ANANDA IN THE HIMALAYAS: LUXURY DETOX IN THE LAP OF NATURE

Even a month after my stay at Ananda – In The Himalayas, I can picture myself floating in the tranquil temperature-controlled pool with alluring turquoise-feathered peacocks wandering all around. I can hear the gurgling sound of the waterfall I enjoyed while lazing in the balcony of my premium valley-view room overlooking verdant hills and the dimly-lit, meditating Rishikesh. Every time I close my eyes, I can feel the composure I experienced after every rejuvenating spa therapy performed in their very idyllic setting. And once I am in this bubble of bliss, it takes a hell lot of effort to decamp and get back to work. Such is the repercussion of my four-night getaway at the opulent destination spa in Narendra Nagar, Uttarakhand.

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Living ‘maharaja’ style
The moment I entered the space, I was welcomed with more than a dozen warm smiles and a rudraksha necklace around my neck. The reception area – housed in the palace – instantly transported me to an era of Indian royalty and the typical, soothing essential oil aroma shook off all the travel tiredness.

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The tea lounge at the reception has a typical old-world charm to it
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And these attractive chandeliers just add the right amount of regal appeal

After being taken in the club car to the spa and stay area, I checked into my spacious room with an earth-tone decor and slipped into a freshly-pressed pair of comfortable white cotton kurta pajama hanging in the walk-in wardrobe. Thankfully, I had packed light – just two pairs of gym wear for my fitness lessons and some nightwear for a good night’s sleep. I hate lugging around a heavy suitcase with piles of clothes and I’m sure you feel the same, and that’s one reason you’ll simply love this place!

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The premium valley view room in colours that echo nature
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Don’t forget to ask for your pair of fresh cotton kurta-pajama; they are comfy and available in every possible size
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Bathrooms with windows giving a view of the lush greenery outside
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Each room at Ananda has a balcony with a picture-perfect view; it’s ideal for a private meal

Since I had booked for their newly-launched four-night Detox Starter Programme, I had my treatment schedule lying right on the desk, in my room. Ananda Spa’s attention to detail and a personalised approach towards every guest, makes the experience simply out of the world. The cherry on the cake is being greeted by a gentle ‘Namaskara’ by each and every staff member of the property – from gatesmen to therapists – and this simply adds to its deep-rooted Indian soul.

Meals in the wilderness
An elegant candle-lit table on a tree-top deck overlooking an enchanting hilly forest, light and healthy yet appetising delicacies and hours of meaningful conversations…
Do you need anything more? I surely don’t.

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I still miss my meals at the tree-top deck restaurant at Ananda

For a quick eater like me, my meals at the Ananda’s literally changed my definition of ‘mealtime’. I have truly begun to appreciate the art of slow, healthy eating; there is surely more to food than just nutrients. Now, I literally look forward to such soul-nourishing mealtimes. Here, they have a customised three-course menu for every guest depending on their dosha – vata, pitta or kapha – and a meal usually begins with a palate cleansing ritual.

If you aren’t following one of their detox programmes – focussing on weight management, Ayurveda, detoxification, stress management etc – you can savour flavourful main course and desserts from their elaborate menu that has enough options for both vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. But what makes it all special is the way the restaurant staff treats you, with a lot of care and attention. In a mere 24-hours of my check-in, I was almost feeling like a ‘happy’ part of one big Ananda family who is always eager to look after my health and wellness. How much better can it get?

Spa indulgence
While I was already feeling revitalised even before I got started with the treatments, it was now time for intense rejuvenation of the body, mind and soul and the spa programme exactly did that. I strongly feel that every urbanite must experience this kind of demystifying detox once in their lifetime. While trying hard to keep up with the daily grind, we often turn a blind eye to the simple joys of nature. How often do we stop and stare at some beautiful flowers on a tree? Not quite often. My stay and the wellness plan at Ananda helped me achieve the harmony between my physical and mental realms, thus reconnecting me to my inner self.
Post my fitness evaluation in the gym and diet and wellness consultation with the Ayurveda expert, I was recommended the diet for my dosha and the holistic treatments to follow. Every treatment – right from Hydro Aromatic Bath and Aromatherapy massage to the four-handed Ayurvedic-inspired Abhyanga Massage and yoga session by well-trained gurus – energises you and helps you cope better with life’s pressures.

