North – the quintessence of stays for creatives
Craft Creativity Community
Located on a picturesque hill on the left bank of river Beas in Naggar, North is an alternative creative campus. It’s a design institute that promotes traditional design practices of Himachal and is focused on bringing artistic micro-shifts towards a healthy and conscious way of living.
TL;DR - My experience in a nutshell
If you are looking for a place to connect with yourself, tap into your creative self, or live in a space where modern ways of living meet the traditional and conscious ways, North is your go-to place. Be it the window seat in the studio, the balcony in front of the kitchen, or the secret spot just above the property, the environment at North is conducive to unlocking creativity. Reading, writing, sketching, playing musical instruments, learning about traditional ways of living, and obviously brewing coffee are just a few things from the list of all possible things to do that I did here. I am definitely returning to this campus of creativity and craft for a longer stay super soon.
What is North?
North is a design institute that promotes traditional design practices of Himachal. They work towards a few motions and the primary ones include:
– Architecture-based research: Efforts geared toward practically showing the current generation how to strike a balance between traditional and modern infrastructure.
– Living and Lifestyle: Living space that connects you with the traditional ways of living and gives the home factor a new definition altogether and the collaborative space i.e the studio and its open-door policy which serve as a medium to unlock creativity.
– Education: Workshops on building practices, natural materials, wood carving, hand-looming, etc.
– Products and Objects: Agri-produce products like honey and apricot-residue scrub.
They are building towards being a design hub/institute to give kaarigars (artisans) a platform to showcase their craft.
Why do they do what they do?
The industrial revolution overthrew the wisdom of living and growing communities.
Driven by the passion for research to preserve the essence of the Himachali way of living and striking a balance with the modern ways, North was founded.
Instead of forcing people to understand and adopt the traditional building practices, they are igniting the minds of the people by showing them how it’s done practically.
They are the torch bearers of this wave of change. Their iconic Dhajji house is the epitome of that.
North has brought about a change in the mindset of locals.
They are beginning to understand why it is important to know the importance of what they already have – wood and stones and the art of building sustainable homes using them primarily.
I was in awe of this place from the moment I walked in through those wooden gates. I was hosted by an incredible team of talented individuals – Ritu, Dwija, Aayush, Mischeal, and Atal. I would end up writing an essay if I were to describe the 3 days that I spent here so I am going to try to encapsulate them in bullet points.
The entire team at North made me feel like I was home. It was nice to make the acquaintance of Rahul and Swara and hear from the founder himself about what motivated him to start working toward this. They are super-creative individuals and I thoroughly enjoyed having discussions on a myriad of topics with them. I honestly couldn’t have had a better stay to end my solo trip with.
If you are planning to visit anywhere near Kullu or Manali, I would recommend you to check out Naggar and definitely spend a few days at North. The days spent here are on my highlight reel for 2022.