The purpose of the retreat at Udhagamandalam is to spark creativity.

- Advertisement -

Where can I sit down and use my brain to create something? Can write a book? Building a cool product? Can I find a place that fosters innovation or creativity? These thoughts led Deepali Sikand to start MindEscapes in Katy, Udhagamandalam. At the retreat, a picture-perfect property perched on a hill overlooking the seven-tiered hills, individuals and teams can stay to focus on developing new ideas and strategies. The immersive platform includes mentorship from leading thinkers, networking, and access to funding and investment options for startups and businesses.

- Advertisement -

Deepali reiterates that a nurturing environment, tools and mentors are essential to foster innovation. It has included a panel of thinkers — called mentors — like Sam Pitroda for technology, Ashok Khosla for environment, Ramesh Manjrikar for CSR Labs, to name a few. “I have been working in the hospitality and concierge industry for over 25 years, handling requests from thousands of Indians. I saw that people were no longer engaging in civil society dialogue and institutions were losing respect. I thought, if there are golf, health and sports clubs, why can’t there be a club for the mind? And thus, the idea of ​​MindEscapes was born.

Cerebro space in MindEscapes

- Advertisement -

Cerebro space in MindEscapes | Photo credit: Sathiyamoorthy M

- Advertisement -

A driveway and a sloping front garden filled with colorful flowers, greenery and endemic species of creepers welcome guests to seven suites named Tangerine, Sunny, Azure and Lavender. . Luxury suites designed with smart use of technology (yes, you can ask Alexa to play music, control lights and curtains) and maximize use of sustainable solar energy, a refresher for the buzzing mind. promise the place of There’s also a pool on the common bay where one can spend a few quiet moments before heading to the sleek Ideation rooms—Biblio, Novus, Cognito and Cerebro—which feature a well-stocked library, lounge areas and sunset views. They are blessed with magnificent views. . “Corporates can send teams out in small groups of four or six or as many as 14 people and literally think in the lap of nature. If CEOs decide to use this space, they reach out to our mentors. can be more accessible physically or via Zoom,” says Dheeraj Aggarwal, director of accommodations and customer experience. A little further is an open-air fireside called Ikigai (inspired by a Japanese concept) that offers a beautiful view of the valley.

Ikigai or open-air fireside viewing

Ikigai or open-air fireside viewing Photo credit: Sathiyamoorthy M

Rajeev Kumar, co-owner, says Ideation Center applies the theory of hyperfocus that allows the mind to ignite creativity. “Corporates, banks or IT companies can bring their teams, brainstorm, and access think tanks if they need to push an idea,” he adds.

Recently, MindEscapes partnered with KPMG, a multinational professional services network, to bring their KPMG Innovation Center. “As a knowledge partner, they will provide resources and support to entrepreneurs and startups looking to turn their ideas into successful businesses,” says Deepali, pointing to the fact that Nilgiri has always been a hotspot for innovation. A cure for malaria was discovered and where snooker and gin and tonic were born. “Apart from mentors, we have created a circle of boffins (experts and leaders), sleep, diet and bio-fitness experts to provide services. We have India’s first man in space Wing Commander (retd) Rakesh Sharma of IIM Bengaluru. “We want to bring personalities like Manoj Chakraborty, who are here to share their views on leadership,” explains Deepali.

Celeste Restaurant

Celeste Restaurant | Photo credit: Sathiyamoorthy M

Food at MindEscapes is sourced locally. “I have been coming to Udgamandalam since the 1970s and the Nilgiris needed a standalone restaurant serving European and Pan-Asian cuisine,” says Vikram Malhotra, F&B Manager and one of the patrons. Started with the restaurant, Vino Bar, and has now added Nirvana, an Indian restaurant serving Northwest Frontier cuisine, dal bukhare, kebabs and rotis. Vikram’s family has been in the hotel industry including F&B for eight decades in Kolkata. The legendary prawn cocktail from his Hotel Sky Room was so popular that it was flown from Kolkata to Delhi in a freezer for the late Indira Gandhi. More than the delicious, creamy mushroom cappuccino and chicken tetrazini, Vikram says the menu, which includes golden baked chicken, chicken Sicilian, chicken a la cafe, goes back 60 years. “No one does old-fashioned dishes like we do,” he says, adding that the menu also includes pastas, risottos, steaks and the popular old-fashioned mixed grill.

While the restaurants are open to anyone, people can take solo memberships to stay and be cared for at the retreat. It gives them access to one-on-one guidance with mentors, a network with over 3000 clubs worldwide. Deepali says that post-pandemic, people are consciously opting for experiential travel, and eco-friendly destinations that have a distinct story to tell. She adds, “We fall under the ’boutique-neck ideation regime’. I wanted to leave a legacy behind, where people can come and think.

You can follow their Instagram page @experience.mindescapes or visit to know more.

- Advertisement -

Hot Topics

Related Articles