Binsar

Motorcycle Diaries. Road to Munsiyari…here we come…

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By now, Nitin was up and ready with his arms and ammunition – the Camera! Gaurav guided him to a viewpoint they constructed right the top of the hill, located at a 5-minutes trek. Nitin came back with amazing set of images – spectacular mountain panorama of evergreen Himalayan ranges and valleys. The views of major peaks like Chaukhamba, Panchachuli, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, and Kedarnath are distinctly visible from there. Sitting leisurely at the camp, one couldn’t even fathom what vista laid just a five-minute trek ahead! This was a clear sky day, which offered a 180-degree Himalayan view. I must share with all readers here that such vast panoramic view can been seen only from Binsar and Kausani in Uttarakhand. In fact, there is a location called the ‘Zero Point’ here, which offers amazing views of the magnificent range. Binsar also offers an excellent view of Almora town.

As we sipped the superbly made herbal tea, prepared from the herbs grown in-house, Gaurav helped us with sourcing five litres of petrol from Almora through his contacts. This was done as the next filling-station was at Berinag, another 65kms ahead. Since we rode almost 430kms on day one, I didn’t want to take risk of running on an empty fuel tank in case of any exirgency.

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Motorcycle Diaries. Road to Munsiyari…Ride to Binsar

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Well, I must share that I have travelled on some very lonely stretches; this was proved to be the scariest of all. Completely dark it was, we brothers rode our bikes non-stop in the only source of lights – the bikes’ headlights! This was a typical forest track, and rains made it all the more difficult to negotiate the ride. We stopped several times to check the signal of the phone – no respite. What made us ride ahead in this pitch dark jungle located upon the mounts in the dead of rainy night was the my belief/experience – people in hills don’t lie! After all, the guard had said that the forest track would end in 13kms and route to Dhaulchhina would emerge!

Bang on right he was! Just as my bike’s meter clocked 13kms, we came out to a neat tarmac. By now, we were completely drenched and shivering. And it didn’t help that there weren’t any signage that could guide us to either left or right. Fortunately, mobile phone’s signals were back and we called the Camp to locate the address.

30minutes later, amidst heavy rains, we arrived at Dhaulchhina, a hamlet where Binsar Eco Camp was located above a hillock.

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Binsar Eco Camp – Hotel Review

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Rooms are humble and washrooms are utilitarian. If you are looking at spending time indoors over cosy conversations and luxurious room-service then this is not the place. Rooms are best used for sleeping (and do a good job with that) and then you should be outdoors. Room fittings, furniture, bathroom fittings are all there for their functionality, they are comfortable and value for money.

Bed sheets were OK (not crisp as in Chaukori) but I would blame that on rainy season.

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Leaving Munsyari – The long drawn route

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So with full gusto, I rev-ed the engine and started back amid beautiful landscapes, away from the thoughtful and calm gaze of Panchachuli, the peak which was in the back yard of our stay. The journey from Munsyari to Birthi was spent gazing at mountains, standing tall and quite, looking at the occasional habitat along side the road with Pahadi folk wearing black topis, half jacket over long shirts and pajamas and throwing infectious smiles as they go through with their daily chores. Because of rains, the road was not in its prime so we were a tad cautious; but there was an natural desire to drive a little faster and be able to reach Sattal, which as per our friends from Pahad was not a realistic goal.

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Week long Kumaon Trip – March 2014

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Fortunately clear skies gave us a chance to say proper goodbye to mighty tops. Chukhamba, Trishul, Nandadevi and Panch-chuli were among many shikhars visible today morning. It is said, only from Kausani, distinct trishul shape can be seen on the equilateral triangle shaped Trishul peak. In fact these are three peaks on one massif. Though we might be seeing mountain tops still from our next points of visit but not all of them in one go.

We started descending for Ranikhet. The valley was green with wheat and mustard farms. Most of the farms were carved in hill terraces. Different shades of green were splashed on round curved fields. Apple trees were leafless but were bearing white flowers. Some of the other trees were total yellow and some red. But many others had shed their leaves in the winter and were waiting for warmer weather. Spring has almost arrived but frequent unexpected snowfall has delayed blooming season. Anyways, fall does have its own beauty. I could not resist myself from comparing seasons with life-cycle.

On the way, we visited a kalika temple. Next was a Golf Course which was covered with yellow grass. It was noon time so couldn’t stand in open for long and moved ahead. One more temple, a shawl factory and a barren empty fruit orchard could not interest us much.
Ranikhet is basically an army cantonment area. Lots of training facility buildings and practice grounds occupy most of the town. Security connected jawans and their families form majority of population. Cleanliness and environmental care was visible in the town. Civilian areas had not matched that standard.

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