Over the years, the stretch of the Ganga river (India’s holiest river, which makes the Great Indo-Gangetic plain) above the pilgrim town of Rishikesh had infrastructure that was limited and catered mainly to the pilgrim traffic headed up to the holy shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath. Very little existed for the leisure and active traveler, or the vacationer, considering this is the quickest one can get to the Himalaya. Atali Ganga set amidst reserved Forest and over 300 trees, has changed all that.
Distinguished by its use of stone, reed and steel wire, the project abandons a commonplace aesthetic and other such iconographic elements to distinguish itself in favor of a building that draws its aesthetic from the means, methods and modes of its construction. The resort consists of a stone building that houses a storage facility on the lower level and a dormitory on the upper level, a veranda with a tensile roof that frames the surrounding mountains, a cafe and cottages for guests. The first building, made of stone, encased in galvanized gabion boxes and tied to each other with steel wire was constructed predominantly out of material that was either found on site or excavated from it.
The cottages sit comfortably and responsibly on the hill, they have an ageless quality about them. People come to see the architecture! The cottages that dot the upper levels are characterized by their spartan luxuriousness. Entered through a private verandah, a central stone wall demarcates the tripartite bathroom from the bedroom. Extensively glazed, they open themselves up to the surrounding landscape.