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Refresh, Reboot – At the Ekaanta Retreat in Haridwar

Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India

3 mins read

A pressing need for a brief respite from the daily grind and the screen dominated automaton existence, the overwhelming desire to dash for the – hills? Woods? River front settings? Or a Pilgrimage? Perhaps all of it and some more.

I have visited Haridwar several times in the past years. The gateway to the sacred Himalayas, spread along the banks of the Ganga as it arrives in the plains, Haridwar is a dense bustling holy township packed with pilgrims. The experience was always intense.

Last month I got to stay at EKAANTA, a Boutique wellness retreat in Haridwar. Located in the hub of Haridwar, on the busy Niranjani Akhara Marg,  Ekaanta’s carved wooden doors open into a spacious and tranquil lobby, in sharp contrast to the bustling street we stepped in from. The uncluttered open layout of the lobby, light and airy color palette, curved walls with artwork depicting the story of Ganga, the view of the river through the glass wall at the other end, contemporary furniture with clean lines, the venue exudes a young urban vibe.

View from Ekaanta

What makes Ekaanta stand out is that it offers a luxury of choice of several curated experiences for the traveler seeking a stress busting break, to pause and reflect. There are multiple hotels of all categories for every pocket size in the same lane on the bank of the same stretch of the river, but I found here a dedicated module to personalize the experience according to the requirement of each traveler, whether solo or a family or a group. Ekaanta is definitely more than a B&B option.

View of the Lobby from the enterance

Art in the Lobby

A big shoutout – Ekaanta prioritizes safety for solo woman traveler, something much desired for this growing tourist segment. The corporate POSH certification helps sensitize their mostly male all-local staff not just towards female colleagues by also the women guest.

Hotel Ekaanta’s Ghaat

Ekaanta is a relatively new property, housed in a heritage building. Strict municipal laws do not provide for tampering with the original structure. Given these constraints, the three Founders Shradha Lohia and her dynamic daughters, Saumya Lohia Agrawal and Manavi Lohia, have done a remarkable job. Spread over five floors, the heritage building has been imaginatively redesigned and repurposed while still retaining large spacious center spaces on each floor, used as yoga halls or discourse areas or corporate presentations, artist workshops, book launches et al.  An old fashion manual elevator connects four floors.

Music on the Ghaat

Healing and Mindfulness –Ekaanta is on top with several retreat modules structured for a week, or fortnight or more. Or just a few days. A qualified in-house Ayurvedic doctor provides free consultations and recommendations for the correct Ayurvedic massage by trained masseuse and masseurs, that can be availed right here, in any of their two therapy rooms. Large yoga hall, with a trained inhouse Yoga expert at hand to guide through sessions of Yog asanas as required.  I went for the session to improve sleep quality – Yog Nidra as well as Sound healing. Highly effective. Guided meditation to pause and reflect, go inwards are part of their many retreats.

Rajaji Tiger Reserve

Treatment rooms

Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing) sessions with chaperoned treks into the woods, or a walk in the woods to a secret waterfall with a picnic basket. My experience of their jungle safari to the Rajaji Tiger reserve was exhilarating. The forest is magical, and their trained forest guide knew every bird call and animal hoot signaling the presence of the tiger nearby. All of these are à la carte and can be pre-booked as desired.

Ganga Aarti at Ekaanta

Har Ki Pauri puja in progress

Ekaanta also organizes dedicated retreats, such as their Mind-Body Balance Program for individuals, Rejuvenation Retreats, Ayurveda wellness program, 7-Day Transform program, Chronic pain management program, for a group or individual. Not all can be mentioned here for constraints of space. The possibilities are immense, and the good part is that they are open to customization and new ones are added.

Experiential Activities – They also provide chaperoned excursions, such as trip or trek to Mansa Devi / Chandi Devi with a picnic basket and VIP darshan, or a temple tour, or cultural heritage walk to Har-ki-Pauri and around Haridwar and its markets, Anyone seeking transcendental meditation at Chaurasi Kutiya (Beatle’s Ashra) and a Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh, yes that too. Private puja at Ganga Ghat can also be organized. A regular feature is the daily Ganga Aarti at Ekaanta’s private ghat, followed by musical bhajans, and a gratitude session. This is a beautiful and very peaceful sunset ritual at the end of a hectic day.

Premium Ganga View Room

ACCOMMODATION – There are four large double-occupancy rooms in the category of Suite, Premium, Deluxe, all facing the Ganga, plus another city facing deluxe room. The single-occupancy nine pods or Kutirs are on the topmost floor, accessed by a flight of stairs.

Kutir or Pods


Each hexagonal Kutir is a study in efficient space utilization and design. Large enough to accommodate a comfortable single bed, a study table and chair for working on the laptop, niche to accommodate the electric kettle, an attached bathroom with all the essentials. Tiny yet efficient, it encourages one to leave behind the clutter, travel light, lie back gazing at the tent like canopy roof and shed the worries. Convenient curtain blinds on the two side windows can be opened if claustrophobic, but at the cost of privacy. Each of the rooms has a name plate outside, with the philosophical meaning explained. Do take the time to read!

Private Dining

DINING The cafeteria is located at lobby level. A registered dietitian and culinary expert, Manavi Lohia guides the kitchen output. Wholesome and nourishing vegetarian meals. Local cuisines can be tried in the Kumaoni Thali or the Garhwali thali. Besides Indian, there are global cuisines like Italian, Mexican, Chinese also on the menu. Something as simple as a bowl of home-made yoghurt, was perfect in all its definition.

DECK A plunge pool invitingly located on another floor, shares the space with the outdoor venue for the ‘Movie under the Stars’. On days, a select movie is streamed for anyone interested.

Conference Hall

CONFERENCE HALLLocated at the Ghat level is this interesting floor that is fitted out like a small conference zone, for group sessions or workshops for artists or photographers or corporates. The amphitheater alongside, overlooking the river, is another setting for group activity.

Ekaanta – Amphitheater

Haridwar is no ordinary town. The spiritual energy of the region is palpable, helps enhance inward journeys, the kind that heal and prepare one to take-on the madness of the metro jungles.

How to get there – 
Flight – Jolly Grant Airport is 45 minutes away. from Ekaanta.
Train – Haridwar is well connected by trains.
Road – If driving down to Ekaanta, the parking lot is 500 meters away.

Ekaanta arranges pickup and drop from Airport and Station on request
Valet service is available for cars.




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