Earthly Solitude

Shailesh Devi


Away from the hustle of the city lies this architectural delight of arches and all things organic.

As the urban dweller tired from the stresses of everyday life, seeking rejuvenation turns towards nature; his quest is to seek inner joy and unbound his energies to become one with the forces of nature. The chaos of city life drives a man to pursue the tranquility and search for the inner peace, which so alludes him in his mundane life. The charm of city life and the appeal of the nature is the chasm a man seeks to bridge and in that keeps searching for a meaningful existence. It is this search which brings us to Gumpha and its environs. Gumpha bridges the chasm between the darkness in the depths of lands and the light; celebrating the communion of the two. The user is drawn into this play of light and darkness.

Gumpha is a search of the designer looking for a language to answer nature’s callings. It is narration of the most organic response of the architect to the immediate environment. As you move along the path the land opens up to you, taking you along its winding ways, slowly revealing the surroundings, drawing you into atmosphere. You are introduced to Gumpha when you least expect it and it comes to meet you, inviting you to delve into it, seek its spaces, travel its depths. It wants you to discover, to explore, and to find something new each time you walk along.

Spearheaded by the principle architect Shailesh Devi and his team at Within N Without aims to make the Gumpha House a space for its users to reconnect with nature. The structure has stone as a dominant construction material. Drawing inspiration from caves with a series of different rooms connected by a network of tunnels, the team has done an admirable job with the project. The house draws natural light from the circular windows placed along its sides. For furnishings, the house is accessorized with cushions, chairs and wooden frames that make up the front entrance and other doors around the house.

The form it takes is most organic, where the earth itself seems to breathe in tandem with light to create what can be called as an almost living and sensuous organism, arousing the curiosity with its silent light and playful inquisitive spaces. It almost humors you by appealing to the child in you in playing with itself, making you wonder, drawing you in the insides, taking you along on the roof.

At the same time, it helps you search for your inner self as the deep spaces lit by heavenly light offer you tranquility and peace to meditate. Where in the interiors are introvert and contemplative, the exteriors offer you vistas of the surroundings, engaging both joyous and peaceful essences of a man, initiating an intense experience, in turn making you richer by the time you leave for the city.