Skillful hands work rhythmically on my back. A forearm pressing along my spine. Thumbs searching for knots in my back. Usually I would be in Heaven. But this time I’m burping like a Mahanagar gas tap. I continue to apologize, tears streaming down my face. The masseuse tries to calm me down; hands me lukewarm water to sip.
I know it’s good for me, although it might not be. You see Dr Jitendra Varshney, or Dr J as he is known at Six Senses Fort Barwara, India’s newest wellness destination, had just diagnosed my dosha. This is the term Ayurvedic practitioners use to refer to the physical and mental makeup of an individual. Mine being a mixture of fire (pitta) and aerial (vata), he had recommended a deep tissue massage as well as a diet to help balance the warring forces within. “Air can either fan the fire or put it out,” he told me. Right now the air was on fire and I had to interrupt the massage I was looking forward to. “You have to figure out how to use the air to keep the fire strong,” he added. Meaning: Eating and drinking foods that are good for you and in the right proportions, which in turn helps to balance your dosha.
Six Senses Fort Barwara
Dinner in a turret
At Six Senses Fort Barwara, the first Indian property in the chain that sits inside a meticulously restored 14th-century fort, eating well is not a difficult thing to do. This 48-suite resort, 130 km from Jaipur, has its own gardens where they grow seasonal vegetables, such as ‘wild’ cauliflower and spinach, fruits like ancient guavas and tangerines, and superfoods. , including moringa. Soon a mushroom farm and an outdoor poultry area will be added to this list.
What is not cultivated comes largely from producers in this region of Sawai Madhopur. All this in a mix of Indian, Asian, Italian and Mediterranean dishes (with plenty of room for both dosha and diet) which are served at the hotel’s all-day restaurant, The Cortile, and a poolside spot called Rani Bagh. There are also several quaint eating places, such as a turret, Shikar Burj, once used to hunt tigers.
The Library Bar in the area called the Mardana Mahal, uses the house products to create powerful cocktails. As I ate quite a bit – by order of the doctor, of course – I can honestly say that I have fond memories of the pickled beetroot and heart of palm salad, a well made wild mushroom risotto and a Rajasthani. thali that I should have fasted. If you are visiting, you must try the pickled pineapple and watermelon; this will stimulate the gut microbes and make you salivate.
Not just for the wellness seeker
Beyond the food and drink, Fort Barwara is extremely pleasing to the eye. Inside, generously proportioned rooms (753 sq. Ft. +) Have beds with netting suspended from chains, chairs with rope details, and hammered metal stools. All of this is inspired by the history of the fort as a garrison town. Along with that, there’s technology that gets nerds’ hearts pounding – self-flushing toilets with heated seats, blinds that pop up when you walk into the room, and amenities that help you sleep better.
6 takeaway meals
- 14th century Rajput fort restored in 10 years
- 130 km from Jaipur; 35 km from Ranthambore
- 48 suites; 3 restaurants; 1 bar; 1 outdoor swimming pool; 1 semi-covered swimming pool
- Wellness programs featuring oriental and Ayurvedic healing
- Also, bio-hacking and sleep enhancement programs
- Workshops that teach how to be sustainable
Outdoors, instead of the usual ornamental flora, they chose over 370 plant species endemic to Sawai Madhopur and Ranthambore. Wild grasses such as baruwa and the elephant cane. Trees and shrubs like madhu kamini and murraya, which save water almost as much as measures to reduce waste, recover rainwater and increase the groundwater table of the territory. Then there are the medicinal plants, like chatavari, dhak and marwa (maru in Tamil), which are used in wellness preparations.
That said, you don’t have to be a serious wellness seeker to register. You might just want to relax by the pool, with a cocktail in hand. Or book yourself a hedonistic ritual involving pearls and 24k gold. You can also learn how to be more sustainable in your daily life by finding out how to make soaps and lip balms using beeswax from abandoned beehives (kids would love this). Then there are walks in the surrounding Aravalli with the resident horticulturalist and forays to local temples and village markets. And, needless to say, the Ranthambore Tigers are only 35 km away.
To address the elephant in the room: Is this hotel the venue for a Bollywood wedding taking place later this year? Well unfortunately I don’t have any juice on this. What I can tell you though, is that Fort Barwara, with its ballroom (2,045 square feet) and event spaces, can accommodate a wedding of 200 people. So not quite the place if you are looking for that Big Fat Indian Wedding.
Whatever your reason, I know I’ll be back for the bio-hacks and sleep enhancement routines. And if you are wondering, I finally got this massage. It was a bliss.
Doubles from 75,000. Details: sixsens.com