The Kumaon, a perfect getaway for a long weekend

New Delhi – The Kumaon is a transformative luxury retreat in the Kasar Devi region of Uttarakhand. It is surrounded by dramatic rolling hills and rich biodiversity, with breathtaking views of the Himalayan range.

Dr. Vikrom Mathur, one of the owners, has a long history with the region and has spent the past 20 years researching and writing about environment, society and development. The genesis of Kumaon is rooted in its passionate beliefs as well as its interest in the ecology of the region and its relationship to the culture and livelihoods of the local Kasar Devi communities.

Elegance in Simplicity – Sustainable Architecture and Design Philosophy

Upper chalet balcony_The Kumaon

The property is based on the principle of abstract modernism to respond to the natural landscape and environment. The spaces constantly reference the outdoors and a minimalist palette is used to highlight the picturesque backdrop. Kumaon’s low-intensity development encourages privacy and tranquility, allowing residents to create their own interpretations of the breathtaking landscape.

The retreat is set on two acres of lush greenery, with ten beautiful cottages nestled in pairs and named after villages in the Kumaoni area. Each offers stunning views of the mighty Nanda Devi range. The lower chalets are made of locally quarried stone and are inspired by local village houses, while the upper chalets are made of fly ash brick covered with bamboo sticks and copper wire. All chalets face north and offer spectacular views of the valley and mountains, with the sun illuminating different aspects of the landscape as the day progresses.

Sustainable architecture emphasizes locally sourced materials such as bamboo, copper and stones, which have been used extensively in various structures and spaces using various local techniques and skills from the region. The materials were able to maintain their natural qualities in the various spaces of the retreat and became part of the design language.

Experiential highlights – Nature, culture and culinary immersions

The tranquility of the Himalayas and modern, outward-facing spaces, woven with warm hospitality and insightful service, make for a transformative experience in the hills of Uttarakhand.

The overall experience is immersed in nature, deeply rooted in the region’s distinctly diverse flora and fauna, which is a haven for the elusive leopard, blue magpie, Himalayan cedar (Deodar), rhododendron and many other species.

With the property as a base camp, one can explore the rich biodiversity and unexplored landscapes. A diverse range of bespoke nature walks and trails allow guests to connect with the cultural history and natural heritage of the Kumaoni region. From surreal village walks or treks through lush forests to nearby local temples and trips to the nearby Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, each excursion reveals a new dimension of the place.

Seasonal produce and healthy local ingredients, sourced from nearby village farms and picked from the forests, are an important part of the Kumaon dining experience. Guests can also enjoy breathtaking views of the snow-capped Nanda Devi range or the starry sky from their own chalets, relax in the main living room or in the cozy library room by the fireplace, rejuvenate at the spa or unwind with yoga on the terrace, or indulge in culinary delights in the remarkable cantilevered restaurant suspended above the valley below.

Authentic warmth in hospitality

The property is located in the charming Gadholi village of Kasar Devi, a picturesque ridge above the town of Almora in Uttarakhand, long known for its rich history.

The people of the Kumaoni area exude a genuine, instinctive warmth, and many locals who have worked at the site have been warmly welcomed and trained in various technical roles at Kumaon, where they are still part of the core service team. Many have incredible stories to tell of their transformation from masons to pillars of heartfelt Kumaon hospitality and service. (IANS)

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