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Shreyas – A Soul Nourishing Experience

Priya Virmani

‘At the still point, there the dance is’ – if there is a place that guides you gently to arrive at this ‘stillness’ as beautifully crystallized in words by the poet T.S Eliot, it is Shreyas − that in its very name carries the meaning of an all-encompassing excellence, is beyond a typical spa resort. It is a space sans judgement – where, with the nurture of a holistic Ayurvedic approach, you start discovering the ‘all-encompassing excellence residing in yourself – in spirit, body and mind’. The Shreyas experience is a ‘vision’ beautifully conceptualized and lived by its founder − U.K. based Pawan Malik and every single member of staff there – from the management staff to the instructors, kitchen staff and even the thirty gardeners maintaining this 25 acre property.

The journey of living a ‘winged vision’ begins pretty much as you arrive into Bengaluru airport. As I walked out of the Arrivals Gate I was received by a most genteel chauffeur clad in a crisp linen kurta (tunic). The car ride to Shreyas which was about an hour long meandered through verdant green, pretty concrete houses in bright hues of teal, turquoise and turmeric interspersed with thatched huts and teenagers playfully herding cows. I could feel the city, and all the stress amalgamated in its glass and concrete, begin to peel away.

As soon as the gates of Shreyas opened I sensed the pulse of a rejuvenating serenity. The energy of the place is instantly centering. You can feel the stripping away of the layers we accumulate in a ‘judgement epi-centered’ society.

The welcome was unforgettable. The staff makes you feel that your presence is a celebration. I was welcomed with a cold towel infused with reviving eucalyptus oil; the auspiciousness of an aarti, a garland of fresh flowers around my neck and a red tikka (dot) on my forehead, all in the midst of sprawling nature. I was then ushered into the ‘library’, a beautiful space designed in colors of white light to invoke rest and relaxation. There I was given a fresh mango juice – one of the best I’ve ever had, before the management staff came to greet me and insist that ‘even though it’s past lunch time, you must have something to eat. Perhaps a soup or salad’. Post a light lunch a consultation with the Ayurvedic doctor ensued, followed by an indelible yoga experience.

The yoga hut is simply magical – simple yet redolent of magic. It is a stone floor and a roof supported by pillars. It is devoid of any doors, giving you a 360 degree view of greenery. Whichever way you turn for the yoga postures you see the height of palms, the reach of bougainvilleas in white and fuchsia and frangipani, with their reviving scent reaching you. During my first yoga session in this ‘hut’ which was just before crepuscular light, the skies darkened gently to a romantic serenade. Clouds huddled together like a person in the skies looking down on us with a caring, watchful eye. And roars of thunder and the rain that followed reminded me of the majesty of nature and the joy of being fully alive.

Nature carries into unmistakably distinctive architecture at Shreyas. Buildings are low and inextricably intertwined with the outdoors. Throughout the property nature is invited in and weaved into spaces such that a therapeutic oneness with it prevails. From its spa that begins on a downward slope so its upper reaches meet palms at eye level to its spa showers, where spaces in its terracotta brick walls give the fauna a reach into your space. On my first evening, post my hot stone Ayurvedic massage treatment, I showered to the tune of thunder, lightning and the refreshing fragrance of rain-fed earth.

Shreyas does love beautifully, where love is a verb, a doing word. From the roses adorned on the bathroom floors, towels, beds and even the toilet cistern to improvising a candlelit dinner table under a canopy of stars. Dinner was transformed, one evening to a breathtakingly beautiful surprise – candles and flowers from the garden adorned mirrors. An unrivalled play of colors, fragrance and light on the table that then saw a food spread that would even make the Gods jealous.

Food at Shreyas is unrivalled. Meals are nourishing yet incredibly without any compromise on taste. Healthy but boring Indian vegetables like bottle gourd are served up in lip-smackingly delicious renditions. Every meal is an experience of joy and celebration and comes replete with fresh juices, coconut water, a soup, a salad and a dessert. Desserts have been painstakingly perfected as all the ‘sinful’ ingredients like butter and sugar and cream have been replaced with healthy substitutes. The food, in a nutshell, is to live for.

Today, luxury is ubiquitous for those who can afford it. What sets Shreyas apart is its meaningful, purposeful luxury. It is alive with a friendly-ness to the environment. Synergies of yoga, personalized meditation, age old Ayurvedic and naturopathic treatments delivered through state of the art technology and with love work to create a soul nourishing experience. What you leave with is not just the sweep of luxury but the tapestry of nurture woven into it.