BINSAR – Best place in Uttaranchal at a comfortable distance

INTRODUCTION : For those people who are tired of crowded hill stations like Shimla, Mussoorie, Manali etc., the thickly wooded forest of BINSAR with loads of GREENERY and CRISP MOUNTAIN AIR to soothe your eyes, body and soul is the best place to go. It is indeed very, very green and at 2100-2400 m height is cool enough to keep you fresh all day. Although i have been here 2-3 times before in smaller groups, this time in the month of August, I had taken 12 family members in three cars, all belonging to different age group – from 6 months to 64 years old and BINSAR did not disappoint any one. In fact it is one of our most memorable family trips and is very much recommended for romantic couples as well as loners, writers and nature lovers. [ga

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LOCATION/ HOW TO REACH : Binsar is about 400 kms from Delhi via Moradabad, Rampur, Udham Singh Nagar, Haldwani, Bhowali, Garampani and Almora. It is 25 kms from Almora on the Bagheshwar Road and 2 kms after Kaparkhan Village. From Almora, there are two roads to approach Binsar. One is the main Bagheshwar Road and the second one goes past the Kasar Devi temple. This road is much more picturesque and is recommended. A forest check post would welcome you at the entrance to the Binsar hill as it is a protected wildlife sanctuary but i wonder if there is much wildlife there apart from birds. The roads are very good, in fact excellent till Almora. It would take about 10-11 hours from Delhi and 4 – 4.5 hours from Haldwani. We took a night halt in Haldwani and then left for Binsar in morning so that we could maximise our stay there.

THINGS TO DO : The best thing to do here is to walk or relax and soak in the sight of beautiful forest, scented air and green valleys. Do not forget to take the 3 km walk from the KMVN hotel to the BINSAR hilltop. It is worth every calorie spent and the view from the watch tower at the top is breathtaking. In clear weather, the snow capped peaks are very clearly visible. Do not forget to carry your raincoats/ umbrellas and also your binoculars if you enjoy birdwatching. There are many places nearby within 2-3 hours drive like Jageshwar, Patal Bhubneshwar but you need a complete day to visit each of them. Although Jageshwar has a very good setting in a narrow valley of Deodar trees with a mountain stream and ancient temples, the money minded priests there spoil the experience which could have been excellent in their absence. To go to Jageshwar, you can drive all the way to Almora and then turn left for jageshwar or alternatively you can take a semi-kutcha route which turns left after about 1 km from the Binsar sanctuary gate and then joins the road which goes from Seraghat to Barechhina. This road goes through the Binsar forest and there are 2/3 water springs enroute which should have water if you are not too unlucky. Nice places for picnic.

PLACES TO STAY : We stayed at the KHALI Estate which is in itself a very historical place and has been a host to lot of celebrities. It is very green inside the resort also and the place itself is very infectious with very homely staff. It has facilities for badminton, lawn tennis, fireplaces, well stocked library and offers very good food. (Website – http://www.resorthimalaya.com/) There is KMVN Tourist bungalow at the hilltop which has very good rustic charm and can be very good to enjoy ghost stories :). There is no electricity here and the candlelights add a certain charm in the nights. There is a forest rest house as well a kilometer ahead. (http://www.kmvn.org/) The Club Mahindra Resort is 10 kms ahead of Binsar and is at an elevation of about 1500-1600 metres. So it is not that cool there and hence would not recommend it inspite of the wonderful look and having very good facilities. (Website – http://www.mhril.com/) So just go ahead and enjoy the place and please do not recommend it to too many people lest the place loses its character.

25 Comments

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Thanks Anand for the story and the information.

    I was at Binsar in 2003 and stayed at KMVN. It was Dec 31st or Jan 1 kinds and really very very cold, we had this candle light in our rooms and by morning we all woke up with a strong headache. Instinctively we were blaming that on that extra peg of ‘Old Smuggler’ but when we came out of the room and got some fresh air, we realized that the cold and candle has eaten all the oxygen.

    We also checked out Khali but it was coming out expensive :) for a young crowd of five so we chose KMVN.

