Healing holidays at offbeat locales
With an increasing number of Indian travellers seeking wellness, here’s a look at some properties, tucked away in the seclusion of nature and offering unique, healing experiences.
As per a 2023 Global Travel Trends Report by a leading international travel portal, 90% Indian travellers are prioritising personal wellness. The report by American Express Travel also states that 77% Indians plan on taking at least three vacations trips.
“There has been an increase in the number of people seeking wellness-centred retreats. People are looking for a detox from their stressful routines and heading to destinations such as Kerala and Uttarakhand, looking for programmes that match their lifestyle goals,” says Malayanil Singh, Senior Vice President, Trail Blazer Tours India Private Limited adding that weight-loss management, clean diets, yoga, spas are some experiences people seek. “Based on this some properties are offering programmes such as Sowa Rigpa, which is a Tibetian way of healing,” he says adding that most of the wellness itineraries are atleast a week-long, allowing people to immerse into and adapt the new changes. “People are happy to take such vacations after a gap of three months so they continue to keep the wellness practices in their life,” he adds.
“Travelling has evolved into a lifestyle change in which people wish to address their health difficulties, heal themselves, and relax. As a result, there has been an increase in wellness tourism. Wellness tourism is typically connected with the goal of people’s overall well-being — physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional,” reaffirms Rikant Pittie, Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip.
Equine-assisted therapy is an up and coming wellness practice that involves working with horses to improve self-esteem, self-awareness, confidence, and empathy. A powerful tool for emotional healing that is said to help individuals build better relationships, establish boundaries, and improve communication skills, it is still a novelty offering in India. “Our equine-assisted therapy program is designed and led by experienced professionals who understand the therapeutic benefits of working with horses,” says Asif Fazlani, Managing Director, Fazlani Nature’s Nest, a wellness resort in Vadgaon, near Lonavala, Maharashtra. In a serene environment, guests can pick from a variety of treatments that range from Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, physiotherapy, and traditional Chinese medicine (including acupressure, acupuncture, and individualized wellness meals). Surrounded by 68 acres of lush greenery, views of the Sahyadri mountain range and the backwaters of the Indryani river, guests can also explore the organic farms, go on nature walks, birdwatching, and engage in forest bathing.
Savour earthy, organic food
Located in the heart of the mountains in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, Tatva Hills offers an intimate stay. Encapsulated by stunning natural beauty, with its lush alpine meadows, a stay in the midst of nature proves all healing. The nature rich environs mean a chance to practice organic farming, and the property strives to bring fresh produce to the plate of their guests. “We use a combination of traditional and modern methods to cultivate our own vegetables, fruits, and herbs in our orchards,” says Ranjan Chopra, Founder, Tatva Hills. Guests can experience working in the farm, cook a meal together, all in the laps of the Himalayas. From picking fresh tomatoes to plucking herbs, there’s a chance to experience farming first-hand.
Relax with a warrior style massage
An ancient warrior-massage style Kalari can be a deeply rejuvenating experience. A full-body massage it sees the masseuse use their legs and not the hands. At SaffronStays Amaya, a heritage estate in Kannur, guests can experience this Ayurvedic massage and restore their well-being. “The historic estate with a stepping pond and a traditional Kerala-style spa experience allows guests to experience an authentic and relaxing stay in Kerala The in-house Kalari massage is offered by a local guru who specialises in this ancient art form of warrior massage that originated in this region,” says Devendra Parulekar, Founder of SaffronStays. The massage room features earthy tones for a peaceful ambience, and a refurbished Shirodhara massage bed. The result is a tranquil space that promotes relaxation and rejuvenation. Restored to its original glory, this 5-bedroom heritage villa is nestled amidst the calming greenery of Kerala. It is located 15 minutes (7 km) away from Kannur International Airport.
Experience the ancient hammam
A traditional steam bath, hamam finds its roots in ancient Indian and middle-eastern cultures. A luxury offering now, it is associated with holistic bathing practices. At the Moksha Himalaya Spa resort in Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh, one can reel in the exoticness of a hamam designed to rejuvenate and heal the mind, body, and soul. “Guests can indulge in the ancient Hammam ritual, which is a purifying and detoxifying journey for the body, starting with a herbal steam, followed by a coffee scrub, aromatherapy massage with rose oil, rose clay paste application, and a head massage. This luxurious experience leaves guests feeling refreshed and renewed,” says Akash Garg, Managing Director, Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort. The resort also offers a variety of other wellness treatments based on ancient practices like Ayurveda, Yoga, and international spa treatments. Guests can also go for walking trails in the nature-rich surroundings of the resort that is a short drive from Chandigarh.
Meditation state of mind
The Heartfulness Headquarters in the outskirts of Hyderabad called Kanha Shanti Vanam is one of the largest spiritual and wellness retreat centres in the world. It houses one of the largest meditation centres in the world with a capacity of hosting 1,00,000 people at a time. The lush green surroundings stretch 1400 acres and boast a perfect ecosystem of rainforests, water reservoirs and 167 migratory bird species, let people immerse in nature. People can register online for a stay that can be as short as a weekend or for a month. The meditation practiced here is Pranauthi based, an ancient technique that helps one connect with their inner-self and is mentored by a trainer. Other than meditation, people can also go for wellness treatments such as polarity sessions, yoga classes, Ayurvedic therapies, homeopathic treatments, all of which are available at a nominal cost.