Binsar, The Charming Hill Station of Kumaon

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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.

Himalaya View from Binsar

Why Visit Binsar:

Binsar is known for its lush green pastures of lands which is accompanied by quietly moving streams and a beauty which cannot be compared to any other hill station. You will be able to not only savor some of the most breathtaking views but you will also be able to admire the massive collection of colorful hill birds making it a paradise for bird watchers. There are several places of tourist interests in Binsar which range from temples, scenery points and a wildlife sanctuary like – Bineshwar Mahadev Mandir, Kasar Devi Mandir, Binsar wildlife sanctuary and Zero point among others.

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.

Nearby Place to Visit:

Mary Budden Estate – This place is seated on a tranquil 5 acres of lush green land and sits at an elevation of almost 8,000 feet above sea level. This place is just one of the five privately owned estates in Binsar wildlife sanctuary.

Binsar Sanctuary Museum – Located at a distance of 33 km from Almora this museum is an encyclopedia for the Binsar wildlife sanctuary which adorns the Himalayan ranges. This museum will provide you with some wholesome insights about the region including the biodiversity and landscape.

Pariyadeva Pashan – This is one of the most popular tourist attractions which is home to one of the most iconic archeological site which is known for ancient relics dating back to Megalithic age (1500 bc to 500 bc). In case you are an archeology buff then a visit to this site is a must.

Best Time to Visit:

It is advised that the best time to visit Binsar is during the months of September to November, when the weather is cool and the breeze is pleasant. Other ideal months to visit Binsar are from April to June. People who want to witness the snow then visiting Binsar during the winter months of December and January is advisable. It is not advised for you to visit Binsar during the monsoon months since the entire area remains prone to heavy landslide and avalanches making visit here extremely dangerous and inaccessible. Right after the monsoon months the lush greenery is enhanced along with fluffy white clouds and the clear blue sky.

Getting There:
  • By Air – Pantnagar airport is the closest airport to Binsar which is situated at a distance of 152 kms. There are a number of taxis and cabs available from the airport. This airport is connected to Delhi which caters to a number of flights. This airport is also connected with a network of motorable roads.
  • By Rail – the closest rail head is the Kathgodam railway station which is situated at a distance of 119 kms. This railway line is connected with all the major cities like Lucknow, Kolkata, Delhi etc. on a daily basis there are 2 trains which run from Delhi to Kathgodam and vice versa.
  • By Road – Binsar is well connected to all the major road networks in northern India. There is an ample availability of buses, taxis and cabs which connects to some of the major cities of India like Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata among others. From Kathgodam people can even opt for buses for Binsar which are easily available outside the station.
Food Availability:

Being located at a massive elevation Binsar remains difficult to access making transportation of food items and ingredients extremely difficult. There are no classic restaurants available in Binsar however; your hotels or resorts will be able to provide you with your daily meals and other food items. There are other places to eat around the periphery of Binsar which offers local food.

Accommodation

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.

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