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<< Indian Himalayas << Himalayan Destinations >> <<Binsar in Kumaon>>

Destination Binsar, Kumaon - Uttaranchal

Tucked awayn in the Kumaon hills is quiet retreat of beauty- Binsar. From almora it is only 34 km but I soon sralise that aince there is no regular transportation to Binsar and one is at the mercy of the taxi drivers- and they are no angels of mercy, especially in the peak season.  After successfully negotiating the cost to an affordable Rs 500 I am on my way. There is no town or even a village named Binsar; it is the name of the forest reserve. The gate of the forest reserve is on the road to Jaseshwar and from that point is a distance of 11 Km to my destination, the Kumaon mandal Vikas Nigam tourist resort.

The car continues to climb uphill through forests of pine. The trees are tall and majestic, the sunlight filters through lush foliage creating a wonderful interplay of light and shade, and the ground betwwn the tree is carpeted with fallen pine needles and a scattering of pine cones nestle in this soft bed.  The air gets decidedly cooler and as we continue to drive up, the vegetation changes too. The pines give way to old oaks and occasional rhododendrons.  After almost one and half-hour’s drive from Almora, I am at the KMVN tourist resort.  It is ideally located on top of the Jhandi Khar hills. The hill is in the middle Himalayas and the view from the higher rooms and the terrace is magnificent.  The garden is vibrant with colours-blooming hydrangea bushes, rows of scarlet poppies, golden calendula and a climbing rose with bunches of exquisite pink flowers have a luster that one does not usually see in the plains.  Green misty hills stretch all the way to the horizon with only a few bird trills and chaltterof an occasional group of tourists breking the quietude.  It is, I decide, a perfect getway – an ideal spot to communicate with nature and to firnd in its evergreen ambience an elixir for rejuvenation.

Sunrises and sunsets are momentous events at scenic places like Binsar. The staff at the resort informs me that I must walk about a km to the Forest Rest House to witness a spectacular sunset.  I set off briskly through a path in the forest to keep my tryst with the setting sun. The view from the Forest Rest House is panoramic but a haze hangs in the air, perhaps as a result of the recent forest fire. Though we are deprived of the actual view of the sunsetting on the distant snowy peaks, the sky is dramatic with play of colours.  It is June and the days are long with traces of daylight even at 7.30 pm. Back at KMVN tourist resort, people settle down on the terrace with their tea to enjoy the view in the dying light of the day.  There is a sudden drop in the temperature accompanied by a cool breeze which prompts the toursist to rush in doors for their woolens.  Binsar is  a notified forest reserve and a bird sanctuary.  There are approximately 22 leopards, some barking deer, wild boars and a wide collection of exotic birds.  Everbody discusses chances of seeing a seopard. A local guide regales us with incidents of leopards coming near the resort gates.  There are collective gasps and squeals as the city-bred tourists absorb this information. As light fades away, the towns and villages twinkle on the hillside like fireflies, mirroring the sky, resplendent with stars.  There is no electricity at the resort and after dinner people retire to their candle lit rooms. The soft darkness adds to the overall ambience of the place.

This was the capital of the Chand Rajas in the 7th and 8th centuray.  Lucky rajas! I think while watching the glorious sky at day brak: the air is fresh and fragrant with the scent of the forest. Sunlight catches the red rhododendrons and makes them glow amidst the undulating sea of green covering the hillside.  Itinerary of the morning includes excellent paranthas that the resort serves and a walk to the zeir point.  It is a two km walk to the top of the next hill.  The path meanders through the dense forest. While walking through the undulating path I understand why oak is said to retain a lot of moisture. Moss hangs from the trunk and the branches of the ancient oaks. A flutter of wings draws my attention; a pair of Eurasian Jay, displaying their way through the rolige.  I guess walking through a forest as dense as this is an experience in itself.  I am told there are no snakes in this forest and with 50 sq km of virgin forestland at their disposel, leopards are unlikely to loiter along path frequented by humans.  

How to reach there :  

Road :  Binsar is well connected by roads to all prominent towns :-

              Almora – 34 Km,

           Nainital – 120 Km,

           Delhi    -   418 Km.

There are overnight bus services to Almora from Delhi. Form Almora  a taxi can be taken to Binsar. Barganing advised. 

Train :  Nearest railway station is Kathgodam. That is 15 Km away from the station.

 

Air :  The nearest airport is in Pant Nagar ( Nainital). Regular flights are operational during summer.

 

Temp :  Summer : 11-26 degree centigrade.

            Winter   : 2 -14 degree centigrade.

            It might snow  in Dec- Jan, heavy woolens recommended at that time.

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