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A Healing Land – Ayurveda in India

A Healing Land – Ayurveda in India

India is a land of a million theories. From the deeply mystical to the downright astonishing, any street corner or taxi cab can yield a beaming figure willing to hold forth on concepts and abstract streams of consciousness that leave even the most seasoned India hand wondering and silenced. We, at Ampersand, travel the length and breadth of the subcontinent and never tire of these encounters which yield such rich and occasionally bizarre trains of thought in which the only response often is in the words of Alice in Wonderland ‘curiouser and curiouser’.

Medical theories are a great source of discussion in Indian life with ailments, remedies and rejuvenation therapy avidly dissected with an openness utterly foreign to most Western ears. It is quite normal to approach an Ayurvedic doctor with a mundane complaint only to be led into a maze of analyses that unravel everything held gospel in conventional medicine. There is little more intoxicating than receiving an ancient wisdom that reaches into the heart of who we are physically and emotionally and produces a tangible sense of wellbeing. In the teachings of Ayurveda being "healthy" is more than just mere physical health – it is a radiant state of vigour and wellness, which is achieved, according to the vedic understanding, by living in balance and moderation in all things. We love the very true riposte that ‘there is nothing frivolous about wellness’ and it is a scene that has blossomed across India’s luxury travel industry in the last five years with natural treatments being found at Ayurvedic resorts in luxurious palaces, beach side huts and even boats, serenaded by river dolphins on the Ganges river.

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The term Ayurveda mingles the Sanskrit words ‘ayur’ (life) and ‘veda’ (knowledge). Ayurvedic treatment, as practiced throughout spa and Ayurveda retreats in India, is one of the oldest known systems of medicine. Many practices predate written records and were handed down orally through the generations. More than 2,000 years ago, three Sanskrit books were penned known as the Great Trilogy and are considered the main epistles on Ayurvedic wisdom - Sushruta Samhita, Caraka Samhita, and Astanga Hridaya.

The main concepts of Ayurvedic medicine include a theory of connectedness to the universe. We, and our bodies, are all joined at one with the cosmos, our physical make-up (prakriti) and our inner being (dosha). To its many devotees from all walks of life and creed, Ayurveda treatment is a source of untold testimonies of healing and self-discovery.

Vana, an hours flight from Delhi, in the foot hills of the Himalayas is the hottest Ayurveda destination for those in the know of wellness holidays. This collection of modernist villas is an all- embracing, rejuvenating Ayurvedic healing retreat, wellness resort and ashram, opened in 2014 by brother and sister duo, Veer and Tara Singh. Veer explains that, "we envisioned a place where people could eat great organic food, be treated by the best Ayurvedic therapists, and become well in mind, body and spirit”. Nestling among mango and lychee plantations, Vana is deeply rooted in the profound experience. The Ku Nye massage – performed by a pair of therapists pressing hot pods into various energy channels while murmuring Sanskrit mantras is something to be remembered with wonder long afterwards. With Tibetan healing, Sufi singing evenings under the stars and exquisite organic food on offer, every detail at Vana is one of sensory awakening.

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Thousands of kilometers from Vana, another luxury Ayurveda resort with a spray of tropical sea water is on offer at Kerala’s Neeleshwar Hermitage. One of Ampersands favourite Ayurveda retreats in India, Neeleshwar is a secluded grove of cottages surrounded by coconut trees on the fabled Malabar Coast. Practicing Ayurveda yoga and meditation on the golden sand at dawn is India distilled into a moment.

Urban travellers can escape to a boutique Ayurveda health resort at Mumbai’s Oberoi Hotel overlooking sweeping Nariman Point. In an atmosphere as frenetic as Mumbai, the serene heart of Ayurveda takes on a potent quality. Two-handed ‘Abhyanga’ Ayurvedic massages doused in aromatic oils and rooted in the tradition are best summed in Mark Twain’s reflection ‘after 10 minutes you forget time, after 20 minutes the world’.


Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide by Deepak Chopra, Random House
Eat • Taste • Heal: An Ayurvedic Guidebook and Cookbook for Modern Living by Thomas Yarema, Five Elements Press

For more information on Ayurveda holidays or to start planning your tailor-made holiday to India, please contact us: // +44 (0) 207 819 9770

Client Testimonials

Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had. Everything – from the individual care and attention in planning the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round!
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Ampersand provided a bespoke and flexible holiday, tailored to my every whim. Their highly professional staff had only one goal which was to arrange an exceptional holiday and some unforgettable experiences in India. I have no hesitation in fully recommending them and they will be the first company I approach in the future - 10/10
- Anonymous, India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India

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