SOUKYA is located on thirty acres of beautifully cultivated land in the countryside east of Bangalore, about 50 minutes from the airport. Nine major structures are built around an oval, the centre of which is filled with lawns, flowers, trees and a symbolic Open Portal that encourages an open heart, mind and soul. These nine buildings – the medical centre, the administrative centre, the yoga hall, the therapy centre, the dining hall, and the four residential clusters are all built in the South Indian traditional style, making use of as many local and handmade materials as possible. All buildings are ground-level structures, helping the body to connect at all times with the magnetic force of the earth.
SOUKYA has been designed with functionality and aesthetics in mind. From the fountains to the main structures, from the gardens to the orchards, all attempts have been made to retain as much of nature as possible. The foliage, perennial plants and flowers that require less water and maintenance are of many different colours. Avenues of flowering trees have also been planted to ensure flowers throughout the year.
Upon entering the gate, the straight tree-lined drive helps to focus the mind and bring clarity of thought and intention. The ascending lamps along the drive help to elevate the person to a higher level. The three fountains at the end of the drive symbolise the mind, body and spirit. The granite temple lamps and the brass lamps were specially made at Trichur in Kerala. The lighting of lamps removes negative energy and the resonance of the handcrafted bell also helps to clarify energies.
The spacious administration and medical buildings face each other and are built in an identical style. The granite on the composite masonry walls was procured locally. The traditional country roof tiles, which are no longer made, were specially handmade and baked for SOUKYA. They are laid on a waterproofed roof made of panels of terracotta tiles laid on handmade cement rafters. The floor tiles, designed especially for SOUKYA, are modeled on those laid at St. Xavier's Church in Cochin by the Portuguese over 400 years ago. Both buildings have the South Indian traditional inner courtyards which provide natural lighting and ventilation. The fountains and fish pool lend a serene effect to the place. The administration building ('Swagath') houses the reception area, offices, the pharmacy, the telecom business centre and a gift shop. The medical building ('Sampoorna') houses the doctors' offices and a library.
The yoga and meditation hall is an open-air circular structure based on the concept of the traditional mud-walled thatched roof hut. The low-rise mud walls were plastered by hand, and the handmade black oxide floor absorbs negative energy. The whole structure is covered by a large conical roof that is one of the largest in India to be secured without a central support. This leaves the interior entirely free of obstructions. The intricate waterproof grass roof rests on bamboo rafters and is made by the master craftsmen of Tamil Nadu. There is room for 32 people to practice yoga with the instructor on the raised ethnic stage. This platform is also used for cultural activities and meetings. Gujarati artisans adorned the stage with traditional mirror and colored glasswork. The centrepiece is a bright yellow sun on an electrifying blue sky with mirrors that reflect like stars. The earthy stage walls are adorned with the exquisite papermache craft work that represent the rising and setting of the sun and the trees. To enter the yoga and meditation hall, one walks on large flat stones over and through a fishpond with a bamboo fountain and lotus flowers. The encircling flowing water soothes the mind as the guests go into meditation. The two rooms at the back for one-to-one yoga sessions feature a bamboo deck that overlooks a small pond with lotuses, enclosed by lemongrass and golden bamboo. These two rooms (with corresponding washrooms) serve as "green" rooms or dressing rooms during cultural programmes.
The therapy centre has separate but identical male and female areas that mirror each other. The comfortable waiting area is centrally located and shared by both sides, with a view of the medical herbs and plants that are growing, as well as the Gujarati mirror and glass artwork that adorns the exterior of the building on the theme of the 'Tree of Life'. The earthy red colour of the walls is common in villages here and is traditionally believed to absorb the sun's energy into the building. Upon entering the centre, one can meet with the physicians in the consultation room and then proceed to the spacious locker room, located next to the showers and toilets in the treatment section. Each side has massage rooms for various types of massage, as well as for specialised Ayurvedic treatments and a large section with individual rooms devoted to specific hydrotherapy treatments: circular and horizontal jets, immersion baths, deluxe underwater massage, colonics, whirlpool jacuzzis and spinal, hip, arm and footbaths. The rooms have ample natural light and ventilation for maximum comfort. There is also an outdoor color therapy area and mud pack area, followed by a freestanding and traditionally decorated Turkish bath.
The dining hall is divided into four main spaces: The spacious dining area has views of SOUKYA and its gardens, which are especially lovely in the evening, when the lamps that border the walkways are lit. There is also an informal salad and juice area with comfortable seating where guests can take refreshments, read, socialise, or simply relax and enjoy the view. The ample and modern kitchen at the back provides easy access to the dining areas. The gaming area to the side has a billiards table, table tennis and a carom board. Sit-down games include chess, solitaire and knots and crosses. Just next to the gaming area, an outdoor acupressure walkway connects the shower area to the elegant full-size swimming pool. The organic shape and design of the pool, partially shaded in the afternoon by overarching trees, were designed for maximum safety by maintaining a consistent depth of 4 feet. There are also outdoor volleyball and shuttle courts.
Accommodation includes spacious cottages and deluxe rooms, all of which are designed to make the guest feel at home. All rooms have a garden attached where one could practice yoga or sunbathe. All rooms are tastefully decorated in a style that combines the best of tradition with contemporary flourishes.
The two-bedroom cottages (which can also be used independently as a suite and deluxe room) have a living and dining room with a private garden. Silk and cotton curtains adorn the rooms and the furniture includes handmade four-poster beds in the suites. There is a separate dressing area with room for luggage. The large bathrooms have separate bathtub and shower areas. The suite bathroom has stone steps that lead to an outdoor shower between banana trees for a romantic moonlight bath. Treatments can be done in the suite bathroom if necessary.
The deluxe rooms have private gardens and outdoor decks for sunbathing or yoga. They also have separate dressing areas and spacious bathrooms with separate bathtub and shower areas. Powerful pneumatic pumps provide good water pressure for showers, and the automatic switchover generator ensures power 24 hours a day. Hot water is supplied in large part by SOUKYA's solar water installation.
The entire grounds are planted with flowers, flowering shrubs, and trees and attract many colorful varieties of butterflies and birds. Signs provide those who use the trail with the names of the various shrubs and trees that can be seen along the way. Organic vegetable gardens and fruit orchards enhance the beauty of the grounds and provide the kitchens with much of the food prepared for meals. The entire property is protected by a substantial fence, and both the visitor's gate and the service entrance are guarded twenty-four hours a day by professional security staff. A 2.2-kilometer walking and jogging trail encircles the whole property and runs along the inside perimeter of the surrounding fences. There are also opportunities for cycling, and walks to two nearby villages can be taken with the accompaniment of SOUKYA staff.