A Wellness Sojourn To Mukteshwar!
In today’s tough times, it is no surprise that we are looking to take time off from the stresses of crazy lifestyle, unplug from the webinars and screen time. In such a grim situation, ‘Wellness Retreats’ have emerged as the Top Travel Trend of 2021. They are enriching getaways as they can provide a much-welcome break to slow down, relax, and make ‘Yourself’ a priority. I too got invited to one which led me to the foothills of The Himalayas – ‘The Bespoke Wellness Retreat by Richa Khurana Singh, Founder of FreeWheelingLife’ at jüSTa Mukteshwar Retreat & Spa. In spectacular surroundings, my escapade helped me ‘getting out’ to ‘look within’. Housed in the tiny village of Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand, jüSTa boutique property is a perfect gem to rejuvenate and explore oneself.
WE arrived at Mukteshwar around 4 pm after a comfortable nine hours drive from Delhi. The roads are good, the drive is picturesque after Rampur so if you have good company and good music in the car, there is no problem at all. Take a few tea breaks and enjoy the drive. As we stepped in at the luxury retreat, I was kind of lost, didn’t know which Himalayan peak to spot first as all around me I was embraced by stunning mountain ranges. “Ma’am have your welcome drink made of ginger and honey first,” I heard. “We will show you Himalayan peaks of Trishul, Panchchuli, and Nanda Devi for sure.” With that assurance, we walked towards the restaurant for a hearty meal.
Since my visit was to attend a Wellness Retreat, I was very keen not to miss any activity given in the itinerary. Taking the first evening easy, meeting the fellow participants, I knew I was going to lose myself in the tranquility of the place during my 3 night stay.
Yoga At Dawn
With birds chirping and cool wind blowing, mesmerizing hills all around, in the pristine surroundings, yoga was the best way to kickstart the beautiful day. Yoga sessions under the guidance of Ayurveda and Yoga Expert, Anuradha Gupta, became an instant hit amongst all of us. Wake up alarms seemed to be a forgotten story only of the habitants of the city, here we were hill dwellers and hill folks wake up naturally at the break of the dawn. So there we were in the garden, all set to learn and show off our yoga skills!
‘Embrace Yourself’, ‘Love Yourself’
Our Mind-Body Therapist, soft spoken and very charming Ujjwal Batra, took us on a unique journey of ‘self healing’ and ‘finding one’s own self’ through myriad sessions everyday. I must say, the experience was outstanding, every session being unique and rendered so much positivity and healing.
He also conducted ‘Sound Bath’ ceremony every night (after dinner and games) through which he serenaded the guests to bathe in melodious sounds of music allowing healing vibrations to flow through their mind, body and heart. His unique instruments such as bells, gongs, singing bowls created such beautiful tranquil atmosphere that guests felt they were drugged for a sound sleep.
Well that was not enough. Ujjwal as a ‘Shaman Healer’, got everyone together in the ‘Sacred Fire Ceremony’ – age-old tradition of ‘Shamanic Healing’. The experience was truly one of its kind. For some of us including me, the ceremony turned out to be a new passport for a renewed life!
Fun Evenings To Reboot, Re-Connect & Rejuvenate
Evenings were the best as we packed in so much laughter, cracking jokes, playing games and enacting our scripts. Our facilitator was a wonderful Improvisational Artist , Coach and A Performer, Nasir Engineer from Mumbai who made sure to engage everyone in his stories, drama and acting. Nasir divided us into two teams and then gave our lines to act and outshine the rival team.
Well, in no time the amphitheatre turned into a well of potential actors who would not leave any chance to get the winners’ title. Those were the joyous nights under the clear night sky of Mukteshwar.
Local Curated Excursions
We used to look forward to our daily excursions in the neighborhood. We were very keen to explore the place hence trekking, walking in the villages, interacting with the locals, singing and posing with them in the gorgeous landscape, became our lifeline. It was heartening to spend time with young boys who were happy to sing local songs for us. Our hosts in the village were very warm and made sure we taste hot pakoras prepared by them. And yes, some chivalrous ones amongst us didn’t mind having bhang pakoras too!
The food menu for all the meals were crafted in such a way that we get flavor of the land while fulfilling healthy quotient based on Ayurveda. Our passionate wellness and yoga expert, Anuradha Gupta planned the menus full of local, seasonal foods made through traditional methods of cooking. She made sure to make every meal exciting while focusing on the Sustainability issues and respecting the local produce. All those who wanted to get a detailed consultation related to their dietary program as per their body type based on Ayurveda, were encouraged to do so by Anuradha.
From delicious healthy meals, healing therapies, personalized counseling sessions, local excursions, picnic by the stream, Bhaang pakoras and tea at the village home, I got enriched with such simple pleasures of life that will continue to nourish my wellness journey until my next Wellness Escapade!
• Visit Mukteshwar Dham where ancient Lord Shiva Temple is located .
• For adventure enthusiasts, Rappelling and Rock Climbing at Chauli Ki Jali is a must to do.
• For Nature Seekers, gentle hiking and trekking trails amidst fruit orchards and coniferous trees are not to be missed.
• Village walks are delightful and perfect for photographic memories.
• Carry sturdy walking shoes and hats.
• Stay at juSTa Mukteshwar Retreat & Spa and enjoy the luxurious amenities, good food, a dip in the heated swimming pool, bespoke spa treatments and warm service.
“My sincere mission is to offer a bespoke getaway to my retreat participants, live some “UnBoxed moments”, Revive, Reboot and Reset!
– Richa Khurana Singh,
Wellness and Sustainability Evangelist,
Founder of FreeWheeling Life
Note: This travelogue was published in India Business Journal, June 2021