NOW Traveller Diaries

As travellers, we are conscious about how our presence impacts the places that we visit.
We choose to have a more positive impact as we move through the world and interact with people and nature by respecting local cultures, supporting local communities and caring for the environment.

We prefer ‘homes away from home’ that promote authentic local experiences, create joy around being healthy and provide a high standard of comfort, nurturing and wellbeing in a sustainable way.

India, The Ananda in the Himalayas Experiencing Sustainable Travel

The Ananda in the Himalayas is located on a hill overlooking the ancient spiritual city of Rishikesh, surrounded by mountains where for centuries, a venture there is more that a mere journey, it was a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Yoga.

I arrived by air from New Delhi, a 45 minute flight followed by a 40 minute picturesque drive. The property is large and hilly, with a small golf course and a beautiful path between the lobby area and the part of the property where guests retreat and spend most of their time. For those that might find the trek a bit arduous, electric golf carts are on site with staff available to drive guests around the property. I kind of wish that I was able to drive the golf cart myself, but then it might have disturbed the peaceful environment!

The warm and caring spa staff are hired from the local community and educated to provide them with skills and experiences that can benefit them well beyond their time with The Ananda. The spa is extensive and the centerpiece of the property with 24 treatment rooms offering with selection of programs that seek to remedy a number of modern ailments, from detoxes to immunity enhancement, to spiritual growth. There is also a gym, an outdoor temperature-controlled swimming pool and hydrotherapy facilities. Each month, they arrange for a Master to give a talk on their wellbeing specialty.

I was offered a variety of activities. My day started early with yoga for both beginners and those with more experience. Master Cameron gave a talk about Craniosacral therapy which fascinated me so much that I google researched the topic to learn more. I also had the opportunity to learn of the teachings of Vedanta, one of the six most prominent schools of Hindu philosophy from discussions held and organized by the hotel each morning.

There is one restaurant offering wellness cuisine with fresh natural foods low in fat and calories supplied from farms located around the base of the mountains. They even have nutritionists on site who can prepare dedicated wellness menus best suited to each guest’s nutritional needs and body type, also known as dosha.

The most fascinating surprise for me appeared at sunset when one of the hotel staff, a veteran of the Indian military played the bagpipes in the garden near the lobby. I learned that the British used bagpipes in their army bands and introduced the instrument to India in the 19th century. The Indian military style of bagpipe-playing, which is sonorous and set to Scottish tunes, draws directly from this tradition, and it was mesmerizing!

The Ananda in the Himalayas is a place to retreat from the world in sustainable luxury. It aims to be a place for total wellbeing for people and the environment having committed to sustainability with accountability and transparency. They believe each individual is unique and so are the programmes and experiences that they offer. I would definitely visit again someday.

The Palace Estate, Narendra Nagar Tehri - Garhwal, Uttarakhand

About the Traveller

Tyler Johannes Kirk

Tyler Johannes Kirk Marketing Manager, itmustbeNOW.com

Tyler is a founding member of itmustbeNOW.com. One of his favorite quote comes from an old Greek proverb, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they will never sit in.” He considers himself privileged to be able to travel extensively at a young age and believe his generation should travel consciously and connect with global cultures to realise that we are all the same, and should only support companies that seriously help people and planet to make sure we have a better tomorrow.

Living Positively at India, The Ananda in the Himalayas

Laugh

The prince of the property wandering about his domain brought more than a few smiles to my face during my stay.

Learn

I took part in a discussion on Vedanta philosophy with a local Guru about how we might all best use our time.

Look

The beautiful sunset point on the property can be enjoyed to the sound of Bagpipes.

Love

Afternoon tea is held every day at the main building in the late afternoon, it’s a great time to relax. I recommend the Hibiscus tea, it’s lovely.

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