It was an auto strike in Delhi the other day when I had gone out with bag and baggage to hit the hills for yet another weekend getaway. I managed to reach the Old Delhi Railway station just minutes before the train was about to leave. But all the running around and sweat was worth the try. As we were in for yet another hilly retreat! This time our trip was to Binsar, a bird sanctuary in Uttarakhand. It was a long weekend, thanks to Easter! And on the Good Friday morning, we were all set for the weekend, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We took a cab from Haldwani to Binsar and took the Almora route. Hills have always fascinated me for its mightiness and standstill attitude.
The road from Almora was amazing as we felt the chilled breeze and the dense forest ahead of us. The entire road inside the sanctuary is flanked by deodar and oak trees. We had to reach the KMVN lodge located in the midst of the sanctuary. And it is a good 20 Kms inside the sanctuary. The road itself gives a feeling of ‘being lost in the jungle’, as for the next half an hour we could only spot just another car! KMVN is situated right towards the end of the jungle and is a pretty white building with red roofs. We could already sees a beeline of cars standing outside it. But thanks to our local connection we could fetch ourselves a room for the night. KMVN provides only the basic things one needs. Two buckets of hot water in the morning. And hold on … there is no electricity during the day. Evenings are blessed with some lighting with the help of a solar powered generator that is switched on only till 9 pm. One has to take dinner before 9 pm and…… phew at 9 pm sharp the light goes off! Well of course there are candle lights to bank upon. But outside its pitch dark. It gives a eerie feeling but that’s the real fun! Pitch darkness in the middle of jungle, that’s called real adventure.
However, we didn’t had the courage to venture out after dark because the place is said to have some leopards. Though we didn’t spot any leopards even when we took a jungle trek during the day with our pahari guide. The guide has worked in the place for more than 10 years and he narrated stories of the jungle, the leopards, and the man-eaters. The trek was fun filled as we trailed through the thick forest traversing the deodars and the oaks and up and down the hills. But what we were most disappointed about was the fact that we could not even spot a single barking deer or any birds, leave alone the leopards. All we were shown were the footprints of a leopard and told that it had just crossed the place. Well we had no other option but to believe him, even though we didn’t. Because stories of ‘made-up’ footprints of leopards and tigers are famous in sanctuaries and national parks! We seriously are in dearth of real wildlife!
A walk to the forest guest house at the end of the jungle is good for a view of the sunset. We went there to have some tea, though came back before sunset. Then there is Zero Point which is about 600 meters from KMVN and gives a good view of the mountains. And yes I can’t miss out on the Langurs that dot the place—the only wildlife we could spot. There are plenty of them jumping around from one tree to another and are a quite a chilled out lot, though are a little camera shy!
Our stay in Binsar was very peaceful and quiet in the true sense of the term, except for the fact that the entire lodge was packed with people, especially from Delhi. It is a good pace for just lazing around and to get some good view of the mountains, especially in the early morning. The ranges behind the KMVN lodge is breathtaking and if you have got an DSLR, there is nothing better than to go click click click…! The food in the lodge is plain and simple, the rooms are clean with the basic facilities. Do not expect to get a luxurious treat there. Though the staff is very polite and friendly, in the true pahari style.
Also make sure that you carry snacks and other eatables as there are no shops within the sanctuary. The best place to shop for eatables in on the way to Binsar in Almora. The place is good for a one day and one night stay. The tariffs in KMVN starts at INR 1700 per night which is inclusive of bed tea, breakfast and dinner. You have to pay extra for your lunch. There is an entry fee of INR 150 per person in the sanctuary and INR 250 for a vehicle, which we thought were a little high, give the fact there is no fauna that we could spot. Flora of the place was breathtaking, especially rhodendrum flower dotting the place.
This place is ideal for people who wants to enjoy quietness and solitude in the lap of nature. Long walks and trekking are the activities that one can look forward to. However, do not expect to see much wildlife out there, you would be disappointed…. if wildlife is not on your agenda and it’s solitude that you are looking forward to …. then you shall definitely get going …. 🙂