During my recent trip to Sri Lanka I was lucky to come across Niyagama House – a yoga retreat in a tea plantation! My ultimate yoga/travel dream! After travelling through India for the past couple of weeks, I was yet to have a truly blissful & calming yoga experience. After arriving into the beach town Galle, 2.5 hours drive from the capital city Columbo, I was in desperate search for a yoga class to unwind from the 16 hour commute from Goa. I was over the moon when I found Niyagma house on google and continued to call immediately to see if they would accommodate a walk in yoga class.
Owned by a German architect & yoga teacher Elke de Silva and her Sri Lankan husband Chaminda, Niyagama house is set on tea plantation about 30 minutes from Galle. Elke arranged for a tut tut to pick us up at 6.30am from our hotel in Galle ready for a 7.30am yoga class. The 30 minute tut tut ride saw us driving up dirt roads, through small towns until we reached the big gates of the property. The whole time I was thinking where are we going???
We arrive at the front entrance and from the moment we step foot in the door, our expectations were immediately exceeded. It’s a courtyard style guest house with super high ceilings, open air entrances and the guest rooms are situated on the second level. Describing it as a tranquil oasis is an understatement.
The yoga studio’s windows open out onto the plantation giving the room a beautiful natural soft light and a calming breeze. After practicing yoga for over 10 years, Elke’s 1.5 hour Vinyasa style yoga class was definitely one of the best classes I have taken. Elke was attentive to both our different yoga levels, adjusting us in each pose and giving us options for more difficult modifications. Niyagama house is also the first retreat to have heating panels in the studio to use for a hot style yoga. The day we visited was well over 30 degrees, so we had plenty of natural heat to get our sweat glands working.
After the class, we were treated with a traditional Sri Lankan breakfast by the pool followed by an hour Ayurvedic oil massage in the day spa by a local massage therapist. Talk about a slice of heaven! We finished off our morning laying by the infinity edge pool and a personal tour from Elke of the property. My pictures don’t do the design and style justice of this European influenced Sri Lankan retreat. The architecture alone is a design haven and worth a visit to the Niyagama House. Each wood panel of every room was designed personally by Elke and carved out by her team of carpenters. Hours and hours of handcrafted designs has added to the warmth and character of this retreat.
On the second floor, Niyagama house has seven beautifully appointed overly generous king size rooms all overlooking the lush green plantation. I’m blessed to say I’ve stayed in numerous hotel rooms over the world, and the design and traditional opulence of these rooms blew me away.
After chatting with Elke over the morning she shared with us of how she came about living and running this beautiful mansion retreat. She told us over breakfast that she fell in love in Chaminda on a “Eat, pray, love” kind of trip travelling through Asia a couple of years ago. Not long after, Elke decided to leave Germany and settle in Sri Lanka and build her ultimate dream retreat.
Before Conde Nast does a review of Niyagama house and the prices a pushed up by the overwhelming demand, you need to come visit and experience this blissful getaway for yourself. It is the perfect destination & retreat to escape the city, unwind and reset your mind, body & soul. Check out Niyagama House website for more information.