I used to consider Mussoorie a mainstream destination. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against mainstream destinations, it is the crowd they attract that I don’t enjoy. But after experiencing the JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Trail I know how to do off beat things around Mussoorie!
The trip happened in early October with the walnut season in full swing the hills. Here are 10 beautiful things about JW Marriott Mussoorie and its walnut trail. You could simply watch the official video and see how it went.
The Beautiful Resort
Not only I had a beautiful room to my self at the resort I loved their sun deck and other open areas. The views and the atmosphere, both were amazing!
An Indoor, Heated Swimming Pool
I took out some time to take a splash in the indoor swimming pool at JW Marriott Mussoorie. I was quite taken in by the kiddie pool which had this amazing view!
Kachdi- The Local Evening Tea
Every evening they hold Kachdi (which means get-together in the local language) over evening tea. There was local stuff- corn on kob, biscuits, namkeen with pahadi tea with live music. It was so much fun!
Breakfast by the Stream
Not only does JW Marriott has a beautiful resort, they also have beautifully curated local experiences. I so loved their breakfast by the stream! They actually set tables inside the stream and served lavish food right there!
Climbing up a Walnut Tree
I gathered courage to climb up the walnut tree after seeing the harness. As I was held by a rope I knew I would not fall. The tree trunk was absolutely straight so I found the going difficult. I was about to give up but people put their hands on the trunk and asked me to climb up by stepping on it! And that is how I ended up on the tree. I have spent my childhood climbing trees but not the ones that grew straight!
I saw a walnut on the tree for the first time. It has a green soft outer shell which breaks if you throw it on the ground. The hard brown shell is visible only then!
A trip which is not rushed is ever so beautiful! I had time to stand still for quite sometime and click the spider’s web! I have done trips where I would not have noticed it at all!
The Farm Lunch
The farm lunch was held within the JW Marriott Mussoorie premises (but the stream is not within the premises) and it was fabulous! It was the setting that made the food extra special. They grow their own organic vegetables at the farm.
Jabarkhet Nature Reserve
You should visit the Jabarkhet Nature Reserve near Mussoorie before it gets truly discovered. While coming back, stop at Char Dukan to enjoy college style lunch. That is what we did!
The Walnut Cake
We had a baking class at the Prakash Brothers at Sisters Bazaar in Landour. Mr Prakash was kind enough to let us have the class inside his home! And what a home he has. I turned many shades of green with envy for the view from his home! Within a few minutes into the baking session I realized that I was more interested in eating the already baked cake! And that is what I happily did with an excellent cup of coffee!
I will always remember the JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Trail with a lot of fondness.
PS. I was invited by JW Marriott Mussoorie on the Walnut Trail.
What do you do after building a wonderful resort like JW Marriott Mussoorie? Well you go ahead and curate wonderful experiences. I was part of the exciting #walnuttrail designed by JW Marriott Mussorie. I visited Bhatoli Village near Mussoorie as a part of the trail. If you wish to see how off beat it is at the moment, go ahead and google Bhatoli!
And I was going to the village riding pillion on a Royal Enfield. I know the riders would scorn that anyone can go as a pillion but this was my first ride on a motorbike on the hills. And I loved it. I loved it because I did not feel motion sickness which is otherwise a constant companion for me on the hills. That and Avomive. A corresponding ride in a car wold surely leave me with some motion sickness if I did it without Avomine.
Being on a bike made me feel closer to the nature. You see the colors more vividly, the air gets into your hair with a greater force and everything seems just at the arm’s length! I can now understand why people get addicted biking. In a car you are somehow insulated from your surroundings.
Also, Uttam Bisht (a JW Marriott employee) who I was riding with, was an excellent driver. I was initially scared about sitting on the bike as it felt quite unsteady with nothing really to hold on to.
But our ride was so smooth that instead of being afraid, I was soon clicking pictures with my cell phone.
The Beautiful Village
While the bike ride was exhilarating in itself I fell head over heels for the Village Bhatoli at the first sight.
The blue houses were a treat to the eyes and then there was corn hanging out everywhere! And you know that I loved a place when I use my own face thrice in the same post!
We were in for a treat at a village home. It was a grand home, as quirky and individual as they make it in the hills. It had two floors with narrow staircases. If you would not be careful you would bang your head against the door!
