The pristine Varkala Beach was our first introduction to Kerala, one of India’s most celebrated travel destinations. That was over five years ago. Today, Ayurvedic retreats have mushroomed all over God’s own country and every three to five star hotel boasts of Ayurvedic massages. Yet, the newly opened Mekosha stands in a space of its own for its close attention to self-pampering in a retreat hidden away from everything but the river, trees and birds. Our stay at this spa was also special because it let us savour the sunset at Varkala once again.
We arrived post sundown and drove through the darkness from Trivandrum airport to Mekosha. It only took us an hour. We dined in the candle light even though we were already stuffed with evening snacks supplied by Air India. The F&B manager and chef Anoob provided us idiyappam (coiled rice noodles) with vegetable curry and payasam. I was amazed at how low-fat the food seemed, and yet so fresh and tasty. It was just like home food, and the ideal evening meal.
Mekosha is a cosy boutique retreat nestled in sylvan surroundings, dominated by a placid river and beautiful foliage. We knew our room would be comfortable but we weren’t expecting it to be that large and luxurious. The fittings were very pleasing, state-of-art and a pool-view balcony completed the picture. There was a kettle for making tea and coffee and no television but a wonderful speaker that let us revel in melody throughout our stay.
In the morning, the sound of the temple song and the slow golden glow sweeping over the pool gave us a deep sense of calm and spiritual satisfaction.
Over the next two days, we tried a variety of Ayurvedic treatments including a 90 minute abhyangam (full body massage) followed by kizhi (massage with bundles of fragrant, heated herbs and oil), steam and shower with all-natural gram flour powder; an in-suite aromatherapy session and stress-relieving head and shoulder massages by the riverside. For women, the massages included cooling face-packs that enhance one’s innate glow. The female masseur would recite a mantra before beginning her massages, as she felt that all her healing prowess came from the Divine.
A major highlight of our stay at Mekosha were the scrumptious and healthy meals, prepared as per Ayurvedic principles. Innovations like red rice appam, oats roti and tomato beetroot sabzi blew our mind with their nutritional virtuousness as well as delicious taste. Anoob, the F&B manager was more than happy to share tips and recipes as well. In the mornings, he’d send a glass of warm cumin water and a few soaked almonds and cashews to turbo charge our entire day. The resort does not serve any alcohol, meat or bread with dishes being predominantly South Indian and Malayali.
While it was fun to spend our days soaking in the serenity of Mekosha, indulging in pampering treatments and relaxing by the riverside in the shade of tall bamboos, we also craved to see local attractions. Late one evening, we visited a nearby temple where the priest was quite curious about our origins. Another evening, we walked along the sandy shores of Varkala Beach and watched the sun go down from atop an adjoining cliff.
Just before boarding our flight back to Mumbai, we made a stop at Shankumugham Beach close to the airport. It’s worth a visit for the life-sized sculpture of a mermaid and the beautiful, rolling waves.
The Essence of Mekosha
We’d recommend Mekosha for senior citizens, those suffering from chronic ailments and anyone wanting a break from the hectic pace of life. It’s the ideal place for rejuvenation, relaxation and reflection. We also loved the hour long sojourn along Attigal River in a motor boat where we marvelled at reclining coconut trees, round kutta boats and myriad birds including the flaming red Kerala eagle. We will also cherish the conversations and exchanges we had with the other guests, including a sweet old couple from the UK and the quiet afternoon walks along the riverside path.
Book your stay at Mekosha here.
Note: We were there on invite.