Binsar through my eyes

I had finally mustered enough courage to set out alone; after the fraças in Garhwal.

Read My own episode of ‘Jailed Abroad’ in Garhwal Himalaya

Although Uttarakhand hadn’t been particularly kind to me, this time I chose to explore Kumaon. A day in Dehradun and another in Nainital was spent getting used to the idea of trusting strangers again. Destiny had another jolt planned when a minor incident happened but thankfully no damage was done. I promised myself to be more alert and enjoy roaming like my old self.

Weather gods in their full fury in Almora
Weather Gods in full fury in Almora
Hippie art on the street
Hippie art on the street

After toying with the idea of going back home, circumstances conspired to bring me to Almora. I had gone to Haldwani to make my way back to Delhi but changed my mind again and board a bus to Almora. The first memory of Almora will remain etched in my mind of eating the super sweet Baal Mithai at Kheem Singh Mohan Singh Rautela and dancing happily on the street. Then there comes a moment when your heart says everything will be alright. I had begun to trust my sixth sense again.

Rain rain go away; and it did after a day
Rain rain go away; and it did after a day

Almora is the cultural capital of Kumaon and was established by the Chand Rajas in 1560. I meandered around the streets soaking in the frenetic sights and decided to check out the hippie hamlet of Kasar Devi situated on a nearby hillock. A shared taxi took thirty rupees, I saw foreigners loitering around and colourful signboards indicating cheap homestays with fresh home cooked food. It felt like my kind of place for slow travel with lovely landscapes too.

Signboard in Kasar Devi
Signboard in Kasar Devi
Magical sunsets from a two hundred rupee room!
Magical sunsets from a two hundred rupee room!

I plonked myself at Arjun Guest House and gazed at stupendous valleys and mountain views in the day and picturesque sunsets in the evening. The pine trees made a rustling sound when the wind picked up. I made friends with the birds that came and cared to sit in peace around me. A little eatery by the name of Baba Cake (owned by a German) was my favourite place to while away time reading, sitting in the bright sunshine.

Perfect sunny day, with book in hand
Perfect sunny day, with book in hand

Random interactions with the villagers revealed that if I went further ahead I would see the Himalaya. I didn’t quite understand what they meant by the Himalaya, considering we were already seeing the mountains. One day when I actually went strolling forward, I chanced upon a view of perfect white mountains, one after the other and then I realised Himalaya meant snowy mountains.

On the way to Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
On the way to Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary

Binsar was touted as a must see destination, perched at an altitude of 2420m. The only options of staying inside were costly luxury estates and the KMVN Tourist Reception Centre. One day we set off on a Royal Enfield to see the local shawl factory of Panchachuli Weavers at Dinapani and crossed the forest check post after paying the entry fees to enter the scenic Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary.

The tenth century temple of Binsar
The tenth century temple of Binsar

A walk among the dense oak and rhododendron forest took us to a place called ‘Zero Point’, from where there was an unhindered view of the peaks of Chaukhamba, Panchachuli, Nanda Devi, Mt. Trishul. Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal place for bird watching and wildlife photography. We marvelled joyously at the crystal clear views, and were later told that the skies had been cloudy for the past week and that we were indeed lucky to have witnessed that majestic sight.

Immaculate snowy Himalayas
A glimpse of the grandness on offer

We can plan all we like, but the best sojourns are the unplanned, spontaneous ones!

How do you like your journeys?

How to Reach : Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is at a distance of 32 kms from Almora. Almora is around 375 kms from Delhi and the road is pretty good.

Clouds gather in the valley below for an unforgettable experience
Clouds gather in the valley below for an unforgettable experience

Weather : The days are pleasant and nights are nippy from March to November; December to February is very cold.

Where to Stay : At basic village homestays inside Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary or luxury estates, there are plentiful accommodation options in Kasar Devi. KMVN Binsar is a fine place to stay inside the wildlife sanctuary.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. arv! says:

    Lovely pictures! I too passed through almora recently -on way to base camp for a trek . Although I wanted to spend some time around in almora but it was not possible this time! Thanks for posting your journey here for everyone!

    Like

    1. Woah! Which trek? I love Almora for its delicious baal mithai.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. arv! says:

        It was Roopkund. I passed through beautiful towns like Almora, Gwaldham and Baijnath. Too bad, I could only have a look at them. I wish I could have spent a day in each of these places. Photography and interaction with the locals, is what I would love to do! Well, I will have to visit Almora for Baal mithai. I heard its pretty common in that belt.

        Like

  2. pc73 says:

    strong boy! keep going 🙂

    Like

    1. Hey! Thanks so much. Travel makes everyone strong. 😀

      Like

  3. gulloo says:

    Dont go alone , next time take me along. call 97179027733.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gulloo says:

    oops. it should read 9719027733.

    Like

  5. umesh kaul says:

    Excellent Pics!!! Especially that of clouds!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Umesh!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fede says:

    Such breathtaking nature! Uttarkhand has nice natural spots 🙂 have to visit once!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you must! Uttarakhand has grand views of the snow clad Himalayas and lovely forests too.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such fresh and crisp pics! 🙂 Makes the heart yearn to go 🙂

    Like

    1. Glad you liked them! Will be keen to know how your journey went 😀

      Like

      1. Yet to visit the place but looking at the photographs, Uttarkhand be soon on our cards. 😊

        Like

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