Spa vacations: Get the massage

Prince Charles’s wife Camilla flew into India a week before the Commonwealth Games for an ayurvedic rejuvenation package at a spa in Bangalore’s Whitefield suburbs . It was a combination of yoga, meditation, ayurveda and other traditional forms of therapy for the Duchess of Cornwall at Soukya Holistic Health Centre where she stayed in the lavish 2,500 sq ft presidential suite with three bedrooms, a fruit garden, an open-air shower and a lotus pond. It was satvik vegetarian food for her during the treatment. Ayurvedic spa vacations in India have become popular not just among the rich and the famous from overseas; the well-heeled Indian traveller too is taking these health breaks in a big way. Whether it’s a weekend getaway to a seaside resort in Goa or a weeklong wellness break in the Himalayasayurvedic treatments are the theme. There are a wide range of ayurvedic vacations available for foreign and Indian tourists and these could cost from anything between $500 and $ 1,400 per day. A typical spa vacation can be anywhere between seven to 14 days depending on the budget and availability of time. Many tourists also combine visiting historical places with a spa vacation as an add-on .

And while Kerala is synonymous with ayurvedic spa vacations, such treatments are available at most topend resorts across India in Goa, Karnataka , Rajasthan and even in the Himalayas. Ananda in the Himalayas near Rishikesh is a destination spa resort while CGH Earth group, which has been at the forefront of the spa tourism in Kerala, also offers treatment packages at its eco-friendly resorts at Swaswara, Northern Karnataka and at Visalam in Tamil Nadu. Most luxury hotels across India offer ayurvedic treatments in their spas. A holiday in north India would include places such as Ananda in the Himalayas and the Wildflower Hall, a luxury Oberoi resort in Shimla. In fact, Wildflower Hall offers a package called ‘Wellness in the Himalayas’ —a seven-night yoga and meditation programme to refresh, restore and rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit which combines private sessions in yoga and meditation with ayurvedic spa therapies. For a seven-night stay the programme is priced at 1,25,000 for two people. At Ananda, a seven-day ayurvedic rejuvenation santvanam programme for detoxifying, destressing and revitalising starts from 2 lakh for two people. A 21-day ayurvedic rejuvenation rasayana programme for all encompassing healing could go up to 11 lakh for two. These are personalised programmes that include stimulating and purifying therapies, daily yoga and meditation and dosha-specific Ayurvedic diet to help reduce stress, improve health and address common ailments or simply delay the ageing process.

There are destination spas in Goa which are very popular. Kerala has various upscale properties in destinations such as Kumarakom, Thekady and Kochi. “India has been promoted as a spa destination for quite some time and it is very popular with its ayurvedic treatments. This market is quite large and it would comprise at least 25 per cent of the total inbound market. Even hotels in Delhi and Mumbai provide complete spa treatments within their properties and it is no longer confined to destinations. Hotels have understood the demand for such holidays and have designed such packages,” says Karan Anand, head, relationships and supplier management , Cox and Kings Ltd.

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