Owing to its rich tradition of ancient practices like Ayurveda and yoga, India is one of the most sought after destinations for wellness and healing. From the sunny beaches of Goa to the verdant hills of Uttarakhand, these are some of the best sanctuaries to make a break for whenever you need to restore your physical health and reawaken your soul.
Ananda in the Himalayas, Uttarakhand
The former palace of the Maharaja of Tehri-Gahrwal, makes way for a 100-acre of luxurious Ayurvedic retreat. Framed by tranquil forests and overlooking the holy town of Rishikesh, Ananda has been the retreat of choice for the well-heeled from both within India and abroad. You can select a wide-range of wellness goals from detox to anti-ageing and vitality. Their award-winning 24,000 sq ft spa is definitely the highlight at Ananda. A personalised organic health cuisine is at your disposal and you can also partake in the daily talks on ancient Indian philosophy of Vedanta. A great place to rejuvenate physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Isha Yoga Centre, Tamil Nadu
Isha Yoga Centre near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu is a sanctum that enlightens you with a very simple lesson. It teaches you about the importance of living a healthier lifestyle and that the power to do so lies within you. Your daily ritual starts with a dip in the teerthakunds, or the sacred water bodies, followed by yoga and meditation. Healthy vegetarian meals are served twice in a day. Ayurvedic massages, therapies, and a variety of Siddha and Ayurvedic treatments are available for general wellness as well as treating various ailments. Isha Yoga Centre is led by Sadhguru who is the founder of Isha Foundation.
Vana Retreat, Uttarakhand
Established in 2014, the Vana Retreat is one of the most recently developed wellness centres in India. Vana designs personalised wellness programmes for each guest based on the details shared by them prior to their arrival at the retreat. Their wellness offerings include Ayurveda, yoga, natural therapies, Watsu and aqua therapies and Sowa Rigpa, a Tibetan method of healing which has its roots in Buddhism. This 21-acre estate in the mountains is the place to be if you want to escape the daily raucousness of city life.
Soul & Surf, Kerala
A wellness retreat with a unique concept, Soul & Surf isn’t about rigorous routines and conservative practices. As the name suggests, here you’re encouraged to find your soul while riding the waves. You can choose to start your day with yoga on their rooftop platform while enjoying the stunning view of the glittering Arabian Sea or opt for surf lessons instead. This is followed by a bustling communal breakfast in their garden, which is a great time to connect with other guests and meet like-minded individuals from all parts of the globe. Regular musical gigs, bonfires and independent surf films night are all part of your stay at Surf & Soul.
SwaSwara is a combination of two Sanskrit words, swa meaning self and swara meaning sound. The retreat aims at rejuvenating the self by finding your inner voice. Located at Om beach in Gokarna, being in harmony with nature is one of the most important lessons imparted here at the retreat. SwaSwara also abides by sustainable practices like vermicomposting and water recycling. The resort has a special Artists in Residence programme where artists are able to share their skills with the guests, making healing and creativity a part of your daily routine here.
SwaSwara, Om Beach, Donibhail, Gokarna, Karnataka, India +91 95133 20360
Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort, Kerala
Famous as the world’s first Ayurveda resort, Somatheeram has earned the title of “The Ayurveda People”, because their knowledge of the ancient Indian medical system is quite unparalleled. They have been imparting Ayurvedic treatments for over 30-years now and their popularity just seems to grow with time. They offer an assortment of therapies and treatments along with yoga and meditation classes and an Ayurvedic vegetarian food diet for a holistic healing programme. Somatheeram also provides day trip packages if you want to explore the local sights.
Somatheeram Ayurveda Village, Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, +91 471 226 8101
Yab Yum Resort, Goa
Situated at a two-acre palm grove in Ashwem beach, Yab Yum Resort is a family friendly wellness resort complete with a paddling pool and babysitting facilities. The yoga classes here are suitable for beginners and experts alike. Private classes are available as well. Rejuvenating massages like the Ayur-Balance Massage and Ayur-Yogic Massage are great for relaxing and removing emotional blockages. There are two types of accommodation available in this fuss-free retreat. There are cottages which are built in the traditional Goan style and then there are the wonderfully ccentric domes built out of lava rock, palm leaves, grass and mango wood and local clay and sand.
Yab Yum Resort, Ashwem Beach, Mandrem, Goa, India +91 86696 92229
Karuna Farm, Tamil Nadu
Karuna Farm is anything but luxurious. A place that advocates an alternative lifestyle, it’s all about austerity, self sufficiency and getting back to nature here. The houses at the farm are built with recycled waste such as tyres, bottles, tins and mud and all power is sourced from solar energy and hydroelectric power. They are also involved in organic farming that includes a vegetable garden and fruit and coffee plantation. Kamdenu, Tara and Gopi are the three resident cows at Karuna who provided 45 litres of fresh milk everyday. All these offbeat activities take place amid the serene backdrop of the breathtaking landscape of Kodaikanal.
Karuna Farm, Prakasapuram Village, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India, +91 75488 85455
Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre, Karnataka
Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre follows the principles of Vastu, the ancient Hindu science of construction and architecture. The centre was started by a doctor who, after failing to find a cure for his illness in modern medicine, turned to Ayurveda and yoga instead. The retreat also hosts yajnyas, a Vedic ritual performed by Brahmin priests in front of a sacred fire. One of the best features of Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre is that it provides accommodation facilities for all budgets, so that everyone can experience the benefits the retreat has to offer.
Spa Alila, Goa
The Alila Diwa resort is located near the beautiful Majorda beach. Their Detox Detour package is ideal for anyone experiencing stress, tiredness, digestive disorders, arthritis, allergies or intolerances, fears or phobias, emotional turmoil, as well as skin, weight, menstrual, fertility or respiratory issues. They recommend their programme to anyone looking for inner peace and happiness. Detox programmes are available as three, five, seven, 10 and 14 night packages.
Alila Diwa, 48/10, Adao Waddo, Salcette, Majorda, Goa, India, +91 832 274 6800