Review: Nadis, in tune with the pulse of Kashmir

We discover that Nadis, a boutique property endorsed by RARE India, gives you everything — creature comforts, local love, and a chance to bond with nature.

There’s a side to Srinagar that takes you beyond the shimmer of the Dal Lake, the symmetry of the Mughal gardens, the storied tumult of the old city. Travel a short distance away to the foothills of the Zabarwan range, on the periphery of the Dachigam National Park and you come upon a sylvan retreat that gives you access to very different aspects of Srinagar.

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The façade features wood and brick. Image: Courtesy Nadis Kashmir.

Globe-trotting owner Yaser Shaw has drawn from his experiences across the world to create a tasteful 18-room property that is affordable and comfortable in the homiest sense and yet exhibits panache in a way that will appeal to the evolved traveller. Strains of soft Jazz draw you into the colourful lobby, which exudes the mellow tones of a cosy living room rather than the clipped business-like cadences of a hotel reception. Expect stuffed couches in cerise, carved benches painted cerulean, tempting bookcases and graceful vases.

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Artistically placed photographs, rugs, pots, vases and papier mache candlesticks in the lobby. Images: Priya Pathiyan.
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The lobby doubles up as a cheerful lounge (left) with music and books (right). Images: Courtesy Nadis Kashmir.

In winter, energy is conserved by the large sun-facing windows and heating the floor by a network of concealed pipes with hot water running through them, reusing melted snow collected from outside. These innovations underline the strong thrust on sustainability at Nadis. The 100 per cent local team, trained by Shaw himself, is committed to composting and growing their own organic produce. They use cloth bags and bamboo straws instead of plastic. No wonder Nadis has been selected by RARE India as one of its handpicked properties that focus on the sustainable even as they tell the local stories.

Living at Nadis

The details make all the difference. As we go up the stairs to our rooms, we’re accompanied by evocative black and white photographs on the walls and stunning tiles on the floors, handmade by local, artisans.

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The corridors at Nadis are vibrant with repurposed handmade tiles made by local artisans (left) and stunning b&w photographs (right). Images: Courtesy Nadis Kashmir.

The room, with its queen-sized cedarwood bed, cosy comforter, and large picture window, has all the modern amenities such as a well-stocked tea/coffee station, spacious wardrobe and luggage rack, large refillable bottles of aromatic bath products by Nadis, and a generous hot shower in the beautifully lit bathroom. But it also has the traditional touches, adorned with a carved wooden ceiling that uses interlocking blocks in a technique called Khatamband, and a thick rug thrown across the wood-panelled flooring, whose Kashida embroidery complements the deep-hued wall.

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The room is tastefully done, clean and comfortable. The Khatamband ceiling is a beautiful sight to open your eyes to in the morning! Image: Priya Pathiyan.
Nadis, srinagar, kashmir
Bespoke bath products that are natural, cruelty free, paraben free, and indigenously sourced. Image: Priya Pathiyan.
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The sight from our window entices us outdoors. Image: Priya Pathiyan.

Dining at Nadis

We wish we had more time to relax into this room, but the restaurant downstairs beckons. Cheery and sunlit, the pale wooden furniture reflects Nadis’ light footprint.

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The light-filled restaurant. Image: Courtesy Nadis Kashmir.

The food they serve is also local and sustainable, while being wholesome and tasty, as they say, it’s Kashmiri home food to the core. We enjoy the buffet dinner that shows thoughtful restraint from wastefulness and yet caters to every taste.

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A great spread of Kashmiri home-style food! Image: Courtesy Nadis Kashmir.

The breakfast buffet is just as delightful, featuring the usual Indian and continental options but also offering local Kashmiri breads, delicious saffron-laced Kahwa, and the purest plum preserve made by Shaw’s mum herself! Needless to say, this is a great way to start the day.

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Breakfast with a view (left) features homemade preserves (right). Images: Priya Pathiyan and courtesy Nadis Kashmir.
Nadis, srinagar, kashmir
Salty noon chai and local bread (left) and beautiful embroidery (right) bring you close to Kashmiriyat. Images: Courtesy Nadis Kashmir.

We take our steaming hot cup of heaven into the hotel’s gorgeous garden to sip and savour the Kashmiri tea as we attempt to catch up on our reading but in reality just close our eyes in delight, luxuriating in the delicate morning sunlight and the wafting fragrances from the flowers blooming all around us.

Activities at Nadis

While we could spend several days doing just that, Nadis is actually a great starting point for exploring Kashmir. Pick from birdwatching walks and forest forays inside Dachigam National Park, going back in time at the Harwan Bagh opposite, where you can find Buddhist stupas from the times of Emperor Kanishka, guided treks in the stunning lake region, and culinary and textile trails too. The latter will take you into the homes of the weavers and artisanal craftspeople that Shaw works with closely.

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The hotel plans to host cultural soirees and culinary sojourns celebrating local talent. Image: Nadis Kashmir.

The Nadis are supposed to be the system through which energy flows, spiritual counterpart to the physical central nervous system. When Shaw built this hotel and named it Nadis, he says he hoped that it would encourage guests to connect with nature, tap into Kashmir’s traditional culture of harmony, and also slow down so that they could commune better with themselves and their loved ones too.

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There’s much beauty in the simplicity at Nadis. Images: Courtesy Nadis Kashmir.

Sitting here, soaking in the serenity and good vibrations that surround us, we understand his vision, get a glimpse of the depth of his philosophy.

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The garden at Nadis (left) is a lovely spot for tea or coffee in the Srinagar sunshine. Images: Courtesy Nadis Kashmir.

Nadis Kashmir

Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Max: 5 stars) | Room: 8/10 | Sleep: 9/10 | Dining: 8/10 | Amenities: 6/10 | Activities: 8/10 | Hygiene: 9/10 | Service: 9/10.

Rooms & Suites: 18 | Restaurants & Bars: 1 | Cuisines: Indian (with local Kashmiri specialties) | Tariff: Starts from INR 7,000 (city-view room for two) | Address: Nadis, Harwan Bagh, Srinagar, Kashmir 191121 | Contact: +919962509292 | Website: Nadis Kashmir | Instagram: Nadis Kashmir.

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