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The serene reception of Ananda’s 24,000 sq-ft spa
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The therapies at the spa took me to a complete different world, far away from the tensions of daily life
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At Ananda, they have this ritual of performing aarti for you before the start of every Ayurveda treatment and I found it quite unique and calming

So much to do, so little time
I am often plagued by FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on my travels. If you’re a passionate traveller who often experiences sleepless nights on travels, you’d exactly know what I am talking about. It’s that state of being gripped by the desire to see everything the place has to offer. And at Ananda – In The Himalayas, my FOMO turned all the more stronger. Since I was a part of the four-night Detox Starter Package, I had a jam-packed routine with yoga and therapy sessions scheduled back to back, leaving me with little time to be on my own. I strongly believe that travel is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and truly soaking in the essence of the place. Hence, I decided to wake up as early as 5 am (for an early riser like me, it wasn’t that difficult) on all the remaining days and it felt so much better. I was able to catch the beautiful sunrise and spare time for other interesting activities like the golf class, cooking session with the chef, group yoga sessions at the heavenly yoga podium, trek to Kunjapuri temple and a lot more, and it was indeed fulfilling.

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That’s the dedicated meditation spot! What better place to meditate than this one?
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My one-hour yoga session with an in-depth description of each posture gave me a good understanding of yoga. The natural ambiance enhanced the experience 
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A swim is this temperature-controlled pool is like treading the thin line between Himalayas and heaven
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Diving solo? Don’t worry. These pretty peacocks are always wandering around the pool area, happy to give you company

About Ananda – In The Himalayas

How to get there

By air: There are frequent flights from Delhi to Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun followed by a 40-min picturesque drive to Ananda in the Himalayas. If you’re travelling from Mumbai, you can take a connecting flight – Mumbai-Delhi-Dehradun. 

By road: The drive to Ananda from Delhi could take anywhere between 5-8 hours depending on traffic. While you may want to take the road, be prepared to deal with the traffic which is difficult to estimate.

By train: It is a 4-hour journey from Delhi to Haridwar followed by a one-hour’s drive to Ananda in the Himalayas.

Tariff
Packages start at Rs 21,700 per person per night (inclusive of therapies and meals as per your plan). If you’re uncertain of what kind of programme would be suitable for you, you can always contact the spa reception for some valuable advice.

Amenities
Spa, sauna, steam room, reflexology footbath, cold plunge pool, temperature-controlled outdoor swimming pool, well-equipped gym, 6-hole golf course, vendanta class, dedicated yoga and meditation podiums, billiards and more.

If you don’t have much time at hand and wish to visit Ananda – In The Himalayas for a short stay, I suggest you book their 4-night Detox Starter Package. It perfectly packs in all the relaxing, must-try therapies and gives you a good chance to experience the concept of wellness. Here’s a glimpse of the package for you.

4-night Detox Starter Package

 Treatments Minutes Number of sessions per person
Personal Wellness Consultation 30 1 session
Personal Fitness Evaluation 30 1 session
Personal Diet Consultation 30 1 session
Salt Scrub 45 1 session
Hydro Aromatic Bath 25 1 session
Aromatherapy Massage 85 1 session
Kunjal Kriya 30 1 session
Nasyam 30 1 session
Abhyanga massage 55 1 session
Choornaswedana Massage 55 1 session
Ancient Indian Body Mask 55 1 session
Personal Yoga (per room) 60 1 session
Personal Meditation (per room) 30 1 session
Personal Fitness Session 60 1 session
Lifestyle Recommendation (De-brief) 30 1 session

The quote

Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better
– Albert Einstein

ideally says it all about my stay at this wonderful property on the foothills of the Himalayas.

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