Binsar is a wildlife sanctuary in Uttarakhand near Almora. Binsar is home to the endangered broad leaf oak forests and has more than 200 species of birds. Unlike the usually crowded hill stations of North India, Binsar is refreshingly not yet commercialized and makes a good summer vacation destination.
Binsar is in the Kumaon region of Uttrakhand and is located 33 KMs north of the city of Almora.
The most convenient way to reach Binsar is to take the Shatabdi Express from Anand Vihar Terminus in Delhi and alight at Kathgodam station. A taxi from Kathgodam will take you to Binsar in 4.5 hours. There are numerous taxi services just outside the Kathgodam station. If you prefer to hire in advance then Pankaj is a reliable driver based out of Nainital who can be contacted at 09410732371.
Club Mahindra is a lovely place to stay, albeit a little on the expensive side. Tourist Rest house run by the Kumaon Vikas Mandal is the best value for money. We had stayed here and had a great time. The best part about KMVN rest house is that it is located right in the middle of the forest reserve. Note that there is no power in Binsar and so KMVN provides electricity from a Genset only between 6-9pm! There are candles provided for the rest of the night making it a romantic affair!
Binsar witnesses severe winters from Nov-Feb. The best time to visit Binsar is during the summer months of Apr, May & June.
The Best thing about Binsar is that unlike the usual hill stations of Himalayas, there are no crowds, no Mall road and not even electricity! Binsar is best explored on foot through a walk into the woods.
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is a pristine forest of pine, oak and rhododendron trees. It is home to more than 200 species of birds and few animals like the Himalayan Bear, Fox, Flying Squirrel, Chital, Porcupine and Musk Deer. Some of the birds that can be spotted here are Blackbirds, Laughing Thrush, Parakeet, Monal, Woodpecker, Eurasian Jay and Khalij Pheasant.
Zero Point, Binsar is the best place to head for a spectacular view of the Himalayas. On a clear day, one can see the Himalayan peaks of Kedarnath, Trishul and Nandadevi.
Kasardevi Temple was made famous by Swami Vivekananda who meditated here in 1820. During the 70s and 80s, it was the home of a Dutch monk.
Golu Devta Temple is the local deity of Binsar who is a form of Lord Shiva. Golu Devta is supposed to dispense justice to all his devotees. After receiving justice, devotees offer bells and sacrifice animals at the Golu Devta Temple!
Katarmal Temple is one of the rare Sun temples of India. Build 800 years ago, Lord Surya is seen holding the sun dials in his hand.
For travelogue on other hill stations, please click Great Hill Station ideas.