Sonam Norbu’s association with the travel industry in Ladakh goes back, literally, to Day One. Over the decades the industry has grown and evolved to the stage where it is today—Leh is among the most visited places in the country. But the growth of the tourism industry has had a pronounced impact on the local ecology and not always in a good way. The people of Ladakh are deeply rooted to their land and have been working hard to preserve the natural resources and the pristine landscape. While wanting to open up our family home to visitors from all over the world we were also conscious of our responsibility to do this in the most low-impact manner possible. The idea is to promote a way of living that perpetuates the circle of life.
Sonam Wangchuk, the founder of SECMOL, is an individual who has worked tirelessly to tilt the balance towards the positives. Among his contributions has been advocacy in favour of using traditional methods and materials in construction. In consultations with Mr. Wangchuk and our architects we decided to use rammed earth and wood to build the cabins that stand here today.
Though these techniques have been used to build structures for hundreds of years, modern materials and processes have almost entirely replaced them. Identifying skilled builders to execute this ambitious plan was not easy. But the results speak for themselves. We have 15 rammed earth cabins in three different designs. Living in an earthen structure, surrounded by some of the most breathtaking landscape on the planet, we hope, is like being on the receiving end of the Earth’s embrace. The use of earth and traditional insulation methods creates natural climate control. Your rooms will always be an ideal temperature—no matter what the weather outside. Furniture has been designed as a contemporary-chic take on traditional Ladakhi interiors where form and function unite.