We just finished our first meditation retreat; to say that we think it has changed us forever is an understatement. Fitness holidays are chosen by people whose goals are to return home slimmer, trimmer, or to become healthier, lose weight or to keep in shape with lots of challenging activities.
We took off on a long-weekend road trip to a place which is 45 mins drive from Chennai and is set away from the busy tourist areas. We had been graciously invited by Srishti Wellness Retreat for a relaxing weekend there and since neither of us had ever experienced a wellness, yoga and detox program, we packed our bags and sprung outta town in excitement!
That day we left Bangalore quite early but got stuck for 2 hours in a bad traffic jam which was almost 5 km long. We lost most of our time there however managed to reach the resort by 3.30pm which included a stopover for lunch in KFC and some tea breaks. To be frank the drive was not as scenic as we had imagined – it’s the highway and the views were pretty mundane. However, the climate was quite pleasant as the weather Gods decided to be kind on us.
Srishti Wellness Retreat is located in a small hamlet called Chengalpattu and is cocooned in lush greenery. On our arrival to the beautiful place, we were greeted by Swatantra – the founder of Srishti and her husband Vivek. A beautiful garland made of white lilies was put around us followed by a sandalwood tika – a traditional way of welcoming guests. Srishti wellness retreat is a dream being lived in the service of love, spirituality, peace, and wellness. It is a community for everyone who knows how to love, give and share.
As we walked towards our room, the one word which came in my mind was “WOW”. The place was beautiful. It was bright with lots of flora and fauna. A complete feel of relaxation and revitalization – maybe it was the positive energy which filled the air at Srishti… Our rooms were quite spacious and had a beautiful bed with some bright pillows along with a personalized welcome note for us – It was really sweet I thought 🙂
We could see that Swatantra has taken great care to make this a place of love, relaxation, and comfort. There were elements of luxury such as the AC, the huge king size bed but also elements of rustic Indian culture, like the earthen pot for drinking water in the room. We could see that Srishti aims at creating everlasting memories through these details. Soon, we learned that there is yoga every day in the morning, meditation daily in the evening, a trampoline if you’d like to jump with joy and a lot of fun activities to keep the guests engaged. The evening on our first day was spent in some meditation sessions which are conducted by Swatantra every day at 6.00pm. After the session, we headed straight for dinner along with the other guests from Chandigarh, Gurgaon and even Bangalore.
That night for dinner we had some boiled vegetable soup followed by raagi rotis, boiled dal, raw vegetable salad, and some sprouts. All the food that you are served at Srishti is organic – right from the rice to the fruits to all the veggies. Quite self-sufficient. The food was scrumptious even though they hadn’t used any masala or oil. Quite surprising!!
The next day was one of the most exciting ones in Srishti as for the very first time we got involved in Detox sessions – the art of cleansing your body. Swatantra has a “visiting master” that guests can work with during their stay, and this time it was Mrs. Kamini – a professional yoga teacher from Mumbai who conducted yoga and detox sessions for all the guests. The detox session involved 5 exercises to loosen and unblock the intestines while drinking lots of salt water. Each of us had around 10 glasses of water before we hit the restrooms and let the detox take effect.
As part of the diet, we were only allowed to eat khichdi with lots of ghee in it as Ms. Kamini explained that since our stomach linings were totally clean, the Ghee would help lubricate the stomach lining. Also as an essential part of the detox program, we need to eating something light.
By noon, the guests had gathered together in Madhyam – an open-air shed made for everyone to sit, relax, share their stories and thoughts with each other. Madhyam is a lovely space to listen to the birds chirping, to feel the cool breeze and also practice yoga in the bed of mother nature. This is something we don’t get in the concrete jungles we stay in. After all, there is no better way to celebrate silence and yoga than to enjoy the sunrise and, opening our hearts to the sun to receive its first rays of vital power.
Initially, we were skeptical about surviving the day eating only khichdi without masala or oil in it but surprisingly it was very delicious due to the ghee in it. We loved every bit of it and at times were craving for more! By end of the day, we felt completely light, fresh and had so much energy in us. We were all set for Day 3 🙂
This day came with a surprise as the team of Srishti took everyone out for some surfing at a nearby beach call Kovalam Beach. The day was bright and sunny and perfect for the beach. Everyone enjoyed the day thoroughly, especially after their previous day’s detox session. Lots of food, fun, giggles, and laughter – A perfect day full of surprises.
On our return, we attended an art and creativity session conducted by the hosts. The objective of this session was to express ourselves through painting on the walls of Srishti. It was years since we had done this; the last drawing we did was in school and the thought of doing this put a smile on everybody’s face. It was heartwarming to see how creative and unique each guest was in the way they expressed themselves and by the time we were done, the wall looked like a big mural!
It was a good day. It wasn’t what we thought of what happens in a wellness retreat. But Srishti is different. They strike a good balance between fun and wellness activities and I think it very important to keep everybody engaged.
This was our last day at Sristi; however, the most important one as it was India’s Independence Day, Swatantra’s birthday and the official launch of Srishti Wellness Retreat. The day started with some yoga sessions by Mrs. Kamini followed by a healthy breakfast. By 9.00 am all the guests gathered in the meditation hall where we celebrated the launch. Swatantra shared her story and how Srishti came into being. There was also a mesmerizing kathak recital by their visiting guest Ms. Ruchi Saini – an international kathak performer.
It was noon and time for us to head back home. The last 4 days in Srishti definitely gave us a lot of knowledge on health and wellness and we have decided to practice what we learned at home as well. The guests we met at Sristi are no longer strangers to us. In Fact, we have built such strong bonds of friendship among us that they are now a part of our lives and we have created a WhatsApp group so that we can keep in touch.
Apart from the sessions, what we liked most about Srishti is the personal connection we experienced there. In this connected world, where friends have become strangers, we saw relationships form like the way they are supposed to. It was quite refreshing to talk to like-minded people, laugh, share life experiences and go out for a secret chai drive at night!! There are so many destinations for yoga and meditation lovers all over India, and it can be really tough to decide on the right one. However, if you are someone who is looking to just switch it all off and rejuvenate amongst nature, or someone who is looking for an authentic experience where everything is personalized, an experience where you reconnect with yourself, spend time in a temperate climate and return to your life feeling refreshed, then Srishti Wellness Retreat is a must visit for you.
Indulge yourself by going to this retreat and experiencing a mind-body-spirit rejuvenation while being pampered in natural surroundings. You will really appreciate the joy of finding like-minded people who are also on a quest to achieve more. There are so many things to enjoy here either alone or with others. Apart from fitness classes, guided meditation, and personalized yoga classes the place also offers the company of the lovely host Swatantra and Vivek along with their cute little darling daughter “Reet” – who believes she is the princess of Srishti which she lovingly calls her Castle 🙂
**Little Princess “Reet” in her Castle 🙂 MUCH LOVE!!
Read all about their story here!