You’re invited to attend an art residency at 5,500 ft above sea level in Bhimtal
Artists can consider buying one of the 11 villas nestled in the hills of Bhimtal, overlooking the river or simply renting themreal estate Updated: Sep 14, 2016 08:57 IST
Solitude is an essential requirement for the creative soul – which needs to be close to nature and far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. That’s why these 11 villas in Uttarakhand’s Bhimtal, 5,500 ft above sea level are meant for painters, writers and musicians wanting to have conversations with nature and their craft.
The project named Brooks Arthaus has villas spread across three acres and overlook the river. These spaces have been designed keeping in mind artists, litterateurs, musicians, yoga experts and even culinary artists.
The size of these villas is around 1,400 sq ft to 3,500 sq ft (constructed on 200 sq yard to 800 sq yard plots with prices varying from Rs 1.25 crore to Rs 2 crore. The cost includes the land price, facilities and access to a club. FabIndia has furnished the interiors. The cost of the entire project is round Rs 8 crore.
“This is a space where the creative community can interact and we intend holding a series of residencies or retreats for such people to enable them to mingle freely in a reclusive environment,” says Nilanjan Bhowal, the architect who has designed the retreat.
A complex with a gallery
“The idea is to hold frequent art residencies. There is also an art gallery within the complex. Other facilities include a restaurant, plunge pool, gymnasium and a media room. Some of the art works produced during the artists’ retreat will find their way into the gallery which will eventually be turned into an open art museum and a tourist destination. The complex also has an interactive space, an amphitheatre, for people who love the arts,” he says.
“We also invite people from different creative domains. We have already held two retreats for the visual arts. The one planned for October will see musicians, artists, dancers and installation artists congregate at the site. The programme includes starting the day with a yoga session, a walk through the forest, a laid back breakfast, book reading on the lawns, lunch followed by a music and dance event in the evening, not to mention a boat ride and paragliding,” he says.
Those not interested in buying into the project can come in to attend retreats for a few days, where they can interact with the artists and musicians and others from different art domains. The cost of participating in such retreats range from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000, excluding the cost of travel.
“We intend holding many more artistic residencies in the future,” says Bhowal.
The weather too attracts people from the sweltering plains when temperatures here is a mild 26 to 30 degrees Celsius. In the winter it cools down to around 3 to 4 degrees Celsius. “You do not need the fan as the project is surrounded by forest land,” he says.
The project follows sustainable principles. “These are energy efficient cottages. There are large openings on the south side that capture the winter sun and skylights are positioned to capture daylight. Fertile soil has been preserved across the land parcel,” says Bhowal. Only natural materials and finishes have been used to construct the buildings. Local material such as stone and wood have been used. Nothing has been procured beyond 100 km from the site, thereby reducing carbon footprint.
All the villas are ready-to-move-in. Cobbled streets lead up to the units which are not separated by boundary walls but by lily ponds. There are also a few natural springs on site. Three villas have been sold so far to accessory designers, architects and art investors.
As for access, there is a motorable road right up to the entrance gate of the project. “We’ve also tied up with local transporters for pick and drop facility to Kathgodham which is an hour’s drive from the retreat,” says Bhowal, adding these are fully serviced villas with a chef and doctor on call, and houskeeping staff.