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Situated in the Kumaon region of Himalayas, Binsar trek is a rare combination of a thrilling and adventurous yet relaxing break from a busy life. It is a much sought out destination for a weekend adrenaline push as the trail traverses through the Binsar wildlife sanctuary giving us an experience of witnessing rare wildlife species, to Dhaulchhina, a small village giving us a view of almost the entire state of Uttarakhand. The trail further takes us through Kumaon hamlets, and all the way to Jageshwar, from where we will drive back to Kathgodam. This weekend getaway not only pushes our physical stamina boundaries but also lets us soak up the beauty of the Himalayan flora and fauna, all in the most minimal time leaving us with refreshing and mesmerizing memories. This certainly can be called a trekker’s paradise.
Binsar wildlife sanctuary
Formerly a summer capital of the Chand kings who ruled over Binsar, the sanctuary was established for the conservation and protection of broadleaf oak forests of the central Himalayan region. It has now grown to conserve and protect over 200 bird species. The sanctuary along with being abundantly rich with flora and fauna is located on top of the Jhandi Dar hills in the Himalayas, spreads over 45 km, and with its high altitudes gives us the most scenic view of the Himalayan peaks like Kedarkantha, Nandadevi, Trishul from a place called ‘zero points’.
The sanctuary houses 25 types of trees, 24 types of bushes, and several types of grass. The higher we ascend, the more oak and rhododendron trees we can spot. The sanctuary is home to animal species like leopards, musk deer, red fox, Himalayan gorals, black bears, and Indian muntjac to name a few. If you are a bird enthusiast, this is the place to be as over 200 species of bird that includes forktail, parakeets, magpies, laughing thrush can be spotted.
Day 01 - Arrive in Delhi, and travel overnight in the train to reach Kathgodam. Approximately an 8-hour journey.
Day 02 - Arrival at Kathgodam and pickup from the place early in the morning - drive to Almora, a small village town, approximately a 3 hours journey by road. Trekking and exploring in and around Almora. Stay overnight in Almora base camp.
Day 03 - Travel from Almora to Dhauchhina and Jawalbanj roughly a 2 hours journey, via the Binsar wildlife sanctuary. Later on, an 8 km trek, summing upto 4 hours, to Jageshwar temple. From where we will drive back to Kathgodam, a 3-4 hours journey.
Day 01 - On arrival to Delhi, one has an option to reach Kathgodam by either rail or road. On rail, it is an overnight journey and a drive down the road takes up 6 hours for a distance of approximately 300 kms.
Day 02 - After a 3 hours drive to reach Almora, this, as the base camp, we trek to explore this beautiful small village town all the way till Kasar Devi temple, which will be an 8 km trek. Almora is a truly Indian hill station with temples and old bazaars. The trekking trail to Kasar Devi temple starts from near the Almora bus station.
The trail is very commonly used by the villagers to commute from one village to another, and hence it does not branch out in different directions to cause confusion. The path being straight-forward leads us into a forest, and within no time, gigantic trees of oak, pine a deodar on both sides welcome us into their serene surroundings and never seem to leave us throughout the journey of our trek.
Spellbound in the engulfed warmth of the forest, as we proceed higher up the ascend we start to witness migratory birds chirping and flying above our heads. On reaching the top, we can view a panorama of the Himalayan ranges and peaks kissing the sky with the slight warmth of sun hitting our face, it is the most refreshed feeling anyone could ever experience. Standing at an altitude of 6300 feet, the view sure makes our legs tremble taking our breath away. After spending a brief amount of time, we revert back to the base camp to spend the rest of our night under the gleaming light of the stars.
Day 03 - We are going to be on the road driving from Almora to Dhaulchhina and Jawalbanj. Our main itinerary for today is the Binsar wildlife sanctuary on the way to our destination. The fee to enter the sanctuary is 150/- per person, and 250/- for each car taken inside. Located at the top, this wildlife sanctuary serves as giving us one of the best views of the Himalayan ranges. A certain point called ‘zero point’ in the sanctuary, a 2 km walk from the parking space lets us soak up the out-standing view of peaks like Kedarkantha, Trishul, Nanda Devi, Panchchuli, etc.
Further continuing to trek, a tiny shop 500 mts into the walk appears to be the only point serving food and water, and is also an identification point for the trekkers. Easy ascends and descends through thick forests, Himalayan hamlets, and making our way through lush green blankets, flora and fauna, we reach Jawalbanj after a 4 hours. Overnight stay at Jawalbanj. The next morning we drive back to Kathgodam, and back our own lives.
By Road: One can catch a bus to Binsar from Delhi, 8 hrs 30 mins journey. Direct buses are not available to Binsar or Kathgodam, and all are via Nainital, and one can catch a cab from there, which will take 2 hours.
By Train: The nearest railway station is Kathgodam which is 105 kms from Binsar. The government provides two trains from Delhi to Kathgodam daily.
By Air: The nearest local airport is Pantnagar, Uttarakhand. One can catch a cab to reach Kathgodam which takes 50 mins on road, and takes 5 hours to reach Binsar by road.
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