From the flagship at Kovalam to the newly opened Kumarakom retreat, from the ancient hills of Kohima to the pristine forests of Thekkady, Niraamaya Retreats are located within the most stunning of destinations where nature wraps cradles guests in its warm embrace.
“My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.”
– Claude Monet, French artist and founder of French Impressionist Painting.
The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. So said American writer and naturalist Henry Beston.
Someone wise once said simply, ‘Nature Heals’. Research reveals that environments can increase or reduce our stress, which, in turn, impacts our bodies. What we are seeing, hearing, experiencing at any moment is changing not only just our mood, but how our nervous, endocrine and immune systems work. In one study cited in the book Healing Gardens, researchers found that more than two-thirds of people choose a natural setting to retreat to when stressed.
Nature Heals at Niraamaya Retreats
Since Niraamaya is in the business of healing and wellness, at Niraamaya Retreats, bonding with nature is at the core of its wellness philosophy and its approach to hospitality. All of Niraamaya Retreats properties are swaddled by nature, set amidst pristine destinations, untrammeled by haphazard development. Nature plays a big role in the retreats’ wellness programmes.
The flagship property at Kovalam seamlessly segues into a steep cliff that juts out on to the golden sand of a private beach. From the highest point of the cliff, till wherever the eyes can see, is the sweeping view of palm trees, uninhabited stretch of sand and the panoramic blue sea.
This is a destination that offers magical experiences: stunning sunrises and sunsets; walks along a lush coastline; yoga in the lap of nature; a landscape that allows you to breathe free. When guests participate in a walking meditation on one of the retreats’ green patches, their view is of the dramatic natural setting. When they take a massage in the spa that sits within the tropical surroundings, they tend to relax and let go. One of the Kovalam retreats’ most stunning suites is the Banyan Tree suite. Walking into it is akin to walking into an ancient grove. Its ancient roots and overarching branches create a healing haven, where guests forge almost spiritual bonds with nature.
The neophyte or Niraamaya Retreats’ most recent opening is a gateway to the natural wonder of India’s biggest, and most picturesque, lake. Practically every villa opens to the view of the blue-green hued backwaters. Step out of your four-poster bed in the morning, throw open the curtains and step out on the porch, and what you have is a view that’s worth a million bucks. Little fishing boats bobbing on the calm waters, either making their way to the canal-fringed villages after a night of fishing, or away from them for a day-long trip. Large wood-and-cane pleasure boats or Kettuvallams that take travellers and tourists on pleasure rides, lazily making their way over azure waters. Canoes carrying goods and people along the lake lifeline.
When guests step out of their villa/suites, a tropical paradise awaits them. They walk into an open landscaped ground from where the view of the backwaters is equally fetching. The crescent-shaped waterbody, close to the tharavadu that houses the reception area and restaurants, is a healing expanse of blue. The experiences of the destination—from canoe and Kettuvalam cruises to bonding with artisans, toddy tappers, coir makers and coconut tree climbers—are opportunities to re-establish bonds with natural surroundings.
At this forest sanctuary, the lush jungles of Periyar National Park and cardamom and other spice plantations provide the therapeutic touch. The outdoors is truly ethereal. Mornings are the most magical, when the shrill voice of Malabar whistling thrush or the wild cackling of monkeys penetrate your sleep. In monsoons and winters, the hills are exquisite—overhung with misty clouds in winters and drenched in tropical showers in monsoons. The best way to experience the destination is to take a walk or a canoe cruise through the Periyar National Park. On an invigorating walk on the narrow forest paths, take a breather to see a life-sized spider weave its web across two trees, even as a noisy Malabar grey hornbill streaks through the thick canopy of leaves above.
The salubrious silence of the forest will envelope you even as you feel the stress of urban living slipping away. If you spend enough time in the breathtaking outdoors, you may see an elephant or bison cross the green corridor, just outside the forest. The spice gardens are perfect destinations to explore the fascinating world of spices and understand how beneficial they are to our general wellbeing and health, if used in the right proportions.
Equally restorative are the primeval hills of Kohima, a getaway to a world of unexplored beauty. Located on the eastern frontiers of the Himalayan mountain range, the retreat overlooks verdant pine forests and spectacular vistas. The fog-draped mountains of Kohima are a pleasure to traverse in any season. Japfu Peak, which stands at a height of 3,082 metres, provides a broad, expansive view of the entire Dzukou valley. It is dotted with lush green pastoral villages and thick vegetation, set to the backdrop of the mighty Himalayan ranges. Dzükou Valley, also known as Nagaland’s Valley of Flowers, is covered with several varieties of white lilies and rhododendrons, especially in this season of spring. The Valley is a visual treat of emerald green hills, luscious forests, serpentine streams and blooming flowers.
How Nature restores our sense of balance in American publication, Psychology Today