index_06I learned how to shower like a true Indian today.

How you ask? Because I had a woman bathe me!
It all started when we arrived at Palmy Lake Resort after our houseboat tour. Once we settled into our spacious bamboo bungalow, Marcy the owner asked us if we would be interested in a massage.
Dave and I love massages, but it seemed way too early in our trip to have a massage.  We normally treat ourselves to one after we have been suffering for some time.


No Pressure in Southern India

We said no thanks and she gladly said no problem.
You see, here in the south of India, we haven’t met with any hard sales pitches.  People ask if you want a taxi, you say no and they say O.K. Others ask if you want to buy some clothes, you say, no and they say O.K.
That was what the massage was like.  “No problem, just letting you know that it is available.”
As we lay on the bed wondering what we were going to do with the rest of our day, the thought of a massage was sounding more appealing.

Change of Heart
We didn’t feel like going to the beach, because we were just at a beach for a week.  We didn’t want to take a canoe through the backwaters, because we just spent 24 hours on a houseboat.
It is very hot and humid and we are having a difficult time adapting to the heat.  We feel drained every day.  After walking only 1 km from the boat jetty to our guest house, we were sweaty and sticky and tired. Mid day was approaching and it was only going to get hotter, we were happy to lay on the bed under the fan and chill out.
Laying there listening to the birds chirping mixed with the horns blowing, we slowly cooled off and started to think that a massage would be a great idea. What better way to detoxify our bodies and maybe help us feel ready to tackle the rest of India? (or at least the next few days)
We signed up and made an appointment for later that afternoon.
The Massage

ayur_pics_pizhichlWe arrived at Sreekrishna Ayurvedic and Panchakarma Center after a 15 minute walk from Palmy Lake Resort.
A stoic man, told us to sit down where he continued to look at us and say nothing.  We didn’t really know what to do, so we sat there and said nothing also.
After a couple of minutes, he got up and left. Then he came back and sat back down and started talking to one of his staff members.  A little while later, he told us that they were cleaning the room and we would be right in.
That was a relief, we didn’t know if he was waiting for us to say something or not.
Dave and I were led into separate rooms.  I had a female masseur and Dave had a male.
My masseuse barely spoke a word of English. She motioned me to strip and then sit on a stool.  I didn’t know if I was supposed to strip naked or not, so I did.  While I was sitting on the stool, I felt quite silly thinking that I should have left something on.
She poured oil into her hands and massaged my hair and scalp.

I instantly relaxed.

She worked on massaging my scalp and face and then worked down my back and shoulders.  I didn’t realize that I had that much tension, but it has been awhile since I carried a pack, so my shoulders were definitely feeling it.
After she was finished with my upper body, I was motioned to lay on the table.  ?In Canada, we would have a towel covering our bodies to make us feel more comfortable, not in India.  You lay there in all your glory as they work away massaging the oil into your pours.

As Dave said during our walk back to our guest house, “That would be illegal in Canada” and then “I feel like I should have bought him a drink or something!” Yep, Dave is filled with the one liners.
The massage was heaven.  She applied just right amount of pressure mixed with the perfect blend of soothing motions to relax my mind and body.

This went on for one hour.

After she completed her work, she tapped around the center of my bellybutton several times, folded my arms over my chest and covered me with a towel.  She then told me to stay.
I couldn’t believe how relaxed and centred I was, I could never have lay on a vinyl table for 5 minutes without squirming had I not just received a relaxing treatment.
After she came back in, I thought that she would tell me that I was finished and send me to the shower to rinse off.

The Bath

Instead she beckoned me into the bathroom, put shampoo in my hair and washed off the oil, with scoop after scoop of hot water.
It has only been a week, but I forgot how good hot water felt on the skin.
She gave me a bath from head to toe and cleaned me up good.  Working so very hard.  Scooping all of that water and scrubbing away the oils is a tough job.
As I said, she didn’t speak English, and I had no idea what was going, so I just went with the flow.
After walking home, we thought that we would go out for dinner, but after reading and catching up on a little writing, we felt the affects of the massage and an extreme feeling of fatigue came over us both.
We had the best nights sleep we had in weeks.

  • Information
    Sreekrishna Ayurveda Panchakarma Centre – Recommended in the Lonely Planet India.
    Located in Alleppey
  • Cost
    For two people, we paid 1100 Rupees ($25 Canadian) for a full one hour body massage.
    Includes, coconut oils and Ayurveeda medicinal oils
    Shower, shampoo, soap and hot water.
    Furthermore: an unintentional lesson in how to bathe with a bucket and scoop
    We tipped masseuse 50 rupees each – 100 Rupees = $2.30 CAD


I don’t know if we are supposed to be tipping.  It is hard to find information on tipping guides and masseurs, etc., but old habits die hard.  In Canada, tipping is widespread and we are conditioned to do so.
I also feel that the actual workers don’t see much of the money that we spend on activities such as this, so a 50 rupee tip will probably help to make the job worth their while.

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Leave a comment


  1. Angie Callan

    That is amazing! What a great experience.

