The Jiva Grande Spas in southern India’s Vivanta by Taj hotels make the most of their inspiring locations.
Jiva Grande Spas is the only Indian spa brand that allies the unique concepts of traditional healing and spirituality and constantly expands its offerings.
Two programmes dedicated to long-term wellness are to be found in the glorious south of the country, in two of the more recently opened resorts in Bekal and Coorg. And while each Jiva Spa has the same thematic philosophy, each has its own signature treatments which are specific to its location’s healing tradition. Similarly, the design of each spa — while holding to the concept of Vastu Shashtra, the traditional Indian way of space planning and alignment — is given a contemporary twist using time-honoured materials such as stone and wood.
At Vivanta by Taj Madikeri in Coorg, the spa, which is 4,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by rainforest, brings the natural elements to a contemporary luxury interior; for instance, much of the wood used is recycled from traditional houses. In deep seclusion and on three levels, the spa is there to enhance the healing and balancing efficacies of its treatments and programmes. Its promise is that it’s ‘where you can lose yourself to find yourself ‘. In Bekal, deep in northern Kerala, known throughout India as ‘God’s own country’, is a haven of luxury and healing. Combining natural materials and traditional building methods, both the resort and spa highlight the rejuvenating effect of its lush 25 acres so that guests can understand why this area has been nominated by National Geographic as one of the thirteen paradises in the world.
The stressed and the tired from India, the Middle East, northern Europe and a few from the US.
November to March is high season, and when most overseas visitors arrive. However, Bekal attracts locals who regard the monsoon as the most auspicious time for Ayurvedic programmes.
HAVEAt Vivanta Bekal, because of its Ayurveda speciality, many come for the unique detoxifying Panchakarma, with its five purificatory procedures for cleansing and removing toxins from the body. As these are intensive treatments it is advised that guests stay for two to four weeks, and each programme is bespoke and supervised by Jiva Spa physicians. Otherwise opt for one of the signature body anointments or purifying bath ceremonies.
At Madikeri it has to be the Gudda Bath, taken from the traditional practice of heating the water in copper (known for its anti-bacterial properties) over a wood fire. The treatment starts with a massage using a selection of herbs and spices including turmeric and nutmeg, followed by the bath water and concluding with hot milk, saffron and almonds.
Alternatively, you can opt for the exceptional body polish, using local ingredients fort is well worth a visit. In Madikeri, take an early-morning hike through the Western Ghats, the beautiful mountain range that dominates the landscape of Coorg. Go early in the morning before the sun gets too hot, and then retire to your villa and its pool. Both resorts offer yoga, meditation and pranayama sessions geared to most levels, from beginner to advanced.
At Bekal, you can take a boat back in time as you cruise leisurely though the backwaters past villages, farms and schools, gaining a rare insight into this beautiful part of Kerala. If you’re feeling a little more energetic, then a nearby 17th-century fort is well worth a visit. In Madikeri, take an early-morning hike through the Western Ghats, the beautiful mountain range that dominates the landscape of Coorg. Go early in the morning before the sun gets too hot, and then retire to your villa and its pool. Both resorts offer yoga, meditation and pranayama sessions geared to most levels, from beginner to advanced.
At Bekal, do take part in the special ritualistic fire ceremonies (homams) for guests’ ayus and arogya (longevity and health), with chanting by the resident priest. At Madikeri, it would be a pity to miss out on the Gudda Bath experience.