Binsar – A Detailed Travel Guide

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Binsar is a tiny little hamlet perched at a height of 2420 meters in the sleepy region of Kumaon, Uttarakhand. Flying off the radar, Binsar is a haven for those wanting to be mesmerized by captivating views. A sight for sore eyes, Binsar offers spell-binding views of the majestic Himalayan peaks such as Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, Panchachuli, and Kedarnath. The 360 degrees’ views from the town is the main highlight that should not be missed.

Magical Uttarakhand
Magical Uttarakhand

About Binsar

Engulfed by the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Binsar is an adventure lover’s delight. Rare animals, birds, and all sorts of flora and fauna can be experienced here. Also, given the acute nature connect- I highly recommend that you go out for a hike, camp under the stars and even partake in some breath-taking nature walks to complete your fill of greenery around you.

It goes without saying that Binsar is set amidst lush green forests covered with oak, pine, deodar trees. Even though it is a small town, virtually off the radar, there is still a tonne to do here. I have long been an advocate of Uttarakhand as the next-big-thing when it comes to off-beat travel destinations. And, Binsar is one of the prime examples as to why!

Why Visit Binsar

From adventure activities to beautiful vistas, from orchards to meadows, from panoramic Himalayan views to mumbling streams – Binsar is an encapsulation of what nature lovers dream of. With unique species of birds chirping around from every nook and corner to having an actual Wildlife Sanctuary – you are easily covered. Also, there are many popular touristy destinations nearby. Further, Binsar has gained popularity as a pilgrimage destination, however, there is a lot more to do here.

History & Mythology

The Summer capital of the erstwhile Chand Dynasty, Binsar has a prominent place in the history of Kumaon Region. The ancient Bineshwar Mahadev Temple is a source of pride for the residents.

Binsar literally translates to without a head. It is believed that a battle ensued between King of Binsar and the local deity, Golu Devta. In the battle, Golu Devta was beheaded. And, it is believed that his trunk fell at Gairad Dana Golu near Binsar National Park and his head at Kaparkahan near Binsar. Both these places have the ancient temples of Golu Devta.

Location

Perched on the Jhandi Hills of Kumaon regions, Binsar is situated at a height of 2420 meters in the Almora District.

Binsar Diaries - A sunset in Kumaon
Binsar Diaries – A sunset in Kumaon

Weather

Pleasant most for most of the year – Binsar is a perfect off-beat destination. Summer temperatures vary from 24-32 degrees, while winters witness temperatures of 5-15 Degrees. The summers offer lush green views. There are chances of experiencing snow in the winter months of December/January – so be prepared. Monsoons are gorgeous in this sleepy hamlet, though, if you’re not accustomed to traveling in the hills in heavy rains – it is advisable to avoid the roads for fear of landslides etc.

Best time to visit

If you are planning on a secluded trip to an off-beat location – then look no further than Binsar. Binsar has excellent weather conditions throughout the year, but, there are some months which are not suitable for travel. Summers are great for trekking and sightseeing due to its pleasant weather, while Winters are great for snowfall. Thus, the best time to visit Binsar would be from October to March.

How to reach Binsar

Binsar is well connected with all important cities of Uttarakhand and getting there depends on your choice/mode of travel. Binsar is located approximately 380 Kms from Delhi.

By air

The nearest Airport to Binsar is Pantnagar, which is located approximately 152 Kms from Binsar. You can easily fetch a cab from Pantnagar Airport for Binsar.

By Rail

Nearest railhead is Kathgodam, which is situated at a distance of 119 Kms from Binsar. There are two trains from Delhi to Kathgodam daily as this is a gateway for Kumaon region. Taxis/buses etc. are easily available from the railway station for Binsar.

By Road

Well connected by major road routes, Binsar can be reached by catching a bus from ISBT, Delhi, or by driving to Binsar. Please note, direct bus from Delhi to Binsar is not available. However, one can catch a bus heading to Nainital and hire a cab from there. If you’re driving on your own, from Delhi, Binsar will take you 10 hours of driving time. However, towns such as Nainital might beg you to take a halt. Roads are well melted – so should not be a concern.

A Drive from Delhi to Nainital Lake | Candid Kumaon
A Drive from Delhi to Nainital Lake | Candid Kumaon

Suggested Itinerary

Binsar is an ideal location for a laid back long weekend to get away from the hustle and bustle of the daily life. Or, you can even choose to cover it with other areas of Kumaon region. There is a tonne of beautiful places in Kumaon which are yet unexplored. However, 2 days of exploring is sufficient to experience Binsar, which will keep you mesmerized and wanting to come back for more.

