Review: Himalayan Kothi, Kais
The Himalayan Kothi is a very fine example of Katkhuni, traditional Pahari architecture, unique in that it uses no vertical supports. Constructed by building a mesh of thick cedar rafters, later stacked with stone, this earthquake-resistant style is a fast disappearing sight in Himalayan architectural vocabulary. Still, it is heart-warming that Shalini and Rajeev Khimta, proud owners of this five bedroom house chose to showcase this style when they decided to build in their orchard near the Kais Sanctuary in the Kullu valley.
While Rajeev shuttles between Shimla and Kullu, Shalini oversees the operations, the kitchen, and warmly looks after her guests. Her food is to die-for and she needs no persuasion whatsoever to conjure up local delicacies ever so often in case you show the slightest inclination. Do request her for the traditional dham (a multi-dish meal) if you are on an extended stay at the Himalayan Kothi, the sweet rice as dessert is truly manna.
The Khimta’s have taken every comfort into consideration while building the house; complementing the two-storey structural design are plush interiors and modern plumbing. In deed Shalini laughingly shows you around her stylish bathrooms. The best feature, were you to ask, is the open to elements veranda running the entire length of the upper level – offering the most magnificent panorama of the Kullu valley spread-eagled below. It is entirely possible that the Roerich duo saw and painted the exact same vista from Naggar further up the same axis!