The Time-Turner Series || The Binsar Experience



It's the rainy season and rains somehow always remind me of how green the mountains can be at this time. I was enjoying the rains last week when memories of Binsar came flooding back in. I recognized this as a sign that it is time to write a time-turner post about the hill station. More so because of the bittersweet experience there.
Papa, bro, and chachaji admiring the snow-covered peaks from the terrace
It's the rainy season and rains somehow always remind me of how green the mountains can be at this time. I was enjoying the rains last week when memories of Binsar came flooding back in. I recognized this as a sign that it is time to write a time-turner post about the hill station. More so because of the bittersweet experience there. 

Papa had just recovered from a terrible illness, and we wanted to take him on a vacation for a much-needed change. We zeroed in on Binsar and I was the one making the bookings and organizing the trip. I was looking for a peaceful yet exciting place that all of us, including my 75-year-old father and my 8-year-old nephew could enjoy equally. Somehow, a government guest house smack in the middle of Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary sounded like a good idea. I checked with the authorities and it seemed that senior citizens have easy access to the terrace from where one can watch snow-covered mountain peaks. The sanctuary is also at a driving distance from places to see such as Jageshwar Jyotirling and Painted Rock Shelter Lakhudiyar near Almora.
Nishu at the entrance of the guest house
Papa had just recovered from a terrible illness, and we wanted to take him on a vacation for a much-needed change. We zeroed in on Binsar and I was the one making the bookings and organizing the trip. I was looking for a peaceful yet exciting place that all of us, including my 75-year-old father and my 8-year-old nephew could enjoy equally. Somehow, a government guest house smack in the middle of Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary sounded like a good idea. I checked with the authorities and it seemed that senior citizens have easy access to the terrace from where one can watch snow-covered mountain peaks. The sanctuary is also at a driving distance from places to see such as Jageshwar Jyotirling and Painted Rock Shelter Lakhudiyar near Almora. 

You may also want to check out - "The Time-Turner Series - Corbett Adventures"

Like our usual family trips, we booked a tempo traveler and started from Delhi at 1AM in the morning. My first lingering memory of the trip was our brief halt at Bhimtal, where we had breakfast. The lake looked beautiful and serene and after about six hours of drive, was the perfect break. We walked around a bit, had our breakfast and continued on. Three of us, my sister, my nephew, and myself, are prone to mountain sickness. We had all taken preventive medication, and thankfully, we were comfortable though it was a long drive to the guest house. We entered the wildlife sanctuary at around 10am and the road from there became bad. Apparently repairs were going on.
Taking a break at Bhimtal
Like our usual family trips, we booked a tempo traveler and started from Delhi at 1AM in the morning. My first lingering memory of the trip was our brief halt at Bhimtal, where we had breakfast. The lake looked beautiful and serene and after about six hours of drive, was the perfect break. We walked around a bit, had our breakfast and continued on. Three of us, my sister, my nephew, and myself, are prone to mountain sickness. We had all taken preventive medication, and thankfully, we were comfortable though it was a long drive to the guest house. We entered the wildlife sanctuary at around 10am and the road from there became bad. Apparently repairs were going on. 



On the final turn for the guest house, our tempo traveler got stuck in the wet mud. Upon pressing the accelerator, the vehicle was swerving left and right. After trying for a bit, we sensed that it was too risky and decided to walk the rest of the distance. I called the guest house and found out that it was about half-a-kilometer away. I requested for a car for our parents and they sent one. This was a huge relief. We sent help for the driver from the resort. The experts rescued the traveler in no time.
View from the Sunset Point
On the final turn for the guest house, our tempo traveler got stuck in the wet mud. Upon pressing the accelerator, the vehicle was swerving left and right. After trying for a bit, we sensed that it was too risky and decided to walk the rest of the distance. I called the guest house and found out that it was about half-a-kilometer away. I requested for a car for our parents and they sent one. This was a huge relief. We sent help for the driver from the resort. The experts rescued the traveler in no time. 

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I remember being slightly disappointed by the rooms. Though I knew that the rooms hardly offered any views, I wasn't prepared for the cramped damp rooms. Moreover, the terrace was shrouded in dense clouds so there was no point taking papa there. It being a wildlife sanctuary, there was no television and no electricity because the generator had broken down. I realized quickly that there wasn't much to do in the guest house. We usually carry games that we can play together, but no room was big enough to fit all of us. The first day was quite dull in this regard.
Enjoying the sun on the terrace
I remember being slightly disappointed by the rooms. Though I knew that the rooms hardly offered any views, I wasn't prepared for the cramped damp rooms. Moreover, the terrace was shrouded in dense clouds so there was no point taking papa there. It being a wildlife sanctuary, there was no television and no electricity because the generator had broken down. I realized quickly that there wasn't much to do in the guest house. We usually carry games that we can play together, but no room was big enough to fit all of us. The first day was quite dull in this regard.

You may also want to check out - "Birding opportunities around Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary"



The only respite from the monotony was a short walk through the jungle to the sunset point. It was a great walk and the sunset was spectacular. We sat at the sunset point, enjoying the calls of various birds. At the back of our mind was the realization that this is a wildlife sanctuary and leopard sightings aren't too rare here; the sun is setting, and it is going to get dark soon. But that was a part of the excitement.
Ancient Rock Paintings at Lakhudiyar

The only respite from the monotony was a short walk through the jungle to the sunset point. It was a great walk and the sunset was spectacular. We sat at the sunset point, enjoying the calls of various birds. At the back of our mind was the realization that this is a wildlife sanctuary and leopard sightings aren't too rare here; the sun is setting, and it is going to get dark soon. But that was a part of the excitement.

