Location: Kahani Paradise, Gokarna, Karnataka 581326
If travel to India right now is about dreaming then Kahani Paradise makes a terrific ‘when I get to India’ dream.
First, invite friends to share your dream, then book the whole villa – it has six suites. Next, get there. With all wellness, the arrival experience must be memorable, all that expectation has to be fulfilled from the get-go. At Kahani Paradise, arrival involves leaving the real world - which for most people is somewhat rough-shod – to enter a hidden one of super-luxury, hidden service, unostentatious perfection.
So, the arrival. Fly into Goa. Then, hop on a helicopter for drama. Or - more eco and perhaps a deeper experience - enjoy slow travel by car down the coast, stopping for roadside aromatic chai and fresh dal-sabzi (your mouth is watering at the thought). Twisting around the forest-coated hills of the Western Ghats and over little rivers scuttling to the Arabian sea, a final lane cuts through sun-dappled woods to end at the Lutyens-inspired gate at the bottom of your own hill. You have done today’s version of what people have been doing in India for centuries, withdrawing from the city through woods and across water to find a peaceful place for contemplation.
Now, enter Kahani Paradise. The drive sweeps up through natural forest and lush planting and a farm to reach the back of the hilltop villa. Through the front door into the cool lobby, an Indian swing hangs from the ceiling, candles glow on its seat. Beyond it, the view.
The view is really enough – it reaches beyond the valley garden and layers of forested hills to the glistening Arabian Sea. It would be great to bring it home, bottled. If the view is not enough there is stuff to do to fulfill your personal wellness dream. Mine would be to follow the traditional Indian way and stick with the view, contemplation, yoga and some thought-provoking reading.
Must-do wellness experience: Looking at the view - wellness in a gaze
Kahani Paradise buzz phrase: I was going to go out but … somehow… I didn’t
Ideas for unpacking your kind of slow-down wellness at Kahani Paradise
The view on arrival. Imagine stepping forward to the sofa or terrace: that's your view, at the top of this blog. It's almost as good for 360 degrees and from many different spots in the house and gardens.
Each suite is huge, high-ceilinged and enjoys the view. Everywhere, the Indian furnishings old and new have been patiently sourced over some years from across India by the owners and interior designer Saloni Sharma.
These life-size wooden horses stand sentry in the dining room loggia were Chef delivers what you want to eat, using produce from the estate and local market, and fish caught in the bay.
British architect Philip Syborn designed the buildings, his wife Sarah landscaped the verdant estate - 20 acres of tropical gardens with an orchard of coconut and banana, hide-away spots for quietness. Strolling through it generates contentment, and a few minutes' walk beyond arrives at Paradise Beach, usually empty.
Kahani offers absolute privacy in a land where, perhaps surprisingly, it's not easy to be alone. But the curious can visit local villages, walk the hills, stroll beaches at sunset, and explore the historic pilgrimage town of Gokarna (plenty to see even though non-Hindus can't go inside the temple halls).
Episode 20: Radisson Blu Temple Bay, Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu
It really is time to start planning your Unpacking Wellness experience for 2022!
How shall we want to travel?
We are emerging into a more cautious world, one where we perhaps want to move more slowly, be in control of our interaction with other people, avoid crowds, be outside as much as possible. I am here to help you achieve this in the Himalaya, on the Deccan Plateau, along the coast, in forests, desert and villages.
If you have not traveled with me in a group before ....
Please know that we experience great sights in the best possible way, with lots of add-on encounters and visits to off-beat places. We meet conservationists, curators, craftsmen and musicians, we walk with naturalists, we cook with local chefs. In sum, we imbibe the essence of each area thanks to my four decades of studying and visiting India - and making great friends who I share with you.
For private travel ....
I work with you to create your tailor-made trip to any corner of India, to any budget, for all interests and special needs, for families and parties of friends, for business groups and for honeymoon couples - India is ideal for everyone!