Pay heed to the calling of the mountains and begin 2023 with an unforgettable retreat in the heart of the Himalayas. The Kumaon sitting atop a ridge, surrounded by the sanctity of the Nanda Devi Range, boasts of diverse experiences where one can disconnect with the tangible workings of the world and reconnect with one’s truest self.
An ideal destination getaway for a diverse range of travellers from nature lovers, adventure seekers to culinary aficionados and wellness enthusiasts – this stunning property recently got featured in the highly coveted Michelin Guide. Now accessible by a swift and scenic helicopter ride from Dehradun or Haldwani to Almora and then a short 30 mins road journey to the property, truly inside the walls of The Kumaon lies a safe space for introspection and quietude.
Here are top handpicked experiences one can indulge in at The Kumaon for a refreshing and rejuvenating staycation in the hills –
Rendezvous with the stars
The secluded setting of The Kumaon provides a perfect ambience for one to fully immerse in the beauty of the mysterious night sky. Stargazing at The Kumaon is a newly introduced, 2-hour session under the guidance of experts that can be booked on request at the property. Truly a magical experience with clear, dark skies away from the city lights offering breathtaking views of the cosmos that one can witness closely with the help of a telescope.
An interactive session with astronomy experts will help one delve deeper into understanding the night sky, Indian folklore and mythology surrounding the various constellations. Let broad horizons and the universe leave you transfixed while you observe and navigate various celestial bodies, nebulas and galaxies acraoss the sky from the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter, to the Milky Way Galaxy.
An ode to culture and heritage of the Kumaoni region
The region surrounding The Kumaon is rich in culture and heritage that one can explore further to delve into its traditions. From The Nanda Devi temple that sits on the top of Crank’s ridge, to the Chitai Golu Devta bell temple, one can visit these sacred sites frequented by the local worshippers. Then there is the nearby town of Almora with an old-world charm and secrets from history.
Notice the houses with unique hand-carved, colourful windows and balconies while you walk around the town! Over hundreds of years, some of the world’s greatest personalities like – Swami Vivekananda, DH Lawrence, Timothy Leary and Bob Dylan, to name a few have visited the region and taken inspiration from its eclectic charisma.
A unique experience is a curated evening walk in the nearby Gadholi village surrounding the property that ends with a high-tea setup and gorgeous undulating views of the mountains. Catch the sunset with Juno and Elsa, the most charming pair of resident dogs at The Kumaon. Amidst the quaint village, one can discover local homes painted in vibrant hues and engravements of Aipan – the Kumaoni folk art.
A walk with nature
The experiential journey at The Kumaon is anchored around the rich biodiversity and unchartered landscapes with a retreat as a base camp. Deeply rooted in the distinctly diverse flora and fauna, the landscape changes colours with seasons and during different times of the day, think a multi-hued sunset in summer and easy glimpses of Blue Magpie, Himalayan Cedar (Deodar) and Rhododendron. These are just a few of the many species that adorn this Himalayan hillside!
A varied selection of tailor-made nature walks and trails allow one to connect with the cultural history and natural heritage of this unscathed and untouched beauty of the Kumaoni region. From surreal village walks through the lush forests to short hikes to temples, a nearby waterfall or the Binsar wildlife sanctuary. Each excursion unfolds a new dimension of the place for the seeker.
Indulge in local culinary journey
Locally sourced, farm-fresh produce makes for a splendid culinary experience at The Kumaon. While one can go foraging for various ingredients in the forests with the team, insights into sustainable local cuisine can be found in complex fibre and biodynamic superfoods that are native to the region. One can try a variety of seasonal produce like black soybean daal, bhaang chutney made with ground cannabis seeds, and millet flatbreads.
A combination of indoor or al fresco dining can be enjoyed at the gourmet restaurant that sits in a cantilevered structure of floor-to-ceiling glass with an adjoining main terrace area. Elevated above the valley floor, the area offers panoramic views of the Himalayas with scrumptious yet healthy dining that includes a mix of Kumaoni delicacies served in a traditional Kansa thali and world cuisine for a delightful indulgence.
Take a moment to witness The Kumaon’s unique architecture
A formidable juxtaposition of minimalism and modernism, The Kumaon is uniquely crafted as a secluded private sanctuary. Award-winning Zowa Architects from Sri Lanka – Pradeep Kodikara and Jineshi Samaraweera, have taken their love for nature, natural materials and minimalism to weave these together into contemporary design aspects that reflect at The Kumaon.
Having recently won the Arcasia Award for its architecture, the property is spread across 2 acres of verdant greens with 10 magnificent chalets nestled in pairs and named after different villages of the Kumaoni region. Across all chalets are unique perceptive design touches and amenities like floor-to-ceiling windows with splendid outward views of the valley and the mountains, large terraces and ample lounging spaces!
How to get here
The Kumaon is located in the quaint Gadholi Village in Kasar Devi. Nearest train station: 4-hour drive from Kathgodam Railway Station (90 km) | Nearest airports: 5-hour drive from Pantnagar Airport (125 km), or 6-hour drive from Bareilly Airport (195 km) | Nearest Helicopter Pad: Haldwani to Almora – 1hr 15mins (every Friday) or Dehradun to Almora – 2hrs 35mins (every Friday).