After traveling through Brazil, South Africa and then India for the last 9 months, Marisol Da Silva, an Australian freelance photographer, found her health going down. Bouts of Giardia and several rounds of antibiotics had weakened her immunity. She almost cut her trip to India short, but decided to give Ayurveda treatment a try to recapture her health. After researching options she took a flight to Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and then headed straight for the beachside town of Kovalam.
Marisol had a brief experience of Ayurveda when she was in Delhi in 2008. "But when I started researching it further it became apparent that Ayruveda is very much more intrinsic to the lifestyle here in Kerala," says Marisol. "I was lucky to find Dr. Sreelaja Sasikumar, a female ayurvedic doctor with 20 years of experience who has really helped me get back on my feet. The Ayur Hermitage staff also gave me good care that made me feel right at home. Taking panchakarma treatment in Kerala was truly been a unique and unforgettable experience. I hope to come back again in the near future," she said.
For Marisol Kerala seems to have million stories to photograph. "This is my first visit to Kerala, but its also just so amazing being here as a tourist. The lush green landscapes dotted with fresh water, endless coconut trees, relaxing beaches - everything just tempts me to stay longer. I go to the beach everyday as it is close to the clinic. When I came here I was feeling so weak, but now I feel great. I'm really happy and feel lucky to be here."
When asked about the cultural experiences she had in Kerala Marisol couldn't conceal her excitement. The doctor gave her the opportunity to be part of the renowned Attukal Pongala, an exclusively women's festival celebrated at the Attukal Bhagavathy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. "I went to the festival wearing a saree, you know the white cotton type with the gold silk border traditional to Kerala. It was unbelievable …to be part of 25-35 lakhs of women gathered along the road to make the offering. It was powerful to experience this momentous religious day in Kerala."The cuisine is something else that Marisol can't resist. "I love dosha, idli, coconut chutney, appam, puttu… hopefully I can try and learn preparing some of these dishes." People here are generally warm and friendlier compared to so many other destinations in the world, she says. Marisol promises that she would surely recommend Kerala to her family and friends. "If relaxation and rejuvenation is what you want then come to Kerala" she says. "It is the best place to take a break from busy work schedules." The cheer and spark on her face stand testimony to her words.