Surrounded by miles of dense jungles, orchards and pine trees, Sitla epitomises Himalayan beauty.
Located close enough to Delhi for easy access, and far enough to be the ideal retreat, Sitla is a serene little village cocooned in the Kumaon region of the Himalayas, 7000 ft above sea level, in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. Surrounded by miles of dense jungles, orchards and pine trees, it epitomises Himalayan beauty. The hills in this region give ample scope for trekking and offer a 180 degree view of the greater Himalayan snow peaks like Nandadevi, Panchuchuli, Trishul.
For over a century, Vikram Maira’s family has called this beautiful 39 acre, terraced expanse of verdant orchards and hillscapes, home. An avid trekker, adventure buff and environmentalist, Vikram decided to give up his career in the television world and return home to the hills and orchards of his childhood.
Soon folks began trickling in from all quarters of the country, and Vikram realised how much he enjoyed sharing this beautiful nature-embracing life with his city friends. One thing led to another, and before he knew it, Sitla Estate was on the map for those who wanted a true getaway and a taste of quiet adventure, far from their city life.
A charming 150-year-old house with a warm kitchen, cosy library, sprawling dining hall and delightful rooms overlooking a breathtaking vista of mountains and orchards, Sitla offers the warmth of home as Vikram remembers it.
Delicious hot meals, crispy salads, fresh-from-the-oven fruit crumbles, home-baked bread, jams, preserves and relishes prepared from vegetables and fruits grown in their own garden. Breakfast and lunch served under a plum tree that Vikram recalls “has been there forever”, and a menu that’s always changing, are just some of the things you can look forward to, here.
There are also the luxurious new rooms, a step below (which, in hill speak, is a whole terrace), dramatically laid out with huge bay windows which frame the majestic snow peaks in the widest possible canvas.
But more than any of this, Sitla is the sort of place that just lets you be. Stay in and hammer away at your unfinished book, pick something of interest from our library and read under an apricot tree with a chilled beer in hand, or then choose from an unimaginably fun assortment of little and big adventures to be had here.
Walks of different grades and lengths covering different sorts of terrain, an enormously entertaining population of birds both resident as well as those visiting from far lands, and plenty of books that will help you identify them; two friendly German shepherds, a clutch of opinionated chickens and several playful rabbits. And if you wander further, there are plenty more friends to make in these Himalayan villages.
For Vikram Maira and his team of merry adventurers, welcoming guests at Sitla Estate is something that comes “straight from the heart”. Their intent is to create a relaxed, home-like ambience. Whether it's in the genuine warmth with which you are received, whether it’s the manner and enthusiasm with which the food is cooked and served, whether it's in the comfort and warmth of the rooms, whether it is in throwing open the library that holds a precious set of books collected by Vikram and his family over the years, or the attention to detail one would least expect in a property so remote.
The Himalayas provide a welcome reprieve from the pollution of cities. Maintaining its pristine beauty is an arduous task but Vikram and his team believe that without a cohesive effort, standards of cleanliness cannot be maintained.
That’s why Sitla Estate will soon be launching a programme to dispose of non-degradable garbage, using the help of local school children – with intention of also creating awareness.
Apart from this, they regularly and actively participate in water conservation and forestry programmes that have been initiated by the local NGO.
The Kumaoni Region has a distinct culture, a lot of which is reflected in its beautiful and distinctive handicrafts. Those looking for authentic Kumaoni artefacts can head to the local handicraft store, located on the estate. The store stocks a range of interesting knick knacks and fine specimen of regional handiwork sourced from multiple NGOs across the
Vikram believes in giving back to the community that has enriched his life at the Estate. Sitla Estate runs ambulances in Sitla as well as neighbouring villages and holds medical camps in the region on a regular basis.
The Estate also sponsors the education of children whose families have been declared to be below the poverty line.