Destination: Bhimtal, Almora, Binsar
Duration: 2 nights, 3 days
Distance: Around 700 kms from Delhi
Experience: Nature and wildlife for family and groups
Budget: Approx INR 10,000 (per person)
Delhi to Binsar, via Haldwani and Bhimtal
There are several ways to travel to Binsar, an offbeat hill-station. A good number of trains are available from Delhi but nothing can beat the exhilaration of travelling by road through the beautiful mountains. Start early from Delhi so that you can cover as much distance as possible before the day's traffic picks up. You can reach Haldwani, the entry point to the Uttarakhand hills by 10.30 am, in time for breakfast. You can reach Bhimtal in an hour. Stop here for picturesque scenery and enjoy grand views of the lake. From Bhimtal, it's a memorable drive to Almora, through dense forests with the snow-capped Himalayas in the background. Even if you stop for photographs, you should be able to reach Almora in about 2 hours. From Almora, Binsar is about 20 kms away. Check into your accommodation and in the evening, go upto Kasar Devi. A small village situated on a hilltop, Kasar Devi offers stunning views of the valley. Explore the village with a quaint hippy vibe, visit the Kasar Devi temple, and enjoy the spectacular sunset. It is said that Kasar Devi has a unique positive energy and it has drawn thinkers and artists through the years. You can also hike to the village, if you want. But it will take you a day.
Bhimtal is about 400 km by road from Delhi and can be completed in about 9 hrs. Start as early as possible to avoid traffic congestions. The roads are beautiful.
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary and Almora
The next day, wake up with chirping birds and a brilliant sunrise. It's best to reach the gate of the sanctuary a little early so that you can catch the birds. If you are not staying inside the sanctuary, keep about 30 minutes in hand to reach its gate. The roads outside the sanctuary are also lined by dense forests and driving to the gate itself is a beautiful experience. You can park your car here and hire a vehicle for a safari. The drive from the gate into the forest is mesmerising. The road winds through forests of pine, oak, deodar and rhododendron, with birds raising an orchestra around you. Once you reach the KMVN Guesthouse inside, you can walk around the jungle trails. You will spot lots of deers and monkeys. But more than the animals, it's the experience of being close to nature that fills you with awe. Keep about 2 hours in hand to explore the sanctuary.
Once you return to your accommodation, you can explore Almora, which is around 20 kms away and takes about an hour to reach. Spend the rest of the day walking around Almora's markets and don't forget to try out the cafes in the popular tourist destination.
Binsar to Almora is around 20 km and the road offers stunning views of the lush valley, forests and the snow-clad peaks. Take your time and enjoy the drive.