Binsar-Jageswar-Kasauni-Mukteswar

Ok guys, this is for the first time I am going to write and share my experience but here is a small warming – I don’t have a way with words. So please bear with me.

I ( or I should rather say “We” as my wife often corrects me. So let’s start again).

Both me and my wife are real travel freaks and we usually start planning our next holiday destination the moment we are back from our first one! So after a round of discussions and Internet searches, we zeroed in on to Binsar forest reserve and nearby places in Uttranchal. Basically we wanted to relax and chill and explore the unexplored.

We never wanted to go to main tourist places like Nainitaal and other taals nearby.  Our idea of perfect holiday is going to a bit more relaxed non-commercial areas to sit back and take a break from our daily office routine. Planning not only includes the destinations but also how to reach them so after lots of speculations and thoughts, we decided embark upon our journey in second week of September as by then monsoon is generally over. But God wanted us to enjoy the showers for some more time and broke all previous six year’s records during this time. And there we were..headed for our monsoon trip!

We left Gurgaon at 04:30 AM from outer ring road to Akshardhaam by our car. We took Muradabaad highway via Gharmuteshwar and Hapur. After taking Muradabaad bypaas instead of going to Rampur, I took a U turn and took Jim Corbett road.

That’s where I made a small mistake as this route was guided by a colleague of mine not knowing that I have to go to Binsar forest reserve and not the Binsar temple which are two different places with same name BINSAR. But it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because what we experienced was just spell bounding. People who love thrill while driving, will go berserk on this route. Due to continuous rains, we experienced many waterfalls enroute and roads which were repaired after landslides.

My biggest fantasy was to drive over a road with water flowing on it and it turned true on the route from Muradabad by pass is: Kashipur-Jim Corbett and then Binsar (temple).



So when we reached Binsar at 01:15 pm and inquired about Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigan (KMVN) guest house. That is  when we realized it was not the Binsar forest reserve but the Binsar temple. The same names created the confusion.

To reach the forest reserve, we had to go to Ranikhet and Almora bypass by driving for another 60 kms. One more clause was that we had to enter the forest reserve area by 6 pm after which we wont be allowed to enter as it is another 10 kms drive from there in the forest area, which is not only hilly but sans any street lights.


Enroute to Binsar Forest Reserve


Enroute to Binsar Forest Reserve

However we managed to reach at Binsar forest reserve after crossing beautiful landscape of Ranikhet at sharp 6pm i.e  a drive for thirteen and a half hour. Usually it won’t take that long if one doesn’t get confused like we did. But folks, no regrets! We admired Mother Nature and had the most beautiful drive ever by clicking pictures en-route.  Binsar forest reserve doesn’t give you much choice on places to stay and one of it is has Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam rest house that can be booked online.


Himalayan Peaks


KMVN Binsar

LocationBinsar Forest reserve (Almora district)

How to Reach

By Carkathgodam- Bhimtaal- Almora bypass-Binsar

Nearest Railway StationKathgodaam. Taxis are easily available at Kthgodaam station.

What to seeIt has a beautiful forest reserve and bird sanctuary which boasts of a rich variety of flora and fauna.

Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Trishul, Panchchuli and Nanda Kot.

What to do– Trek in forest, small trek at Zero point, enjoy the beauty of Himalayan peaks and most importantly RELAX.

Places to stayKumaon Vikas mandal nigam guest house, Khali Estate, Club Mahindra are few.

You will find many resorts there but I strongly recommend KMVN. This has the best location so far and a mesmerizing view of Himlayan peaks. Even Club Mahindra is not located at the Binsar forest reserve and one has to go about 11 kms ahead the check post located 10 kms below the KMVN. Advised to go in off season especially as you will find best of their hospitality. Very caring and simple people. Food is great but non vegetarians may find it tough as they serve only vegetarian food, though eggs are there. Morning breakfast and dinner is included in the package. Also people expecting luxury- Dats not the place for you as one can find luxury in any good hotel anywhere. Ask me I can tell u good luxury hotels at least in Delhi/NCR. So if you are in mother natures lap then enjoys the beauty of Kumaon and relax. No electricity after 9pm so no TV (I told u- no luxury) and no hot water in bathrooms too. They will provide one bucket of hot water each in morning.

Enjoy the stay..

So after spending 2 days at Binsar we planned to go to Jageshwar. Again a wonderful drive with great roads.

Jageshwar again lies in Almora district and is about 36 kms from Almora. A Hindu pilgrimage town with one big temple comprises about 128 different small temples. Beautifully built years also and is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Many temples include Mahamitrunjay temple, Kedaarnath temple, Hanuman ji temple and many more. Architecture is marvelous and you can spend some time there running away from priests as they going to bug you up especially if you are going there in off season. Jageswar again is a small beautiful valley and you can simple relax there and have a walk at the most. There is an Archaeological Museum there with sculptures from 09th century to 13t century. I loved watching these sculptures especially of Surya dev as he wore shoes and none other God wore in those sculptures. The reason: He feels damn hot because of sunrays. Yes that’s what I was told. There is another small temple which is about 10 kms from Jageshwar and that is called Vridh Jageshwar. Again a beautiful drive and temple is situated at the top of the mountain. Must visit especially people who love to drive.

