Himalaica: A Haven For Himalayan & Alpine Hospitality

Himalaica was created as a place to pause, reflect, meditate, remember, forget, and restore balance in our lives

Nestled in a crevice in the middle of a mountain of the Kumaon hills in the heart of the lake district of Nainital, Himalaica is a sanctuary that can put you in the right frame of mind for a mesmerising escape. 

What sets it apart from others is the location and a perfect amalgamation of Himalayan and European Alpine ambience. The experience of Himalaica will leave a lasting impression as it tends to become your second home in the hills while you are there, tempting you to set a date for your next visit. 

Blending the Alpine exquisiteness with the Himalayan rawness to develop Himalaica, a homestay for mountain lovers, required painstaking planning and research over a long period of time.

The majestic architecture, eye-catching interiors, and beautifully landscaped gardens provide just the right ambience to mesmerise visitors with a blend of tradition and modernity. The traditional country style, developed mainly by local craftsmen, modern comforts, and unrivalled hospitality, prompts you to explore the Himalayan essence as soon as you enter the estate. All this became possible after Varun and Ite, living in Switzerland, had the idea of creating their home where their heart lies.

Varun'sVarun's brother Archit, who lives in Nainital, proved to be the perfect partner to realise what they had envisioned - a home away from home with captivating local flair in the form of traditional ''Likhai'' art and the artistry of Kashmiri craftsmanship. The result is a unique blend of mountain traditions and cultural fabrics spanning continents.

Himalaica is widely recognised as one of the most adorable and tranquil retreats in the Himalayas. Set amidst a forest of oaks and pines, it offers a beautiful sight and an irresistible charm. Once you are there, Himalaica will enchant you, and you will not want to leave even after days of staying and encapsulating the beauty that Himalaica and the region offer. The experience of this place in the beautiful Kumaon region is truly hypnotic.

A cosy bedroom, one of four in the Villa
A cosy bedroom, one of four in the Villadhruv aswal

A Haven For Writers And Artists

The retreat, which includes two fascinating and stylish cottages and six cosy guest rooms, has seen its fair share of visitors—writers, poets, and guests of all stripes. The flow of visitors never stops here, as they are always searching for seclusion and tranquillity for a revitalising experience. The rooms are well-appointed, and there are several spaces to suit your mood.

The stunning glass conservatory is where you will linger for hours to watch various birds enjoying the pristine mountains and greenery in the sunshine. The calming and evocative aura adds to the enjoyment, and you will hardly notice the day passing by. In the end, you will long for more.

conservatory lit up 
on a starry night
Glass conservatory lit up on a starry nightdhruv aswal

In the living room, there is every comfort you could wish for. The living room is a perfect place to socialise when visiting with a large family or group of friends and catching up on conversations. It also has a library which is regularly updated for book lovers. The living room opens into the TV room, a snug space at any time of the day to watch TV, listen to music, read books or just meditate by looking directly at the surroundings through the glass walls. The room's glass walls offer an enchanting view outside to the gardens in the hills, which are rich in flora. In the blooming season, you can be captivated by the beauty of the lush green trees in a colourful cloak.

The gardens of Himalaica are vast and consist of a good mix of local Himalayan and European flora. This unique combination is quite mesmerising when in full bloom. The lush green trees, the colourful foliage, and the melody of birds take you to a world from which you never want to return. Himalaica is pet-friendly, and furry friends are always welcome.

Cottage patio, 
perfect sit-out on 
a lazy afternoon
Cottage patio, perfect sit-out on a lazy afternoondhruv aswal

Contagious Warmth

For guests, the home combines local flavour with European standards. The staff are very well trained to look after guests with warmth. Having lived in Himalaica long enough, they can anticipate guests' needs and care for them fondly. Chef Prakash has been with the homestay since its inception, and it is said that his hands can work magic with food to present a whole range of delicious cuisines. European food is a highlight here, including Swiss and French Alsatian cuisine. There are, of course, Indian dishes on offer and specially curated East Asian delicacies. That'sThat's one of the key reasons guests are keen to stay at Himalaica.

The very young caretaker couple, Naveen and Jyoti, recently started living at the estate with their 1-year-old son. They are supported by a team that maintains the extensive gardens, keeps Himalaica running, and makes every guest feel like they are home. The entire staff hails from the local region of Nainital.

