From luxury resorts to peacful retreats – switch off and slow down at these wellness getaways in India.
Get it together
Om Beach in Gokarna is the auspicious location of the eco-conscious SwaSwara resort (pictured top), which aims for unity of the mental and physical. Ranging from five to 12 nights, its programs typically include a mix of yoga and Ayurvedic treatments, naturopathy and meditation – even art therapy – while focusing on specific results, such as detoxing or rejuvenation. Each private villa has its own yoga deck and the hillside meditation platform is a serene place to chant your oms as you bliss out on the sweeping views of the Arabian Sea.
A haven of spiritual and physical contentment set in Udaipur’s Aravalli Hills, the ornate 18th-century palace Raas Devigarh plays host to three-, five-, seven- or nine-night “blessing journeys”. Treatments designed to calm the central nervous system join forces with yoga, meditation and sound healing to nourish the life force energy known as prana. And to really soak up the serenity, you can request private silent meals.
Yogis of all persuasions are welcome at Shreyas near the big-city madness of Bangalore. For complete novices and experienced practitioners alike, the “non-denominational” yoga practice includes twice-daily group classes and one meditation session, with the option to further explore areas such as pranayama (breath) and dharana (concentration). Set among 10 hectares of frangipani-scented grounds, the tented cottages add a safari-luxe touch, while the well-equipped spa includes hydrotherapy and steam rooms to ease tired muscles.
Ananda in the Himalayas, within a restored maharajah’s palace and estate in the Himalayan foothills, is divine but its heart and soul lies in its Ayurvedic expertise. Begin your holistic makeover in consultation with a qualified therapist to determine your dominant dosha (body type) and plan a daily routine of diet, exercise and wellness activities. From a four-handed massage that will send toxins packing to an organic menu based on Ayurvedic principles, this lauded mountain getaway will restore your inner balance in five-star style.
Change it up
From the pursuit of anti-ageing goals to the more spiritual path of rejuvenation, Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort on Marari Beach, Kerala, will buff body and soul. Ayurvedic principles guide the weight-loss program with treatments such as shirodhara – a steady stream of warmed oil to the forehead, designed to reduce stress and calm the “third eye” – and a range of massages. Beyond spa and sea, Carnoustie offers seven different types of yoga on a beachfront platform or you can cruise the backwaters on the resort’s houseboat.
Rest and rejuvenate
Each of the 11 luxurious suites at the Mekosha sanctuary in Kerala is equipped with its own spa room, the blissfully private site of unlimited Ayurvedic therapies as part of the all-inclusive package. Should you manage to tear yourself away from the in-room comforts, ramble along palm-fringed riverbanks, exploring nooks used for meditation and yoga, take a refreshing dip in the swimming pool or learn how to recreate the cuisine at home.
Attention stressed millennials and Gen Zers: Atmantan, a relative newcomer to the wellness resort scene, already beloved by local glitterati, offers a special Yuva Edition retreat for 16- to 25-year-olds. The seven- or 10-night package is designed to let the younger generations reach their potential through “lifestyle correction”, complete with body composition analysis, group and personal training and customised meal plans. Of course, there’s yoga, performed high above the pristine Mulshi Lake in Pune.
Reshape your body
The sprawling wellness centre is at the core of the Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa in the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Western Ghats. One of the largest spa and wellness facilities in Asia, this is the home of the Dharana Life Sciences: a range of programs backed by healthy cuisine and facilities including a meditation cave. Get sweating with the Shillim Endurance retreat, designed for radical reshaping via a combination of Pilates, Zumba, power yoga, trekking and resistance training.
Of all the tailored packages based on Ayurvedic therapies offered at Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra Kovalam, the 14-day body purification and detox is ideal for overworked city slickers – particularly the advice that you rest for two to three hours after each daily 90-minute treatment. The focus here is on balancing the three bio-regulating energies – vata, pitta and kapha. When that’s done, there’s a yoga pavilion overlooking the Arabian Sea and an infinity pool to catch the sunset.