5 Stunning Yoga & Ayurveda Retreats in South India You Want To Stay At

5 Stunning Yoga & Ayurveda Retreats in South India You Want To Stay At

Got the winter doldrums? 

Imagine being able to check yourself into an Ayurveda retreat to center and right-track your body and mind and return with a sense of calm and quiet poise… just what you need to get through this dreary winter.

It’s proven that relaxation is, in fact, very good for your health and wellbeing, and we have shortlisted 5 absolutely stunning yoga and Ayurveda retreats in South India that you will want to bookmark for your next vacation.

1. Kalari Rasayana 

Kalari Rasayana Ayurveda Retreat in Kerala, India

For a pure Ayurvedic travel experience, our first recommendation is Kalari Rasayana in south Kerala

Its name translates to “Song of the Lake,” and this Ayurvedic retreat is situated along the Paravur backwaters, amid floating islands and untold tranquility. Spread over eight acres of a coconut grove, this exclusive retreat has only 22 rooms, as well as an extensive facility for your Ayurvedic treatments

The team here practices one of the purest forms of Ayurveda, with a Vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor) who does a detailed check-up upon arrival and prescribes treatments and massages tailored to your individual needs. These are complimented by yoga classes and meditation.

The kitchen is staffed by a team of excellent chefs who make it their mission to feed you healthy and holistic soul food, organically grown and high in taste and medicinal value. Every meal is tailor-made, under the direction of the Vaidyas, to suit your health condition and body type for Ayurveda health.

2. Neeleshwar Hermitage

If you are environmentally conscious, head further up the coast to the northern tip of Kerala and the pristine beaches of Neeleshwar.

Neeleshwar Hermitage is rustic charm at its best, with a beautiful estate right on the waterfront with simple but comfortable cottages. What makes Neeleshwar Hermitage a true ayurvedic retreat is its ethos of well-being, rooted in Prana the ancient concept of life force. 

Neeleshwar practices sustainable wellness and works closely with the Sahyadri Foundation to gather organic herbs and plants from across the Sahyadri Mountain Range – ancient mountains that run down the entire length of India’s west coast. They also work closely with tribal communities to ensure that they do not leave a negative footprint on the environment

The Ayurvedic spa is situated around a central courtyard garden. Airy, light and well-ventilated, the atmosphere is utterly serene. The accommodations are in 18 individual cottages named after traditional yogic virtues like Ayur (long life) and Ananda (Bliss). Our favorite is Prema (love), with a private relaxation pool that evokes aqua serenity.

3. Vivanta by Taj Bekal and Taj Madikeri 

If you’re looking for an idyllic combination of forest and beach, then the Taj resorts in Bekal and Madikeri are a fabulous combination of nature and nurture. 

We begin with Vivanta by Taj Bekal, one of India’s best-kept secrets, situated on Kappil Beach, right where the backwaters meet the sea. This luxury five-star resort combines Kerala’s landscape and culture heritage with modern wellness offerings based on Ayurveda.

In contrast, immersed within a 180 acre rainforest in the Nilgiri Biosphere is the Vivanta by Taj Madikeri, a short three-hour drive away. Thickly forested and carpeted with wild ferns, flowers and tropical greenery, the charm of its décor is the wide-open space and bright airiness of the layout, complete with stunning infinity pools and a massive spa complex.

Both resorts offer Jiva Spa’s signature treatments such as Abhisheka – an ancient purifying ritual; Sushupti – which involves exfoliation and massage and Vishuddi – a stimulating massage that stimulates your energy, blood and lymph circulation throughout the body.

4. Swaswara

For the creative soul, Swaswara in Gokarna is a cocoon with a deep wellness orientation. 

Ayurveda lies at the core of its philosophy, along with yoga and meditation. The property grows its own herbs and produce, which is entirely organic and natural. Nature is intrinsic here – the entire acreage is covered in greenery overlooking the seashore and the gently undulating waves along Om Beach – a setting unlike any other.

Swaswara takes it to a different level by unleashing your creativity, using art as a means to revitalise your wellbeing and incorporating techniques from tribal art to pottery to origami to replenish your spirit.

Their Ayurvedic programs are either 7 or 14 nights long and follow a full regimen of therapies, yoga, meditation and a Sattvik diet (organic and vegetarian meals) that nourishes the body, mind and soul inside and out. They also offer Panchkarma treatments that purge your body of toxins and leave you feeling lighter, cleaner and healthier overall.

5. VanaVasa

Finally, if you just need to unplug completely, VanaVasa (a Sanskrit word that means 'forest stay') in Karnataka offers a different kind of luxury – the luxury of being unfettered by technology. 

Three spacious cottages are made entirely from natural elements such as thatch, brick and stone. Natural light, fresh air and cross-ventilation make it a light and airy space that soothes your soul.

Aimed at realigning us with the primordial rhythms of the self and universe, there is no TV, no WiFi, and no electricity. The idea is to shed the layers of daily routine and completely immerse yourself in the purest of nature to recalibrate.

Can’t make it to one of these stunning wellness retreats? Pamper yourself at home with Ayurvedic rituals using Malavara's products. Our award-winning Hair Elixir brings balance, peace of mind, and gorgeous hair. Or try a dry brushing ritual followed by our luxurious body wash, lotion, and dry body oil.

If you’d like to add any of these Ayurvedic retreat centers to your bucket list in 2020, e-mail us and we’ll help you make it a reality.



Tejal Ramnathkar Engman is the co-founder of Malavara. Having left India at 17, she has come full circle to her herb-mixing granny's Ayurvedic beauty traditions. Tejal lives in Washington, DC, and her new year's resolution is to squeeze more hot yoga into a schedule that is currently consumed by a rambunctious 4-year-old, a day job in real estate, and her passion, Malavara.

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