a creative escape
Located between the temples of Khajuraho and wilds of Bandhavgarh in the heart of Madhya Pradesh, is the village of Ichol, a stone’s throw from Maihar, an ancient temple town, home to a Shaktipeeth - the Sharda Devi temple. It was here that Ustad Allauddin Khan as court musician established the Maihar Gharana.
Conceived by art patron Ambica Beri, Art Ichol is a platform for creating, sharing and promoting the creative arts. A commune where resident artists, craft enthusiasts, writers and photographers can collaborate and envisage concepts under the open skies, and relish the subtle symphonies of nature. It is a meeting place for like-minded people, yet one can easily find sanctuary in one’s own company. What’s more, you can pace the experience to your own rhythms and preferred intensity.
Ichol Art Centre
The Ichol Art Centre has a sense of creativity and space, with a sculpture park boasting of works by some of the best names in the country, and uniquely re-imagined interiors which have been astutely devised from scrap and recycled material in an artistic way. Art Ichol centre often hosts Art Residencies as the ambience unshackles creative impulses. For this there are rooms to stay, undisturbed, with special designated spaces for painting, sculpture, bronze casting, pottery and ceramic work. Nooks and corners abound, including a medieval Chhatri and Baoli.
MAIHAR HERITAGE HOME
The Maihar Bungalow is a heritage property, gelling with the mythological and musical legacy of the town. Its ancient 100-year-old arches bask in quietude and comfort. On sunny mornings among chirping birds one can sit in its many corners or dabble with clay at the ceramic and pottery centre. Lead the good life here after a work-out at the gym or eating organic produce of the home grown vegetable garden. Whether it’s the tender loving care of the staff or help of resident artists’ aids, one is well taken care of here.
AMARIYA - The Writer’s Retreat
Amariya has glorious serenity and silence at the banks of the idyllic river Tamas, rich with piscine life, and aged mango groves that attract song birds. One can drown in its blissful stillness poised on a hammock. Here the nearby bridge and watch tower are all one’s companions, its meandering river turn is the perfect fishing spot and a photographers’ delight at sunset. A private suite allows you to use local produce in imaginative ways.
Art Ichol is my vision for a world class multi-arts centre; a dream that came with a will of its own and became my purpose and driving force from the year 2012-2015. On hindsight, it seems to have followed a logical path, drawing from my life events, endeavours and things as they unfolded.
Art Ichol is designed to provide facilities and an environment for artists, writers and other creative individuals to excel in. It is my tribute to those great artists and people who influenced my life.
I envision Art Ichol as a cultural reservoir for legacies to be left behind in; where people will be remembered by the creative work they did here, for generations ahead.
Art Ichol has been designed as a meeting ground for ideas and a space for imagination to flourish. There is enough room in the world for practicality and functionality, but what of our dreams? Whether you are a writer, photographer or film maker, Art Ichol is blessed with an environment that inspires the impossible. It is not merely a visual arts centre but a commune for all creative fields. I hope to see shared creativity, and multi-dimensional works of art born through the interdisciplinary dialogues we encourage at this centre. Yes, Art Ichol is about grand aspirations and dreams. Isn’t that where our countless yearnings reveal themselves?
Over the years, I have invited many artists to work in Maihar, held workshops and met magical minds on these grounds. It was only natural for me to build this establishment here. To be able to work under open skies, relish the subtle symphonies of nature away from the neurosis of urban life, and share this with my friends, colleagues and patrons, has been the biggest blessing of all. More and more people should benefit from this space and its inspiring pulse. Looking out from my little window in Maihar, I dream of sharing it with the whole world!
MP state tourism award
state tourism award for the most responsible project
national tourism award for "the most unique & innovative destination in india"
nari shakti puraskar for outstanding contribution to women's empowerment
Meet the team
Art Patron for the last 25 years, Ambica Beri is the Founding Director of Art Ichol and Gallery Sanskriti. A textile designer by training, she chose to follow her passion and nurture art and artists, through her gallery and other establishments. She supports various underprivileged artists and children and facilities new dialogue and experimentation in artistic creation. She now creates on an altogether different plane.
Bhavana Sabherwal has been working as a volunteer in the field of Art, Culture, and Education, for over twenty years and is the Delhi representative of Gallery Sanskriti, Kolkata, since 1996. Trained in Hindustani Classical Music, she has an innate passion for music and dance and is currently also imparting music training and guidance to children and adults.
Art Historian, independent advisor for Museums and cultural spaces and a curator. She is working towards revival and conservation of the some of the lesser known and critically endangered arts and crafts traditions of India. She has organised Cultural Festivals, Workshops, Seminars and Demonstrations etc. to support some of the fading and dying traditions of India.