Sprouting spas promise nirvana

New Delhi, August 8:

In a must have world, the social chatter now reeks of rejuvenation, exfoliation, hot oil massages, reflexology and herbal tea. Little surprise then that India has opened its arms to the spa revolution. From Ananda in the Himalayas in Uttaranchal to the Sonar Spa at Sonar Bangla in Kolkata, to Jiva at Taj outlets in Mumbai, Amatra at Hotel Ashok in New Delhi, to the Banyan Tree boasting Oberoi spas all over the country, the messiahs of massages are having a field day as spa therapy is becoming the language of well-being and the chance of a single trip to tranquillity one day at a time. “Ananda is fantastic,” artist Jayasri Burman said. But Ananda is very expensive. It looks at the dollar rate, so it’s mostly foreigners who are their customers. The 21,000-sq ft spa offers an extensive menu of over 79 body and beauty treatments, integrating the traditional Indian systems of ayurveda with the more contemporary Western spa approach.

De-stressing, detoxification and cleansing, deep relaxation, anti-aging, weight and inch loss are all on offer along with guidance in the areas of nutrition and exercise. The signature

‘Ananda Touch’ on the shoulders, neck and upper back, and the ayurvedic ‘Panchkarma’ are most popular. Dotting the north and west of the country with excellent facilities are a string of Oberoi Hotels with spas by Banyan Tree, much favoured by corporate jetsetters. Here the focus is to work off stress with a range of 60-minute breaks employing aromatic, Balinese, Hawaiian, and Thai massages, priced around $40. Or one could take a shorter break with a half-hour marma point facial, which is adapted from a traditional Indian natural healing system. This stimulates vital energy points on the head, face and ears with aromatic oils and herbal products.

“The spa system becomes an important aspect of the de-stress schedule,” Tripat Kalra, who has been pampered at spas all over the country, said. She found the Tamara Spa at Taj Exotica the finest in the ability to smoothen the tension in her shoulders. The Tamara has been redesigned like the Mannarshala Temple in Kerala and its limpid pools and open spaces offer an experience of quiet energy. Says M C Arvinda of Tamara Goa, “Ayurveda offers sustained relaxation; it covers a period of time. Ayurveda seeks internal as well as external relief and correction of ailments.” Of course, going by the number of ayurveda outlets in the country, certainly it is on a high.