You may also want to check out - "Early-Morning and evening walking terrains around Binsar"

The next morning things started looking up. The sun was up early and though the clouds kept drifting, the snow-covered peaks made a splendid appearance. Papa was happy, and so were all of us. It was really cold, and hot water was only available for a few hours, which was being heated manually (because no electricity). The hotel staff were delivering the water in buckets to the rooms. Somehow, we all managed to take bath. Breakfast was simple but tasty.
Jageshwar Temples

The next morning things started looking up. The sun was up early and though the clouds kept drifting, the snow-covered peaks made a splendid appearance. Papa was happy, and so were all of us. It was really cold, and hot water was only available for a few hours, which was being heated manually (because no electricity). The hotel staff were delivering the water in buckets to the rooms. Somehow, we all managed to take bath. Breakfast was simple but tasty. 

You may also want to check out - "Rock Paintings of ancient times in Almora region"

The day involved sightseeing. Of all the places we visited,  I still remember Jageshwar and the Rock paintings. Papa was able to see Jageshwar, though he wasn't able to see the paintings as reaching them required a short hike. Jageshwar temples are beautiful, however, the complex is plagued by people who want to extort money at some pretext or the other. As expected, there is a not-so-clean small market near the complex and the only respite from the commercialization was the deodar forest on one side of the complex.
Deodar forest next to Jageshwar Complex
The day involved sightseeing. Of all the places we visited,  I still remember Jageshwar and the Rock paintings. Papa was able to see Jageshwar, though he wasn't able to see the paintings as reaching them required a short hike. Jageshwar temples are beautiful, however, the complex is plagued by people who want to extort money at some pretext or the other. As expected, there is a not-so-clean small market near the complex and the only respite from the commercialization was the deodar forest on one side of the complex. 

Anyways, we returned to the complex in the evening and magically enough the electricity was back and we were able to charge our phones and cameras. Because of the exhaustion, we turned in early. We had plans of getting up really early in the morning and going for a walk to the zero point. Seven of us managed to get up early enough to see our plans through. And it was worth it. With a chance of a sighting at every turn, and tiny colorful birds flitting around to keep us company, we wished we had unlimited time on our hands. Unbeknown to us, apart from the birds, we had other company too. I was walking a little faster and was at least 100 mts ahead of the others. I turned a corner and came face to face with a full-grown barking deer. We stared at each other for a couple of seconds. And by the time I lifted my phone and brought up the camera, the deer darted for cover and soon vanished in the thick jungle. By then the others had caught up with me. None of them had got to see the deer. I felt blessed. The jungle had been kind to me. However, I desperately wanted the deer to make another appearance so that the others could see it too. It was a beautiful animal. But that was not to be.
Eurasian Jay in Binsar Wildlife Sancuary



Anyways, we returned to the complex in the evening and magically enough the electricity was back and we were able to charge our phones and cameras. Because of the exhaustion, we turned in early. We had plans of getting up really early in the morning and going for a walk to the zero point. Seven of us managed to get up early enough to see our plans through. And it was worth it. With a chance of a sighting at every turn, and tiny colorful birds flitting around to keep us company, we wished we had unlimited time on our hands. Unbeknown to us, apart from the birds, we had other company too. I was walking a little faster and was at least 100 mts ahead of the others. I turned a corner and came face to face with a full-grown barking deer. We stared at each other for a couple of seconds. And by the time I lifted my phone and brought up the camera, the deer darted for cover and soon vanished in the thick jungle. By then the others had caught up with me. None of them had got to see the deer. I felt blessed. The jungle had been kind to me. However, I desperately wanted the deer to make another appearance so that the others could see it too. It was a beautiful animal. But that was not to be.

We started back from Binsar after breakfast. The journey back was eventful too. The road was blocked because of the construction and some of us started walking down instead. We walked about two kilometers collecting pine cones and watching out for any signs of wild-life. It was a beautiful morning and this could have been the perfect conclusion. However, the journey back was ruined by severe bouts of mountain sickness. My sister and I felt nauseated, and my nephew actually threw up a couple of times. Those who do not experience mountain sickness can never understand how terrible it feels. I wish all of us could be rid of this nuisance.
The Shalhotra Clan at Binsar


We started back from Binsar after breakfast. The journey back was eventful too. The road was blocked because of the construction and some of us started walking down instead. We walked about two kilometers collecting pine cones and watching out for any signs of wild-life. It was a beautiful morning and this could have been the perfect conclusion. However, the journey back was ruined by severe bouts of mountain sickness. My sister and I felt nauseated, and my nephew actually threw up a couple of times. Those who do not experience mountain sickness can never understand how terrible it feels. I wish all of us could be rid of this nuisance.

 The lingering memories of the trip, however, are mostly pleasant and if you enjoy solitude and tranquility, I would recommend that you visit the wildlife sanctuary and stay there for at least a couple of days. Go for treks, walks and safaris. There's not much to do here, and yet there's so much to do. It depends upon what you are looking for.
Beautiful Trail to Zero-Point
 The lingering memories of the trip, however, are mostly pleasant and if you enjoy solitude and tranquility, I would recommend that you visit the wildlife sanctuary and stay there for at least a couple of days. Go for treks, walks and safaris. There's not much to do here, and yet there's so much to do. It depends upon what you are looking for. 

Comments

rupam sarma said…
Loved to read your post. Beautiful pics.
Greetings :)
Vibha Malhotra said…
Thank you Rupam. Greetings to you too. :)

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