30 Kms from Almora, away from the crowded hill station, is the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, which is part of the Corbett National Park. The sanctuary is reputed to be home to over 300 species of birds, and is, therefore a haven for bird watchers and nature lovers. We recently made a visit to this beautiful part of Uttarakhand, and came away enraptured with the place….. Come along with me as I visit Binsar and around…..
Binsar is about 100 Kms from Kathgodam, which is the nearest railway station. We arrived at Kathgodam and took a cab to our resort, winding along the twisting and turning mountain roads. The journey to Binsar valley resort took us more than 4 hours, and the resort was a welcome sight, nestled among the mountains, just off the road, but out of sight till the last turn! Cottages set apart by lots and lots of trees made for a fantastic and soothing atmosphere, something we appreciated after two whole days of travel!
Even more spectacular were the log huts where we stayed, perched atop the opposite side of the mountain, approachable only by a narrow road where only the resort jeeps were allowed to ply.
The wonderful views and the silence were worth the hectic travel to get here!
An added bonus were the birds we spotted, without having to move from the comfort of our room – bulbuls by the dozens, chattering away all day long, drongoes flying in and out of the trees, a lone plum headed parakeet which decided to wake us up early the very first morning, and a hoopoe pecking away at the grass – these were just a few of the winged visitors to our temporary home!
A short walk to the valley behind the resort took us along some villages and to a stream flowing silently, a natural setting for the birds this valley is famous for. We saw flocks of red billed blue magpies, oriental white-eyes, babblers, spotted doves, and many other birds, not to mention a variety of trees such as apple, walnut and the rhododendron.
The Rhododendron is the most prominent tree in this area, and its red flowers were seen everywhere. This flower is not just decorative, but is renowned for its curative powers – its juice is said to cure asthma and is reputed to be good for the heart too!
A visit to the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary was something we all looked forward to, and we opted for the simplest option available of driving till the KMVN guest house and then trekking to Zero Point, the highest point in the sanctuary. Summer having arrived, the paths inside the sanctuary were covered with fallen leaves, and it was a pleasant trek. While we just managed to glimpse a herd of barking deer, and did see a few birds, the majority of the fauna of the sanctuary gave us a miss…… To really enjoy this sanctuary, one must stay at one of the resorts within the sanctuary itself.
This wondrous sight met us as we stepped on the platform constructed at Zero Point – a panoramic view of the Himalayas, a view my camera does no justice to. It is a sight to be seen with ones own eyes…
Having finished with the natural wonders of Binsar, we decided to explore some of the places around, which I will share with you in Part 2