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An artist’s impression of a Riviera unit (top), and a Hermitage bungalow at Ganga Awas, Raichak

The lazy river gently lapping at your feet, an emerald sun-kissed lawn as extension of your living room, the sweet scent of frangipani…

The second home or weekend retreat concept, which had been the preserve of the city’s urban affluent, is fast gaining currency among Calcutta’s young working couples seeking a laid-back getaway from hectic schedules and workplace stress. To address this growing demand, Raichak on Ganges is adding an ensemble of villas, row houses and country homes to its riverside repertoire anchored by the Ffort Raichak star hotel.

These will be the first organised, contemporary riverfront bungalow estates on the city’s fringes, a very popular model in European cities that have a river running through them. The other project on the river near the city is at Calcutta Riverside, the high-rise condos in Batanagar.

“Earlier, the second-home notion was exclusive to the city’s elite and glam circuit and considered more a luxury. The concept is now becoming a need across a wider income group, and this realisation prompted us to launch Ganga Awas, 12 years after we developed our last bouquet of residences in Raichak, Shyamolima,” says Harsh Neotia, whose Ambuja Realty promises to deliver the river homes in a year’s time.

Conceived and designed by Sri Lankan architect Channa Daswatte and city-based Vivek Rathore and spread across 80,000 sq ft of built-up space, Ganga Awas will have three types of homes — Riviera, Hermitage and Gardenia.

Built right on the bank of the river, Riviera will have a cluster of 18 self-contained villas with an option of two or three bedrooms, with a kitchenette, living room and patio, bearing resemblance to Mediterranean architecture with its timberwork and stucco finish.

“With Riviera, our efforts are to synergise modern amenities with tasteful luxury while ensuring that the natural surroundings come alive. Hence, the infinity pool, the promenade, the river and the greenery have been played up,” explains Rathore.

The Ganga Awas Hermitage bungalows bring the sophistication of the Ganga Kutir boutique hotel to an individual home. The 14 bungalows spread over several sites in the larger Raichak development have been made from the same palette of materials used in Ganga Kutir and will have similar furniture and other stylistic elements.

“I believe in architecture appropriate to site climate and culture, using materials of everyday construction. At Hermitage, I have made provision for small, intimate spaces between houses,” says Daswatte, who has been mentored by his celebrated compatriot Geoffrey Bawa.

The Gardenia, designed by Rathore, offers 38 dwelling units in Surabhi and 26 at Shimana. Developed along the lines of a vacation and weekend retreat, each of these homes comes with a personal garden and is built around existing lemon, palm and frangipani groves and thickets.

“Our aim is to make Raichak on Ganges eastern India’s most comprehensive leisure destination in the next two years,” adds Neotia. He hopes the triple attraction of the river, the back-to-nature feel and the in-built infrastructure by way of F&B and entertainment offered by the hotel would be the fulcrum for future growth.

Ambuja Realty is planning to add more pieces to the Raichak jigsaw going forward, with a large convention centre and a children’s water park being priority elements. The Promenade, which can be accessed by the Riviera villa owners, will have an infinity pool, a bubble pool for relaxation, a poolside café, a deck area, rest room and changing rooms.

Prices range from Rs 20 lakh for the basic Gardenia unit to Rs 80 lakh for the high-end Riviera unit.

River roster

  • Personal lily pools
  • River-facing terrace
  • Front and back lawns
  • Dedicated car parks
  • Open-to-sky courtyard
  • Infinity pool, lap pool
  • Poolside cafe
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