Come mid-July, the skies in Kerala flip gray, the temperature drops and the rain falls with out respite. It’s the begin of Karkkadakam, the final month of the Malayalam calendar. With farming coming to a halt and other people pressured indoors, the time is historically used to rejuvenate the physique and thoughts.
Many conventional customs are related to this era, like studying the Ramayana day by day and following a strict eating regimen. However the one ritual that Asha Devi Varma, a former agriculture officer and a member of the Poonjar Royal household recollects with a lot nostalgia is the Karkkadaka kuli or the ceremonial bathtub. “It was an enormous affair within the olden days,” says Asha, discussing how girls soaked themselves in natural oils and scrubbed it off with a home made paste of untamed turmeric on the pond at her maternal grandmother’s residence in Tiruvalla.
Asha has been making and retailing these conventional oils and scrubs for the previous six years from her residence in Tripunithura, lest the recipes and customs be misplaced perpetually. “Our grandmothers bore many kids and aged wholesome, due to the pampering they gave their our bodies throughout this month. It rejuvenates the bones, pores and skin, and hair,” she says, explaining why she has launched a Karkkadakam Bathing Hamper (₹600) in up to date packaging this yr, which incorporates hair and physique oils, shampoo and scrub.
The hamper is a pure development of what Asha has been doing small scale at residence and for her family and friends. She has loyal shoppers, she says and retails them in women teams on social media. “As it’s a Karkkdakam package it’s purchased by girls of all age teams,” she says including that although she doesn’t have a gross sales goal but, she has offered round 100 hampers this yr. Asha residence delivers the baskets with plans to market them professionally sooner or later.
For girls, by girls
In Wayanad’s Mullankolly panchayat, Bindu Sathyajith arrange a girls empowerment unit, Femlogix Enterprises, and launched the Karkidakka Ayur Arogya Soundaraya this yr primarily, “to move on the standard wellness information to the following technology.”
The package, ’Karkidakka Ayur Arogya Soundaraya’ prices ₹1399 and contains oils, scrub, natural cleaning soap, natural tea and occasional and medicinal gruel available an hour after the tub.
As it’s troublesome to dry the hair in monsoon, moist hair was unfold over an upturned basket underneath which ashtagandha was burned and its fumes dried the hair. The aromatic smoke was additionally therapy for hair lice. Ashtagandha is a powder produced from the leaves, roots and bark of eight aromatic vegetation.
Bindu, whose great-grandfather was a well known Ayurveda knowledgeable, says she is the fifth technology to hold on the custom. She cultivates about 14 vegetation and herbs required as substances for the oils and arrange the unit in the course of the pandemic when the farmers within the space have been struggling to eke a livelihood. Among the vegetation she grows are cheroola (mountain knotgrass), uzhinja (balloon plant), aruka (bermucla grass), nilampana (goldeneye grass), vishnu granthi (evolvulus), thiruthali (morning glory) and purvankurunthal (little iron weed)
Asha makes use of gingelly oil for the physique and coconut oil for the hair. The scrub is fabricated from Vetiver. Different merchandise in her hamper are natural turmeric powder, virgin coconut oil with dandapaala (ivory wooden), coconut milk shampoo and cleaning soap and the vetiver roots physique scrubber.
Dhanya Jathavedan began a girl’s-only Nagarjuna Stree Ayurveda Centre in Tripunithura, in 2017, to “move on” the sweetness and wellness routine of her 95-year-old grandmother Hymavathy Thampuran to different girls.
“The bathtub is seen as a cleaning ritual. Within the olden days, girls had common oil baths on Tuesdays and Fridays, as they have been mentioned to be auspicious. A scrub fabricated from tree bark, incha, and cleaning soap of areca nut powder, Vaga podi, was used as an alternative of cleaning soap. “Vaga podi was additionally prescription for girls who had physique odour,” says Dhanya including that the shampoo of these instances was Thali podi (Hibiscus leaf powder) that lathers and vitalizes the scalp. Lentil powder too was used as a physique scrub. There was a particular vessel to hold the oil and the physique scrub powder. “It had two compartments,” recollects Dhanya.
Based on her, there have been various kinds of physique oils, “relying upon the physique constructions”, however kaiuniyam (false daisy, bhringraj oil) was frequent. As soon as the tub was full, rasnadi choornam — a powder made utilizing a number of herbs like turmeric, pepper, sandalwood and leaves — could be utilized on prime of the pinnacle to forestall a chilly.
A 150-year-old recipe
Bindu’s package comes with a physique scrub made of untamed turmeric and payar podi or coarse lentil powder, a shoe flower natural cleaning soap, a tree bark loofah and mukkuti powder (biophytum) produced from leaves and roots, which is utilized on the brow to forestall headache. The physique oil is a 150-year-old recipe that makes use of ghee, turmeric, virgin coconut oil and gingelly oil. She additionally offers natural tea, espresso and kanni and a moisturising cream made with wild turmeric and coconut oil. She says girls ought to carry out the ritual bathtub for seven, 14 or 21 days in the course of the month.
Dr Radha Unnikrishnan, a diabetologist, who has been utilizing Asha’s bathing hamper finds it “very useful” and is assured concerning the purity of the substances used. .She recollects her mom making the oils at residence however she has no time for the tedious course of.
“This month is for pampering our physique and hair. The package allows that simply,” she says.