You won’t find many good options to stay but again KMVN made a great stay for us. One I saw the property I told my wife that I want to stay here only and yes it has electricity and TV unlike Binsar. You can have a good view of temple and the town from their newly built rooms.

As we were heading towards Jageeswar from Binsar via Almora bypass we saw this beautiful temple of Chaitai Golu Devta. Hundreds of bells of different sizes hanging around all the temple makes you feel divine and in out of this place. You can also read peoples prayers written on a paper and attached with a bell. They say God listens to the genuine prayers and complete their devotee wishes. I simply love this believe as I myself is a God fearing person. In the region you will also see lot of cabs on which it’s written “Jai Golu Dev”. A must see place on a way. One can also have a break in their journey.


Golu Devta Temple


Jageshwar


KMVN Jageshwar

So after Jageshwar we had to head towards Kasauni. A long beautiful drive (in rain, not to forget) and we reached Kasauni. Personally I didn’t find it that good, just a simple hill station and moreover we could not see the Himalayan Range from there as it was raining heavily the whole day and clouds never cleared my view. Maybe raining whole day was one of the reason I cud not enjoy Kasauni and yes I was not interested in visiting Gandhi ashram. The only good thing in Kasauni was the dinner at Garden restaurant. Must try once, I loved the Chinese food there. The only place that was open late at night as each and every restaurant and dhabha was closed after 7pm in non season days.


Kausani

After a not so exciting stay in Kasauni, it was time to move ahead. And out last planned stop was Nainitaal. My wife like this place and wanted to go there as she wanted to enjoy walking on the road with the lake and for sure boating with our sweet lil daughter.

But destiny was something else…


Enroute Kausani


Enroute Kausani

We found a major landslide after crossing Almora bypass and came to know that the route won’t open till evening. So what was next??

Mukteshwar Yes, few kms back and there was a short route which went straight to Mukteshwar. And this was from the forest reserve again. After going few kilometers and crossing few villages the forest land started and this was a dense one with narrow road. While driving there was only one thing I was thinking. What if my car broke down? No mechanic nothing. And what if there was a landslide? There was a stretch of few kms where one can’t even turn the car back. But finally I reached Mukteshwar which is a very small cute town. Best place to stay again is KMVN guest house where one can see the Himalayan range too. But thanks to monsoon, I was not able to see it from there. We visited the Mukteshwar temple in the morning and for sure I am going to visit this place again. Maybe on my Bike. One can rest and be at peace here. Good for small walks also.

23 Comments

  • I have been to all places you described in your article. In binsar just next resort to KMVN is Binsar Retreat where I used to stay once in a year. Its a very very nice property but bit expensive than KMVN but I suggest you to stay once over here….you feel good.
    You touched Corbet during your visit and I live here in Corbett. So next time (its my request) please spend one night at least here and feel the nature with wildlife. One question also…. Are you Pahari ????????

  • Jerry Jaleel says:

    I enjoyed reading your trip to the Himalayan foothills.

    It was 100 years ago when Jim Corbett tracked down a notorious man eating tiger in Mukteshwar. He describes the natural beauty of the area in the MUKTESAR MAN EATER in his book ‘The Temple Tiger & More Man eaters of Kumaon (Oxford, 1954) with numerous photographs.

    with Best Wishes,
    Jerry

  • The regions in Uttrakhand are blissful. They are a trekker’s delight and a landscape photographers paradise.
    I will get in touch with you when I plan my next trip there.

  • naman says:

    Bieng a Uttarakhandi I can only say that Hats Off to your jeal to a journey of Uttarakhand after this year monsoon. I think that after reading and (God bless them) seeing on diffrent news channels the worst ever conditions of the roads we have facing this year one can hardly planned his vacations to Uttarakhand. Yes CHITAI is so famous that one can not ignore it after reaching Almora. From Almora to Jageshwar after Chitai and Petsaal before Barechina one can also visit some cave paintings at Laghudiyar (Laghu=small,Udiyar=cave) was so old that stone age is the time of making them is fixed by historians.Good post on KUMAON and very well supported by awesome photographs.Someshwar valley is one of the largest valley in this region after Garur valley.After Kausani there is Garur valley with Baijnath tempels.
    Best wishes for your next trip.

  • Kostubh says:

    Hi Kostubh

    Thanks a lot for reading my article. Indeed all the places I visited are beautiful.
    Yes I saw the Binsar retreat which is few kms before KMVN but for me it was a bit expensive for me.
    For sure I will make a plan to Corbett and will meet u. I am not a Pahari but I am a GHUMAKKAR ;)

    Thanks again
    Cheers
    Money S

  • money says:

    @Jerry-
    Thanks Jerry for reading my article and liking it.
    Thanks for the information too… I would really like to visit Mukteshwar again as it was raining really hard and I cud not enjoy to my fullest. Also cos of rain I cud no take any picture in Mukteshwar.

