Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Himalayas on top of the Jhandi Dhar hills. It is about 33 km north of the Almora town in Uttarakhand, India. From a place called Zero Point in Binsar one can see the Himalayan peaks like Kedarnath Peak, Shivling, Trisul and Nanda Devi.
Christmas of 2010: We planned road trip to Binsar. Binsar is a relatively offbeat destination in Uttarakhand, India. Being a protected zone and no commercial construction, this pristine piece of land is a must visit. We planned this in winter to enjoy clear views of the awesome mountains. Binsar is the highest point in the lower Kumaon Hills. From the view point one can see peaks from Bandarpoonch and Swargarohini in Yamuna Watershed region in North West to peaks in east in Nepal. The majestic and the highest peak of NandaDevi is bright and tall in the center of horizon.
Day 1: December 23, 2010 we have booked the Ranikhet Express from Old Delhi Railway station till Kathgodam. This is a very convenient mode of travel for any visit to Kumaon. The train was on time and soon we went to sleep.
Day 2: December 24, 2010 we reached Kathgodam which lies just below the hills at 5:30 AM in the morning. We reached the beautiful station and after little refreshment, we booked a taxi till Almora. The taxi cost us Rs 1200. The journey in the hills started at 6 AM.
The journey was very rough and tough due to extremely bad roads. This season monsoon was extreme in Kumaon and hence almost all roads are washed away. Work was on progress to restore the connectivity. After an hour we could see the distant peaks in the horizon.
After almost 3 hours we reached the town of Almora. From here Binsar is only 30 minutes. After about 10 kms from here the road takes a right turn upside to the hill and we left the National Highway. The ride was smooth here on. Our destination is the KMVN resort at top of the hill. There are several resorts below the hill which are all privately owned. But none of them compare to the location of the KMVN resort. We reached the top and the resort was there basking in the sun. Sadly none of the peaks are visible as all are behind the clouds. This is a very common phenomenon in the hills. The views are very clear during early morning and the clouds come up during noon.
We decided to have lunch and then rest on the huge terrace of the resort. We sipped innumerable cups of hot tea and enjoyed the hot pakodas while basking the sun. The views never cleared up till sunset. We saw few distant peaks but nothing showed up clearly. But the overall views were good and the sun made our day.
We moved into the resort after dark and then had our hot dinner. The power is present in the resort only for 2 hours after sunset and we had nothing to do. So we went to sleep because we have to wake up early for the sunrise views.
Day 3: December 25, 2010 what better Christmas present can we ask for. We were first to reach the huge terrace and wait for the sunrise. The views are crystal clear and all the peaks are looking so close. We set up the tripod and waited for the rays to hit the peaks.
Suddenly a feather cloud appeared above the peak of Nandadevi and the sun rays hit it. It looked so magical. The clouds have taken the shape of the peak. So the rays hit the top of Nandadevi first and then all the peaks. The riot of colors started and we kept on clicking. In the meantime the terrace was full of people enjoying the spectacle.
We had our breakfast and decided to hike to the top of the hill for more views. It took us half an hour to reach the top. Now the mountain in the northern side which includes Gangnotri Range and Chowkhamba was visible. We clicked several shots and then moved back to the resort.
After lunch we hit the terrace again and just chilled under the beautiful winter sun. The views are clear today. We clicked shots at intervals.
During evening the weather God was with us and the views remained spectacularly clear. The sunset on the peaks looked magical. The Panchachuli Peaks looked like mountains on fire. After innumerable shots we were still not satisfied. Hoped for better and more beautiful shots the next morning we went to sleep.
Day 4: December 26, 2010 we again hit the terrace early morning and clicked some shots and enjoyed the natural spectacle. After breakfast we decided to head back to Kathodam to catch the train. The ride was equally bad but vistas made our trip. We reached Kathgodam and caught our train back to Delhi.