Monday, 30th October 2017

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Soul vacation

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By Meditation resorts are the way to go if you need to bust the stress out of your system, says Anindita Mitra
  • Published 3.07.10
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As the Dalai Lama once said: the secret to happiness lies in holidays! But if you’re stressed and burnt out, chances are that you’ll spend half your vacation worrying about what went wrong before you left and the other half about what will go wrong once you get back. The perfect holiday takes you to a different state of mind, which should ideally last till your next vacation. And for a whole bunch of work-weary, life-struck stress-mongers who can’t let go, there’s something on offer. Meditation resorts.

And no we’re not talking about ‘yoga-only’ retreats/Vipassana centres/Buddhist learning programmes that put you through the grind to enrich your spirits, but sometimes leave your body tired with all that 4am-soul searching. Nor are we talking about spiritual leaders and their ashrams. These are retreats that do not expect you to give up on the frills and fancies of a vacation proper and yet incorporate meditation into the daily routine to give you a well-rounded experience.

Here’s a look at the retreats that promise a soul vacation.

Wayanad, Kerala

God’s own country has a lot to offer to those weary of the soul. Marrying Ayurvedic traditions with yoga has produced some wonderful programmes at Ayurveda Yoga Villa, that’s set along the river Kabani in Wayanad. The week-long yoga and meditation programme here combines a set of meditation techniques, asanas and pranayam in a manner that can be continued once you exit the resort too. Their scheduled regimen starts at 7am and ends at 8pm each day and includes yoga, pranayam and meditation sessions, Ayurvedic consultations, massage, nature walks and a swim. But there’s something even cooler — they actually teach Kalaripayattu — the oldest martial art form to have originated in India and do Kalari-based therapy programmes too.

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If you have health issues, you need to send your medical history ahead so it can be checked by the resort’s doctors. Depending on the type of villa, single occupancy rates range from 355 euros (about Rs 20,243) to 560 euros (about Rs 31,928) for seven days. The price includes airport transfers at Calicut (76km from Wayanad), accommodation in villa-style cottages, yoga, pranayam and meditation sessions, all meals and drinks (vegetarian and non-alcoholic), Ayurvedic treatments and more. Mail to info@ayurvedayogavilla.com.

Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

The Himalayas have a way of keeping travellers spellbound. One of the highest spiritual retreats in the world is set in the desert valley of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. Called Blue Mango in the Himalayas, the retreat is located 12,500ft above sea level on the banks of the Spiti River. From life coaches (trainers who help you identify and attain life’s goals) to Buddhist lamas from the nearby Komik Monastery, you will find guiding hands to help you find solace. You are taught different meditation techniques (and can opt for a vow of silence too), hatha yoga, as well as nature walks and drives through Spiti and Lahaul.

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Get a green signal from your doctor before you enrol for the 7-day programme. Add to this a day-and-a-half that it takes to reach from Delhi to Spiti, via Manali. You’ll have to shell out Rs 1.95 lakh (ex-Delhi) plus taxes for 10 nights and 11 days. This includes airfare from Delhi, accommodation in lavish Swiss tents (and in a hotel in Manali), all meals, therapies and transfers. You must be 18 or above. Write to contact@bluemangohimalayas.com.

Dharampur, Himachal Pradesh

How does a meditation centre in the midst of pine forests with the misty hills of Kasauli and Barog as backdrop sound? Tapowan Resorts in Dharampur, 15km from Kasauli offers you just the place you are looking for with its 12 exclusive cottages outfitted with modern amenities. The Dhyan Meditation Centre can be used by guests who need to get away from it all (and that includes trainers, who tell you how to do it).

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A cottage with a double bedroom and a living room that accommodates two adults and two children costs Rs 4,400 a night and includes breakfast. Call 09805851781.