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Spaces
August 20, 2009

Inner Vistas

Text by Simone Dinshaw

Vacations can be demanding. How often have you returned from a week-long shopping spree in Dubai or a sightseeing holiday in Europe content but thoroughly exhausted? Perhaps it’s time to turn the focus inward and explore alternative rest options. Ranging from locations near the bustling city of Bangalore to one flanking the historical Palace of Rajasthan, Verve lists 5 soulful havens that offer something unique – the opportunity to delve within

Kalari Kovilakom  
Ayurvedic Accents

Kalari Kovilakom is an ideal wellness retreat for several reasons, the least of which is that it was born out of a young woman’s need for her own spiritual sanctuary. The palace was erected for Princess Dhatri, who wanted to create a space where the daughters of the royal family could grow freely, without suffering under the tyranny of the king. Entering this Ayurvedic spa is like entering another world; a world in which everyone wears loose white pajamas and bamboo slippers, eats simple but highly nutritious vegetarian food on banana leaves, and looks thoroughly at peace with themselves. Every therapy here is personalised based on the individual’s needs and Ayurvedic body type. Additionally, choose from holistic therapies for rejuvenation, anti-aging, weight reduction or stress relief. Spice up your visit with a trip to the nearby villages or a few lessons in Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial art tradition local to the region.

Kalari Kovilakom, Kollengode, Palakkad, Kerala 678506 India
Ph: +91 4923 263737

Udaivilas
Regal Retreat

You arrive at Udaivilas, originally a Mughal palace which still maintains its majestic charm, via a delightful boat ride across Lake Pichola on whose banks the resort is situated. For those who think no vacation is complete without some retail therapy, the bazaars of Udaipur are a veritable treasure trove of colourful bangles, intricately designed fabrics, handicrafts and other souvenirs. However, once you arrive at this retreat, you may never venture past its grounds. In the aromatic asylum of the spa, you enjoy the view of the lake and the City Palace whilst being treated to a massage or beauty treatment. Udaivilas also has an extensive yoga menu which caters to individual needs, as well as an impressive variety of ayurvedic treatments. Qualified ayurvedic experts determine your body type before recommending appropriate treatments designed to cleanse your body of toxins and restore your natural balance. Whether indulging in private yoga and meditation sessions, relaxing in the infinity pool that runs along the palatial edifice, or savouring an authentic Rajasthani meal, this retreat definitely gives you the royal treatment.

The Oberoi, Udaivilas, Udaipur – 313001, Rajasthan (India)
+91 294 2433300

Shreyas
Spiritual Spa

Situated amidst vast and verdant gardens on the outskirts of Bangalore, away from the hectic pulse of the IT metropolis, Shreyas is a sanctuary for the mind, body and soul. The staff follows the Vedic belief of athiti devo bhava, which translates into ‘treat thy guest as an embodiment of the Divine’. And divine is precisely what you feel at this wellness spa. Shreyas is primarily a yoga retreat, offering hatha yoga classes for beginners, while more experienced individuals practice ashtanga vinyasa yoga. The holistic approach to wellness includes ayurvedic treatments which cleanse and revitalize you from within, whilst skin treatments like scrubs and masks do the same for you externally. You can choose from a variety of massages that will loosen up and re-energise your body, or simply relax with a book in the impressive library. Organic vegetarian food served in the poolside restaurant will help detoxify your system. In fact, one of the most popular activities guests partake in is helping out in the paddy fields and herb and vegetable gardens, where the food is locally grown. The feeling of giving back is in itself a form of therapy, as is the light physical exercise and the inner peace that comes with being immersed in nature.

Shreyas Retreat, Santoshima Farm, Gollahalli Gate, Nelamangala, Bangalore 562123, India.
27737102, 27737103

Nilaya
Sanctuary by the Sea

For most, a vacation in Goa entails intermittently reclining in hammocks under palm trees and gorging on Goan curry. However, you can not only rest but also revivify yourself with a stay at Nilaya, which in Sanskrit translates into ‘Heaven’. Unlike typical seaside resorts, Nilaya only has 11 guest rooms, which have names like ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ instead of numbers, and are intricately themed in accordance with natural elements. It’s the ideal place to detoxify, as a wide range of Ayurvedic treatments are offered. Enjoy healthy and delectable meals comprising plenty of fresh seafood and organic vegetables at the poolside restaurant overlooking the ocean. Alternatively, dine al fresco by the pool or in the privacy of your own terrace while you enjoy the stunning view. The lengthy free-form swimming pool, tennis and badminton courts, yoga area and jogging trail are a few places where you can benefit from healthy recreation at your own pace. If you prefer a more leisurely pace, make your way to the sky-blue domed Music Room, where guests can meditate on the mattresses that cover the ground, or simply relax and listen to the soothing music. Surrounded by natural beauty and sheltered from the tourist-infested areas of Goa, this retreat truly is a slice of  heaven on earth.

Nilaya Hermitage, Arpora Bhati, Arpora 403 518 , India.
+91-22-24042211

Swaswara
Hilltop haven

At SwaSwara, experience the joy of reintroducing simplicity into your life without having to give up any modern conveniences. Nestled atop the rolling hills of Karnataka and overlooking the Arabian Sea, this spiritual sanctuary is the ideal place to get in touch with yourself. Here you begin your day with yoga on the aptly named Om beach. As you take in the glorious sunrise and listen to the temple bells ringing in the nearby village of Gokarna, you begin to feel the stress melt away. For meals enjoy locally and naturally grown fruits and vegetables and fresh seafood, which you can help create at the complementary cooking lessons. Along with benefiting from the individual attention of qualified yoga gurus, you can unwind with meditation, pranayama and a range of ayurvedic massages. You can also take a pottery or painting class with the artist-in-residence, a short boat ride to one of the beautiful beaches nearby or a guided trek through the surrounding hills. It is hard to turn down the invitation this beach retreat extends; ‘Come, visit yourself.’

Casino Building, Willingdon Island, Cochin, Kerala, India – 682 003
Tel: 91-484-2668221, 2666821

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