The sauna is an integral part of the Finnish culture. In a country of 5 million people, it is estimated that there are 2 million saunas! Living in India, one would imagine that it would not be necessary to have a sauna (summer months in India can feel like a never-ending sauna experience in itself) but where we live in North India, temperatures can actually dip to almost zero degrees at night during the winter months.
As a wedding gift from family and friends, me and my husband were gifted a sauna! The sauna stove and stones came all the way from Finland (thank you sister!) and our friend Robert, being an excellent amateur carpenter, built the whole sauna himself. Of course, there were valuable inputs made by family and friends that improved it even further, but all the hard work of putting it together were thanks to Roberts arduous effort.
The material used on the inside of the sauna is devdar wood (cedrus deodara), a species of cedar native to the Himalayas, which gives that exact woody fragrance you expect to have when in a sauna. In addition, devdar is rot-resistant so the sauna should survive the heavy monsoons.
The exterior of the sauna is quite unconventional but necessary because of environmental factors. During the months of February to April, we sometimes experience strong storms and the last storm took away the original sauna roof! So after much contemplating, we chose to go for a full-on aluminium exterior. Not only should it hopefully last through the storms, it also improved the insulation of the sauna. At the moment, the heat can go up to a blazing 95 degrees!
The name of the sauna, Brünhilda, was given by Robert. Inspired by one of the characters from Quentin Tarantinos movie “Django Unchained” and thinking the name sounded “nordic enough”, the choice of the name for the sauna was made. Of course, Brünhilda is not a typical Finnish name but, in a way, that makes the choice of the name even more funnier. Perhaps, the sauna building being such a hybrid in itself (partly Finnish, partly Indian), why not name it after a germanic/norse and an Icelandic mythological character then? In addition, the norse meaning of Brünhilda is “Armored fighting woman”(source) which in this case goes well with the exterior of the sauna.
If you are ever invited to participate in a Finnish sauna experience or just interested in knowing more about saunas, do check out the “This is Finland” article “Bare Facts of the Sauna“.
Do you have a special sauna experience to tell? Do leave a comment below and share your sauna story!
In the meantime, I wish you good löyly moments!