It all started with an urge to visit some of the lesser known Himalayan destinations other than the commercially known places which are known to host tourists year long. Thus, trip materialised and aptly so, everything fell into place after a little bit of research on how to reach Binsar and where to stay. We took an Uttarakhand Roadways deluxe night bus to Kathgodam with our year and a half year old daughter in tow. Onward journey from Kathgodam was made in a cab which our hotel crew had sent as pick up. After about 3.5 hours of drive via picturesque Bhowali and Dinapani, we reached this beautiful destination which in itself is a wildlife area around 33 km from Almora and sitting atop the Jhandi Dhar hills in the Himalayas. We stayed at Mahindra resorts (www.clubmahindra.com) and the stay was made absolutely comfortable by the courteous and warm staff. Nestled in midst of thick lush greenery, Himalayan Oak and Rhododendron trees, this Himalayan town is home to a lot wildlife and birds. Let us now tell you the places you can explore when in Binsar
Binsar Zero Point - As with all other hill stations at height, you have a Zero Point here as well from where you can get a magnificent view of the Himalayan range of peaks like Kedarnath, Trishul, Shivling and Nanda Devi. This place is located in the midst of Binsar wildlife sanctuary and is at a short trek distance of 2 km from the wildlife sanctuary from the car park inside the sanctuary. Entry fee per person for the sanctuary is Rs 150 and Rs 250 for car. Do not miss out on the sunrise and sunset here!
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary - Established in 1988 to for conservation of the broad leaf oak. The sanctuary is a must visit for the nature lovers as it is home to some 200 species of birds, 24 types of bushes, 25 types of trees, 7 varieties of grasses and a variety of mammalian life which include leopard, himalayan goral, musk deer, wild boar, red fox and black bear. Also the sanctuary is home to variety of reptiles and butterflies. The sanctuary also has a museum which gives out information to the tourists on the rich bio-diversity of the area.
Binsar Mahadev Temple - This is a famous temple belonging to the 16th century built by Raja Kalyan Chand of Chand dynasty. Temple has a serene atmosphere around it and attracts a lot of devotees. It has idols of Har Gauri, Ganesh and Maheshmardini. The temple overlooks a small stream and is surrounded by thick forest of Deodar, Pine and Oak.
Mary Budden Estate - This estate is one of the five privately owned estate in midst of Binsar wildlife sanctuary spread over an area of 5 acres. It is situated at a height of 8000 feet and this lovely 120 year old heritage home has been beautifully restored and was home to a lot of colonial officers visiting this place.
Kasar Devi Temple -This temple is home to Lord Shiva and Kasar Devi. In this temple, one can do peaceful meditation and under the temple there is believed to be magnetic power. The temple is know for its tranquil surrounding and breath-taking view of Himalayas. There are about 100-150 steps to climb and supposed to be one of the 3 places in the world having strongest geo-magnetic field.
Lakhudiyar - Located in Barechinna village along the banks of Suyal river. On the walls of the caves, are pre-historic paintings of animals and humans which depict the life and surroundings of the early man. The caves were discovered in the year 1963 and has gained historical significance over the years. The caves are essentially rock shelters which protected the early man from harsh climate. There is a painting of people performing a group dance alongside various other finger drawn paintings in black, red and white colours.
There are other attractions around Binsar, which can also be explored:
Gairar Dana Golu
Vivekananda Meditation Cave
Lama Meditation centre at Kasaar
Binsar is a place where you truly connect with nature and it is not your typical hill station with commercial activities. It is definitely a good visit for nature enthusiasts, birders, trekkers and wildlife lovers. During our stay we heard many stories of leopards strolling along our resort. Also, do not forget to buy bottles of fresh rhododendron squash which is so refreshing in taste along with other local souvenirs.