Day 0 – Beginning of the Trip

Leave from Delhi towards Binsar by your chosen mode of travel. Choose to begin the trip late at night to have a full day of activities when you reach.

Day 1- Reaching Binsar and exploring the Sanctuary

Reaching Binsar early in the morning is best suited for enjoying the place. I would suggest you rest up upon reaching and then head out to explore the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary was set up in 1988 and is spread over an area of 45 Kms and one can easily spot hundreds of birds in the region. If you’re lucky, you’ll also spot barking deer, Himalayan bear, fox, porcupine etc. The entry ticket is Rs 40 per person and additional Rs 50 for your vehicle. You may choose to visit the Museum to get a detailed understanding of the species present in the sanctuary.

Head back to your hotel for a relaxing evening. Enjoy a bonfire and/or camp under the stars

Day 2 – Exploring Binsar

Head out on to the Zero Point. Do this near the sunrise time as the view glimpses of the hills surrounding the region is an experience worth cherishing. Situated very close to the KMVN resort, you will be easily rejuvenated once you reach the zero point. A Short trek of 2 KMs is all you need to enjoy before setting yourself high up to look at the snow-covered mountains. Head back to your hotel to enjoy your morning cuppa.

After some rest, another location to visit is the Pariyadeva Pashan which is situated on the Almora-Binsar road. The place has its history dating back to the Megalithic age (1500 BC to 500 BC), and will definitely draw your fancy for its archaeology aspects.

Apart from these beautiful places, if you still have time to explore more- catch some trails in the nearby forests to explore the surrounding region. You may also choose to visit the Kasar Devi temple and the Bineshwar Mahadev temple on either of your two days there

Day 3 -End of the Trip

Head back to Delhi/ continue exploring Kumaon region.

Where to stay

Limited places to stay. Camping is a great and recommended option. If you can’t find a place, head to Almora which is more commercial. However, as with major Uttarakhand locations, KMVN is of course present here. While it looks a little outdated, that only adds to the charm. The service in amazing and the views will definitely lure you into tranquillity. Binsar Forest Retreat is slightly expensive – but, the views, the rooms, the service – all add up to a memorable experience. Other places to check out are Suman Nature Resort and I believe that a Club Mahindra Resort is also nearby.

Driving through the jungles of Kumaon
Driving through the jungles of Kumaon

Where to eat

The seclusion of Binsar is its major attraction and as such, restaurants are virtually non-existent. You can, however, get meals in various resorts in and around Binsar. Road side dhabas also come in handy at such locations. Anjana and Mohan’s café are the limited options in terms of food joints.

What to shop

Any excursion is incomplete without shopping, of course. Get yourself some trinkets such as wooden crafted items or buy some local products such as the rhododendron juice (A MUST – Highly recommended), woollens, hand-knitted shawls, local honey, handmade soaps etc.

Tips

  • Avoid Trekking in monsoon season
  • Finding a place to stay in peak season might be difficult. Almora is nearby location that is more commercial.
  • Cell phone connectivity is great in the region, especially for Jio and BSNL.
  • Electricity can be an issue at times, however, if you’re staying at one of the resorts – it is not much of a concern. Smaller resorts can face cuts of longer durations, especially in summer months.

Conclusion

There is nothing quite as calming as the breath-taking views of Himalayas, adorned by snow in far off distance. Binsar provides just that! With rare birds chirping beautiful songs just for your pleasure – Binsar is the place you go to calm your soul and reconnect with nature. Don’t miss out on the lesser-defined trails with beautiful treks around the hamlet and you’ll discover new places to call just yours. Binsar is an ideal getaway for bird watchers, nature lovers and landscape photographers. ‘

Have you visited Binsar before? Do comment below on any fun facts we might have missed! Also, other off-beat places that have your heart and you want fellow travellers to enjoy – do share your experiences!

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About Author

Shefali spends most of her time day dreaming about her next big vacation. A happy-go-lucky personality, she is an amalgamation of all the places she’s lived in and experienced! She is always confused as to where to call home, having lived in Chandigarh, Shimla, Dehradun, Mumbai, Hyderabad in India and Vancouver, Abbotsford in Canada. Her love for travel is only challenged by her love for reading and eating delicious food! In order to sustain her dreams, she brought out her inner geek, got an MBA and has a job in the corporate world crunching numbers. Do follow @notravelplans on Instagram for updates on her next great adventure.

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