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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

Spread over more than 10ha of lagoons and land­scaped grounds, Lalit Re­sort & Spa fea­tures 37 suites, one pres­i­den­tial suite, a float­ing cot­tage (in tra­di­tional ket­tuval­lam style and suit­able for two adults and two chil­dren), restau­rant and bar, plus Re­juve-The Spa, of­fer­ing ayurvedic heal­ing and cu­ra­tive ther­a­pies. More: the­lalit.com. se­crecy sur­round­ing the de­tails of the rit­u­als, with ru­mours of hunt­ing and drink­ing an­i­mal blood, which makes the at­mos­phere all the more fevered.

The large town of Kasaragod is worth a look if you like the bus­tle of mar­kets. The choice of spices is vast and we buy a small sack of dried chill­ies and cin­na­mon quills for about $2. We choose some beau­ti­ful chif­fon saris from Kalyan Silks, the best-known store for such things. I go for a bridal sari be­cause I like the colour and want to drape it some­where in my house and am leapt upon by a team of giddy as­sis­tants who wrap and pleat it around me in a way I’ll never be able to repli­cate. This is one of the more chichi places to buy fab­ric, but prices are so low we worry if we’ve mis­cal­cu­lated and there might be an ex­tra zero on the me­tres of fab­ric we buy for only about $35.

An ayurvedic treat­ment is also a must. I try shi­rod­hara, wherein what feels like three or four litres of warm herbal oil is dripped from a con­trap­tion on to my head un­til my hair and scalp are drenched. This is said to trig­ger a heal­ing of the ner­vous sys­tem and soothe the soul. In the touristy parts of Kerala, ayurvedic treat­ments are avail­able ev­ery­where but, hap­pily, Lalit Re­sort & Spa is served by one of the best ayurvedic doc­tors in In­dia, Dr Ranju Raphael, and many travel here specif­i­cally for his treat­ments.

He pre­scribes an­other anoint­ment for me called the pizhichil. This time the con­tin­u­ous oily stream cov­ers the whole body and is fol­lowed by a mas­sage. I think my soul isn’t just soothed by this treat­ment as made bliss­fully drunk, but half an hour later I feel calmly re­ju­ve­nated and ready for more sleep.

THE TIMES Les­ley Thomas was a guest of Lalit Re­sort & Spa, Bekal.

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