The days from mid-July to mid-August are considered as the month of Karkkidakam in Kerala. Karkkidakam is celebrated as the month of Ramayana. It is also locally known as the Panja masam or the lean month. The monsoon would be at its peak and the labourers will be left without much earnings or food in Karkkidakam. It is also famous for the Ayurveda treatments known as Sukha Chikitsa which is popular among tourists. There’s a lot more to the ayurvedic treatments done during this time than mere pleasure.
Combating the Rains’ Fury
Photo by Kamaljith
The month of Karkkidakam holds a lot of importance for the people of Kerala. The state used to depend largely on cultivation and monsoons were the frugal times. The rain gods would shower incessantly for days together which made the labourers unable to work. There’s no harvest possible during this time and most of the poor families would find it very difficult to survive. With the onset of monsoons, the fear of diseases also increases.
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In the earlier days, the Hindus believed that reading the holy book of Ramayana would help them overcome the difficulties of the month. It became a ritual which is followed even now. Women and elders would read a few pages of Thunjathu Ezhuthachan’s Adhyathma Ramayanam every day. It is an integral part of Kerala’s literature and culture.
A holy visit to the Nalambalam or the 4 temples is also a part of this month. The Hindus visit the temples of Lord Rama, Bharatha, Lakshmana and Shatrugna located in the region. These are to be visited in the same order on the same day. There are 4 sets of Nalamabalams in Kerala one in each region. The most popular Nalambalam temples are in Thrissur district.
Another important element of Karkkidaman is the special Kanji or porridge prepared during this time. Because of the incessant rains, people are prone to diseases and the special Kanji gives them strength, energy and immunity. The ingredients vary from location to location depending upon the topography and availability. Herbs, lentils and special variety of rice called Njavara are used to make the Kanji. It is a special Ayurvedic preparation which helps to boost immunity and general health. These are now available as ready to make packs or pre-mixed packs containing up to 30 different ingredients. You can get them from the Ayurveda outlets or pharmacies.
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In this holy month, the Hindus also pay respect to their loved ones who have left them forever. The Vavu bali is a special day in Karkkidakam on which people pay homage to the departed souls to rest in peace. It is done ever year by men, women and children for their ancestors.
Karkkidakam Sukha Chikitsa
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Though known as the wellness treatment, many take this Ayurveda treatment as a precaution. Monsoon season is considered the best time for Ayurvedic treatments to be effective. It is like a detox treatment that cleanses you mentally, physically and spiritually. The treatments usually last from 14 to 40 days depending upon the body condition and existing ailments. Ayurveda treatments are a combination of herbs, organic medicines, massages, diet, prayer, yoga and a disciplined lifestyle. It follows a holistic approach to treating medical conditions. Ayurveda is known to cure many lifestyle diseases and medical conditions that cannot be cured by Allopathic treatments.
Karkkidaka Ayurveda treatments need to be booked in advance as it is the peak season for this and people from far across the world come to Kerala to enjoy the monsoons and for the rejuvenating treatment. The series of treatment starts from preparing the body for a week. A special diet is followed that flushes out the toxins first. The medicines are given in the next stage will have better effect once the toxins are flushed out. The rest of the treatment may include massages and other special treatments like Njavara Kizhi, Nasyam, Shirodhara, Uzhichil, Pizhichil, medicated steam bath and Virechanam. The procedure followed varies from person to person.
Featured Photo by www.adamshomestaycochin.com