Western Ghats to propel Kerala as Global Hub for Ayurveda
Fresh from being added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Western Ghats is set to propel Kerala as the global hub for Ayurveda.
With the new tourism season in sight, Kerala is poised for a makeover, by extending world-class Ayurveda facilities and services for visitors. The Western Ghats, which is one of the eight hottest biodiversity hotspots in the world, will be key to the new Kerala Tourism campaign focusing on Ayurveda, because of its rich medicinal plants reserve.
"Kerala is naturally blessed to be the flag-bearer of Ayurveda because of the state's rich ecosystem available within the Western Ghats," Kerala Tourism Minister AP Anil Kumar said in a statement here today.
"The state gets a large number of foreign and domestic tourists for Ayurveda treatment because it is a widely accepted fact that the authentic form of Ayurveda is that of Kerala," the Minister added.
Kerala is home to over 900 species of Ayurvedic herbs. The Western Ghats, which run through the entire state, from the hills of Wayanad in Northern Kerala to the southern Sahyadri peak, is an abundant reserve for medicinal herbs. In fact, the 'Agasthyakoodam', a peak near Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram, is home to some of the rarest medicinal herbs. Even the sacred groves or 'kavu' spread across the state are treasure troves of Ayurvedic herbs.
Under the Tourism Department's quality assurance policy, the visitor looking for therapeutic and rejuvenative programmes will be guided by the 'Green Leaf' and 'Olive Leaf' grading for Ayurvedic institutions, which marks 'Kerala Tourism approved Ayurvedic Centres'.
Kerala received 9.4 million domestic visitors last year while the number of foreign tourists was 800,000. A majority of foreign tourists utilizing the Ayurveda wellness programmes in Kerala were from Germany, the Middle East and Australia.
Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa said, "The Ayurveda of Kerala is essentially wellness oriented, a treatment to bring vigour and existence to your system. That is what the tourists are looking for: a great way to get your system well in the circumstances where lifestyle changes and urban pressures and stress are increasingly affecting the people," he added.
"Ayurveda is a way of life for the people of Kerala. A lot of people in the State practice the ancient system of medicine. Therefore, propagating Ayurveda will lead to the community getting the benefits," said Kerala Tourism Director Rani George. The year-round pleasant climate of Kerala, the sunshine, the monsoon rains and the state's abundant natural wealth makes the state the only place in the world providing a perfect natural setting for the healing touch of Ayurveda.
The State tourism department is also adding new destinations and new tourism products under its new season's campaign. New tourism products include adventure tourism activities like rock climbing and paragliding, the release added.