A personal travel blog by Ms. Reetwika Banerjee
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Binsar was the second penultimate stopover in our Kumaon tour itinerary with a two-night’s stay plan. We planned to start little late as the distance was comparatively lesser and the road was also better. We had to check pass a forest entry gate before entering Binsar forest. Beginning onward journey by 11am, we reached our destination by 3pm.
The most stunning thing of Binsar the disparate flavour of the place. Located at an altitude of 8000 feet above sea level, Binsar hosted a wildlife sanctuary on top of the Jhandi Dhar hills and the KMVN forest resort was located right inside the natural reserve. We were welcomed by a wild bull sitting lazily in front of the hotel entrance which set the tone of our thrilling night out at the forest bungalow.
Binsar used to be the summer capital of the Chand Kings during the early 11th to 18th centuries AD. It was lately declared as an eco-friendly conservation centre of broad-leafed Oak forest in 1988. Since then, with the sole intention of not to disturb the residing wildlife with artificial sounds and lights, electricity connections have not been strictly installed inside the sanctuary. There are a few solar panels used to lit up the rest house only during dinner time, that too just for couple of hours.
Rooms were very ordinary, neither spacious nor airy. Also, cleanliness was a concern for the ground floor rooms we were in. They were so soggy. However, the resort was just in the lap of mother nature and hence lodging shortcomings could be easily overlooked. There was nothing much to do in the room – no lights, no TV, no music, no electricity to charge batteries, no mobile networks. It was meant to purely enjoy the landscape around. However, the weather turned severely chilly as the winds started blowing in the afternoon.
Compared to the quality of rooms, the restaurant services were better here. In our entire trip, it was the only KMVN resort which offered buffet dinner as complimentary services. And the food tasted really yummy, especially the starters. Menu was not very wide, but the taste was worth appreciating. It was served hot and fresh right on the table. Enjoying steaming foods in an icy cold climate under low voltage solar lights was a different experience altogether.
We woke up very early the next morning. Tourists visiting Binsar were likely to enjoy the natural isolation of the place far from the bustling human inhabitations. It was also a trekker’s paradise. A narrow non-motorized rocky road disappeared among the towering Binsar greens tempting us for a lifetime nature walk at the dawning hours.
There is a popular local belief surrounding a particular species of moth available in Kumaon region; if any wish is prayed while it sits on a person’s palm, the wish gets divinely granted. Every Kumaoni child believes in the folklore, but with time as the harsh truths of life engulf their childhood, their beliefs too start waning.
The walking trail was not so steep like Birthi Falls and Chaukori Musk Deer Park. We went up to Zero Point – a flattened hilltop with resting chairs available along the cliff. Luckily it was a crystal-clear weather best for sighting a panoramic view of Kedarnath, Shivling, Trishul Parbat and Nanda Devi peaks.
It took us lesser time to come back to hotel. Breakfast was ready by the time we arrived. It consisted of a delectable palate of bread omelette and cut fruits served with refreshing Buransh followed by hot beverages. Weary of the tour fatigue, we preferred to take a lazy break for the rest of the day.