Many spas around the world like to advertise Ayurveda as a few
select treatments: special hot stone massages, perhaps, or other
therapies involving herbs and oils. But true Ayurveda is a much
more holistic - and ancient - brand of natural healing. For full
immersion, a complete programme (as well as a lengthy retreat
period) offers the greatest benefits of all. For those seeking
stays that specialise in intensive Ayurveda in India, these five
rank among our favourites thanks to their personal attention,
dedication to traditional Ayurveda, and their pampering
Kalari Kovilakom practices
Ayurveda in its purest form © CGH Earth
A self-described "Palace for Ayurveda," the Kerala-based Kalari
Kovilakom certainly takes its treatments seriously. The retreat
professes to practice Ayurveda in its purest form, and that's hard
to argue with once you know that all the herbs used in its
treatments are sourced from the venue's very own, private gardens.
Meanwhile, guests are cooked purifying meals in the Ayurvedic
kitchen, and enjoy everything from personalised massages and baths
to herbal treatments and consultations from on-site physicians.
Founded by Dr. Mathai, Soukya
specialises in only the most traditional Ayurvedic practices ©
Soukya, founded by holistic health expert Dr.
Mathai, certainly ranks among the most intensive retreats for
Ayurveda in India. Based in Bangalore, the centre counsels
attendees in the healing arts while pursuing only the most
traditional practices. During massages, hot oil treatments,
sessions with herbal poultices and other therapies, individuals are
treated with oil and herbs specifically chosen to suit their
humours. Yoga classes accompany the sessions, while other
naturopathy therapies - from mud baths to breathing exercises - are
sure to enliven.
Somatheeram Health Resort
Somatheeram was one of the first
Ayurvedic retreats in India © Somatheeram
Located along the strikingly beautiful coastline near to Kovalam
Beach in Kerala, Somatheeram isn't just an essential Ayurvedic
destination - it was one of the very first around. Founded more
than 20 years ago, the health resort ranks among the oldest such
retreats in the country. That experience translates to a range of
treatment packages that cater to each guest's needs - all while
staying true to the 5,000 year-old art. From body purification to
stress management, visitors seeking an intensive experience can
zero in on their goals (while also enjoying home-cooked Ayurvedic
cuisine and tours of the scenic backwaters).
Manaltheeram Ayurveda Beach Village
Beach-side Manaltheeram brings a
combination of luxury and healing © Manaltheeram
On the one hand, Manaltheeram Ayurveda Beach Village offers the
kind of amenities you'd expect to encounter on only the most
luxurious of holidays, from private garden cottages with seaside
views to surfside dining and a gorgeous infinity pool. But that
doesn't dampen the authenticity of its Ayurveda. A staff of
Ayurvedic doctors, an affiliated Ayurveda Academy, and an
accompanying yoga programme ensure that wellness is as much a
priority as pampering.
Vana Malsi Estate
The hollistic wellbeing
practiced at Vana Malsi Estate is rooted in Ayurvedic therapies ©
Opened only last year, the supremely elegant Vana Malsi Estate - located remotely in
Uttarakhand, outside of Dehradun and approaching the foothills of
the Himalayas - is a wellness retreat that aims to explore guests'
physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing. Underlying
that goal is a resolutely bespoke Ayurvedic approach: from meals
and consultations to therapies and guests' daily itineraries, every
last detail of a visitor's stay is personalised. When it comes to
Ayurveda in India, it hardly gets more intensive.