A New Retreat in the Indian Himalayas Captures Epic Views
Named for its perch in the mountainous region of Kumaon in the North Indian state of Uttarakhand, The Kumaon, which sits about 5,250 feet above sea level in the village of Kasar Devi, is a boutique hotel that enjoys magnificent views of the Indian Himalayas.
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Designed by Sri Lankan architects Pradeep Kodikara and Jineshi Samaraweera of Colombo–based Zowa Architects, the 10-room hotel is nestled in a sloping, terraced agricultural plot that overlooks uninterrupted views of undulating mountains and valleys.
The main building, where the public areas are located, sits on the most elevated point on the site and comprises two volumes.
The entrance to the building is located along the volume on the ground level, where the lounge, library, toilet, spa, and manager’s office are located.
The steel upper volume is placed on top of, and perpendicular to, this lower volume to create a cantilevered section that looks out towards India’s second-highest peak: Nanda Devi.
By spreading the chalets out across the site, the architects could circumvent the bulky, built-up look that too many structure can have in such a pristine, natural environment.
Because the buildings are spaced out, the entire complex connects better with its surroundings, and the overall environmental impact on the site is reduced.
Locally sourced pinewood was used for the floors, doors, and windows, and most of the furniture items were designed and made on-site.
Local artisans handcrafted the copper and stone accessories for the chalets, and Almora weavers made all the wool fabrics for the bedding.
"With The Kumaon, our goal was to highlight the stunning natural landscape, help guests focus on the mountain views, and pay homage to local materials, tradition, and culture," says Samaraweera.