maracuja fruits are growing in our garden. Every day we can eat these delicacy fruits and because they grow so plenty, I make Maracuja jam and fruit jelly, which tastes delicious with a dab of self-made curd from the milk of a neighbor‘s cow (eating the organic medicinal grass in our garden!) … And what a beauty the Maracuja‘s flowers are! 

Thirumal is the respectful malayalam name for the traditional Kerala massage, which has a very long tradition. Once in every village were at least a man and a woman treating the villagers in need. 
And of course, Thirumal can be done in any month of the year. 

© Sandra Merx

We are very lucky to have found our Lilama from the village. She is doing the massage for women. For men we have an ayurveda masseur coming from a long traditional ayurveda family. His wife also is a good masseur and will be an additional help, whenever to many guests are to be massaged the same time. 

© Sandra Merx

Massage starts in the morning before breakfast. For that Lilama has to prepare the medicinal water. In a huge pot she boils several medicinal barks over an open fire behind the house. While the massage, which will take around 40 minutes, the water cools down, to be used then for the medicinal bath after the massage in the attached bathroom next to the massage room. Lilama rubs the whole body of the client with a herbal soap and a natural fiber of a plant, then will pour the hot medicinal water over the body … 
I‘ve got many massages like that and afterwards I always felt like a baby after being washed by the mother.  

© Sandra Merx

It is recommended to have massages for 1 week or better for 2 or 3 weeks. This purification treatment needs time to become powerful to rejuvenate the body by detoxication – a physical as a mental process. 
An ayurvedic doctor once explained to me the importance of time: If you have a very dirty dress, at first you soak it in soap water for a while. Then you will rub it with soap for some time. After that you will rinse with clear water as long soap and dirt is seen in the water. These 3 steps are very needed for draining the toxins from the tissue and finally wash it out from the body. 
All our guests who had a Thirumal treatment felt the inner reaction – to let go waste is a physical and a mental process. Afterwards they sensed positive new energies for their life, and some took new decisions. Many lost weight and were very happy about that. 

Lilama is an exellent cook too and besides she helps us to keep the house clean.
Of course along with the massage treatment healthy food is recommended. 

© Sandra Merx

For lunch Lilama prepares a rich ayurvedic meal with different kind of vegetables – some from our garden, some from organic farmers in the neighborhood. These will be served together with rice and fish, which we often fry on banana leaves from our garden. 

© Ravindra Ranasinha

Among the vegetables there is a rare sort of pumpkin (malayalam: Neykumbalam), no Hotel will prepare and serve. This native pumpkin is used for ayurvedic treatment for its detoxicational effect. Mostly we prepare it as a soup, sometimes with coconut milk. If you eat it everyday for sure you will loose unwanted weight.
Within one day we once cured guests, who arrived sickly in our Sylviander House! 
By the way, it tastes delicious! 

One of our guests who lost 4 kilo during her 3 weeks massage treatment said: What a pleasure, loosing weight with feasting! 

During the time of Thirumal treatment one should rest – very important are the first 3 days. Then one feels very tired and will sleep a lot. After 3 days a short walk through the village or to the nearby beach can be done, later some excursions with the car or auto rikscha to nearby Alappuzha town or a temple or some other interesting places not far away. 

A Thirumal treatment brings peace. You will enjoy plenty of time relaxing on the verandah, watching the sky and the nature of our garden with the pond, and fly with the many birds … 

Sunday 6 July 2014

Squirril babies under the roof

Rarely owls reside for a night under the roof of Sylviander House, but permanent residents are squirrils. Twice a year they have babies – mostly two. 

As soon as these squirril kids are old enough, they start couriously climbing down the pillars, then running over the verandas, through our rooms … Not always a pleasure for us, because they have the habit to push down all the loose leftovers of the mason‘s mortar from the walls. Sometimes, shortly after we‘ve just broomed the floor, again dried pieces of mortar are laying there. 

But for our guests the squirril babies are a lot of fun and highlight their holidays in our house. Often for hours they sit silently waiting for these tiny cute beings may appear and then exited take photographs … 

They don‘t mind to find their soap next morning half eaten. Yes, these squirrils have a taste to soap and eat it whenever they get the chance. That‘s why we have to cover our soap over night. 

And not only strange delicacies as soap, they appreciate also towels and my hammock to eat, both made from cotton. 
Of course they like cashew-mango too – we have to hurry to get some fruits before them …

Sometimes we are very lucky to watching them, how tender they are to each other, even give kisses … 

(Thanks for some photographs from © Dorothea Geist and © Sandra Merx)