Svaga Loka, pronounced as “Swarga Loka”, a sanskrit name which translates to “Heavenly Place”. With a name so beautiful, you will expect a place no less than divine.
Svarga Loka is a place in a Hindu tale, Mahabrata. It is a tale of five brothers fighting against their 100 cousins. The five brothers won eventually, but they did not feel good about fighting against family. So they decided to exile themselves in a place they called “Svarga Loka”, heavenly place.
Similarly for the co-owner, Tie San after working hard in the mining industry for years in Africa, decided to look for his own Svarga Loka. He went looking in France and Canada, but he finally found this place in Ubud, in his home country of Indonesia.
I arrived at a rustic place deep in the forest of Ubud. I didnt know what to expect. I had a tour in the dark as the sun had already set. This place reminded me of a scene in Tomb Raider.
The next morning as I woke, the place had a whole different light. I started my day with yoga, overlooking the river. That set the tone for the day, and i went to look for breakfast.
This is the first time I’m doing a retreat alone. I have always enjoyed group retreats where I meet new friends and chat with them during meals and workouts. This time though, I was all alone. The solitude took a while to set in, and then i felt the beauty of it. Perhaps it was time I rest my vocal chords and have internal conversations with myself (or on whatsapp, haha)
Well, I had a brief offering making session, where we made flower Canangs. The local Balinese make these little flower pots and put them on their doorsteps for blessings throughout the day.
The next stop was a wellness consolation with the wellness consultant, Savitri. Her reputation does precede her. I arrived at the Wellness Clinic to find a beautiful woman dressed in an all-white garb. We had a good chat on my physical, mental and emotional health. She tells me that the activity i have on this retreat will be based on this consulatation.
I arrived at the spa which is now located at their honeymoon suite. My body was treated to a traditional Balinese massage. It melted away under the hands of the therapist. Well, it was well deserved as it was prepped up for my next session – Bangau Putih, Balinese martial arts.
The teacher was a cute grandfather figure, who oozes a lot of zen. His father was the original owner of the land that we were on. He brought me through a lot of floor exercise where i had move my legs in circles on the floor. It challenged my hip flexors.. He is a very strong man! He told me to stop looking at him and do the exercise, visualize the target in front of me and use my energy!
The property’s co-owner’s vision
The next morning I was woken by a call from the co-owner. Pak Tie San was to take me on a walk at Campuhan Ridge. In the car ride there, he shared with me more about the property. It took three years to complete and it opened in 2014. He took great means and care to respect the land and build into it, and not on the land. Tie San did not cut any trees, and this was evident by how the villas and pavilions are built around the tree trunks. You would see trunks growing out of the floor and into the roofs. He also applied cow dung onto the roofs, so that moss and mould would grow. He did not want the buildings to stick out of the land, but rather blend into the original tree scape. You can see how, the roofs are hidden below the canopy of leaves. So much thought and love was put into building this heavenly place.
This property is set beautifully on the edge of river, so the river runs next to the pool, spa and restaurant, and several villas. However, because of this beautiful setting, a new hotel is being constructed on the opposite bank of this river. Because of this, the management had to move the spa and restaurants to other parts of this sprawling property, to minimize the noise to their guests.
Tie San’s goal was to reunite couples in their love journey, to bring back the spark in their couplehood. He was very passionate about this and told me that he would gladly have a money back guarantee if the couples did not feel better leaving Svarga Loka, then when they arrived.
This ridge is situated in a quaint little village. Its inhabitants look happy and carefree. The car drove us down as deep as we could go as it was raining, and we continued the rest by foot. We chatted more as we trekked down the paths under our umbrellas. The view along the edge was truly scenic; deep gorges juxtaposed by rolling padi fields. It was a treat to my eyes, a view i’ve never experienced before. We ended our short walk as the rain grew harder. It was a truly beautiful walk albeit its short duration. I would definitely visit this lodge again and walk the entire path.
The theme of this retreat for me is Balinese Healing. The people at Svarga Loka managed to book a session with Putu Rahma Dewi for me in the afternoon. She is a famed Balinese priestess and also a healer. I was intrigued to experience a healing session with her. We were expected to dress in traditional garb when we visited her. So Savitri dressed me in a traditional Balinese Baju, a sarong with a matching sash. We looked really cute I must say. She was very kind to accompany me on this trip.
It was an hour’s drive to Denpasar. Put Rahma Dewi lives in a gorgeous compound with well manicured tropical shrubs, frangipani trees and many flowering trees. We arrived and were greeted by very friendly people in the compound. I had images in my mind of what she would look like, but she was none of them. She was a small framed lady, with a very easy going personality. My guard was put down naturally. As I haven’t done a Balinese Healing before, I was opened to what was in store for me.
She went up to the head structure of the house, that housed a shrine. A few minutes later, she gestured Savitri and I over to sit with her. She then started the session with some numerology. Through Savitri, she gave me some advice to help improve the karma in my life.
Next up, water blessing.
We got up and went into the beautifully maintained garden. There was a fire going in the outdoor fireplace. The burning gave off a musky scent.
As I stood next to Putu, my heart started beating faster. What is going to happen now?
Putu emerged carrying a bowl of water, afloat with many colorful flowers.
She started singing a very calming chant. That put me at ease. She took a flower and started sprinkling me with water. I shut my eyes real tight with a furrow on my face. But as the minutes passed, I started smiling unknowingly. A total sense of peace and joy overcame my body. It is a feeling that is difficult to put into words. It was warm, peaceful and genuine.
The water was very fragrant, it smelt like Jasmine and Rose. As my clothes got more damp, I could feel the cold water on my skin. As the water cooled by body down in the hot sun, I could feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders, I felt like a layer evaporated off my body. It was just an amazing sensation. I was smiling uncontrollably. She ended by pouring the whole bowl of water down on me. The flowers and water just flowed through my hair, my clothes and my body. It was almost like a a fireworks ending to the whole ceremony. It was very uplifting. Just beautiful.
We ended off with some Balinese snacks and a bracelet gift from Putu.
We headed back to Svarga Loka where I slid into a Mantra massage. A perfect continuation to the water blessing, the therapists used deep gongs to create grounding vibrations throughout the room. She then proceeded to massage me to align my chakras. I was floating to dreamland.
Now, I have been waiting for this session for two days. Savitri will be teaching this class.
I arrived early to prepare. Savitri came in, dressed in all white with a white turban on her head. She explains that it was to help keep the energy in, the effect of Kundlini works very fast. I have attended Kundalini classes at my yoga studio in Singapore, but again this class was different. So the basis of this class was to chant the Sat-nam mantra throughout the class, when we breathe in and out. We would then do exercises that awakes different chakra points. Savitri explained that Kundalini was to connect the individual to the extended universe.
The sun set has well set by now and I could hear singing and drum beats from the other studio.
It sounded like fun! I skedaddled to the other studio to find the studio candle lit and filled with people singing and chanting beautiful tunes. So much feels! Here are some vids to share with you what really went on. Everyone was just swaying and feeling the instruments and the mantras. The evening ended well. I was full inside. 🙂