For us it’s always been a great attraction to head for the hills during monsoons. We are drawn towards the emerald covered mountains like honeybees towards flowers. It’s our affair with the hills. So when an opportunity presented itself to go to Binsar, UK (UttaraKhand), we could not resist.
Some places grow on you and Binsar was one of them for me. Binsar is a picturesque hill station, surrounded by a national park of the same name. At just about 100 KM from Nainital, and perched at an altitude of 2500M it presents itself as a scenic hill station. It is less crowded since it is not as much commercialized as some of its neighbours. On a clear day, it is said that, it offers an unhindered view of some the Himalayan greats like, Mt Trishul, Mt. Nanda Devi, Mt Shivling and such.
We reached Binsar in the evening after negotiating tortuous roads, landslides and some heavy sheets of rains reducing the visibility to a mere few metres. There was nothing more to do than to soak in the lush green surroundings over some hot tea and pakoras, make plans for the morrow and enjoy the rains.
First thing on the following morning was to be a trek. We had a leisurely and lavish breakfast, made more leisurely by incessant rains. Trek was not possible and then we decided to go for a session of Spa for some local pahari massage.
The morning gave into the day which in turn gave way to the evening and we decided to camp out the night. In a clearing a few 100 metres above the resort, we had a few tents set up and got the campfire going. Just then it started drizzling. The resort fellows were upto the challenge constantly keeping the fire going while we snuggled into one of the tents.
With wine and beer flowing in and all of us exchanging our travel accounts, incidents and horror stories, it poured in between. The night will linger for long in my memories.
However, after dinner the heavy rains picked up and we decided to head back to the resort, amidst stories how one person had seen a leopard in the neighbourhood. How we wished we could have stayed there all night!
Following morning was reasonably clear with some drizzles on and off and we went on a curtailed trek to the river below in the valley. While it was not too difficult in terms of gradient and distance, the ceaseless rains had made the stony trail a bit slippery. The gentle ups and downs of trail among the fresh greenery was invigorating to say the least. We took the easy trail because of the weather. According to the guide there are many hiking options in and around Binsar that one can choose if one is so inclined.
On one of the days it was visit to the famous Jageshwar temple complex. The temples are situated about 50 KM from Binsar and just two hours away. They are very old, built over 1000 years back. We were astounded at the beautiful temples and that, we had not heard of these temples before. I call it a complex since there are about 125 large and small temples and 108 shivalingas in the premises.
Out of these, the big Mrityunjay is said to be one of its kind in the world due to the presence of an eye on the ShivaLinga attracted me the most. There is one dedicated to Jageshwar Mahadev, which is also quite big.
We saw newly married couples making rounds of these temples and pray for their happiness and prosperity. One can also witness the month long monsoon festivals that start from mid-July which we missed. There is also another temple complex equally old on way to Jageshwar; however, for want of time we had to skip it.
It was more important to go to a temple named the Bell Temple. Well, the name of the temple is Golu Devta, an important god in the Kumaon region, but it is popularly called Bell temple because there are thousands of bells of all sizes found in every conceivable place by the devotees. And yes, there are monkeys too!
It is said if you tie the bell, pray, wish and it will be fulfilled. As simple as that! Once it is fulfilled the devotee is expected to return and untie one of the bells. I am sure originally it would been to untie his or her bell but it is next to impossible to find that particular bell here!
Here too, newlyweds come to pray for their happy married life. In fact a wedding party of 50 people were inside. Once they came out, there was all song, dance and posing for the cameras. Actually! We took part in their happy occasion and the parents of the groom would not let us go without dancing a couple of steps with the bride. 🙂
There are so many other things to do in these parts like a trek to Binsar Zero Point from where one can have a panoramic view of the Himalayas, Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Binsar Sanctuary Museum and many, many temples. The rains, however, while bringing respite from the heat of the plains also played the spoil sport and we could not visit these gems.
Note: This trip was made possible because of Club Mahindra, Binsar Valley.
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