If you are lucky or had the foresight to book yourself a window seat, soon after your captain announces descent and Srinagar comes into sight, you can’t but awe at the beautiful sight below. It was November and the Chinars were a kaleidoscope of colours between flaming orange and a deep red. It’s is only when you get out of the airport and begin your drive towards the Dal Lake that you see the heightened security as the army hold positions at various check points. It’s a comfort and an irritant especially if you are leaning out and want to take a picture of a beautiful building with a full grown Chinar out front. You traverse the city of Srinagar, a large portion of the drive along the Dal Lake – silent and tranquil with colourful house boats lined up at the edges just like it looked in hundreds of pictures, and finally to get to Harwan Gardens, towards the outskirts of the city.
Situated in a sparsely populated residential area in plain sight of the ancient Chinars of Harwan, Nadis makes its presence felt once you enter the massive iron gates. It’s a brief estate cleverly made with a clear built area that occupies half of the estate and the other half is left for a fledgling garden. For the rushed eye Nadis appears as a neatly stacked three tier building which is as orderly inside. A shaded porch leads you into a brief anteroom ideal during snow and rain. And a large room that functions as an informal lounge with floor heating by a maze of water pipes and reception area where you are greeted with a cup of heart-warming Kahwa- the famous flavourful Kashmiri tea.
Once, you have a chance to look around the lounge you take in the large floor to ceiling window, a deviation from the original architecture of residences which stress on smaller windows for better insulation. An eclectic mix of old and new and colours meet your eyes even if you give the lounge a cursory glance. A fireplace defines the lounging corner while a long table with benches on either side looks perfect for work or for a bunch of friends to sit around bantering over many cups of tea.
Know your Host
Yaser Shaw, Nadis’ shy owner admits to having designed the place all by himself taking cues from friends, and his many travels around the world. Nadis - meaning ‘Channels through which energy flows’ - Yaser believes that Nadis will connect people with nature, a culture of harmony and maybe with themselves too. The walls of the open lounge, stairwell and the corridors that lead into the guest rooms are adorned with his black and white photos - mostly stunning closeups of local people as they go about their daily chores. A photographer, avid trekker and textile designer Yaser has a business of designing rugs, shawls and papier mâché products which he exports to many countries. A conscious decision to return home to Srinagar, Yasser’s vision for Nadis is to bring alive some of the traditional practices in design, cuisine and hospitality to eternal life through the hotel. The Kahwa on arrival, old hand made tiles for floors, the garden which is the pride of every Kashmiri home, craft as you can see in some of the intricately carved furniture that offsets the modern chic designs of the benches, chairs, tables and couches are the steps toward that vision.
Nadis is unusual, youthful and traditional all at once. It’s design talks to you,everything from the warm welcoming lounge to the sparce cosy rooms reflecting the owner’s style and his understanding of light and colour. The simple façade of Nadis conceals pipes that collect rain water and snow melt while composting and growing some of his own produce are a part of the larger plan.
The rooms are quaint and very comfortable, uncluttered and single toned usually the colour of the wood of the floor, sparse furniture and the intricately designed tradition of theKhatamband ceiling. The dash of colour is the wall which are usually one of the four colours: Pink, Grey, inspired Blue or Green. Heating or Cooling as necessary is centrally generated and distributed. A couple of straight back chairs, a work table and a foldable service table that is hidden away. A cupboard at the entrance is followed by the tea/coffee station and a luggage rack. The queen sized double bed is set away from the large windows that have views of the tall Chinars of Harwan in the front and residences at the back. Ensuite single vanity bathrooms with a glass enclosed shower area complete the guest comforts.
Kashmiri cuisine complete with Khameeri bread and homemade preserves of strawberry and quince for breakfast to a scrumptious of homemade paneer, the quick-to-make Kale and morel tossed in a mild sauce with dried mint. Cuisine at Nadis is Yaser’s family recipes his mother taught the young cook who was one of the team that built the hotel. The garden offers alfresco opportunities in fair weather while the warm dining room that has underground heating for the floor tiles is enclosed in glass on two sides, so that every table has a view in the front and sideways.
