The quaint green retreat of Naad Wellness is where Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy guide you on the path of holistic healing.
“Ma’am, may I please request you to put your phone aside.”
I looked up from the funny dog video playing on loop on my phone. A guy wearing a crisp white kurta and matching pyjamas, along with his politest smile, had served me a hot bowl of brown poha for breakfast, and was now looking straight at me. ‘Right, they don’t allow phones outside one’s room. Boy, this isn’t going to be easy’, I thought to self, quickly pressing the lock button on my phone, and giving both the dog and my Instagram feed a breather. The constant urge to stay connected with the digital world is the one I find hardest to fight. But at Naad Wellness, detox is an integrated process and is taken quite seriously. No caffeine, no alcohol, no lethargy, and of course, no phones.
After an hour-and-a-half long ride from Delhi, I had finally reached the retreat in Kundli village near Sonepat on the outskirts of the capital city on a nippy morning earlier this January. The ride was tedious and bumpy (thanks to the heavy smog and a road blockage that forced us to take a detour), and the location puzzling. No one can expect to find themselves in a green oasis right at the centre of a cluster of unpleasing buildings, craggy roads, and boggy fields. But once you enter the gated property with high walls edged with towering trees and layers of greenery shielding you from the surrounding clamour and dull grayscale, you enter a whole different world of tranquillity.
The process of healing starts right after. A makeshift sanitisation booth at the porch, a large urli bowl filled with seasonal flowers at the entrance, masked staff members handing out hot hand towels and a string of rudraksha beads as they welcomed me in. The lobby was filled with potted plants and featured a giant wall mural, water cascading down from it in a rhythmic motion. Handmade terrazzo tiles from Rajkot in shades of therapeutic green adorned the floors. Soulful instrumental music was playing in the background, and sustainable, subtle interiors made the verdurous setting all the more alluring. I knew I had arrived at just the right place to have my first ever holistic wellness experience. Everybody comes to such a place with a certain purpose at heart. Some in the hopes of recovering from poor health, others finding an escape from the mundane. For me, the aim was to break free from and breathe a new life into my otherwise sluggish WFH routine. The challenge was to do so in just a matter of three days. That’s the minimum possible days you can spend at Naad, maximum is 28.
The 39 rooms at the resort, including 31 premium, two luxury, four royal suites, and two Naad suites with access to a private garden, are spaced out well across three floors. After breakfast, I checked into mine — an elegantly furnished Premium room with a modern ensuite bathroom, an attached balcony offering views of the nearby farms, and muted tones running throughout its theme. On the queen-sized bed, neatly laid out a set of kurta-pyjamas, my uniform for next three days. A fresh pair will be placed in my room each morning during my stay, I was told. I changed and headed for a one-on-one consultation with one of the resident Ayurvedic and Naturopathic health experts. Soon, a tailor-made itinerary was handed out to me, listing everything from when to wake up and what to do through the day. Doctors even talk to the head chef and create daily individual diet plans for each guest, as per their health needs. The idea is simple — to create a pattern and inculcate healthy habits. To my surprise, Dr. Prasanna Sahoo had even kept in mind that I am getting married next month, and hence, included a few therapies to help me restore the balance of my mind, body, and soul, eventually turning me into a radiant bride-to-be inside out!
My mornings here began at 6.00 am sharp and were kept quite busy — a 10-minute oil pulling session (a medical practice in which an edible oil like sesame is swished around the mouth for a period of time and then spat out, resulting in many health benefits), followed by a morning drink, an hour-long yoga session, and breakfast. The daytime was divided into a number of therapies and lunch, while the evenings were kept comparatively free, offering ample time for recreational activities along with idle strolls on their pebble-strewn reflexology path shaped like the yin-yang symbol, a dip in the temperature-controlled pool, or a quick workout at the gym. There were even separate courts for tennis and badminton, and a mini golf course. The days folded with a guided meditation session, followed by dinner at 7.30 pm.
The chef, while always adhering to the decided dietary requirements and portions, loves experimenting with the vegetarian meals served at Ahãrã, the lobby level restaurant. Taking proud in its zero-kilometre produce, Naad Wellness has its own organic kitchen garden overlooked by a team of horticulturists and nutritionists, and vegetables and fruits are brought in fresh from there. Th first day, I relished on innovative but no-frill farm-to-table dishes like a spinach-coconut-apple smoothie, ragi chilla topped with shredded beetroot and carrots and served with coconut chutney for breakfast. Lunch included a big comforting bowl of pumpkin soup, a steamed vegetable salad, stuffed zucchini in pepper sauce, brown rice with garlic dal, and some delicious jawar halwa. Evening refreshment was light with some roasted foxnuts and a soothing lemongrass tea. For dinner, it was broccoli soup, zucchini and carrot salad, chapati noodles, and the bedtime ajwain tea, replacing dessert.
I’d have to admit, being a night owl, it took me several minutes and a few grumpy twists and turns in bed to finally get up, but the routine began to grow on me from the first morning itself. There’s something about waking up to the birdsong and a rising sun, I believe. It gives you a reason to look forward to dawns. The morning yoga asanas performed with instructor Bhuvanesh brought along a unique sense of calm that I hadn’t experienced in years. At first, it was hard to concentrate on something as simple as my own breathing, but when the session came to an end, I had absolutely no thoughts running through in my head for a good half an hour and a prolonged smile lingered on my face — it was almost as if a spell was broken.
Once my mind was calm, it was time for my body to get back in form. My therapist Rajni was from Himachal, and trust me when I say, her hands, worked like magic. During the hour-long Abhyanga session, she kneaded me like a piece of dough, using long strokes and different healing Ayurvedic oils (triphaladi for head, iladi for face, and dhanvantram for body). Over the course of my wellness journey, I witnessed my body getting restored and relieved of all the persistent pains through a repertoire of massages and therapies, mostly led by the ever-smiling Rajni, including Swedish massage, herbal facial, salt glow massage, Shiroabhyanga, along with relaxing sessions in Himalayan Salt Cave as well as the candle-lit Turkish hammam.
Manoj Khetan, one of the co-founders, had the vision of creating a holistic retreat that can leave a long-lasting positive impact on the health and lifestyle of guests, and that’s the building block of Naad Wellness. I could say that with absolute confidence because towards the end of my stay, I had a rejuvenated body, glowing skin, and definitely a much-calmer mind. As I sat in the lobby waiting for my cab, looking at the abundant greens that bind together this transformational space that I called home for a few days, I realised the phone in my hand was now replaced with a book. And I was taking back home a newly-discovered love for my own company.