Experience Naturopathy & Yogic Wellness At This Nature-Inspired Retreat Near Bangalore

  • 22 Jan '24
  • 5:54 pm by Manisha AR

The term ‘self-care’ today feels like a commodified and overused term that is usually a band-aid for true rest and rejuvenation. In an age of instant gratification, rapid delivery services, short shipping windows, digital overload and remote work opportunities, rest can feel like a distant dream that was only allowed to the generations before us. On first impressions, the idea of checking into a wellness retreat can feel daunting. However, first impressions can be deceiving just like the concept of self-care. Instead, a wellness retreat can be an opportunity to learn to listen to our body’s natural cues and find more sustainable ways to care for ourselves. In under a hundred kilometres from Bangalore, there is a space designed for the new-age traveller or someone who is simply in need of slowing down. 

Surrounded by trees, accompanied by the sounds of nature and a schedule that is chock full of massages, therapies, and opportunities to reflect on personal health goals, Kshemavana is full of surprises. “There is an ecosystem inside all of us just like there is an ecosystem around us, explains Dr Narendera Shetty, the Chief Wellness Officer at Kshemavana. “We need that ecosystem to be in sync for us to lead better lives,” he adds. At this wellness facility, visitors are introduced to a host of naturopathy treatments and yogic sciences to naturally heal and restore the body. Backed by a team of experts committed to “creating a unique blend of healthcare and hospitality that catalyses sustainable lifestyle changes through immersive healing journeys,” the space is a new kind of experience.  

Also read: ​​Six Senses Vana Enraptures Wellness Seekers By The Healing Powers Of Nature

The sprawling facility, Kshemavana is situated close to the Kunnigal Highway or NH75 that connects the three states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.  Image credits: Shamanth Patil & Gokul Kadam
  1. Getting There

The sprawling facility is situated close to the Kunigal Highway or NH75 that connects the three states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This proximity makes it easy for visitors to drive down to the facility or take a bus. The nearest airport is Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore which is roughly a 2-hour drive. Kshemavana offers a pick-up and drop facility from the airport which can be requested when making bookings. 

The Kurma, or the Turtle building is an ode to all the water animals. It houses the pool, A modern Gymnasium, Yoga studio/ Library and meditation hall. Image credits: Shamanth Patil & Gokul Kadam
  1. Concept and Design

The property is an extension of Kshemavanan’s 5 Healing Pillars: Smriti (mind and body), Aahar (food and nutrition), Nidra (sleep and restoration), Dipan (gut and inner flora) and Urja (energy and balance). Each of these pillars has served as inspiration for the various design elements across their 22-acre property in Nelamangala. Under the creative guidance of Ayush Kasliwal and his team Charvi Jain, Vijedra Sharma and Siddarth Sharma from the Jaipur-based AKFD Studio conceptualized Kshemavana or the ‘forest of wellness’ in a manner that celebrates nature and collaborates with the philosophies of the institution to create a serene and holistic environment perfect for rejuvenation. The team at AKFD worked alongside Maasterminnds Architects & Interior Designers, Kolhapur by Maahesh Doiphode to develop the space. According to Kasliwal, ”Kshemavana came with a challenge, to create a space which induces a sense of healing. We worked to design a democratic space where just being with each other is also a part of healing.” 

Also read: A Tour Of Narendra Bhawan, The Luxury Boutique Hotel That’s Putting Bikaner On The Map

The Yoga hall is situated on the top level of the Kurma block and exhibits hand hand-painted Kerala Mural Wall by JIJULA VM of Samudra Manthan. Image credits: Shamanth Patil & Gokul Kadam

The team has also made efforts to include environmentally friendly practices by incorporating reclaimed and sustainable materials in their design. A majority of the art and craft on display have been sourced locally, and created by craftspeople and contemporary artists. From monumental bronzes commissioned to the Chola bronze casters from Swami Malai in Tamil Nadu, to smaller installations in granite and wood, the facility is a trove of vernacular art filled with legends and mythological symbolisms. They also house a vast collection of refurbished and repurposed artwork and artefacts that are part of the Manjusha Museum collection from Dharmasthala. As you explore the property, visitors can see that several window frames, pillars, lamps and even flooring have been created using stone, wood, and metal collected over decades from Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. 

