The Retreat | Vana

Living Spaces

At Vana, our private living spaces bring together various elements of our design philosophy: contemporary aesthetics, bespoke and natural materials, exceptional comfort, thoughtful lighting, design and simplicity. The 66 rooms and 16 suites on the estate peer into the ancient sal forest or our gardens and fruit orchards, all with balconies or terraces.

We are passionate about ecology and have used sustainable materials where possible, including bamboo flooring, FSC certified wood and even certified organic linen.

With a neutral palette of colours and art created by artist Siraj Saxena, our rooms evoke a sense of harmony and wellbeing, allowing guests to rest, reflect and connect with nature.

Our forest and garden rooms have the same layout and are comfortably appointed for a guest on their own or two guests together. With its unique layout, the Bodhi suite provides intimacy in its living room and bedroom, and the ability to meditate or have a private treatment in its petite meditation room. The Forest suites, with their generous living room, feel ethereal and almost part of the forest in front of them. Our casas follow a duplex-style layout. The two, sun-lit bedrooms – ideal for a family of three or four – are interconnected yet large enough to be private spaces of their own. A large living space that is perfect for relaxing, lounging, or mediation is the center of the house. For small daily needs, a pantry provides basic utilities. Our Esteva suite pays homage to Vana’s architects and is special for the natural light that enters it, along with its sense of space. The Vana suite enjoys a 180 degree view of the hills and the forest, and is the most generous suite at Vana.
The entire space is designed with muted, soothing tones and the artwork by Siraj Saxena is intended to merge gracefully into the space. Like the other living spaces, these structures also reflect our commitment to ecology: we have used sustainable materials where possible, including bamboo flooring, FSC certified wood and certified organic linen.


530 sqft

Views to the gardens, well-appointed resting space, bathroom, wardrobe

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530 sqft

Views to the forest, well-appointed resting space, bathroom, wardrobe

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1060 sqft

Views to the forest, intimate living and resting spaces, bathroom and powder room, wardrobe, petite meditation room

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1060 sqft

Views to the forest, generous living space, resting space and bathroom, powder room, wardrobe

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1750 sqft

Duplex-style layout, views to the orchard, generous living space, resting spaces and bathrooms, powder room, wardrobes, pantry for daily needs

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1560 sqft

Our Esteva suite pays homage to Vana’s architects and is special for the natural light that enters it, along with its sense of space

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3140 sqft

The Vana suite enjoys a 180 degree view of the hills and the forest, and is the most generously-sized suite at Vana

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Vana is a refuge for all beings. Harmony, nourishment and wellbeing are here for all on the Vana journey and the ultimate truth lies in perceiving all beings, people, plants and animals as equal. We hope you too share our feeling of equanimity for all. From this philosophy arises a sentiment that Vana is a leveller, where material differences are left outside, and people connect to each other and nature without hindrance. When we become truly aware, we recognise our interdependence.

At Vana, each human being is important. We do not conform to political, cultural or social stature or benchmarks. Our guidelines apply to all and our vision, mission and values take precedence over individual beliefs. We encourage Vanavasis to step out of their social personas as they retreat into Vana.


Vana follows the six traditional ritus or seasons – Vasanta (spring), Grishma (summer), Varsha (monsoon), Sharad (autumn), Hemanta (pre-winter) and Shishira (winter). Each brings its own unique character, energy and grace, to which we adapt as best as we can. Our endeavour is to exist in equilibrium within nature. This takes effort but benefits Vanavasis, our team and the Retreat as a whole.

Any opportunity to work on one’s wellbeing is precious. Therefore there is no ideal time to come to Vana other than when one has the time. Experiencing Vana in each season also brings its own joys and pleasures. Our weather in general can be described as being temperate and we do not get North India’s infamous summer temperatures. Even the warmest days are not too hot and evenings are always cool.

The monsoons are the most lush and beautiful time at Vana, the best time to be on retreat as per Indian tradition. They begin in late June and end in early September.

Vana lives and breathes all year round.


Vana almost seems a contradiction – a forest touching it on one side, nestled between the city of Dehradun and the hill-station of Mussoorie. Over the years, the outside world has crept nearer to our 20-acre Retreat, and yet just inside its boundaries, one enters a different world. The Retreat’s neutral coloured walls are seen amidst its trees and orchards, with pebbled paths and stone walls cutting through, bamboo gently swaying in places. Vana’s spaces are sometimes vast but always humble, seeking to evoke a sense of wellbeing. Held together by its skilful team, the experiences at Vana reflect its sincere intentions and generosity. Trees, plants, birds, monkeys, butterflies and insects all coexist in peace at Vana. Know more…


Vana can only point to the truth and give you a taste of it. We can provide healing, opportunities to learn and glimpses of a better life. But sustained health and a present mind can only come from personal effort. Working on the mind and the wellbeing of others should also form part of this effort, with some dedication to develop it into a practice. Understanding the dependence of our wellbeing on our mind and the interdependence of our wellbeing on that of others, is vital to our peace and happiness. Results might come slowly but positive imprints can be lasting. Shifting one’s focus away from oneself, to genuinely benefit others, will make this journey easier and more fulfilling.

This is all that you need to know…to ‘take Vana home’.

Vana wishes to be both a journey and a springboard, as do its initiatives. It is not an end in itself. So we  urge you to discover, wander and wonder. At home, in India, elsewhere and back at Vana too. Wellbeing is sometimes found or deepened at the most unexpected of places. Positive motivation, renunciation, awareness and compassion are helpful qualities worth developing on this journey.


Experience tells us that it takes time to settle into Vana. Getting adequate rest and catching up on sleep is encouraged. Don’t fear missing out, because this slowing down is important. Surrendering to the experience of being at Vana is rewarding; control can be renounced without hesitation.

Our approach to each Vanavasi recognises their uniqueness, with a personalised program, that is open to iteration. While treatments, sessions and activities bring healing, vitality and learning, it is also important not to do too much. One must find time to just be and let things settle.

Shorter retreats allow one to rest and restore depleted energies. After a fortnight, one might achieve tangible wellness benefits and greater awareness. Three weeks onwards, transformation begins and deeper goals can be addressed. Beyond four weeks is when the layers really begin to unravel and wellbeing arises from within. Transformation then takes root with new habits and we find clarity through learning and practice, inspiring action towards greater realisation.


Vanavas means to take abode in the forest and those that do are called Vanavasis. Vana draws inspiration from the qualities of a forest—a place that protects, nurtures and nourishes, providing space to discover and flourish.

‘Taking refuge in the forest’ has always been an important act of personal evolution in Indian culture. Retreating from one’s usual material existence allows us time to contemplate and reflect; one is equal to all other beings in the forest. This may mean developing a fresh perspective; for others, it is overcoming a physical hurdle. It is an opportunity to reconnect with oneself or with something greater. The great masters say that to retreat is to simply create a boundary between past and present thought. In other words, to be in the present.