Reached by a country road that winds through forests and village hamlets, guests can choose between a charming stroll through lush pastures or the in-house comfy Jeep to arrive at the retreat, designed with a contemporary twist on traditional vernacular architecture using local wood and stone to blend perfectly with the untouched surrounding countryside.
Qayaam Gah offers its guests a varied programme of activities, including hill walking and nature trails, adventure and cultural excursions and local educational programmes, with an emphasis on ecological sustainability.
The Setting: Qayaam Gah has been designed in such a way as to respect, incorporate and compliment the natural surroundings. These are spectacular and exemplify the famed region of Kashmir perfectly, the retreat is suspended between lofty mountains reaching to the heavens on the one hand and verdant slopes stretching down to the tranquil lake below on the other. A winding trip along a scenic road of great beauty, followed by a short walk, brings you to the site. For those who wish, the last part of the journey can be made in the resort’s jeep.
The Aim: Having lived in the hustle and bustle of a busy city, we were determined to create a space that blends harmoniously with its unbounded natural context, so that the boundary between inner and outer hardly exists. From the dawn chorus and the soft freshness of the early morning, through to the glorious Himalayan sunsets and convivial evening campfires, the days spent in Qayaam Gah will be a permanent inspiration and reminder that a sane life is a life lived in the bosom of Mother Nature.
The Design: The grounds of the complex have been purposefully left undisturbed so as to encourage the abundant wildlife of the area. This includes many types of native and migratory birds, shy snow leopards and the winsome sloth bears which come to pick the cherries in springtime. The site is nourished by natural spring water, conveyed by hidden pipes from the mountains behind. This spring also feeds a heated infinity pool. Despite such contemporary conveniences, not one tree was felled during the construction of the retreat. The buildings are a combination of cedar wood, glass and stone, with details picked out in the traditional Kashmiri style of fine carving in floral and vegetal motifs in deodar woodwork. The design is simple and naturalistic overall, offering breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains, the orchids that grow in profusion around the building, and the lake shimmering far below.
The Sufi Theme: In Sufism, the mystical teachings of Islam, qayaam is a station on the pilgrim’s inner journey to beatification. Kashmir has long been a vibrant centre of Sufism, and one of the aims of our retreat is to honour, reflect and rekindle interest in this spiritual path. All the detached villas are named after Sufi poetesses – such as the Kashmiri Lal Ded, Habba Khatoon and Rabia of Basra – and the rooms after great Sufi saints such as Rumi, his master Shamas of Tabriz and Nund Rishi. In addition, Sufism will be the theme of the paintings and books in each room and also the evening music performances.