The Himalayan Writing Retreat

Residency brief

Started in 2016, The Himalayan Writing Retreat is amongst India’s favoured destinations for writers and poets. Some go there to learn, whilst others to seek solitude to write. Co-founded by published authors Chetan Mahajan and Vandita Dubey, The Himalayan Writing Retreat is a residential facility dedicated to the literary arts.

Many writers go to The Himalayan Writing Retreat to simply stay and write in serenity - inspired by the majesty of the Himalayas. The Himalayan Writing Retreat also offers domestic programs (3-4 days in duration) and international events (usually 10 days long). The domestic courses include poetry, writing, translation and storytelling, which the resident may be able to attend if happening during their stay. These workshops would provide an occasion to interact with fellow Indian writers.

The Himalayan Writing Retreat has been conceived in an ecological spirit, following principles of traditional architecture and water saving systems. The Himalayan Writing retreat is run with the vision that it should have minimal impact on the planet. They harvest rainwater with a harvesting capacity of 110,000 litres. They recycle all inorganic waste, and compost all their organic waste. They also keep the campus green and have planted many trees on the retreat.

The retreat is part of a vibrant community of thoughtful companies and NGOs. 5 km down the road from the retreat is Aarohi, an NGO with a strong focus on healthcare. Chirag is another NGO which runs the Chirag School, and does much work for greening the place, maintaining our limited water resources and much more. Old Hill Cheese is a social enterprise where local women have been trained on making artisanal cheese.

  • Thematic focus Literature
  • Location Village Satkhol, District Nainital (Uttarakhand)
  • Dates October, 2023 / 1 April – 15 May, 2024 / 1 July – 30 Sep 2024
  • Length of stay 4 weeks

Our Space

Village Satkhol, District Nainital (Uttarakhand)

Located in the Indian Himalayas, the facility is at an altitude of 2171 meters, making it cool in the summers, and cold in winters. The retreat is 380 km from Delhi, and can be reached by train, flight or road. In any scenario, the last leg of the journey is always covered by road as flights and trains operate only till the foothills. The local area has many walks, both on the road and through forested land. There is a forest reserve about a mile away. Mukteshwar town (5 km on foot / 12 km by road) has a temple, and is a popular tourist destination. In addition there are places like the Dhokaney waterfall, Bhimtal, Nainital and Binsar.

Most basic amenities are readily accessible on foot from the retreat. A well-stocked store is 300 metres away. To visit other places further afield, one can consider public transport, although that is very limited. The staff will also help arrange taxis for the resident if informed in advance.

Our Laureates

Antoine Mouton Writer and Poet

Breaking away from my everyday life usually sharpens my spirit: I feel more acuity and sensibility to what is happening, I am much more focused and able to follow my own discipline, even if the new place arouses my curiosity. The house, the landscape and the people, as intriguing as they can be, make me form new layouts ideas between the world and me, and new relationships between the words themselves.

Antoine Mouton was born in Feurs in 1981. He is the son of a schoolteacher and a blacksmith who often relocated when factories shut down. Since 2004, he has published ten books, novels and poems, with various publishers, including La Dragonne, La Contre-Allée and Christian Bourgois. HKZ, le livre du revenir, has just been published by Ypsilon. He is currently working with the Jeanne Simone company to create a performance in a public place, and regularly gives readings of his own texts, sometimes accompanied by the musician Mathilde Braure. Au nord tes parents, his first book, won the Prix des Apprentis et Lycéens of the PACA region. In India, he would like to write a story about two people who get up every night to photograph the mountains.