Natural retreats are the best way to break away from the mundane, and gain a fresh perspective. If the retreat is in the form of a hotel perched amid the Kumaon range, in the shadow of the sacred Nanda Devi, it’s impossible to refrain from taking this break. The Kumaon in Binsar, Uttarakhand, is one such retreat which goes against the culture of fast tourism and offers an immersive experience of its pristine surroundings, the Greater Himalayas, and all the gifts that come with it. By Shubhanjana Das
A sanctuary of ‘tropical modernism’, designed by award-winning Sri Lankan architects Pradeep Kodikara and Jineshi Samaraweera, The Kumaon commands quite a few characters amid its verdant green surroundings. Staying true to the ethos of the minimal yet heightened luxurious style of living, the hotel offers ten luxury suites — each with views of the snow-clad peaks — a grand library, a sun lounge, and one gourmet restaurant. Rotating glass walls bring you even closer to the towering mountains, the unending forests, and the surrounding gushing streams.
The Kumaon is nestled on the Kasar Devi ridge, a space which is unique to the region. The valley is also dotted with a number of ancient stone village complexes dedicated to Uma and Shiva. While here, you can hike through the Oak, Cedar, and Deodar bushes and explore the diverse flora and fauna that the valley’s varying altitudes support. Your neighbours will be leopards who often show themselves while out to prey during sunset.
The Kumaon is a pet-friendly property, which means you can travel with your furry friend without second thoughts. They even offer free breakfast to their guests — a lavish and elaborate fare made using fresh, local ingredients. When staying at The Kumaon, you will be in close proximity to Almora, a historical city continues to attracts tourists, and personalities like Swami Vivekananda, DH Lawrence, Timothy Leary, Bob Dylan, among others. The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is a short 15 minutes’ drive away.
To reach The Kumaon, you can take a bus from Delhi to Almora. Alternatively, transportation can be arranged from the Kathgodam and Ramnagar railways stations, or from the Pantnagar airport.