For thousands of years, people in India have turned to the holistic, traditional system of Ayurveda for healing and relaxation. Purported to be the world’s oldest health care system, Ayurveda helps patients achieve full-body balance and wellbeing, using everything from custom-made meals to personal massages, bespoke oil treatments to other hand-picked methods of care. Though Ayurveda has its origins in the south of India, these days top resorts can be found all over the country. For a good introduction, begin with these six Ayurvedic retreats in India, and just see if you don’t feel fully pampered and brand new by the time your therapists are through.
Somatheeram is billed as the world’s first Ayurvedic resort © Somatheeram
The very first Ayurvedic resort in the world? Somatheeram claims to hold the title, making it a must-visit stay for those looking to delve deeply into the Ayurvedic arts. Luxury is certainly on offer: guests stay in private villas and are literally steps from the soothing surf of the Arabian Sea. But an intensive roster of treatments, trained professionals, and yoga classes also ensure that wellness remains the retreat’s top objective.
Ananda in the Himalayas
Ananda’s spa offers close to 100 different treatments © Ananda in the Himalayas
A location in the unspoiled wilds of the Himalayan foothills. Gorgeous open-air meditation and teaching areas. A relaxing outdoor swimming pool. Nature treks and safari adventures. And, oh yes, a huge spa facility with nearly 100 treatments available and a number of qualified Ayurvedic doctors on-staff. No wonder Ananda in the Himalayas ranks among the finest Ayurvedic retreats in India.
Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort
Carnoustie pampers guests with Ayurveda, naturopathy and yoga © Carnoustie
Amidst the palm groves, the tropical climate, the stunning backwaters and the photogenic shorelines of Kerala, lies Carnoustie Ayurveda & Wellness Resort. But it isn’t only its languid setting that makes this retreat such a destination. In its lavishly appointed spa, outfitted with traditional architectural touches and lovely fountains, guests have access to experts in yoga, Ayurveda, and naturopathy, and treatments that seek to assist with everything from purification and detox to anti-stress and relaxation techniques.
Kalari Kovilakom is set within a restored Keralan mansion © Kalari Kovilakom
Within a restored, 19th century mansion, Kalari Kovilakom offers a programme of only the most traditional Keralan Ayurvedic treatments. Ayurvedic herbs and ingredients used in the facility are sourced locally – many even from Kalari Kovilakom’s own on-site gardens – while expert therapists offer complete, full-body care, from customised vegetarian meals and purifying baths to massages, medicines, and other treatments.
Accessible from Bangalore, Soukya is nevertheless an oasis of tranquility © Soukya
Under the watchful eyes of Dr. Mathai, an acclaimed holistic health professional, Soukya delves deep into Ayurvedic treatments with thousands of years of ritual and tradition behind them. From meals to oil mixtures, every treatment is selected by experts to align with individual visitors’ temperaments and healing goals. Easily accessible, given its location on the outskirts of Bangalore, the retreat is nevertheless surrounded by lush and peaceful gardens.
Vana Malsi Estate
Vana Malsi Estate has been described as a “five-star ashram” © Vana Retreats
A prime position in the Himalayan foothills of Uttarakhand and some of the best treatment facilities in the country: it’s no wonder that Vana Malsi Estate was described by Condé Nast Traveller as a “five-star ashram.” Hidden away within fragrant lychee and mango forests, the estate is undoubtedly one of the best Ayurvedic retreats in India. A no-nonsense approach to care and completely individually tailored plans let visitors truly profit from their healing time off the grid.