Love at the first sight! This is what going to happen when you arrive at this quaint, stone walled building that gives a loud clue about its British legacy.
Utmost serenity, calm surrounding, and luxury at its best envelop Mary Budden Estate. Delightfully hidden away in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, this 19th century heritage home is perfect for relaxation. Surely it is a place to unwind and re-connect with the nature; to breathe fresh, pristine mountain air; and sip in the steaming masala chai under the bright yet moderate Sun while enjoying the lush green garden that overlooks the majestic hills and verdant valleys. Mary Budden Estate is the best place to stay in Binsar and Almora.
Lovingly restored for comfortable and elegant living, it still retains its original charm. Earlier it was owned by Ms. Mary Budden, who dedicated herself to charitable works, establishing and operating a school for girls, a hospital for women, boys and girls’ orphanages and a refuge for homeless women. Budden Estate is named in her memory. In 1990 Ashwani and Serena Chopra of Delhi bought the estate and converted it into one of India’s best heritage homes. The owners have paid attention to every detail, and out of it created marvel made of locally available stones with fantastic wood paneling and flooring, fireplaces and bukharis in every room, and brass bells for room service. But more enchanting was the terraced lawns dotted with wicker furniture. Here the luxury is not loud; but understated and subtle; and you will definitely love it.
Marry Budden Estate has two cottages, one is the older and another is built recently. Marry Budden Cottage is older one, and has awesome luxury that sometime becomes necessity in Binsar. The cottage is well equipped with solar powered lighting, heated running water and modern both rooms. The cottage can easily accommodate six people and two children in tastefully furnished rooms that are decorated in the spirit of elegant country living. The newly added Rhododendron Cottage is large, airy, and offers ultra-romantic, spacious living room.
Mary Budden Estate also has a cozy library and wide collection of movies and games CD; which will give all opportunities forget the awareness of time. Laze around the lawn, sit in a comforting chair, read your favorite novel and soak up the sunshine. And if you feel a little hungry, pamper yourself with delicious food which is prepared using organic and fresh farm produce. The staff is extremely friendly and always at your service. The quality of food and service will certainly tell you the passion and love involved behind this beautiful property. But, its services are exclusively for those who stay here; not for any passerby traveler…
Where Is It Located?
Mary Budden Estate is only around 100 meters from the zero milestone in the Sanctuary near Forest Rest House, which is connected to Almora-Bageshwar (NH 37) highway through a single road managed and maintained (poorly) by the Forest Department. Since it is located in the middle of the Sanctuary (not in the core area), you will have to shell out Rs 150 per person (domestic traveler) at the forest gate located on the highway. Charges for international travelers are Rs. 600 each. Charges for vehicles also vary depending on their sizes. For small vehicle, it is Rs. 250 whereas for middle and heavy vehicles it is Rs. 500 and Rs. 800 respectively. Initially the 10 km road in the sanctuary is ok; though after Binsar Mahadev Temple it gets from bad to worse; and incline at places is around 25 to 30 degrees. So go by your own vehicle only when you have good driving experience in the hills, and can park vehicle even when there is no space!
The nearest railway station is at Kathgodam, 120 km away from Binsar. List of trains from Delhi to Kathgodam: Ranikhet Express (daily), Anand Vihar-Kathgodam AC Express (thrice a week from Ghaziabad), Uttarakhand Sampark Kranti Express (daily). And you can hire a taxi for the 4 to 5 hours drive through the hills to Binsar. Binsar is well connected by roads to all prominent towns: Almora (34 km), Nainital (120 km) and Delhi (418 km).
From Delhi: take NH24 to Rampur via the Hapur and Moradabad bypasses, then NH87 to Kathgodam via Rudrapur. Then take the state highway to Almora via Bhimtal, Bhowali, on to Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. It takes approximately 10 hours if one leaves early, at around 5 am.
Pantnagar, near Kathgodam is the closest airport. It is 155 km from the Estate.