Celebrate Living Health

Mary Budden Estate

Mary Budden Estate

Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
, Uttarakhand
, India

Thickly wooded and virtually an extension of the Binsar forest is Mary Budden Estate. It is named after its last known inhabitant Ms. Mary Budden, a missionary who lived in these hills in the 19th century. Originally brought by Ms. Budden and converted as a school for orphans, it later changed hands with Serena Chopra buying and restoring it, and now owned and run by the MRS Group. The Estate sits on five acres of land, and is perched at 8000 feet with two cottages and the forest at your doorstep.

Our Rating: Premium
Property Type: Heritage

Destination

In the high mountains of Kumaon about an hour’s drive from Almora is the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, a haven for Himalayan wildlife and birds. Offering majestic views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, the sanctuary is made of oak, rhododendron and pine forests with leopards, deer, mountain goats, foxes and martens, and a rich variety of indigenous and migratory bird species. Explore hidden villages inside the sanctuary, learn the secrets of medicinal plants and discover ancient temples.

Accommodation

Stay at either The Cottage or The Lodge that have 3 exquisitely furnished rooms each and the cottages come with fireplaces, spacious dining and drawing rooms. While The Cottage is the restored heritage building, The Lodge is an interpretation of and an ode to the original cottage.

Dining

Both the cottages come with their own dining rooms, however there are plenty of opportunities to have your meals outdoors. The Wild Cat Brunch is a tribute to the leopard found in the forests and comes with live grills, hot pots and the season’s specials. Serena’s Garden Lunch is the al fresco dining space where guests can come together for a meal. It is the perfect place to sample Kumaoni cuisine with vistas of some of the majestic Himalayan peaks for company. The Himalayan Lunch is an interpretation of local seasonal delicacies celebrating Himalayan flavours. The Eventide Cohen is the ideal place to warm up on chilly evenings while being regaled with stories, songs and anecdotes.

Experiences

The essential experience at Mary Budden is that of being part of a thriving ecosystem. Spend your days exploring the various trails around and further away from the Estate. Explore Ramsey’s Trail, named after the benevolent Henry Ramsey who was appointed Assistant Commissioner of Kumaon in 1840. This picturesque trail meanders through oak forests and small waterfalls before reaching a small village, where a picnic lunch can be arranged. Binsar is known for its 200 bird species and is a must do even for non-birders. And if you are lucky, you may spot some of the other animals of the forest. Take day trips to the Jageshwar Temple Complex – a collection of 101 temples dedicated to Shiva and as legend has it built overnight, or visit the unique Golu temple where offerings are made in the form of bells.

For the days you don’t want to step out, slumber on one of the cosy day beds around the al fresco dining area taking in the vistas of the grand snow peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nanda Kot and more.

Ideal for those who want to disconnect, digitally detox or just become one with nature. The Estate is a sanctuary not just for the flora and fauna, but for the soul as well.

Why we love this place

Mary Budden Estate provides a glimpse in to living within a Himalayan forest and offers one of the few opportunities to stay within a sanctuary.

About your host

Serena Chopra took over the Mary Budden Estate and ran it as a lodge for many years. Now under the management of The MRS Group that have hotels in Rajasthan – Suryagarh and Narendra Bhawan, the Estate continues to offer the forest experience set out by Serena.

Responsible/Sustainable Tourism

The MRS Group believe that sustainability is being in absolute harmony with the overarching social and physical environment that one is a part of. There is a strong understanding that as a hotel, a deep relationship with the community is essential in all aspects – be it food, design, service or engagement. The group works with diverse groups to combine heritage, human potential and technology and have focussed on cultural and ecological conservation, strengthening tourism ecosystems, and community empowerment through education, entrepreneurship, and equality. This is done without sacrificing the collective’s cultural identity or the natural environment.

Mary Budden Estate is completely solar powered and harvested rain water is their only source of water. Most of the vegetables and fruits are grown organically within the Estate, while the rest is locally sourced. Wet waste is composted, with very little waste generated that goes out to the landfill. They are nearly plastic free having taken steps such as replacing cling film with beeswax paper, using paper tea bags with locally made organic infusions and offering no bottled water. The cleaning products used are non-toxic and organic in nature.

Our Recommendation

Walk to one of Binsar's oldest hamlets the village of Dalar ' a typical Kumaoni village. Or partake in the Milky Way Dinner set up under the canopy of a million stars.

Can’t find a suitable itinerary that features a destination, experience or accommodation you fancy? All our group tours and holiday ideas can be personalised, or we can create a tailor made itinerary for you.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)