By Ashok Khanna
Ananda, Founder & Managing Director
Two decades ago, given rising stress levels and the impetus on health and rejuvenation in the world, I embarked on a mission to find a spiritual, serene and pollution free location to create a destination spa and wellness retreat. When I came upon the Palace Estate of the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal, overlooking Rishikesh and the Ganges river, I knew at once that this was the chosen place. Yoga and Ayurveda have their origins in these Himalayan foothills, and with inspiration from these ancient wellbeing and spiritual practices, Ananda in the Himalayas was born. In creating Ananda we stuck to ancient Indian Virtues, where holistic living was a way of life: back when people understood the balance of nature, the ways of the universe and how the elements affected not just physical health but also mental wellbeing. It was always clear to me, that if people achieved harmony within, they would be at peace. This is the very philosophy which brought Ananda in the Himalayas into being, believing that each individual is unique. Together with my wife Neelam, we studied the wealth of ancient sciences and health practices in India to piece together the pillars of Ananda- Yoga, Ayurveda, Vedanta and Spirituality. We adapted the concept of traditional ayurvedic food for your body type and refined it to incorporate modern cuisine concepts using fresh seasonal produce. All this, seamlessly combined with the authentic wellness traditions of Asia and the west, is our recipe for Ananda's holistic wellness. The last and most important element essential to Ananda's being are its people. Each and every member of the staff needed to understand, imbibe and live by the Ananda philosophy and we were lucky to find them. They are the single most important reason for Ananda's success.
It has been an amazing journey over the past 20 years, throughout which we have maintained our ethos of authentic traditional wellness and discerning, caring service at the highest standards. Ananda was ranked the No. 1 Destination Spa in the World by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Travel Awards 2020 with a record 6 million readers voting for their favourite travel destinations. My team and I feel privileged and humbled with this, and for every award and accolade we have received over these past two decades, knowing well that we have many more milestones to achieve.
This year will see us intensifying our wellness programmes, with a renewed focus on Ayurveda, comprehensive Panchakarma procedures and newly introduced Oriental therapies & TCM. The Ayurvedic and lifestyle consultation processes at Ananda have been augmented with comprehensive assessment and diagnostic tools. We have also introduced enhanced physiotherapy services to offer targeted solutions for pain related issues that are increasingly chronic across the world. There is also a renewed focus on sustainability practices to reduce carbon footprint and being socially responsible for local communities.
I thank you deeply for being part of our vision and the Ananda journey. I hope to see you soon again, continuing on your wellness journey and living the Ananda way of life.