The ethos of endearing ecotourism comes alive at this luxurious hideaway in the Himalayas; nestled in the verdant forests of Uttarakhand, Mary Budden Estate is remote yet reachable. Putting Binsar on the map, this colonial British estate features a cosmic aura deeply woven into old-world charm. It is situated at a historical energy contour center – The Van Allen Belt which is said to be the pinnacle of mental and physical wellbeing (drawing visionaries like Bob Dylan, Swami Vivekanand, DH Lawrence to their spiritual journeys of awakening). There are several ways to reach this picturesque hamlet, right from taking a helicopter from the nearest helipad, or catching a flight from the Pantnagar airport which is a 5-hour drive to the estate’s location.
Named for its founder, this charming estate was established in the late 1800s as a private residence, and was then converted into a school for local orphans. Cut to a hundred years later, when acclaimed photographer and writer Serena Chopra bought the property and turned it into her home in the mountains. While Chopra continues to own it, the property is currently being managed by MRS Hotels and stands as an elegant getaway. Our visit to the property, right from the old-world architecture to the heady mountain views, transported us to the 19th Century.
Mary Budden Estate is spread over 5 acres of land overlooking the primeval forests of Binsar. The property features a mix of rustic wooden cottages and four lodges, where time stands still. Detailed to perfection, the residential spaces boast colonial stone washed walls, striking decor collectibles of the past, and majestic wooden ceilings. They carry a tangible legacy of the 19th Century with certain accessories and pieces of furniture that were hand-picked by Lady Mary Budden herself! Spacious yet warm, the drawing and dining rooms with period fireplaces, logwood accents, and cozy furnishings add to the immersive experience of British living.