Soak In The Slow Life At Amaya In Kasauli

Hidden in the lush hills of Darwa, the 15-room luxe boutique property is the perfect setting to hit pause and escape from the hustle of city life
The property has been designed by renowned architect Bijoy Jain
The property has been designed by renowned architect Bijoy JainAmaya

Having grown up in Chandigarh, the sukoon of the hills was always a few hours' drive away for Deepak Gupta, the man behind Amaya. While the fast-paced corporate life catapulted him to different places all over the world for nearly three decades, Gupta’s yearning for the peace and quiet of the hills only got stronger, prompting him to set up Amaya.

The villas have been built on an abandoned terraced forest
The villas have been built on an abandoned terraced forestAmaya

Ensconced in a 20-acre terraced forest in Darwa, Himachal Pradesh, the 10-room boutique property is a complete departure from the busy city life and its materialistic frills—the rooms don’t have television, telephones, or WiFi. In Gupta’s words, “These are things that people can always go back to—it is just a flight away. I wanted to create a space where people have to deliberately slow down and think about the larger life they are leading. I want guests to truly relax, spend time in nature, and have a good meal.”

The Space

While Amaya’s location already achieves Gupta’s vision of creating a sanctuary, when it came to finding somebody who could articulate that through design, renowned architect Bijoy Jain was his ultimate pick. Having won various accolades for sustainable architecture and celebrated for creating designs reflective of the environment, Jain, who had never created a resort before, intuitively understood Amaya’s essence. 

“My brief to Jain was to build a space where if I evacuate everything in 40 years, nature should be able to take over,” says Gupta. Keeping this in mind, Jain built Amaya using only local materials—from local stone and wood to handcrafted copper roofs. While the walls are made of stone, Jain invited Reudi Kerbs to finish with lime plaster, an ancient technique preserved by the Swiss artisan himself.

Jain built Amaya using only local materials
Jain built Amaya using only local materialsAmaya

When it came to the decor, Gupta and Jain harnessed interior design elements from all over the world to strike the perfect balance of luxury minimalism. From working with a design agency in the UK to sourcing furniture and accents from Denmark to working with a Mumbai-based furniture curator who only works with salvaged wood, Gupta describes Amaya’s 15 spacious villas as “Japanese ryokan, combined with the Scandinavian minimalist design.”

The menu at Amaya has been conceptualised by award-winning chef Prateek Sadhu
The menu at Amaya has been conceptualised by award-winning chef Prateek SadhuAmaya


Like all things at Amaya, the food finds its roots in simplicity as well. “I believe that if you want to be truly sustainable, food should not travel. So, I wanted to create a food program that is seasonal and truly fine dining,” says Gupta, who partnered up with renowned chef Prateek Sadhu to curate a menu that fused global techniques—from French to Japanese—and locally grown ingredients.

While most of the produce is grown on-site, anything that is not is sourced from around the region—be it vegetables and fruits from a farm in Solan or cheese from a venture started by an Indo-French couple in Mashobra, everything is traceable to its point of origin. 

Though you can start your day with sourdough bread baked in-house and enjoy freshly plucked fruits—from mulberry to figs to pears—grown within the property, for Gupta, the traditional Himachali Dham experience at Amaya stands out. “We call in expert cooks from different parts of Himachal who specialise in making particular dishes in the Dham, and the complete meal is cooked outdoors in old copper utensils and on a firepit. We set up seating right next to it, overlooking the dense forests, to give our guests the complete traditional experience,” says Gupta.

Ingredients used in Amaya are locally grown and sourced
Ingredients used in Amaya are locally grown and sourcedAmaya


Amaya is all about feeling rooted, and the team presents curated experiences that help you do exactly that. In addition to the traditional Himachali Dham experience, if you are interested in culinary experiences, you can opt for a horticulture workshop or relish a 12 to 14-course spread curated by Amaya Test Kitchen and treat yourself to a meal at Prateek Sadhu’s newest offering, Naar, which is located within the property. If you want to explore the surrounding region, you can go on a guided village walk, sunrise/sunset hike that ends with a picnic, or a 2-hour guided walk to Gamber River.

Information Box

Tariff: From INR 30,000 per night

Getting There: Amaya is located at a 90-minute drive from Chandigarh. You can either fly into Chandigarh or take a train to Chandigarh Junction and reach Amaya by private taxi. 

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