WELLNESS GETAWAYS: TOP PICKS OF THE BEST WELLNESS RETREATS IN INDIA

Rejuvenate, recover and recharge at these spectacular Indian wellness retreats!

By Pallavi Mehra

July, 2021

Pictured here is Ananda in the Himalayas

The pandemic has taken a toll on us physically, mentally and spiritually. For those looking to de-stress on vacation, it’s worth choosing a hotel with an on-site spa and wellness centre. Keeping that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best wellness retreats that India has to offer. Check out these wellness havens to give yourself some much-deserved timeout to unwind and to face life’s challenges with renewed vitality and wellbeing. From yoga and meditation to Ayurvedic treatments and cuisine, these six wellness retreats have something for everyone.

Ananda in the Himalayas is a multi-award winning luxury wellness retreat

ANANDA IN THE HIMALAYAS, RISHIKESH, UTTARAKHAND

Ananda in the Himalayas is a multi-award winning luxury wellness retreat in the Himalayan foothills, the birthplace of India’s ancient practices of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda. Overlooking the spiritual town of Rishikesh and the Ganges river valley in northern India, Ananda is a retreat dedicated to restoring balance and harmonising energy through a holistic approach to wellbeing. It integrates traditional Indian wellness practices of Ayurveda, yoga and the Vedanta philosophy with the best international wellness experiences and healthy organic cuisine. Ananda’s signature wellness programmes such as ayurvedic rejuvenation, detox, yogic detox, Dhyana meditation, weight management, and stress management are well known.

Yoga at Ananda’s amphitheatre

Ananda is located on a 100-acre Maharaja’s Palace Estate and features exquisitely landscaped gardens, 70 elegant rooms with panoramic views, four suites with secluded private gardens, a historical Viceregal Suite with its own private terrace and three private luxury villas. All programmes begin with personal wellness consultations and follow a holistic approach. The hotel’s team of expert Ayurvedic doctors, skilled therapists, nutritionists, yogis and spa cuisine chefs guide guests throughout the programme. Ananda’s expansive spa is spread across 25000-square-feet with 24 treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, an outdoor temperature-controlled swimming pool and luxurious hydrotherapy facilities.

Amanbagh’s stunning main pool

AMANBAGH, AJABGARH, RAJASTHAN

Set in an oasis of fruit trees and flowering shrubs, Amanbagh's pavilions and suites create a cool and welcoming contrast to the stark, arid beauty of Rajasthan’s Aravalli Hills. Some feature private pools, terraces and courtyards while all have a grand palatial feel, reflecting their royal past as a former hunting ground for the Maharaja of Alwar. Sourcing ingredients from the resort’s own organic garden, Amanbagh celebrates the rich flavours of north India and the health-giving properties of Ayurvedic cuisine. The property’s herbal garden offers the opportunity to learn about the fascinating world of plants and their many uses in both Ayurveda treatments and healing cuisine.

Amanbagh’s luxurious bedrooms

Drawing on India’s 5,000-year-old system of preventative medicine, the Aman Spa’s expert wellness specialists offer a range of therapies and treatments. Amanbagh also includes an advanced yoga retreat, which is created for those familiar with the practice. The retreat aims to deepen each participant’s technique. All the aspects of yoga—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual are explored. Furthermore, the property also offers a yoga and mindfulness immersion programme. This bespoke programme of movement and meditation is designed to provide those new to yoga a comprehensive introduction, and to enhance the practice and understanding of more experienced yogis.

Atmantan overlooks the pristine Mulshi Lake

ATMANTAN, PUNE, MAHARASHTA

With a multidimensional approach toward integrated wellness, Atmantan is renowned for its traditional Indian healing practices, international therapies and modern fitness techniques, all of which translate into holistic healing. Atmantan is both in its name and nature the amalgamation of the atma (soul), the mana (mind) and the tann (body). This luxury wellness centre sits atop a unique crystalline hill, overlooking the pristine Mulshi Lake. Atmantan spans over 42 acres in a lush valley in the Sahyadris. This wellness centre is also a biodiversity hot spot for a large population of the country’s plant and animal species.

Unwind at Atmantan!