At Nadis you are plied with endless cups of Kahwa very welcome in November and also at the end of a meal or to relax you or charge you after a hectic activity. Kahwa is an exotic mix of Kashmiri green tea leaves, whole spices, almonds and saffron, which was traditionally prepared in a brass kettle known as samovar. The samovar has a central cavity where hot coal is placed while the surrounding space is reserved for boiling the water and other ingredients for the tea. Not only a beverage to energise you, Kahwa is supposed to be a good remedy for cold, stomach disorders or even to relieve stress. Kashmiris do not have a tradition of sweets, however Kahwa is also served at the end of a meal during weddings and festivities.
Plan to stay longer and explore several day treks all curated by Yaser, an avid trekker himself.
Important to Know
A family getaway, a meeting place for friends, a starting place exploring Kashmir, a base for some of the best treks around Srinagar. A great place to celebrate an occasion with a small group of friends and family, Nadis is also ideal for those who are keen to explore the textile traditions and cuisine of Kashmir.
Open all year, though in winter with limited keys.
60+ is the new 40+
Suited for all with a reasonable fitness levels, Nadis works well for the mid-budget traveller.
For the Young
The garden space is wonderful for energetic young ones to run around and chase sparrows, also the proximity to the Harwan gardens allows space for frolic and fun with children and also people who are keen runners and walker.
There are two kinds of experiences that can be explored through Nadis. Those that are uniquely curated by Nadis include guided hikes and treks to some of the well-known and not so well-known sites like the Nara Nag, Great Lakes trek and several others checked out by Yaser himself. Cuisine and textile explorations are also designed for guests depending upon guest interest. Yaser also aims to organise book readings, music soiree, textile and craft programs on a regular basis to allow guests to engage with some of the best talent in the valley.
Other must dos are guided visits into Dachigam National Park and ubiquitous shikara ride on the languid Dal Lake surrounded by the mountains, this of course is a signature experience of Srinagar. For the nature lover, the city is an absolute delight: Mughal Gardens embellished with the most fragrant of flowers – roses, lotuses, tulips, irises, wisteria and pansies, fountains and cascading water features. Srinagar is also a paradise for birders what with warblers, kingfishers, numerous migratory ducks and nightingales. Pine, Birch, Deodar and Cedar trees are seen all around the city, but perhaps the most popular is Chinar that grows along the shores of lakes, the tops of which are known to have inspired the paisley design of Kashmiri shawls.
A visit to the bazaars is a rewarding experience. For the food enthusiasts there is an array of fragrant spices and nuts, especially saffron, apricots and walnuts. Crafts like the colourfully painted papier mâché and carved walnut wood are very popular. For textile lovers, there are exquisite shawls, tunics embellished with beautiful Kashmiri embroidery, head gear and woollen clothes. Kashmir is known for its carpets and an authentic, handmade one is a priceless addition to any space.
Single use plastic: Bamboo straws are used and bottled water in plastic is served only on request. Cling wrap in the kitchen has been replaced with fabric scraps and cloth bags are used instead of plastic bags. Dispensers are used in the bathroom.
Heritage: The wood ceiling pattern of Khatamband, which is putting together wood pieces in a geometrical manner is used in Nadis. Handmade local floor tiles, and cedar and walnut wood furniture and flooring are used keeping in mind the vernacular architecture.
Water conservation:Rain water is harvested from the roof and used for gardening.
Garbage:Worm composite plant to recycle waste into manure for the plants.
Local community: Staff is local. Being a textile designer, Yaser works with local weavers and artisans reflecting Kashmiri heritage.
Low Impact: Activities offered are walks, hikes and treks that have been tried and tested by Yaser himself.
Such a beautiful space, well designed and tastefully decorated. The garden is lovely to dine in and the views coupled with the serenity is refreshing. the food is quite good too and the service...
Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan ranges opposite to Harwan Bagh, this 18 room boutique hotel offers peaceful & tranquil atmosphere away from the noise of traffic. Despite being about 10kms...
Excellent food, very friendly stuff, and the hotel is a gem. Quiet, comfortable, rooms are just beautifull. Chilling and daydreaming, staying here was a pinnacle of our vacation. Dont look no further...
Nearest Airport : Srinagar Airport
Nearest Railway Station : Srinagar railway station