The first chapter in Somatheeram’s successful story begins around 1985 in Monheim am Rhein, in Germany. This small town, not far from Düsseldorf, was home to Dr Polly Mathew and his family, the founder and, for many years, managing director of Somatheeram. This was where he developed his plan to introduce Ayurveda to an international audience as one of the most important elements in Indian culture. In 1989, Polly Mathew laid the foundation stone for his resort in India – destined to be the first Ayurvedic centre in the country. In doing so, he brought international recognition to this ancient form of medicine – long before Ayurveda became a familiar concept at all in Europe. This pioneering work shaped the Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort into one of the leading establishments in India. 2006 saw the beginning of the second chapter in its success story. Dr Polly Mathew’s brother – who had hitherto been a minority shareholder – left the business and has effectively been running the Manaltheeram resort since that time. This parting of the ways was necessary due to diverging opinions over the strategic direction for the resort. Dr Polly Mathew’s wife Tresa and his sons were a source of essential support during this difficult separation period – and the benefits were soon apparent. Following the separation, Somatheeram really began to flourish; it was completely renovated and its focus shifted more to meet the needs of western guests. At the same time its Ayurvedic image was refined. From 2011, Dr Polly began gradually transferring the management of the business over to his sons. He remained in the background as an important point of contact and adviser. Polly Mathew died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2015, leaving a huge void for his family and colleagues. Right up to the end, Dr Polly Mathew was an active promoter of Ayurveda in Kerala – this was his passion and life’s work. Following in this tradition, his sons and Tresa Arampankudy have collectively taken on the task of making Ayurveda and its healing powers accessible to the whole world.
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