I was looking forward to going to Ranjit’s Svaasa since the time I started planning the trip to Amritsar, Punjab. This trip was sponsored by Scoot that flies weekly from Singapore to Amritsar. Ranjit’s Svaasa is not just another hotel. It is a 250-year-old haveli. And what is a haveli? According to Wikipedia, a haveli is a traditional townhouse or mansion in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh – usually one with historical and architectural significance.
I was picked up from the Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport upon arrival. After going through all the chaotic traffic and polluted city, I reached a posh private housing estate. When the gate opened I saw a red-brick building surrounded by creepers, foliage and fauna. I gasped for a moment. Is this the haveli? As I walked towards the building, I became aware of a melodious chanting song that was in the air and smelled the heady smell of jasmine, rose, camphor and other herbs.
I was welcomed by Mr. Abimanyu Rattan Mehra, the Managing Director who happened to be also one of the owners. A pretty female staff with an enchanting smile welcomed me by tying a sacred, colourful string on my wrist and handing over my welcome drink.
Abi (Abimanyu) is a charming young man. Ranji’ts Svaasa is his home and this is where he and his brothers he grew up. Svaase means breath of life in Sanskrit and the place is dedicated to his late father, Ranjit Rattan Mehra who passed away because of cancer. Abi is a management graduate from Switzerland. He loves food and cooking. In the next few days, I tasted some of his excellent chocolates and cookies. He also makes jams and peanut butter that is served at breakfast daily.
I was fascinated by the décor of this place. Every nook and corner had objects that surprised ad marveled me. The walls and show cabinets and even the table tops had artefacts, sculptures and antique pieces from the past. Each item seemed to have a story to tell.
The walls were lined with photographs of family members – past and present, and press clippings of write-ups and interviews about the place and an important personality Rama Ranjit Mehra, Abi’s mother. She was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 but she won the battle with naturopathy and alternative medicine. In fact, she told me that it was her interest in alternative medicine and treatment that made her create Ranjit’s Svaasa. All she wanted was a holistic place where people can go for age-old treatments, eat nutritious food and live in a peaceful atmosphere. And this is Ranjit’s Svaasa!
At this place, all the rooms are big. Many of the rooms have heritage poster beds, very high ceilings and spacious bathrooms. The rooms overlook a courtyard that has seating areas, a swing and well coiffured plants. I saw staff cleaning the place quietly. It was peace and quiet except for the birds chirping. At the main drawing room, I get to hear the magical chant of mantras.
The morning breakfast is a mini buffet of Amritsari delights and continental food. The most interesting part of the buffet is certainly the freshly squeezed fruits and vegetable juice and the home-made jams, preserves and peanut butter. Abhimanyu is the brainchild behind the jams and peanut butter. In fact, during my stay there, I get to taste his home-made chocolates as well!
My host hotel, Ranjit’s Svaasa, also weaved in a spa experience for me. The products used in the spa are all home-made – blended papaya, tomatoes, coconut and ground almonds. These are used to make scrubs, mask and moisturizer. The therapist knew their jobs well. I left the serene room, fully scrubbed with squeaking good skin and fully rejuvenated.
I wish I had more days at Ranjit’s Svaasa and I would certainly go back there on my next visit. If you want peace, quiet and clean food -this haveli is definitely the place to go!
I thank Abimanyu and Rama Mehra for hosting my stay at Ranjit’s Svaasa.
47-A, The Mall Road
M: 9872626618, 9878880718