As part of the Clay Travel Bloggers’ conference, we made the trip to Binsar(Uttarakhand), a beautiful, quiet and wild Himalayan destination with rich natural surroundings.

After convening to the Delhi airport from Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai we had to rush to the Sarai Rohilla railway station and had an interesting twist (read my account) along the way. We departed at around 10 PM to Kathgodam via the Ranikhet express, and arrived early in the morning at around 5 AM.From Kathgodam we made a short detour to Naukuchiatal (lake of nine corners, is perenially sourced by an underground spring), which is set amidst lush green surroundings, and is tranquil. Unlike Nainital, this place is devoid of too many tourists and makes for an ideal location to vacation.

A view of Naukuchiatal from the resort
A view of Naukuchiatal from the resort

After freshening up and breakfast, we continued to Binsar. The scenery along the way was equally breathtaking, and we stopped at a few places just to absorb the sights, sounds and smells of these wonderful locations.

After a 4 hour drive along the winding roads, we finally arrived at our destination, the beautiful Club Mahindra Valley Resort, Binsar. The room temperature was just right and it was quite a relief crashing into our beds, that felt like the lap of luxury.

View of the Club Mahindra

The next day, we traveled to the Jageshwar temples, which is around 60 kms from the resort, or about 35 kms from Almora town. The temples are beautiful in their architecture, and the surrounding trees add to the beauty. Sadly, the filth around the place (plastic garbage, wasted food) steals away some of the delight. Jageshwar is an ancient temple city, and was once the centre of Lakulish Shaivism, located in the Jataganga valley (at an altitude of around 1870 mts) near a Deodar forest. It is a group of temples with 124 temples, most of which are in ruin. There is no definite proof about the construction of Jageshwar group of temples, but these are stated to belong to the post-Gupta and pre-medieval era and are estimated to be over 2000 yrs old.

Jageshwar Temples
Jageshwar Temples

On the way back, about 10 minutes from Jageshwar, we stopped by the Dandeshwar temples, which unlike Jageshwar isn’t a pilgrim center and is sparsely populated with tourists (which is one of the reasons we found it more appealing). According to a stone tablet outside by the ASI, the Dandeshwar temple is one of the biggest and tallest of the Kumaon region built around the 8th Century by the Katyuri rules.

Dandeshwar Temple
Dandeshwar Temple

What’s so great about this place? Well, picture this, you see a magnificent, panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks

On Day 3, we left early in the morning for the Binsar wildlife sanctuary, and after trekking for nearly an hour uphill, we reached the famous zero point.

View of the Himalayan Peaks from the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
View of the Himalayan Peaks from the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary

Now what’s so great about this place? Well, picture this, you see a magnificent, panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks like Trishul, Nandadevi, Kedarnath etc stretching 300 km – a sight so breathtaking that you will
View of the Himalayan Peaks from the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary

be spellbound, even more if you haven’t seen the mountains.For us trigger happy folks, this was the perfect opportunity and we were shooting photos all the while. However, you need to reach the spot early in the morning to get a good, clear glimpse of the mountains before the clouds cast a curtain over those peaks. We were also warned about Leopards in the region (though the place is frequently visited by trekkers), so its always good to go out in groups and exercise some discretion.

Nainital
Nainital

On the day of the departure, we made a detour to Nainital to get a glimpse of the Naini lake, where the weather was close to 15 degree celcius, and gave us enough time to capture some captivating photos of the lake. Though Nainital is crowded and filthy, the drive up to the place is a sight for sore eyes!

With just a few minutes to spare, we arrived at the Kathgodam station, with a tinge of sadness having to leave this beautiful place and with memories that would linger.

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