Leave Your World in India

Patricia Leigh Brown, writer for the New York Times Travel section, writes about spiritual enlightenment in India, which is actually quite a hot tourist draw. These medicinal practices are thousands of years old, but they are being favored today by many people. In the article In The Land of Four-Star Asceticism, you can read about “ayurvedic spas” in Southern India.

“There is a sign at the entrance to Kalari Kovilakom, the more than 150-year-old palace in the state of Kerala, India, now known as the Palace for Ayurveda, that says “Please Leave Your World Here.” But, having encountered elephants ambling along the highway from the airport, you already have. You have taken the Order, the humble oath of four-star asceticism. You have agreed to forsake all known forms of vacation decadence (rice gruel for dinner, anyone?), to give up meat, alcohol, caffeine, leather accessories, naps, sunbathing, swimming and mindless frivolity in order to purify and balance your whacked-out Western body and soul.

You are here to immerse yourself in ayurveda, the 3,500-year-old herb-based healing tradition that still flourishes in the daily life of India.

Within the palace’s teak-columned halls, with exquisite images of gods and goddesses carved into the ceiling, you are less tourist than nun. Your Patagonia clothes, bought at great expense in anticipation of premonsoon humidity and soaked in a toxic cocktail of insecticide as per your doctor’s instructions, have been exchanged for compulsory no-frills attire meant to relax the mind.”