    @Sarthak-
    Thanks for reading my article. You can contact me anytime you want to.

    @Naman-
    Thanks for reading my story and appreciating it. I just love Uttrakhand and I know I just have explored a very little bit of this.
    There was so much to see but time and money was a big barrier. Well theres always a next time and new places although I want to visit few of places again.
    U r right, cos of monsoon there were few places where there were landslide but fortunately most of my route was clear. I just got struck twice and came out easily.
    Where in Uttrakhand r u from?
    Thanks again

  • I love the picture in black and white of the hill stream. Good control of shutter speed. I visited Jageshwar sometime back. I loved it. You can read my blog: http://indianjourneys.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/the-kumaon-hills-jageshwar/

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Welcome aboard Money.

    Your first post is extremely interesting and written with passion.

    I love Kumaon Hills. Thanks for taking us to some of the best places in the region. Uttarakhand, as you know, is called the “Devbhumi” and your detailing of Jageshwar is simply brilliant. Your sense of photography also needs an admiration.

    Do keep on traveling and share your experiences.

    Would look forward to your next post.

  • Money S says:

    @Arvind-
    Even I loved Jageshwar.. Want to go again there with my family and have a walk and relax ( not in rain this time). Thanks for complimenting about my shutter speed. I am a shutterbug and love to hear or read comments bout my photography.
    @Ram-
    Thanks for liking my post and admiring my photography. I just tried my best and I know it is not that greatly written.
    “Devbhumi”- This word just take me to another world where I find peace. There are many places in Devbhumi which I still have to explore and write about.
    Thanks again.

  • manish khamesra says:

    Money

    Your post is a treat for eyes :-) All the pictures are brilliant. I esp enjoyed the picture of the elephant and the Himalayan Peaks.

    Very informative post. I will look forward to read more from you.

  • Money says:

    Thanks Manish for liking my post.

    I dont have way with the words but I surely have some way with my camera.

    Thanks again

    Cheers
    Money S

    • manish khamesra says:

      I would say that you write beautifully and you shoot exceptionally well.

      I am sure your description would be helpful to many :-) and you will be able to recall some of the old feelings while going through it several years down the lane.

  • Money says:

    @Manish- Thanks once again.. Ur and all other comments motivate me to write more.
    Cheers
    Money S

  • Onil Gandhi says:

    well wrtiiten….. good pics ….. some of ur pics have a professional touch … “Kausani” and “enroute Kausani” I liked most…. u could have avoided the over-stamping “money s” in few

  • Money S says:

    @Onil-

    Thanks for ur comments. I am a professional photographer so a bit of a professional touch is obvious. Thanks for liking them.
    I wish I cud avoid over stamping but unfortunately people dont stop using others pictures without permission. So I have to do it.

    Thanks
    Money S

  • nandanjha says:

    Here’s a formal Welcome Money. :-)

    Brilliant shots. Also I must admire your zeal to drive all through, amid rains and landslides, and still keep your penchant for Ghumakkari going.

    Where do you take us next ?

  • Money S says:

    @Nandan-

    Thanks a lot for ur comments and for all the help for uploading my post.

    I will try writing any past experience

    Cheers
    Money S

  • Sahil says:

    Dear Money , very nice and interesting post equally supported with great pics.

    Sahil

  • Money S says:

    Hi Sahil

    Thaks a lot for ur comments. I really appreciate it

    Cheers
    Money S

  • Such a nice experience & photos….

  • Partha Bhattacharya says:

    Hi,
    Money very well written……. photographs are awesome……. I’m planning for my honeymoon trip to Nainital, Kausani & Binsar in Feb-12, will u pls suggest what will be my itinerary………. I’m not a professional photographer and even I don’t have any slr, will cybershot do the work for me, pls I need a suggestion from u……. waiting for ur rply.
    Partha

  • Dheeraj says:

    Nice write up. Quite informational and some great pictures too. Great vacation I must say and yes thanks for sharing it.

  • Anil says:

    Nicely described.Almora to Mukteshwar Forest road is amazing drive.
    We had also traveled on this 4 times on different routesin Scorpio. .
    Once in1990 we also took wrong route from Ranikhet to Almora through Forest road as shortcut on Maruti 800.
    Road was badly damaged and two places mud road was sunk,and at three places trees fallen on the mud road.
    As Maruti 800 is very light we too great risk to drive in tilting position.
    It was scaring and external help.
    Me an my wife didn’t Lost the patience to get fear.
    Suddenly found movement of Lepord 200 ft away from car.
    We had small German pomerian breed female dog , suddenly started making different sounds.It was too scary.
    But nothing happened wrong.
    It was 30 minutes( mis)adventures thrilling.
    Another adventurous Trip to Madhya Pradesh

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