If you would ask me I would stay in a camp any day over a retreat. But Chhavi had different ideas. She had a great time at the MHE Beach Camp but she didn’t like the nights as the camp has no electricity. I understand that as the camp is in the Rajaji National Park area but for Chhavi when it got dark she cribbed. Our original plan was to stay for 3 night at the MHE Beach Camp and 2 nights at the Bull’s Retreat but we reversed it. Bulls Retreat also has TV which was an added attraction for the kid!
Bull’s Retreat is a green, spacious and homely place. It is right by the road which goes to Kaudiyala and beyond, so it is easy to locate. Neeru ma’am who is the manager is friendly, caring and easy to talk to. Time went by pretty quickly and peacefully at the retreat. This is how a typical day would go by for us!
Waking up to the Birds
As there is a dense tree cover around the Bull’s Retreat, the birds would go about their business early in the morning. It didn’t help that Chhavi is also an early riser. She would start stirring with the birds at about 6.00 am. She would drowsily stay in bed till about 7.00 am. After that she would use every trick in the book to wake me up! I on the other hand like to sleep like log in the morning hours! But even a person like me found waking up to the sound of birds beautiful.
There was a bottle brush tree behind my room which was a magnet for birds. I am now thinking of planting a bottle brush tree around my home too.
The meals both at the MHE beach Camp and Bull’s Retreat are good. I particularly liked the fact that the food was not too oily. Between 8.30 to 9.00 Chhavi and I would dutifully appear for breakfast. We had paratha, puri chole and sandwiches for breakfast on different days. Porridge and fruits were a constant feature. They also realized how much I liked tea and they would give me a flask full of it right in the morning.
Right after breakfast we would head out to play games. Bull’s retreat has a small basketball court meant for kids. This was Chhavi’s first try at the game. She was quite surprised to see that her mummy was good at the game! After all, kids take their mums completely for granted! We would then play badminton in the open air. Both of it was incredible fun for us! It would also tire out Chhavi and then she was less prone to mischiefs.
Retire to the Room
We would actually stay outside for such a long duration that it would be almost time for lunch when we went back to the room. Our room was quite comfortable. The bathroom has a solar heater so it takes a while to get hot water. I liked it that they provided a small bucket to collect the flow of the initial cold water so that it could be reused later. Due to some reason they do not provide shampoo in the bathroom. There was a tea kettle with tea bags and all in the room.
Lunch used to be sumptuous affair with dal, two vegetables, curd, chapati, rice followed by fruits. They serve each roti hot off the tawa every time!
It used to be quiet time for us after lunch, which meant TV for Chhavi and a book for me. However, after playing for a long time in the morning, Chhavi would invariably doze off and I would go after birds and flowers with a camera in my hand.
I would eagerly wait for my flask of evening tea with some snacks. Chhavi would have a glass of milk. We would once again roam around till dinner time.
Walking Around in the Evening
We would walk around in the evening within the premises. There were flowers in bloom in every corner. It was fun to go about the place or sit on the benches.
Dinner was on the same sumptuous lines as the lunch, the only difference being instead of fruits there would a sweet dish. As I have a big sweet tooth, desserts are always a high point for me!
It would be a repeat of something like this for us every day of our vacation. We decided not to venture out any place nearby. There were minor variations though. One day Chhavi played in the small sand pit near the climbing area as she was missing playing in sand.
We had a bon fire and snacks on one night. As of now Chhavi has no fascination for bon fire, but I am sure this will change.
Chhavi and I had a gala time trying out the Trampoline at the Bull’s retreat. The operation’s manager Colonel Ahuja taught us how to go about it. Chhavi anyway was a natural at it. He advised us to rotate my arms anti clockwise and start jumping. I could do it easily as well. And it was so much fun! But the way my arms hurt the next day! But given another chance I will try it out once again.
The resort has a wifi but in the common areas, including the lawns. Initially I was quite irritated that I had no connectivity in the room. But after a while I enjoyed the fact. I am sure if the room was wifi enabled I would have started working right from the retreat. As I had to get out to get the connectivity, I actually took my vacation the way it should be, working only on the essentials and minimally. Plus the lawns had a lot of flowers too!
I would highly recommend Bull’ Retreat at Shivpuri is you are looking to spend some quiet time in the lap of nature.
PS. I went to the Bull’s Retreat as part of their Blogger-in-Residence Program. Do check it out.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quite my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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