International Roerich Memorial Trust

Top choice in Himachal Pradesh

This fascinating complex, set in lovely hillside gardens 1km above the castle, is centred on the former home of Russian painter, writer and Inner Asian explorer Nicholas Roerich and his wife Elena Roerich, a philosopher, writer and translator. They settled here in 1928 and stayed until Nicholas's death in 1947 (Elena moved to Kalimpong). The couple's semimystical, aesthetico-orientalist philosophising had an international following in their lifetimes, but it is Nicholas' distinctive painting style that has found the most enduring appeal.

The house's lower floor displays paintings by both Nicholas (mainly Himalayan mountain scenes) and the couple's second son Svyatoslav (1904–93), along with their 1930 Dodge 6 convertible car. On the upper floor you can peep through windows into some of the family's preserved private rooms. A hut-studio in the lower garden focuses on Svyatoslav and his wife, Indian film star Devika Rani. Across the road, a five-minute stair-climb above the house, the same ticket gets you into the Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute. Here, first son George (aka Yuri, 1902–60) features, along with a collection of Himachali handicrafts and an exhibition on the Roerich Pact, an international agreement on cultural protection which led Nicholas to be nominated for the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize.

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