Feeling refreshed from your summer holidays and eager to take on the New Year? Or anything but? It’s around this time that a lot of people get in touch with World Journeys, wanting the truly relaxing getaway that a frantic Christmas followed by a rainy week at the bach just didn’t provide.
Travel can rejuvenate the soul by providing new sights, new experiences and the opportunity to take stock of what’s really important. If you’re already feeling run down and need to focus on rejuvenation, head for India where wellness retreats and a good dose of pampering can truly revive the mind, body and spirit.
Located amongst virgin forest in the tranquil Himalayan foothills of northern India is Ananda Spa, surrounded by graceful sal forests and overlooking the peaceful Ganga River in the Rishikesh Valley. Here you’ll find a focus on holistic wellness, combining the finest ancient Indian traditions of Ayurveda, yoga and Vedanta, with western and oriental philosophies. Choose from an extensive range of over 80 treatments, or get a programme tailor-made to your needs, be they physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
In the south of India near the beaches of Goa you’ll find SwaSwara, another holistic wellness retreat focusing on yoga, meditation and Ayurveda, but also with the opportunity to connect with nature and your local surroundings with nature walks, butterfly and bird watching, cooking sessions and visits to local temples or the farmers market.
If your idea of rejuvenation is more of the indulgent, pampering variety, look no further than the luxury palaces of India. Centuries ago the Maharajahs lived the high-life in their beautiful palaces, until modern times brought the withdrawal of royal privileges. The cost of maintaining the ‘family home’ proved too much for many; the more entrepreneurial of whom reinvented their palaces into luxurious boutique hotels. Ornately decorated, often with pictures of days of old still on the walls, a palace stay allows a rare glimpse of a time gone by. With atmosphere galore, luxurious rooms, a beautiful setting and delicious cuisine, one of our favourites is Samode Palace just outside Jaipur.
Another way to relax away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in India is to cruise through the tranquil backwaters of Kerala on-board a traditional kettuvallam houseboat. Your crew will plot your course through the narrow canals and cook delicious meals as you float past verdant rice paddies, rural villages and temples.
India is a country with so much to offer – the colours, sights and sounds can overwhelm the senses at times, but it needn’t be a hectic experience. Whether you choose to relax in a wellness retreat, cruise tranquil backwaters, or live like a royal in a Maharajah’s palace, there is every opportunity to rejuvenate and keep life as interesting as it should be. Make 2016 your year to take charge and make it happen!
Words: Caroline Clegg, World Journeys