Barefoot Bungalow, a luxury holiday home in the lap of the Himalayas
YS Life made a stop at Barefoot Bungalow in Buranskhanda, Uttarakhand, to experience the luxurious holiday home set up by the Gulati brothers.
‘The mountains are calling and I must go…’
This popular quote by celebrated author-naturalist John Muir perfectly describes the emotion of being beckoned by the mighty mountains.
I have been an out-and-out beach person almost all my life. As I am turning older, I am beginning to appreciate the unpretentious way of life in hill towns, where small joys precede materialistic pursuit. Probably why I didn't think twice before heading to Buranskhanda, about five kilometres short of Dhanaulti in Uttarakhand.
My home away from home was Barefoot Bungalow, a private sanctuary with three well-appointed rooms affording magnificent views of the Himalayas. Its first glimpse reminded me of those charming cottages in the English countryside straight out of a novel.
This cottage is the labour of love of three brothers–Dr Amarpal Singh Gulati, Harpal Singh Gulati, and Damanjeet Singh Gulati, who chose to convert their family holiday home into a homestay.
Cocooned in comfort and luxury
The moment I set foot in the property, I was welcomed in true Uttarakhand-style, with a vermillion tika on my forehead and a local headgear.
From the get go, it was the attention to detail at the bungalow that warmed my heart. As I made my way inside the cottage, I was surprised how everything–from the upholstery to the rooms–were designed to keep the guest cosy and comfortable.
The living room is the centrepiece of the cottage. Bedecked with interesting artwork, a fireplace, and shelves lined with books, this is a spot where one can enjoy some time off (particularly when it’s windy outside).
The first of the three rooms at Barefoot Bungalow offers stunning vistas of the Himalayas, another one overlooking the 14,000 square foot private garden, and a third that is tucked between the two. Each of the rooms has all the basic amenities–for me, the most thoughtful additions were the heated beds and infrared heaters in the washrooms.
While it is pleasant weather during the day, the temperature can dip to five to six degrees at night. I loved the toasty feeling of being tucked inside the heated bed. Trust me, it was quite a task to wake up!
Home away from home
For me, the beauty of a property is short-lived. What matters is how hospitable and warm the staff is. I have to give full marks to the Barefoot Bungalow on that front. Right from Harpal Singh Gulati, one of the owners of the space who specially drove from Dehradun to be here, the caretaker Meenakshi and her little son Aditya, and Chef Arjun Adhikari–everyone went above and beyond to make this stay as memorable as possible!
The first night was starry indeed. We sat under a well-lit canopy, warming ourselves by a bonfire as a live musician belted out some popular Hindi and English numbers. Singh joined us for a few rounds of snacks and beverages that were freshly prepared by Chef Adhikari.
That's what was most special about this place, how everything was done out of love. Each of the meals I had here were home-style with so much flavour, courtesy the freshest of ingredients sourced from local markets as well as their own garden.
Whether it was the fresh juice and piping hot paranthas for breakfast or the special Garhwali meal with aloo jakhiya, mixed saag, bhang ki chutney, and Pahadi chicken, among other dishes. The team was sensitive enough to inquire about the guests’ dietary preferences and customised meals accordingly.
Don’t miss their homemade pickles, chutneys, and spreads made under the property’s own brand, Martban.
What’s also thoughtful is their focus on privacy. Whether it is a couple or a large family, Barefoot Bungalow lets out the entire villa to the guest. This gives them the freedom to enjoy the space the way they like.
This place is also pet-friendly, so one can get their furry companions along and have a good time. The sprawling garden outside dotted with ponds makes for a delight!
In the future, Barefoot Bungalow plans to have an open jacuzzi on the hilltop facing the mountains, and a spa. They are also in the process of setting up the attic that will have a library and offer recreational activities for kids.
Remember, Barefoot Bungalow is only a short drive away from Mussoorie/Landour and Dehradun (say about two hours). You can make a day trip if you like.
The two days I spent here in silence, away from the noise of city life, helped me focus inward. In our chase to earn success, we often neglect the need to sit with our thoughts. Fortunately, I got enough time to focus on myself. It was a true luxury to sit back with a book and a cup of coffee, as the sun peeked through the gorgeous mountainscape.
All in all, it soothed my senses like no other!
Price: Rs 60,000/night for 6 adults (inclusive of all meals and access to a personal chef and staff at the property)
Best time to visit: It is pleasant all year round. For snowfall, head here between January and February.
Edited by Megha Reddy