Monday, October 25, 2021

Mashobra – The Retreat Paradise

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Mashobra is a quaint and lush ridged town adjacent to Shimla in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. Its architecture is characterized by the indigenous Pahari methods of the building involving stone, mud, deodar wood, and slate. The British elites Robert and Mary Hotz’s retreat at Mashobra in 1866 marked the emergence of star-hotel culture in India.

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Mashobra and its lush hills

Ever since, the hill station has been accommodating high-profile structures like the Presidential retreat, hotel resorts, and artist residencies. Lord Lytton, the then Governor-General of India, turned his eyes toward Mashobra much before the Hotzes arrived. It is noted that his preference for Mashobra’s solitude over the rather buzzing Shimla developed the town into a retreat paradise. 

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Mary and Robert Hotz

The emergence of the Gables hotel in 1866

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First built structure of Hotel Gables, 1866

The inaugural structure of Gables Hotel, as depicted in the image above, donned the Victorian Architectural elements as a new entry to the town in 1866. Robert Hotz was a famous hotelier and brought his expertise in five-star hotel promotion to India. He promoted the new Gables hotel during his retreat here. The name “Gables” has since been carried over and inherited by the present promoters when acquiring the property in the 1980s.

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Original transfer deed of Gables under the seal of Maharaja Koti

The gables estate was originally a land under the possession of King Koti, since 1800. The land was eventually leased to the Britishers on the condition that no cows will be slaughtered and no trees around the building will be cut. Part of the original Hotel Gables is still upright, and the new hotel of the estate sprung up on the hills opposite.  

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The present form of the Gables Hotel

However, the legacy of the first structure has not faded away as the countryside’s charms live on in the heritage buildings around. As the Hotel Gables developed across many estate holders, the last manager was KS Karai, a Parsi who lived at the nearby Black Rock Hotel. KS Karai facilitated the transfer of the property to the present owners.

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KS Karai, the last manager of Gables year 1980

The new Gables Hotel started as a 30-room structure and generated employment opportunities in the locality. This new hotel started eventually in 1990, and as it attracted footfall over the years, Gables now bears the credit for Mashobra’s town development. 

Features of the Gables Hotel

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TheCosy Nook Bar at Gables

The Gables Hotel hosts the original fireplace in the estate, as was cast in England in the early 19th century. The fireplace has been retained since then and is fully functional even now in the cozy fire-lit bar.

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Victorian chandeliers and paintings

The new developments have also carried forward the British theme. The hotel also exhibits its collection of carefully chosen paintings, reproducing those seen in Buckingham Palace’s royal collection. Besides the paintings, the hotel’s interiors possess Royal inspiration too. The Chandeliers and lights resemble those in the castles of England. Additionally, wooden arches in and around the corridors, staircases, and lift-wells are hand-carved with the English taste by Kinnauri artisans. Kinnaur is a district in Himachal Pradesh with Tibetan cultural layers.

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Front on view of the Gables Hotel premises

The hotel’s rooms are appareled with ethnic detailing, making the whole built atmosphere a modern rendition of the Pahari style, with an English fusion. The rooms assure modern comfort levels with poster beds, surrounded by well-furnished rich interiors.

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Front on view of the Gables Hotel premises

The premises were also planned with a temple next to the main building’s entrance. With a sloping wooden roof, arches, and lion sculptures that were also hand-carved by Kinnauri artisans. Gables Hotel believes that it symbolizes the Mashobra’s territorial goddess Mahakali of Sarahan Rampur Bushehr.

Hence, the Gables Hotel can be sensed for its respectable history, heritage and conserves the soul of the estate. This hotel promises a countryside escape in Mashobra, which is rarely found.

This property was developed by the Gables Group which is currently promoted by Rishi Garg, who is also the architect of this project. Gables Group possesses over 30 years of experience in project planning and construction in hospitality services, and they are the pioneering developers of the hill stations at Mashobra. Gables Group has completed various projects in the fields of Hospitality, Real Estate, and Health care.

Furthermore, Gables Group has delivered some exclusively designed real estate projects in their portfolio. Some notable projects are Greenwoods Estate, Gables Estate, hillside homes, and more. Among the hospitality projects, Gables Group’s recently completed project is a 125-room Hotel Property located on a hilltop at Naldehra. Overall, Gables Group’s projects are also recognized for their zealous work, efforts to embed Mashobra’s soul and character in developing and incorporating Pahari Architecture.

Write to [email protected] for more details regarding development and travel at Mashobra.

This article was written by Varun Kumar for Gables India. Varun is an architect and writer who contributes on topics of public affairs, built and natural environments.

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