A peek inside the Vana suite shows us an 80-year-old Ikat shawl from Indonesia on display and a kolam-inspired terrazzo flooring. Image credits: Shamanth Patil & Gokul Kadam
  1. Villas, Suites, and Dining

The built spaces reflect flora, fauna, air, water and land which are all the very basic elements humans need to lead a fulfilling life. Each of the room categories has been named after an element in nature: Vana (forest), Taru (tree), Pushpa (flowers), Lata (Creeper or Vine) and Fala (fruits). Each of these room categories has a designated block that is surrounded by that particular element of nature. For instance, the Fala block has many varieties of flowering plants growing in its vicinity while the Taru block has saplings on their way to becoming trees. Since the experience at Kshemavana requires a holistic approach to health, their treatments, food and board are offered at all-inclusive rates regardless of room category. The higher room categories come with a private treatment area for massages, spinal and hip baths, steam, sauna and hydro bath facilities—making it a truly luxurious experience. 

The Nandi block or the diet block covers the creatures that belong to the land. Above is a glimpse of the juice diet section (one of three sections) defined by soft green shades, large wicker sculptural lights and furniture made of wicker and cane. Image credits: Shamanth Patil & Gokul Kadam

Since one of their healing pillars focuses on diet and nutrition, all of their meals are aimed at a full-body detox and are designed to meet specific health goals. They offer three kinds of food– raw, boiled and juices– all of which are vegetarian. Depending on the room category meals are provided in the rooms or can be eaten at the Nandi block which is dedicated to nutrition and food. Although the meals are restricted to clean foods like fruits, and vegetables, the dishes served are scrumptious and the DP team found themselves requesting recipes! Currently, a majority of their produce is sourced from various parts of the state, some of it is grown at Kshemavana itself. 

Also read: 3 State-Of-The-Art Wellness Retreats Designed To Guarantee Rejuvenation, Rest, And Relaxation

The meditation room or Dhyana Hall, located on the lower level of the Kuram block has a cave-like structure to provide sanctuary and quiet reverberations. Image credits: Shamanth Patil & Gokul Kadam

4. Recreation and Leisure

On arrival, guests are usually directed to a doctor once they have checked in. They are invited to get a vitals body check-up done where their stress levels, overall health and sleep health are examined. Visitors are also encouraged to share specific health concerns or goals, so the team can create a customised list of treatments that will aid them on their rejuvenation journey. They offer diet and fasting, yoga therapies, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, mud therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and foot reflexology. For those unfamiliar with these treatments, Kshevamana is the ideal place to take a dip into the world of natural healing from an authentic and dedicated source. By engaging in a variety of treatments, visitors can discern what works best for their body.

The design language revolves around natural materials and an eclectic visual style pulling together elements of tradition & nostalgia. The pool or Vari is one example of this unique blend of traditional aesthetics for a contemporary fixture key to any wellness space today. Image credits: Shamanth Patil & Gokul Kadam  

Outside of therapies and treatment, they also offer wellness-aligned activities like Pranayama, Meditation, Zumba, Aqua Aerobics, Pilates, EFT of Emotional Freedom Techniques and Tai Chi. The property also has a large tennis court, an open sports ground, a gorgeous swimming pool, a well-equipped gym and plenty of spaces to explore on foot. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the incredible hospitable and serenity that the space. According to Dr Shetty, Kshevamana doesn’t make promises to cure someone of a specific disease, instead, they want to be a catalyst for a lifestyle change and reveal how spaces can heal, breathe gently, and reside in nature peacefully. 

While the residential spaces have refined domesticity, with generous spaces and a restful scheme, the common areas provide generous and striking spaces that invite people to be with others. Image credits: Shamanth Patil & Gokul Kadam

#DP Loves

  1. The reception is filled with artefacts rooted in history and interspersed with little hints of caring for your well-being. The Kinnala Garuda statue that greets visitors comes from a village of craftsmen in Koppal, Karnataka. Hidden in corners are koi ponds and reading nooks. 
  2. The private en-suite treatment area is fully equipped for massages, steam, sauna and a host of other relaxing therapies.
  3. They offer scrumptious and nutritious meals that are customised for visitors to make the most of their wellness experience. What’s more, the recipes are developed to encourage a full-body detox. 
  4. We recommend catching a sunrise by their gorgeous indoor pool. 
  5. The entire property is a good reminder to take a minute to soak in the surrounding sounds of nature and just breathe.