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Binsar: 'Top of the world' feeling!
Apr 20, 2008 01:54 PM 15414 Views
(Updated Apr 20, 2008 07:11 PM)


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Binsar was recommended to me as a beautiful destination by one of my dear friends who had been there.and done that! And that is such an understatement.Binsar is more beautiful than you can ever imagine!

Binsar, incidentally, is the highest point in Almora district and hence, you can imagine that it provides brilliant vistas of the grand Himalayas. Binsar is also a designated wildlife sanctuary.

From Almora, Binsar is about 2 hours by road. Much of the road is through steep mountains, and the drive is quite beautiful. On the way to Binsar, there's a Golu Deva mandir which we visited. Golu Deva is a very popular local deity that's worshipped in Kumaon. The thing that strikes about these temples.bells of all shapes and sizes!.offerings, wishes fulfilled.

We stayed at the KMVN resort which is on the top of the hill, and inside the sanctuary. It is located in a most peaceful place and at a vantage point from where you can pretty much take in the entire valley.  Service at the resort is fantastic, absolutely feels like home. No non-veg food(sanctuary norms). The rooms are lovely and comfortable with good facilities. Wooden boarded walls and floor and candle light for illumination!  Just perfect.

Water is at a premium, since it is pumped from the bottom of the hill and hence water conservation is given due importance. We travelled in May, so the climate was pretty pleasant. In winters, Binsar is completely snowbound, and not accessible. Our stay was of 2 nights, 3 days.

The terrace on the resort affords one the best views of an action packed night sky. One million stars and some of them shooting. Just amazing. One of the key things to do is to try and sight the himalayan peaks early in the morning. Was not successful on Day 1, since fog played to see the sunrise however.:-)

In the evening, I walked to this place called Observation Tower, which is about a 30 minute trek from the resort. There's a rickety(and almost broken) tower, which has been made by the forest dept, and definitely not for the faint hearted. I managed to climb up about half way, hanging on to dear life and my cam, .and then, my jaw dropped. Imagine this.endless valley looking at you from below, mountain range staring at you from a distance, clouds somewhere in between, wind in your face and a setting sun. I felt so small.and big at the same time. Top of the world.that's it. Touched.

The next morning, I was again pushing my luck to get a view of the Himalayas.its either now, or next vacation!.people were waiting in anticipation, not knowing what to expect. I guess, someone up there was kind.and the sight was revealed. Golden sunshine refecting off Nandadevi.Nirvana in an instant. My first view of the Himalayas and I never imagined it to be so gigantic! Every other peak or mountain pales in comparison! Classic case of click and awe!.:-) and I felt like I had achieved my purpose of this vacation.

Later in the morning, I went for another trek in the forest, this time with Raju guide(he's quite popular there!) and we had a good number of bird sightings and leopard stories to keep the trek interesting:-). The leopard is on top of the food chain in this forest, and a lot of leopard stories abound.

For the return trip, you need to inform the Resort folks and they will happily organize for a vehicle to come and pick you up.and drop you to Almora.  One way trip is about Rs. 500. From Almora, its travel to onward destinations. At Almora market, do remember to pick up some Bal Mithai.sweets covered with sugar candy!

Overall, Binsar has been one of the best places i've been to in India.and i'll be back!:-)

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