Himalaica – An artistic epitome of luxury
Himalaica is truly an art of passion and conviction created by Shalini & Uttam Dave with painstaking care over past eighteen years. It’s just not a luxury homestay but a dream home away from the hustle and bustle of a city nestled in the lap of Himalayas at Uttarakhand’s Kumaon region. That it is a labour of love is evident in the architecture, the interiors and the gardens. Articulated to perfection by collating the art of local craftsmen with modern architectural style, elegant utilisation of space with minute detailing; draws its inspiration from the past, living in the present, and looking into the future. It’s a functioning home with a full-time staff to take care of the property, a fleet of adorable pets to keep it lively, and a benchmark that says you will get freshly-brewed coffee anytime you walk in. Himalaica gives homestay altogether a different perspective!
We got an opportunity to stay in this majestic cottage Himalaica nestled in the lush green forest of Kumaon Mountains. This was undoubtedly the most luxurious homestay that we have ever seen in our travelling escapades till now. It has such a calming influence that we did not even thought of venturing out of the premises. It is haven of luxury, peace, & tranquillity. The best part is the ease of reaching this place and how quickly one vanishes into woods from human settlement. It’s like a mini castle and you are the royal guest of the palace to enjoy luxury in the lap of Himalayas. The arched pathway from the main gate to the bungalow has variety of flowers, herbs, & shrubs. We could easily make out the love and effort being put by Shalini and Uttam to come this far. The moment we stepped into the bungalow we were in awe with the interior decorations, the showpiece arrangements, wood and glass based architectural design, the detailing with which every space has been utilised and just everything. Here are some of the highlights of Himalaica:
This is the place we loved the most and spent our maximum time by gazing the abundant natural beauty, garden, clear blue sky, & beautiful birds. There is ample sitting space in conservatory with glass window and top. This place is so captivating that we never got bored. With ample reading materials and music around you feel close to yourself and nature.
The Reading Room
This is another masterpiece at Himalaica with books of various genres from trekking expedition stories to hunting in the jungles of the Kumaon, the architecture to interiors; the collection is worth exploring for the bookworms. It’s not only the collection but the way the room is decorated with an amazing view is class apart. at least gave me ample reasons to spend time mostly in the reading room.
Another piece of brilliance is the garden. We have never seen a garden that is so extensive with various ranges of species for every corner of the house as well. It has such a calming influence on overall energy of the place that one could easily rejuvenate oneself from the chaotic world of city. We really appreciate the time and effort spent in maintaining the garden in pristine condition, could easily state this as one of the best and most coveted gardens in the region. Even in the cottage perimeter you can roam around with your camera snapping the serenity of the mountains, flowers, garden, & birds. The chirp-chirps and the colour bloom of the flowers is a delight to the eyes and ears. It gives you the feeling of bliss for eternity. From hand-trimmed gardens to bird-friendly sculptures, Himalaica is not only a crafted piece of heaven for vacationers, but also for birds. There is an ancient temple in the premises as well that exists under a large oak tree, dedicated to the Earth God.
One of the most coveted highlights of Himalaica is the detailing with which the house has been decorated. The lamps and lights, the mirrors, the wooden carvings around the mirror, various owl & lord Ganesha showpieces, are the few highlights. In every room there is something special about the lights and ambience. From the kitchen, bedroom, dining space or the guest lobby, lamp collection will surely astound you. Everything is perfectly placed that you are in awe while admiring the beauty.
For the people with a different mindset, either you can sleep all day long in the cosy and comfy beds or just take a hike along the mountain roads where you’ll come across villages and can also enjoy bird watching. For company there are the books, the TV and the three dogs (Raja, Lama and Cyber) along with the hospitality of Basant, Madhavi, & Prashant. They took care of us throughout our stay. Another highlight of Himalaica is awesome homemade food. We ordered local food and believe us it was perfect. It’s a beautiful escape from the madness of city life and a weekend stay will definitely rejuvenate your mind, body, & soul with lots of positive vibe and joy for life. Head on and relax your perplexed and troubled mind with some positivity and reap the benefits.
Location – Village Shyamkhet, 2.6 km on Bhowali-Ramgarh Road
How to reach – The Shyamkhet village is 325 KM from Delhi, and takes about 7 – 8 hours to reach by road. Nearest railway station is Kathgodam station and nearest airport is in Pantnagar.
Main Villa – This villa has a large glass conservatory, a living room with an active fireplace, a dining room which hosts up to 10 people, a large kitchen and three wood-floored bedrooms.
Guest Cottage: This cottage is ideal for a small group. It has a beautiful garden seating arrangement, a dining lounge, kitchenette and two bedrooms.
Things to do:
Short trek from Himalaica to Gagar viewpoint: From here you get a view of the Nanda Devi and Panchachuli peaks.
Bhowali Sanatorium: Established in 1912, this was once the second largest sanatorium in Asia. Situated 9 KM from Himalaica, history enthusiasts like to visit this place as Kamala Nehru, wife of Jawaharlal Nehru, was treated for TB at Bhowali Sanatorium.
Ghorakhal Temple: Dedicated to the revered deity of Kumaon, this famous temple is just 3 KM from Himalaica.