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India's 5 Most Popular Spas

Dr Karthik & Ashish Raman

Mention "Spa" and your frayed muscles begin to holler for it. And when luxury resorts at lush mountain hideaways or exotic beach retreats and cutting-edge amenities are wedded to Ayurvedic remedies, you have more to savour than just the massage sessions.

We bring you the Indian subcontinent’s most popular spas for an invigorating vacation. Most of our enlisted spas are located in the former residences of Indian Mahajaras, which means your spa stay only doubles up as a historic retreat.

1. Our top pick
Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh
India's first destination spa, perched in a restored royal palace in the foothills of the Himalayas, above the holy city of Rishikesh on the Ganges, Ananda is a short day's drive (260km) from Delhi. Besides, its topographic advantage, the viceregal palace boasts of the world’s oldest billiards table. For party animals looking for some dose of nightlife and entertainment to go with your spa experience, Ananda might be a disappointment as this is purely crafted for holistic wellbeing. Ananda’s spa specialises in Ayurvedic treatments, along with over 79 body and beauty treatments, Swedish massage, aromatherapy, Thai massage, reflexology, couples' massage, water therapy body treatments, exfoliation, body wraps and skin care treatments. The resort is replete with a gym, squash court, jogging track, pool and golf course.

2. Sereno Spa, Park Hyatt, Goa

Sereno Spa is a real delight for the senses. Located on a quiet Goa beach and spread over 36,000 square feet, it boasts of an impressive-by- any-standard 16 therapy rooms. The regular indoor treatment rooms as well as the stunning outdoor spa pavilions have breathtaking sea views. All of them are equipped with steam rooms and some even have outdoor plunge pools.

3. Kayakalp, ITC Mughal, Agra
Declared the "World's best city spa" by the UK's Tatler Magasine. Spread over 99,000 sq. ft. of unsurpassed opulence, it could very well be the biggest spa in Asia. However, it is Kaya Kalp’s jaw dropping grandeur affected by its running water channels, fountains and architecture that will take your breath away. The spa, done in different hues of white, captures the spiritual and medicinal legacies of the Mughal Dynasty. Right from "The Royal Mughal Hamam," the popular Thai massage, the Monticelli mud wrap, Mung bean soap massage to India's very own Ayurvedic therapies – Kaya Kalp offers just everything rejuvenating.

4. Shangri-la Spa, New Delhi
Centuries old, tried, tested and sworn upon Ayurvedic beliefs, merge with Thai and Western methodologies at one of Asia Pacific’s leading luxury properties, Shangri-la's Spa. It offers you a luxurious, spacious and professionally equipped retreat – perfect for a rejuvenating hiatus. The Spa’s holistic approach is inspired by traditional Asian healing philosophies and all treatments take into consideration your individual needs and desires.

5. Radisson Maya Spa, Kumarakom
Winner of "Best Resort Spa" at the 2007 Asia Spa Awards, Maya Spa is located amidst the Kerala backwaters on the shores of Vembanad Lake. It’s the largest spa is southern India and
has two wings – one dedicated to Ayurvedic treatments, and the other to Oriental and Western style treatments including massage, skin treatments, reflexology, and Shiatsu. The resort also has a special meditation and yoga pavilion on an island in the lagoon. The spa treatments in Kumarakom are entirely based on the prescriptions from Ayurveda that offers a new life to body and spirit. Professional therapists soothe the body with Ayurvedic massages – "Cloud 9 massage" being the most famous because of its non-gravity float.

So if it's a pleasant time away from "now" you’re looking for them book yourself a pamper treatment at any one of these places. We promis you, you will love it.

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