Binsar is a charming retreat, possibly one of the highest hill stations in Uttarakhand, at a height of about 2400 meters. It is located in Almora district and summers are pleasantly mild with the temperature hovering around 29 deg. C. Even winters are passably bearable.
Binsar offers peace and quiet and of course opportunities for action too. From here you have a lovely view of the scenic Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, Shivling, Trisul, Chaukhamba and Kedarnath Mountains. The major attraction is of course the Binsar Wildlife sanctuary atop the Jhandi Dhar Hills, about 33 km from Almora.
Almora is about 30 km from Binsar and Nainital is about 96 km. Delhi is about 410 km away. You can reach Almora by bus from any of these two places and then go on to Binsar. The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, about 120 km away. Pantnagar is the nearest airport, about 157 km away.
Things to do and see in Binsar
- The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is undoubtedly the first place most tourists visit. It came into being in 1988, with the primary purpose of preserving the reducing numbers of broad leaf oak trees. You can get to see leopards, musk deer, chital, jungle cat, goral, black bear, pine martens, foxes, porcupines, barking deer and flying squirrels. Then there are over 200 species of birds including the laughing thrush, parakeets, Eurasian Jays, Eagles, woodpeckers and blackbirds among others. In spring the sanctuary comes alive with butterflies swarming the area. The Sanctuary is also home to oaks, rhododendrons, pines, mosses and deodar trees, among others. From atop the Jhandi Dhar hill you have a wonderful view of the Himalayan Range. The Sanctuary offers ample opportunities for bird watching, photography and trekking.
- The Khali Estate is another place worth visiting. The palatial building was once home to Sir Henry Ramsay, commissioner of Kumaon from 1856 to 1884. The Estate’s claim to fame is that Vijaylaxmi Pandit, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s sister, once resided here.
- The Mary Budden is another colonial legacy with an old Shiva temple in the premises.
- Binsar Mahadev is popular with pilgrims. It is located in a forest about 70 kilometers from Almora and attracts pilgrims in the holy month of Shravan and on Shivratri day.
- Only 9 kilometers from here you will find the Kasar Devi temple, famed for being the place where Swami Vivekanand spent time in meditation.
- Gananath temple is considered the holiest temple in the area and is visited by thousands of devotees.
Tourists have access to hotels and guest houses ranging from budget to luxury types offering basic amenities and comfortable stay. For food you can find a number of restaurants offering the typical mix of Punjabi and continental cuisines. One thing you must sample is rhododendron squash, something you will not find elsewhere since the Rhododendron only grows at a height.
Binsar is quiet, peaceful and a place where you can breathe in the pure mountain air and come back totally refreshed. It does take some time to get used to the rarefied atmosphere but once you do, you will enjoy your stay here.