We sat in the kitchen and chatted with two old grannies who were as curious about us as we were about them. There was a small child in the house who was not sure what all the commotion was about! She would howl her protest intermittently.
The meal had makki ki roti, akhrot ki chutney and kheer (roti made of corn flour, walnut chutney and a walnut dessert too). It was amazing stuff. And this was just a stop gap lunch. Our real lunch happened at the Farm at JW Marriott Mussoorie.
After countless photo shoots as we were planning to return, Chef Suneel wanted to go with Uttam as he wanted to know what was happening for the Farm Lunch.
I refused to get into the car. I did not let him steal Uttam. So, I had a fabulous bike ride back to the hotel as well! For me discovering the Village Bhatoli near Mussoorie was one of the high points of the walnut trail!
PS. The Walnut Trail was a media trip organized by JW Marriott Mussoorie. I was invited for the same.
Jabarkhet Nature Reserve is a hidden gem of Mussoorie. I visited it on the walnut trail with JW Marriott Mussoorie. If you love to walk and if you enjoy nature Jaberkhet Nature Reserve is the place for you. They have a comprehensive official website where you can book your tickets online as well. They have driving instructions and much more. Do check it out.
The reserve has many well marked trails. If you wish to walk, you can cover more than one trail within a single day. The Airtel cell phones work from most of the times within the area.
Jabarkhet Nature Reserve is a private property which is open to public for exploration. Its ownership changed many hands throughout the history. The descendants of Mr. JP Jain own the reserve now. Mr. JP Jain was the pioneer who tried to keep the area preserved. The family now works in partnership with environmentalists and locals to protect the reserve.
The day we went there, we were blessed with a clear day. The views from the flag hill are truly beautiful. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be at sunset and sunrise! The first picture in this post is of Bander Punch, we were lucky to see the mountain so clearly. In fact we could see a range of mountains from the flag hill top.
It was not only the sweeping vistas that kept us hooked. The small things were equally fascinating. We regularly came across mushrooms, wild flowers, butterflies and such other small wonders of nature!
The walking trails are well marked within the reserve. How difficult are they? I personally found it easy but there were people who thought otherwise. Some found it tough, particularly getting downhill. However, it is doable by most people with average to poor fitness.
It would help to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes.
For part of the way, fallen leaves provided for a wonderful cushion under my feet. It was a pleasure walking on the track with the leaves- both for the colors and the ease!
Water bodies are the lifeline for the wild animals. Jabarkhet Nature Reserve has a few natural ones and some constructed ones. In the summer caretakers fill the waterholes to support the wildlife. They have a camera trap near this water body and it provides amazing insight into the behavior of animals that frequent the waterhole.
After a while I fell at the far end of the line in our group as I would stop and click every single thing that caught my interest.
And now that I chimp much more with my camera soon only I and the official photographer of the trip, Pratha were together. Everyone else was far far ahead!
While we enjoyed the walk and the photos we clicked for each-other, we had a few anxious moments locating others on the trail. In the end we made a phone call when we were about 250 meters behind them but lower on the trail!
Jabarkhet Nature Reserve was one of the best things to happen to me on the Walnut Trail organized by JW Marriott Mussoorie.
As I was getting down to the stream near the Himalayan Adventure Institute I was happy to walk. There is something about the uneven mountain road, it immediately sets me at peace. I was completely engrossed in figuring out where to put my next feet for ten minutes or so! As I approached the end of the path, there it was, the grand setup of the breakfast by the stream by JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort and Spa.
Now I am no stranger to eating by the streams on my treks. But that means munching on a chocolate or eating packed lunch or breakfast! But here we were, standing in front of a breakfast spread beyond sumptuous. And what you see in the first picture is just a part of the entire setup.
My next thought was that water would be cold! Having some acquaintance with mountain streams, I was not sure if I would be happy to put my feet in water for an extended period of time! The good people at JW Marriott Mussoorie had thought about it. At the foot of the table was a mesh that acted as a comfortable footrest.
Neeraj was serving at our table. There were four tables in the stream. I asked Neeraj if he was a local to which he replied in affirmative. He was ever cheerful standing in the stream! Only a local can do it.
The setting was so captivating that food took a secondary seat for a while. But then, I settled down to eat. I enjoyed the wonderfully done yogurt, carrot juice and walnut cakes. This trip was known as the #walnuttrail. I washed it off with many cups of masala tea.