How to choose the right wellness destination for you?
Here is a sketch of the various wellness demographics in India which will make it easy for you to find the perfect wellness destination for that much-deserved Ayurvedic rejuvenating holiday.
Reputed for its golden beaches, Goa has many more hidden treasures than meets the reach of a wandering traveler. The state is home to a number of yoga retreats and resorts tucked away within the cozy crevices of nature. While it remains conventional to practice yoga in a calm, quite and serene surrounding in greener landscapes, Goa’s impressive shorelines offer a soothing backdrop in your search for calm and peace through Yoga. Visitors here can also choose from a retreat that is surrounded by paddy fields and coconut palm groves to eco-friendly resorts offering organic meals and rustic accommodations.
Getting There: The Goa Dabolim Airport operates domestic flights throughout the day to 10 Indian international airports. The airport currently operates international flights only to the Middle East by the two state-owned carriers, Air India and Indian Airlines. Numerous European charter airlines fly to Goa, especially in the winter season.
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Karnataka is the home state of the global mission – The Art of Living Foundation, started by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 1981 in Bangalore, the organization’s international headquarters. Running on the motto of creating a ‘stress-free and violence-free world’, the foundation has changed the lives of millions through meditation, for more than three decades.
Within, and on the outskirts of Bangalore, the options are aplenty. From luxury upscale resorts offering daily yoga and meditation classes to classical Ayurvedic sanctuaries within the city and nearby cities like Mysore – which is fast gaining a reputation as one of India’s best places to practice Ashtanga yoga and Udupi.
Getting There: Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport welcomes international travelers from across the world. The airport also operates daily domestic flights to major cities across India, including Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Goa.
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Kerala is the motherland of Ayurveda, of holistic wellness. It boasts an ‘unbroken tradition’ having survived several demographic, political and environmental changes over hundreds of years. Unlike the other Indian states, Ayurveda in Kerala is not considered an alternative medicine but mainstream. The Ayurveda Vaidyars (practitioners) of Kerala have studied and adapted the theories of Ayurveda as effective healing systems in their everyday life. Thus many Keralites still use Ayurvedic medicines as the first choice of treatment when tackling any ailment.
The state offers a number of choices when it comes to choosing a wellness center – be it on a houseboat in the lagoons, or in a protected straw hut inside dense forests, or perched up on a steep hill, or in a relaxing cottage next to the backwaters or next to the lapping sounds of the aggressive seas or within a century-old traditional Kerala homes – there is something for everyone.
Popular destinations for Ayurveda in Kerala include the idyllic beaches of Kovalam and Varkala, the backwaters of Kumarakom and Alappuzha, the traditional landscapes of Palakkad and the mystic mountains of Wayanad and Munnar. City centers like Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin, and Kannur also offer many choices.
Getting There: Kerala has three international airports – Thiruvananthapuram International Airport that connects to major cities in India to across the world including charter flights from London, New York, and Moscow; Cochin International Airport that offers excellent connections to Europe, U.S., Middle East and Far East and Kozhikode International Airport with international connections to most of the cities in the Middle East.
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While Mumbai might be the state’s more popular claim to fame, Cities like Nasik, Aurangabad and Pune boast of many reputed centers for Yoga, Nature Cure and Meditation. Nasik, located in the northwest part of the state is a quiet and relaxed town is a prime location for spiritual tourism. The hill station, Igatpuri, in Nasik is home to one of the world’s largest meditation centers where Vipassana, an age-old form of meditation, which is known to have been taught by Buddha some 2,500 years ago as a ‘universal remedy for universal ills’ is also practiced. Another unique aspect of Nasik is that it is one of four cities where the Kumbh Mela takes place every 12 years. This provides visitors a unique opportunity to experience their spiritual journey of body and mind.
Elsewhere, the Dhamma Punna Vipassana Center, Osho Meditation Center and the Art of Living Yoga and Meditation Center are some of the reputed centers that have put Pune on the global wellness map.
Getting There: The Sahar International Airport located in Mumbai – the state’s capital is very well-connected to most international airports across the world, while the domestic terminus located at Santa Cruz is linked to all the major cities across India. Within the state, many of the larger cities like Aurangabad, Nasik, Nagpur, and Pune have airports facilitated by the national domestic airlines and private commercial companies.
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Once again, a marriage between earth and the sky – the diverse landscapes of Tamil Nadu gives plenty of options for yogic activities and idyllic getaways. From the misty hills of Coonoor to the city-centric Coimbatore, to the seaside sanctuary of Pondicherry – Yoga and Ayurveda is widely practiced here. If you would like to adopt a yogic way of living, or interested to train yoga, Pondicherry is a viable destination where the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research is situated. Coonoor has a Yoga and Ayurveda retreat hospital that is ideal to recuperate, amidst the perennial streams, waterfalls, and acres of placid forest land. Coimbatore, the second largest city in the state, is another destination that is fast gaining popularity as a destination for wellness and Ayurveda with a wide number of reputed centers now available.
Getting There: The Chennai International Airport is considered to be the fourth busiest airport in India with respect to passenger traffic and lies about 500m west of the city’s domestic terminal. There are direct flights to cities all over India, including Trichy, Madurai, Coimbatore, and Thoothikudi within Tamil Nadu. Internationally, Chennai has plenty of direct flights to/from Colombo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Gulf states and Europe on Jet Airways (via Delhi/Mumbai), Qatar Airways (via Doha) or Emirates (via Dubai). Another key airport is the state is the Coimbatore International Airport, which offers direct flights to Chennai, Kozhikode, Bangalore, Mumbai as well as Singapore and most of the Gulf states.
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Uttarakhand has become an ideal destination to learn, practice and master the science of Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation. With a large number of ashrams, health centers, retreats and high-end spas in Dehradun, Mussoorie, Haridwar, Nainital, and Rishikesh, it is today better known as Yoga Country of India.
Uttarakhand has become the perfect destination to escape to cleansing your system of toxins and relieving the stress of everyday life. The age-old systems of Yoga and Ayurveda and new age healing systems like Reiki are easily available and accessible at centers that have retained this wisdom to cater to the needs of today’s society. Here visitors come to learn Yoga as a way of life and practice Ayurveda to treat their problems. Whatever your requirement, visitors are sure to find a solution to his problem and return home with a sounder mind and healthier body.
Getting There: The Jolly Grant International Airport in Dehradun is the only major commercial airport in Uttarakhand that offers daily connections to all the major cities in India including Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad (via Delhi) and Mumbai. The proximity of Jolly Grant Airport to popular places like Dehradun, Mussoorie, Haridwar, and Rishikesh which is roughly 20-40 mins, allows visitors to fly into Dehradun instead of traveling by rail or road.
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