• Krishna Adka


At the firm, we were graced with the presence of Mrs. Yamuna who is an old friend of Mr. Benny Kuriakose. The meeting was relating to one of our future projects, a spa.

We first started with a round of introductions so that Mrs. Yamuna would know who’s who at the table. Next, Mr. Benny briefed us about the project and the challenge in hand.

As the more popular trend goes, spas are designed with a more modern outlook. Simple walls that are very lightly ornamented, spaces that are etched with ‘serenity’ are what we find in most places. The ideas that spilled over our conference table were far different from these. Our intention, agreed upon mutually by all, was to dig deep into the very beginning of various health practices worldwide; to understand the roots of healing and also the symbolism in various styles. Many Indian concepts date back more than a thousand years and are still very relevant in today’s world. Practices such as Yoga, Pranic healing, Ayurveda etc. have strong ideologies.

Ayurveda, which literally means the science of life (Ayur = Life, Veda = Science), is an ancient medical science which was developed in India, thousands of years ago. Similarly, Siddha Medicine is a system of traditional medicine originating in Tamil Nadu, that says , ‘one who possesses the Ashta Siddhis, or eight supernatural powers becomes a Siddhar, a spiritual adept’. These forms of ancient medicine, like many other around the world, revolve around nature and the elements. Before the outburst of religions and holy men, early civilisations worshiped nature. The five elements namely, Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Ether were considered the fundamental sources of energy. Our ancestors practiced these forms of medicine under specific guidelines. Many scriptures consisting of old medical recipes still exist to date !

Although our ancestors meant for the traditions to be practiced a certain way, over centuries, mankind has lost the true value of these old teachings. Many five-star hotels around the world have lavish ‘Ayurvedic spas’ that are simply a corruption of the original methods. For example, Ayurveda is not only about hot oil massages and herbal concoctions, but a far greater science involving the entirety of the universe. The first Ayurvedic physicians taught that in order to avoid illness and pain, the patient must control the destructive (and self-destructive) nature. Likewise in Yoga, breathing techniques are as important as the postures. The West is not new to these old practices. In many places we can find new versions and forms of these health concepts, some of which were never intended to be practiced the way they are. This is why the research proves crucial. Understanding the past will help us reciprocate it in a more suitable method for the future. Our intention would be to incorporate various methods and create an identity that stands unique; to create an emblem that holds strong with its roots set deep in the past.

A very important ancient form of knowledge is about understanding your Chakra. Learning about your Chakra can go hand in hand with many forms of medicine. Chakras are the energy centers in our body. The word ‘Chakra’ means ‘wheel’. We have seven main Chakras and each one is located on a plexus (center of a network of nerves). These energy centres are responsible for keeping our spiritual, physical and mental aspects in balance. These Chakras are like a reflection of the entire Solar System. In one sense, humans are the microcosms of the macrocosm. Therefore, universal energies symbolized with those of the Solar System, exist within us.

The brain storming session lasted for a good two and half hours, by the end of which everyone in the room was certain about our intended approach. Jotting down in our notepads, the outputs during the meeting, we all set out, inspired and excited to travel back in time, relive the past and present it to the future!

-Krishna Adka

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© Benny Kuriakose & Associates 2021

Architectural Designers & Conservation Consultants

Flat F, Third Floor, Springwood Apartments, No.6, Ranjith Road Kotturpuram, Chennai 600085.

Tel: 044-24474794