Inside the $960-a-night Indian holistic retreat where Queen Consort Camilla is staying

Bollywood stars Deepika Padukone and Rajinikanth, as well as King Charles, have all stayed at Soukya holistic health centre near Bangalore

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After a busy and intense two months during which she supported her husband King Charles in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Queen Consort Camilla has headed to a retreat near Bangalore, popular with celebrities from around the world, according to The Times of India.

Camilla, 75, is said to have flown into Kempegowda International Airport on October 20 before making the 40-kilometre journey to the famed Soukya centre, which calls itself the ”world’s first integrative health destination”.

While Buckingham Palace declined to comment on Camilla’s visit, calling it a “private matter”, sources have said she will stay at the retreat for 10 days.

The trip follows King Charles and Camilla’s visit in November 2019 to celebrate his 71st birthday, but the Queen Consort is said to have visited “several times” since 2010, according to the Daily Mail.

Scroll through the gallery above to see inside the royal and celebrity-loved retreat.

British actress Emma Thompson is also a fan of the retreat, and testimonials from members of the Indian and Saudi royal families appear on the website.

US singer Tina Turner, Sarah, Duchess of York, the Dalai Lama, Bollywood stars Deepika Padukone and Rajinikanth have all visited, as well as the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who called the retreat a “wonderful place of serenity".

What is Soukya?

The retreat was founded by Dr Isaac Mathai, who has worked as a personal physician for King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla for many years. Photo: Soukya

Set amid about 12 hectares of organic farmland, Soukya is a “holistic health destination to restore your body’s natural balance of mind, body and spirit,” according to its website.

There is a firm focus on sustainability, using solar power, wind energy and harvesting rainwater for irrigation.

The retreat was founded by Dr Isaac Mathai, who has worked as a personal physician for King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla for many years.

It offers meditation, yoga, homeopathy, therapy and Ayurveda treatments, as well as bespoke and customisable treatment programmes and medicine.

With a focus on “healing, prevention or rejuvenation”, complementary therapies available include naturopathy and homeopathy. There is also a focus on cancer rehabilitation, addiction, mental health and skin disorders.

Relaxing activities from birdwatching to yoga

Activities at the retreat range from relaxing strolls to energetic games of badminton.

Garden tours and nature walks are offered on the grounds of the centre, and are popular with visitors.

Guests are guided through the ornamental garden, as well as the certified organic farm from which much of the retreat’s food is sourced for a farm-to-table dining experience. There are also more than 800 fruit trees with fresh produce.

A variety of herbs, plants and flowers are grown in the medicinal garden, which is also the ideal spot for some birdwatching.

Other activities include cycling, musical programmes, cooking demonstrations and talks by doctors.

‘Sattvic food’ and luxury accommodation

The farm-to-table dishes are created with the principle of 'sattvic' in mind, which "contributes to a pure and calm mind". Photo: Soukya

With five categories of rooms from deluxe to suites, Soukya features 25 living spaces.

Deluxe rooms start from $260 per night for a single and $390 for a double, while suites start from $960 per night, featuring living and dining spaces, an outdoor shower, Jacuzzi and a private garden, with the largest accommodation at 5,200 square feet.

All packages come with a full board option, a basic consultation with doctors, diet consultation and yoga sessions in the morning and evening.

All the dishes served at Soukya are organic and ovo-vegetarian, which excludes all animal-based foods apart from eggs.

“Soukya serves Sattvic food that helps create positive vibrations in the body, contributing to a pure and calm mind,” says its website. “Our personalised, balanced and healthy, organic and ovo-vegetarian cuisine is based on the principles of low fat, low salt, and low spice".

As well as in-room dining, guests can choose from three places to eat, including the dining room and two outdoor spaces — one with Bangalore Blue grapes hanging overhead and the other beneath traditional Salem grass umbrellas with views of the lawns and a backdrop of wind chimes.

Three more holistic retreats in India

1. Ananda in the Himalayas

Situated on The Palace Estate in Uttarakhand, the retreat offers both introductory and comprehensive wellness programmes.

Along with spa and Ayurveda treatments, it also offers daily Vedanta talks, an ancient Indian philosophy that attempts to answer the fundamental questions of life.

2. Vana retreat, Dehradun

Offering seven different living spaces, including garden and forest rooms and suites, the wellness programme is based on Ayurveda, yoga and Sowa-Rigpa, a traditional Tibetan system of medicine.

Complementary therapies such as reflexology are offered alongside physiotherapy and spa treatments.

3. SwaSwara, Gokarna, Karnataka

Located on Om Beach along the Konkan Coast, SwaSwara offers programmes from one to 28 days. Ayurveda treatments are offered alongside art exploration and meditation.

There is also birdwatching and Prakruthi walks offered around the 12-hectare estate.

Updated: October 27, 2022, 12:46 PM
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