The Project’s Story
Nimmu House, a sustainable project in Ladakh
A noble and imposing building of 1, 200 sq. meters, Nimmu House is a jewel of Ladakhi architecture. The beautiful thirty rooms, including two Buddhist temples, stables, and an orchard of 5000 sq. meters with hundreds of apricot, apple and walnut trees, make Nimmu House a unique place in Ladakh.
Nimmu House, a noble hotel in Ladakh
Situated in the village of Nimmu at 3,100 m altitude, between heaven and earth, the house was built in the early twentieth century by Rinchen Namgyal Zildar, a cousin of the king of Ladakh. Nimmu House gradually lost its glory after the annexation of Ladakh into the Indian Union after the country’s independence. The Nangso family, the owners of the house, for lack of sufficient financial resources could not maintain the house.
Emblematic of the cultural heritage of the Himalayan region, its history and legends have been passed down through the generations. Nimmu House today is one of the few noble houses of Ladakh that has not been demolished.
Renovation of the Nimmu House
The renovation project of Nimmu House and its transformation into a charming guest house was born in 2012 when Lobzang Punchok Shamshu, a Ladakhi entrepreneur and Alexandre Beuan, a travel professional passionate about Ladakh Tourism, visited the house.
The Nangso family asked Lobzang to invest in renovating their home, and proposed that he convert the house into a hotel, and thus contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the cultural heritage of Ladakh, create economical activities for villagers of Nimmu and respond to a growing demand from travelers for authentic, comfortable and charming places to stay in this remote Himalayan region.
Nimmu House Ladakh: a local heritage project
Lobzang, director of a trekking agency and hotelier himself, gathered a team of passionate specialists, architects of sustainable architecture, interior designers, tibetologists, art historians and professionals in the hospitality and tourism sector, to meet several challenges:
- Renovate the house using traditional and technical materials
- Provide comfort for guests
- Utilization of solar energy, better insulation through double glazing, no wastage of water
- Create local economic activity
- Offer travelers an authentic Ladakhi experience and not just a hotel. Develop activities directed towards the Ladakhi culture, nature and mild sports (hiking, biking, rafting, etc.)
- Use of local food products, including vegetables from the village and offer dishes that meet the expectations of travelers from all over the world
- Make the project financially viable
A long term project
The Nimmu House renovation is a part time project. Renovation and development of Nimmu House is scheduled over a period of 4 years for 3 reasons:
- Seasonality: inhospitable temperatures in winter and tourist season in summer will ensure the hotel four months of work per year
- The availability of very few professionals for the renovation of Tibetan paintings or furniture
- Financial considerations as the project is expensive
The construction period at Nimmu House
The first tranche of work between March and June 2013 witnessed a complete renovation of the roof, part of the barn of the house, the winter dining room, and several other areas of stage 1. Also undertaken were the development of the outdoor terraces and the orchard, and construction of five luxury tents scattered across the orchard.
A second phase is scheduled between April and May 2014 and October 2014 which will complete the renovation and refurbishment of the first floor.
A wonderful place to stay
At the end of the renovation, Nimmu House will have 12 rooms and suites, 5 luxury tents, a dining room, a library, a living room, a rooftop terrace, two outdoor restaurants, yoga & meditation room, a spa, a local craft store, and many common areas.