We live in an era where it is difficult to keep your sanity intact without art. Art has become a way to escape from the harsh realities of the world and live truly in the given moment, without any complications. So what if we say that there is an actual place, only meant for the artists to thrive in and the lovers of art to appreciate its vividness to the fullest? Yes, a place just like this exists in a quaint region of Himachal Pradesh. A bus ride from Delhi to Palampur in Kangra district will bring you quite close to the Artists’ village. A half hour local bus or taxi ride from Palampur to this village will land you in Andretta.
Andretta is also called the artists’ colony because of its creative significance dating back to the 1920s. Norah Richards, an actress from Ireland shifted back to England from Lahore (where she stayed with her husband for quite sometime) after her husband, Philip Richards, passed away. He was a professor at Government College, Lahore where Norah got a chance to showcase her love for art due to the cultural surge in Lahore at that time.
After going back to England, she could not resist the urge to visit the subcontinent again.This is when she decided to shift permanently to India where she bought a piece of land in Kangra for Re. 1. We don’t know for sure if she found the land she had bought but she indeed came across a small village called Andretta.
After building a traditional Himalayan home for herself in the village, she also built a theatre where artists could come and perform plays. The place grew in size and popularity. Artists from all over the country, and abroad, came to visit this village for their true passion towards art. This lead Sobha Singh, the painter of Sikh Gurus, come visit this place as well.
A small gallery of Sobha Singh’s profound paintings lies in this village, speaking volumes about his love for art. Sardar Gurcharan Singh, who started the studio art pottery in India was invited by Norah to the village. In 1984, Gurcharan’s son Mansimran Singh and his wife Mary settled in Andretta to start the Andretta Pottery and Craft Society.
Today, there are many homestays in Andretta that offer the facility to spend a few days in this village and learn from the best.
Who would have thought that a hidden village in the Himalayas would turn into the perfect artists’ hub and a dream destination for artists all over the world. It provides everything that an artist looks for. From inspiration to peace, this place has it all. If you love it already, we’re glad you do but if not, you have to see it to love it. Forget Shimla and Manali for once and head to Andretta this fall. We are sure you won’t regret it. Thank us later!