  • Avinash says:

    To add to that (I was with nandan jha on that trip), we also visited the rest house next morning and met pandit ji who make kundlis as well as take care of the rest house. We decided to stay there next time which hasn’t come till now.
    Another good part was the drive to the KMVN (Nandan is generally the driver on all the trips, for a change – on this one I was driving). It was pretty narrow road going through the forest and driving after dark set in, was fun.
    Khali is at the bottom of the hill so you don’t really get to the hill top unless you decide to go to top for a view of snow laden peaks.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    A well written post.

    Wish you had chipped in a few pictures supplementing your description.

  • JATINDER SETHI says:

    My wife and I went to Binser ,I think, in1903, along with a group of [people through Club Mahindra( got some free vouchers for 3 nights), and travelled thro night,Result :couldnt really enjoy the countryside, and staying at Club Mahindra-not really Binsor– and captive to their itinery,The only thing ,apart from the Mahindra resort luxary, we visited the Patal Bhubneshwar, and had to crawl through a “Guffa” to enter the PATAL cave. Since we are not keen on these kind of places, felt suffocating.The good thing was a night at Almora and.on way back, a night at CORBET..Visit Binser again? Perhaps NOT.Goog you enjoyed it.

  • Geetha Saravanan says:

    One more place added to my – to visit list. Nice story and thanks so much for the detailed information.

  • RKS says:

    Binsar is a nature’s paradise and should be enjoyed best by being on foot through all the wild trails it offers. I see Jatinderji not enjoying the place even though his description of the place makes it quite enchanting (his language skills are questionable and also maybe his counting as he visited that place in 1903). I would highly recommend the place to one and everyone.

  • RKS says:

    Hope my comment didnt offend Jatinderji and would request him to actively participate here. in the meantime I am trying to make the area my home as I would soon be setting up base at Gwaldam another picturesque place.

  • manish khamesra says:

    Thanks Anand for useful information. I also, like Jatinderji, got free accomotaion from club Mahindra, but missed the chance. I thought that that is the only accomodation in and around Binsar, but good to know about two – three more options and also its a pleasure to know that one can indulge in so many activities.

    Thanks Anand for sharing information. And Jatinderji thanks for you to let us know about Patal caves, for young people it can definitely be a plus.

    RKS: Jatinderji is a very senior ghumakkar among us. We all respect him a lot. Don’t you feel that we can have differing opinions about the same place even with the same experiences ?
    We are extremely proud that even at the age of above 75 yrs he is there with us, giving us his blessings and sharing his enormous experiences.
    1903 seems a typo, but we all make typing mistakes, don’t we ?

    For sure we will also be looking forward to your Gwaldham experiences. Please share …

  • abdul kamal says:

    Hi Guys,

    I am planing to visit this place. Hence, i have booked “imperial heights”. Kindly advice anyone, if this is good hotel to stay?

  • Ujwal says:

    Hi Abdul, when are you planning to be at Imperial Heights? And which city are you starting from. I live in Gurgaon and have also booked at Imperial from 26/9.

  • Anand Vaid says:

    Hi Ujwal,
    Send me your feedback when you come back from the Imperial Heights. When I went there last time, this hotel wasn’t there or maybe i didn’t find it.
    Its a really good place and you’re gonan enjoy it.
    Hi to Mona and both the cute kids…
    Anand

  • Abdul says:

    Hey Ujwal,

    We are planing to leave Delhi on 25 Friday. We also have a reservation on same night (26 & 27 Sep 2009). Advice if you are going all alone or family…..?? by car or train???

  • Abdul says:

    One more guys!!

    Can you anyone advice me the roads I can take till binsar…!! I m getting coufuse for via Rampur road. Don’t know if road condition is fine.

  • Surprisingly, Kasar Devi is homely for Israelis and there is even a chabad house here. It has really beautiful views of the himalayas. It’s also a popular place among hippies.

  • Niladri says:

    guys, i have a 1 year old son and we are planning 4 nights in binsar and 2 nights in ramgarh in late november/early december. at that time he will be 1 year 6 months old. do u believe it will be too cold for him?

    also, i understand that the KMVN lodge in binsar is a great place to stay. but there is no power and they just provide hot water in the morning. however for my son, i need a heater at night and hot water in the evening. so can u folks suggest any alternative accommodation option – one that does not cost more than Rs.1500 a night.

    need to enjoy a great vacation. but need to make the arrangements for my son too :)

  • Manadi says:

    Hi,

    I am planning to visit Binsar in second week of July 2011. I have a 18 months old daughter. Any recommendations.

