An ongoing boutique hotel in the Himalayas, the rhythmic form of Raas Kangra gives a new expression to the vernacular vocabulary of Himachal architecture and handcrafts an atmosphere of understated luxury with local materials.
Raas Kangra, the next property being developed by the owners of Raas Jodhpur, is set amidst a 200-acre tea estate. Covering an area of over 100,000-sqft, the boutique hotel is surrounded by spectacular views of the Dhauladhar mountain range.
Conceived as a 50-suite luxury property with a fully-appointed spa, the property deliberately stays away from a 'Villa' or 'Cottage' typology to create a unique architectural experience. The low sinuous building gently hugs the contours of a ridge at the termination of a hill, curving in length parallel to the magnificent Dhauladhar range to one side and the lush green Kangra Valley with its tea gardens to the other.
The rhythmic structure with its colonnade of stacked stone seems to rise out of the mountain as an expression in local stone, slate and timber - echoing the gentle rhythms of a monastery. The project seeks to straddle the spiritual experience that guests would come to Dharamshala for, along with understated luxury. It does so by taking its cues from the vernacular Himachali architecture and reinterpreting it in a contemporary manner. Inexpensive local materials are finely crafted to create a building that seems completely new and yet seems to have been part of the site always.
Each of the 50 suites span the entire depth of the building and are accessed through private staircases so that there are no corridors to block the spectacular views on either side. All suites have balconies on either side offering the views of the mountain range and the Valley. They are oriented North –South to get in the winter sun. Large sliding doors with insect screens allow for natural mountain winds to be the natural method for cooling and ventilation.
The rooms and bathrooms have underfloor radiant heating and cooling systems for the Winter and Summer respectively. The southern face of the roof of the building comprises solar panels that supply the boilers of the heating system, which in turn feeds the underfloor heating, the indoor heated pool and the hot water supply for the hotel. As a larger sustainability initiative, the entire site is being reforested with native trees and plants to create a rich forest which will attract local fauna.
The site is being populated with natural water harvesting systems to ensure that the entire rainwater is captured and used. 100 per cent of the sewage is being treated on site through a Bio Root zone system and being reused in the landscape.