The hustle of city life can leave one full of anxiety and stress, giving rise to a series of unhealthy practices and habits born out of compulsion. From improper sleeping habits to unbalanced diets, our busy schedules take a toll on our bodies more than we realise. If you too seem to have reached your boiling point and are craving a detox, Dharana at Shillim is the escape you’ve been looking for.
Spread across 330 acres, Dharana at Shillim is an eco-retreat that is nestled in a bowl-like valley within the mighty Sayadris, and just off the Mumbai-Pune expressway. It’s literally built within nature, without disturbing the natural beauty that surrounds it. Prior to the resort being built, the forest that originally inhabited this area was in desperate need of conservation due to the frequent burn-and-slash method of farming the locals were used to doing. After years of planting over a million native trees, manually watering them and protecting the flora and fauna in the area, today the property envelopes lush greenery, a flourishing forest and even a few hills of the Sayadri ranges.
Since it was built keeping conservation in mind, the natural hap-hazard landscape of the valley has been preserved. However, to make sure this doesn’t pose as a challenge, a network of narrow roads has been built, which are just big enough for the Tata Nanos to ferry guests back and forth. This is a necessity, given that each of the rooms is built at quite a distance from one another to ensure complete privacy and serenity. This also ensures that each guest room comes with a unique panoramic view of the valley and the Sahayadris. Moreover, each structure comes fitted with solar panels, which means that the retreat generates a majority of its own electricity through natural and clean means.
Talking of the rooms, while there are a few categories to choose from, each of the rooms is super luxurious, and designed with attention to detail. Holstered beds, stone bathtubs, comfortable outdoor seating and the kind of peace you would find nowhere, these rooms will have you feeling relaxed the minute you check in.
They have three restaurants on the grounds where they use organic ingredients from their farm to make healthy yet scrumptious meals that don’t make you feel bloated, even if you eat to your heart’s content. From pan-Asian delights to local wonders, each dish can be made and altered as per your food preferences. If you want to learn to recreate this magic at home too, you can, all thanks to their cooking school.
Besides that, they also have an art studio, where you can practice your painting skills or learn a new one like pottery. But if you’re someone who likes to keep moving, there are countless treks and hikes to go on, while being at the Dharana retreat. They also have a gym and two swimming pools, one of which is the infinity kind and offers panoramic views of the hills as well as the Pawna lake.
One of their founding stones is also their strong belief in the power of Yoga and Ayurveda. They not only host daily sessions of Iyengar Yoga in the Pathshala every day, they also have a meditation cave on the grounds where you can go to drown out the commotion around you. From their guided meditations to the re-energizing Tibetan sound therapy, each experience is designed keeping your rejuvenation in mind. And since this resort is all about the R&R, their spa is not to be missed. From being able to choose the techniques to the ayurvedic oil, you can tailor your experience to your needs as much as possible here.
However, their love for Ayurveda actually comes through within their Dharana wellness programs, which are holistic holidays planned to help you with health issues ranging from weight management to detoxing and age reversal. A dedicated team of Ayurveda and health experts formulate a program that is specifically catered to your health concerns, and everything from your meals to your itinerary of activities is then created as per their plan for you. Guests of the wellness program also get to stay in their newly-opened state-of-the-art Dharana villas, which come equipped with a private swimming pool and a picturesque nook to bring the spa to your own room. Their attention to detail and the guests’ wellness is evident in the fact that they don’t provide any instant coffee or sugar in the rooms. You have a selection of healthy teas to pick from, which can only be sweetened using jaggery powder.
The idealogy of Dharana at Shillim is clear, conserving the planet resonates with conserving your health. And their purpose is very simple—after spending a couple of days here, you’ll be sure to return to your hectic life re-energized and ready to take on the world.