    Also, not sure on what to do in Binsar. Am staying at Club Mahindra resort.

    Regards,
    Manadi

  • Anand says:

    Hi,
    18 month old kid should be no problem. Mine was 6 months when i took him. Are you going by your own car?

    Club Mahindra is not exactly Binsar – it lacks the feel and the height and the views. However, do go to the Zero point which is a 3 km level walk from the KMVN rest house on top of Binsar Hill.

    If time permits, visit Jageshwar and take the forest route from Kaparkhan bypassing Almora.

    Regards,
    Anand

  • Virali Vora says:

    Hi everyone,
    I know this post is very old but i just came across it. Most of you seem to have quite an in-dept knowledge of these places so I’m counting on your help.

    I am considering a trip to Naukuchiatal and Binsar in the end of 2013 (Nov) with my family. We are 8 adults.

    I’m really confused about some things and need clarifications.

    1.) I’m based to Mumbai so plan to take a flight from Mumbai to Delhi.
    After that I don’t know how am i supposed to go further – i.e. is it better to take a train from Delhi to Kathgodam and then taxi or is it better to directly take a taxi from Delhi to either Binsar or Naukuchiatal.

    2.) Also, I’m not sure whether to take Naukuchiatal first or Binsar first. What do u recommend?

    3.) How about the journey from Naukuchiatal to Binsar or vice versa?? Cab all the way?? How far is it? And how much time would it take?

    4.) Any help with places to see out there or things to do??

  • Virali says:

    Please help!!!

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Virali,

    I am guessing that you are a ‘Club M’ member and probably that is the reason for choosing these 2 places. Here are my suggestions.

    Take an afternoon flight from Mumbai and reach Delhi by 8 PM or so. Take the 2240 hrs train from Delhi to Kathgodam. It would reach Kathgodam early morning, take the 4 hour taxi and reach Binsar.

    Spend 3 nights there and visit Jageshwar, Almora, Bageshwar, Binsar etc. You can do more research later. Head for 9Kuchiatal (3 hours) on Day 4 and spend a couple of days there. Visit Nainital, Mukteshwar, Bhimtal and laze around. Take the 1600 hrs train back to Delhi on Day 6 and reach Delhi by late evening. Take a late night flight back to Mumbai.

    Delhi-Binsar is 11 hours by Taxi. Delhi-Naukuchia is close to 8 hours by Taxi. I am suggesting Binsar first since it is a bit far and you would have energy/excitement in the first leg. Sort the travel and staying part now, we can do the more detailed itinerary closer to your time of travel. Wishes.

  • vimal kumar says:

    Hi Guys,

    I am planning a trip to India in the end of june this year and have plans to spend a 5 to 6 days of relaxed time with my family ( wife, kids and mother). I was looking for places in Uttarakhand to visit for a leisure holiday which involves not too much of travel also the place should not be crowded with tourists, hence this blog just caught my eyes. I will plan my travel from either Bareilly or Lucknow (UP). Kindly suggest me if Binsar is the place i should visit and if yes then what would be the best place to stay. Open for other suggestions also.

    Thanks in advance.
    Regards
    Vimal

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Hi Vimal – Kumaon is a great destination and has so many places to choose from. Binsar is a great place but during end-of-June, Monsoon is in full swing and landslides are not that uncommon.

    If you are looking at spending time with family in hills and not too much of sight seeing then I would suggest that you do not go as far as Binsar. I would recommend that you find a place in the Nainital Circuit. Naini attracts a ton of people but there are places in Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal, Sattal which are much less crowded and offer attractions for everyone. It would be closer and in the even of landslides or bad weather you are only an hour drive away from Haldwani (plains). All kinds of stay options are available.

  • vimal kumar says:

    Thanks Nandan for your express response, much appreciated. I will keep in my mind your suggestions before finalising anything, for sure Binsar i will rule out for now. God bless you brother for sharing your experience and highlighting the risks involved which is more important than any other advice!!
    Cheers!
    Vimal

  • Akshita Jain says:

    Nice Post! very well written.I love to travel but at the same time, i want peace. Looking forward to visiting this place.

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