The dedicated staff is the strength of Himalaica, and their personal touch makes it a sought-after destination.

Villa surrounded by 
the green cover of 
the estate
Villa surrounded by the green cover of the estatedhruv aswal

Explorers' Paradise

The forests of the retreat and around Bhowali are home to numerous wildlife species, which you can spot either while trekking in the permitted forest areas or sometimes, if you are lucky, right from the road. The forests harbour significant populations of leopards, bears, wild boars, deer, sambar deer, ghoral or mountain goats, jungle cats, porcupines, langurs and snakes. There are over 150 bird species in the forests of the greater area. 

Himalaica is not only an ideal base to explore the region but also offers numerous opportunities for trekking, jungle walks, bird watching, and other outdoor activities. Several trails pass through the property. The main ones lead to the top of Himalaica Ridge and the other to Kulethi—Jhandidhar, where you can enjoy unforgettable views of Nandadevi, Panchachuli, and more.

Kids can become little explorers, following the paths and calls of birds in the estate and wandering around in the green spaces, identifying the flora and fauna on the estate and the surrounding reserved forests.

A stay at Himalaica is incomplete without a BBQ meal and a bonfire night under the starry skies surrounded by the echoes of the forest. During autumn, the sounds of water gushing through the Estate streams put one's mind at ease. Meals can be served alfresco in the gardens to enjoy splendid views of the forests or under a starry sky.

In and around Himalaica, you can enjoy bird watching in the garden, explore the garden with its great variety of plants and flowers, meditate in the temple under the old oak tree, listen to music in the glass conservatory, read a book from the library, pamper yourself with a relaxing massage – or simply do nothing! There are many places around the estate where you can just be!

Himalaica to Gagar viewpoint: A great way to start the day is to wake up early, sip a cup of chai or coffee, and hike from Himalaica along the estate trail through the dense forests to catch your first glimpse of the Himalayas. The slightly arduous walk is worth it (the easier option is the car!) when you see the rising sun illuminating the forested and snow-capped mountains.

Kulethi-Jhandidhar: Either start directly from Himalaica on foot or drive 5 km on the Bhowali Ramgarh Road (or to Gagar). Then hike up through dense forests to Jhandidhar peak, meet the local temple priest, and marvel at the view!

Mahesh Khan Forest and Forest Rest House: With prior permission, walk or drive 4 km on the Bhowali—Ramgarh Road and then enter the Mahesh Khan Reserve. A further 4 km along a forested road will lead you to a bird watcher's paradise that is still quite untouched. You can spot various species of birds and wildlife here.

Gagar to Tagore Top: Walk from Gagar to Tagore Top (2 km), where Rabindranath Tagore lived and wrote some of his works and enjoy the splendid views

Villages in Kumaon: Take trips off the beaten track into the remote interior of Kumaon to see traditional houses with intricately carved doors and windows from the Likhai craft. The houses built of mud and stone, with slate roofs, are in a two-storey style and are typical of the Kumaon region.

Evening campfire: Experience the locals' favourite evening pastime. Enjoy an unforgettable evening with your friends or family around a beautiful bonfire in the gardens. Play music and games or chat about anything in the winter or summer.

Barbecue: The perfect combination with an evening campfire, serving a fine selection of meat and vegetable specialities with the added flavour of the wood, air and water of the area.

Cycling excursions: Nothing is better than exploring the winding roads of Kumaon by bike. Bicycles are available at the property upon request.

Cooking classes: Curated cooking classes by the Chef are offered to resident guests at the estate, who express their interest at the time of booking.

Nearby Places To Visit

There are several tourist attractions near Himalaica. In addition to the picturesque Nainital, Bhimtal, Sattal and Naukuchiatal, which are frequented by tourists from around the world, there are other nearby places to see, such as Ramgarh, Gagar, Shyamkhet Tea Gardens, Ghorakhal temple, Kakrighat temple and the world-renowned Kainchi Mandir. A refreshing drive across the mountains can lead you to quaint towns like Mukteshwar, Almora, Binsar, Ranikhet, Jageshwar and the famous Jim Corbett National Park, one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Dwarahat, a town with a complex of ancient temples, and Bageshwar are also worth a visit. 

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