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.
As I got a glimpse of Balkatmane, A Heritage Spa in the Beloor Village of Karnataka, I was sold on it. The setting was quiet, the house so beautiful that I immediately felt at peace! As I removed my slippers outside and walked in barefoot, I wish I had more time to spend at the place. I was spending one night at the place. You can check out the location and the prices on the website.
I was told that the spa has been constructed like a traditional Karnataka home. It had a long corridor going through the center of it. I was greeted with a tilak and a flower by Veena and Vedha, the two massage therapists.
As soon as I got a glimpse of my room, the first thought was that it must have been meant for a princess! It had a lovely four poster bed and tastefully done. I quickly opened the front door and glanced out of the balcony. Two things caught my attention.
And both the things accentuated the princess theme. I loved the easy chair by the beautiful window. This was right outside my room. The pity is that I sat down by it and updated my social media accounts, a very unprincess like thing to do!
The second thing that contributed to the princess theme was the view from the easy chair! From all the balconies the home looks beautiful!
I went in for a rejuvenating plus beauty massage. It involved olive oil, honey and oats scrub, mud pack, steam and a herbal bath! It was my second encounter with Ayurveda based massage and I liked what I saw in the mirror! It was also my first experience when there were two massage therapists Veena and Vedha dealing with the treatment simultaneously. I don’t think my body has ever soaked so much olive oil in one day and it liked the results!
While I was going through the massage I could hear the rains outside. I was told it was the first one of this season. I looked out of an open door near the dining area and spotted a beautiful rainbow. I ran out with my cell phone and had an amazing time clicking and admiring the rainbow, in that order!
The flowers were drenched in the rain! Everything looked washed and fresh! The property is just six months old so the trees need more time to grow, but many has been planted! There are plans for a pond and a swimming pool too!
There is a swing and a lovely flower arrangement which once again complimented my princess theme! I did sit down on the swing for a while and did not update social media!
Next on the agenda was a facial. It involved cleansing the face with orange juice and a scrub with orange peels. Then there was a papaya face mask and finally a fruit face mask used. I have been for facials that use cosmetics and I told someone that my face felt so full of chemicals! I actually liked the fruit based facial much more!
Then I admired the plate of nail polish and clicked a photo. So Veena and Vedha offered to put some on my fingers and toes! My princessness quotient was getting higher and higher!
Finally there was dinner laid out for me. This is the only Sai Vishram property that serves non-vegetarian food. I am anyway a vegetarian who can eat eggs. They made an effort to feed me dishes of eggs! After a nice meal it was time to crash in my four poster bed feeling completely like a princess!
PS. I was invited by Sai Vishram Group on this trip.
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 quit 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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