With certified experts in nutrition and fitness, Atmantan helps you conceive the perfect ‘wellness formula’ keeping your abilities and requirements in mind. The various techniques of Ayurveda, naturopathy, yoga, oriental and western treatments, and dietary inputs are employed diligently for your wellbeing. Moreover, Atmantan’s cuisine philosophy follows the farm-to-table concept and focuses on organic, whole, unrefined, and unprocessed foods. Atmantan’s wellness programmes focuses on disease management, post COVID-19 recovery, cleanses and detox, stress management, sleep improvement and mental health, among others.

Svatma has the feel of a large elegant family home
Photo Credit: Svatma

SVATMA, THANJAVUR, TAMIL NADU

The Svatma experience is designed as a voyage to discover the mind. Experience this magical journey by indulging in the luxury of leisure while dabbling with arts in a beautiful home environment. With unique spots to match your every mood, Svatma flaunts a regal personality. This wellness retreat showcases the abundant charms of ancient Tamil Nadu—its arts, architecture, culinary heritage and culture. At Svatma, the residency becomes a journey in itself, an ethereal immersion in the arts suspended in time. The spaces are envisioned in a manner most unique to private rooms within a large elegant family home.

Svatma’s wholesome cuisine
Photo Credit: Svatma

At Svatma, along with a traditional spa experience, guests get the opportunity to enjoy Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam concerts by a small ensemble of musicians and dancers. Visitors can witness the mesmerising processes of bronze sculpting, handloom weaving, making of handmade jewellery and Tanjavur style of painting. Also, guests can listen to Vedic discourses at Svatma. Furthermore, visitors can partake in a special guest experience kitchen at Svatma, where they can learn authentic Tamilian techniques and recipes. The restaurant Aaharam is an all-day fine dining restaurant with a traditional display kitchen that overlooks the pool. The culinary expertise of home-style pure vegetarian cooking is brought to the guest as an art form.

Vana’s unique architecture is one of its standout features

VANA RETREAT, DEHRADUN, UTTARAKHAND

Vana is a wellness retreat, offering Ayurveda, yoga and Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan Healing) therapies in their authentic form. A Sal forest near the foothills of the Himalayas surrounds this stunning property. Built on an estate of 21 acres, Vana comprises 66 rooms, 16 suites and four duplex style villas, each crafted to perfection to evoke a sense of warmth and comfort. Each guest’s programme is made up of private treatments combined with a wide selection of retreat activities. Group sessions include yoga, meditation, breathing, raag therapy, fitness, talks and more. Indian musical performances, festivities and spiritual activities add to Vana’s wellness offering.

Vana’s nutritious and wholesome food offerings

Vana’s approach to design takes inspiration from nature and being in harmony with it. Its unique architecture and striking aesthetic is one of its standout features. The retreat’s design philosophy is based on contemporary shapes, natural and sustainable materials (including bamboo flooring and FSC certified wood), thoughtful lighting, and a neutral colour palette to evoke a sense of harmony and wellbeing. The property has been designed by Antoni Esteva of Esteva i Esteva – Arquitectura, a boutique design studio from Spain, in close consultation with Vana’s founder Veer Singh. Furthermore, Vana’s food menu includes vegetarian and vegan choices as well as mindfully sourced meat, fish and poultry.

RAAS Devigarh’s sprawling pool

RAAS DEVIGARH, UDAIPUR, RAJASTHAN

25 kms from the city of Udaipur, is a hilltop Rajput palace that’s been given a modernist makeover. A family of generals who fought for the Mewar ruler Maharana Pratap built the original structure. Spread over several levels, it took 750 artisans over 15 years to restore it. It first opened to guests in 1999. RAAS Hotels took over Devigarh in 2015. The property features 39 spacious suites distributed across different levels. Some open out to stunning views of the Aravallis. RAAS Devigarh can tailor need-based wellness retreats led by experts in a range of alternative therapies. Their spa focuses on traditional Ayurvedic healing therapies.

Yoga at RAAS Devigarh

Ayurveda at RAAS Devigarh is an immersion, which leaves guests rejuvenated physically, mentally and spiritually. Traditional Ayurvedic therapies are combined with yoga in a blissfully peaceful environment. RAAS Yoga, complete with a yogic diet, kriyas, asanas, pranayama and meditation help guests to access the subtle layers of their minds. Moreover, the hotel’s meticulously and lovingly designed Ayurvedic food menus aim to strike the perfect balance between the three Doshas and also the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, astringent), so as to provide guests with a happy, healthy and delicious meal.