    I am so happy to hear that it is so laid back in the South. I hope you have better experiences with getting pestered to no end in places in the North (especially areas of Rajasthan and Agra, of course!) I really wish we had been introduced to India through the South first!

    I love your video…keep them coming guys!

  2. Amy @ The Q Family

    Oh! That sounds so relaxing but it’s good to know about the no towel part. In case I make it to India I will remember to leave something on. :)

    Ok… I don’t know what to think about someone gives me a bath though. Being from Thailand, we are not used to bare it all to other strangers. But no matter what, it seems like a great experience and I will get my massage every day in that price. :)
    .-= Amy @ The Q Family´s last blog ..Oh the Joy of Christmas… =-.

    1. davendeb

      I agree Amy, It is funny how in India and Thailand etc. We should remained covered and discreet, but all of that goes out the window during the massage. We even had the same experience in Bali. However, a good note to add is that all massages are done on women by women and men by men. That is a rule and a good rule to stick by.

  3. Shannon OD

    That sounds absolutely amazing – and what a way to start out the trip! The laying out in all your glory though – that was the part that had me blushing pretty heavily when I did one in Northern India :-) They’re so nonchalant about it…but like you, I’m used to the sheet!
    .-= Shannon OD´s last blog ..A little tour…It’s raining on Uluru =-.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Shannon, it is strange isn’t. You don’t know what you are supposed to be doing. So when in doubt just go with it. I have a feeling I am going to be saying that a lot while we are in India.

  4. Trisha Miller

    Wow it does sound like a great experience! Dave has great one-liners to be sure, but I loved your line above about not getting a massage until you’ve suffered a while! It’s funny that our [western] culture makes us think of things like a massage as a “reward” to be earned.

    I’m glad you got over your discomfort to just go with the flow – I wouldn’t walk around the streets naked, but there are times when you just have to not worry about it, and realize that we all have pretty much the same parts and pieces, so it’s not as big a deal as we sometimes think it is if someone else sees them. :)

    I’m really enjoying reading about your trip!
    .-= Trisha Miller´s last blog ..eBook Review: Just What Works: Write Right Online =-.

    1. davendeb

      So true Trisha, we need to learn to take care of ourselves daily. I don’t know why we always feel the need to suffer before some good pampering. That is going to be our goal to reward ourselves regularly. With these prices how can we afford not too!

    1. davendeb

      Hi Jen, I need to investigate the Ayuvedic treatments more. I hear that to get the true benefit, you need at least 15 days of treatment. We are going to be here awhile, so I won ‘t complain about 15 days of massage!

    1. davendeb

      Hi Akila. I think that you had the same experience as we did. Dave had a harder and more rigorous massage with his guy and I had a gentle relaxing one with my gal. It certainly is a lot of oil. I want to try the massage where they drip oil on your head constantly for 1 hour. It seem almost like water torture, but it is supposed to be relaxing. If I do it, I will definitely share.

  5. Geogypsy

    This sounds absolutely delightful and a good way to start a trip, and end it, and along the way. Especially at that price. I wouldn’t want a massage with clothes on. Enjoying your journey.

    1. davendeb

      So true Geopgypsy. It is a nice way to slow down the mind and body and prepare for travel. when you are relaxed and centred, you can handle anything.

  6. Bethany

    Oh my, that sounds too good to be true. I had read a story somewhere else of a girl being bathed in India but it was pretty painful since they scrubbed her skin almost raw w/ some special brush. This sounds absolutely amazing! It’s funny how nudity is not quite the issue that is is here in North America. But that’s a good thing.
    .-= Bethany´s last blog ..Oaxaca City Blues =-.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Bethany, Yes, it was relaxing and cheap. We will have to do another massage soon. Glad mine wasn’t scrubbed raw. Ouch. I have heard that the Turkey Bath Houses scrub you raw. I will have to go there to find out for myself one day. cheers!

  7. Yi Lin

    Do try the massage where 2 masseuses work on you – the strokes are carried out in perfect symmetry and synchronisation. It’s quite an experience. It was REALLY oily though – we kept sliding around on the table, and had to try not to slide off it! Felt like a piece of meat being marinated! Did Dave let his male masseuse bathe him too? Dan refused to let a guy bathe him. So the masseuse stood and WATCHED while Dan bathed himself! Awkward!
    .-= Yi Lin´s last blog ..Other Inhabitants of the Falls/Foz =-.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Yi Lin, no Dave didn’t have his male masseuse bathe him. He offered, but Dave declined. Lucky for him, his guy left the bathroom. Now that would have been very awkward for Dan. Hilarious. We will definitely try the massage with two masseuses. Sound quite amazing!

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  10. Nitin

    Good to hear about a wonderful traditional massage you received in Kerala – gods own country, which is my native place.

  11. Hiroko Lundgreen

    Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India and has evolved there over thousands of years. In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is considered a complementary health approach. Many products and practices used in Ayurvedic medicine are also used on their own as complementary approaches—for example, herbs, massage, and specialized diets.`;;”

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