Looking to introduce your child to an adventure sport? Or looking for an off-beat location for a family vacation? How about a scenic, easy trek in the Himalayas?
This trek through Binsar wildlife sanctuary in Kumaon in Uttarakhand is a wonderful option. While it is a simple one that any reasonably-fit person can undertake, it lets one experience local culture and learn about the flora and fauna of the lower Himalayas besides enjoying breathtaking views of snow-clad mountains.
Nestled in the lower Himalayan region of Kumaon, this pristine forest sanctuary is a haven for nature lovers. The panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks, the bio-diversity of the place, the local culture and history of the place are sure to enthrall you. What's more – the place is easily accessible. Binsar is about 31 km away from the nearest town, Almora. The trek begins at Binsar TRH and we will wind our way through to Jageshwar, making stops at Gaunap, Dhaulchhina and Shaukyathal villages en route. You will stay in idyllic home-stays at Gaunap and Shaukyathal which gives you an opportunity to get a taste of the local culture and an opportunity to mingle with the Kumaoni village folk.
After breakfast, drive to Binsar TRH. It should take about 5 hours to reach the destination. Gentle 3 Km downhill trek to Idyllic Haven, Gaunap. Tea and dinner. Evening – bonfire.
Village tour, temple visit in the morning to catch the sunrise. Some birdwatching and other activities. In the afternoon, a nature walk and (if it's the season) get your hands dirty helping the village folk in their organic farmlands. Evening – bonfire
8.5 km trek to Dhaulchhina. Trail passes through beautiful patches of mixed forests and pine forests. Stay at a guesthouse with a beautiful view of the Siwalik ranges. Towards evening, trek to Anandmayee ashram, a serene place which is also a wonderful view point and a good place for birdwatching.
Easy 9 km trek on an almost-flat trail to Shaukyathal near Vriddh Jageshwar. The trail mostly passes through a pine forest, except the last half hour where it's through a lovely broad-leaf forest. In the evening trek to Chandidhar view point from which one can see all the places covered in this trek.
After breakfast, a trek to Vridh Jageshwar temple, 1.5 km along a metal road. Then a gentle 3km downhill trek through a pine forest. Those interested can visit Jageshwar – an interesting cluster of temples of archaeological and religious significance.
Long 6 hour drive to Kathgodam, from where it's time to say goodbye and catch a train or bus back to Delhi and onward to your city
Accommodation in home-stays, tents or guest houses.
• Breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea.
• Taxi fare, wherever travel by road is required. Travel by Mahindra Maxx or equivalent.
• Sleeping bags, mats or rugs.
• Ponies/porters for personal luggage (1 backpack per person – max 12kg) and common luggage (tents, sleeping bags etc.)
• All meals included in the package are vegetarian. In some places it should be possible to get eggs and non-veg at an extra cost.
Things To Carry
• Carry snacks such as energy bars, biscuits, hard-boiled sweets and Electral or Electrobion for oral re-hydration.
• Water is safe to drink in these places but you may want to carry some chlorine tablets for purification (available in medical stores) or personal purifier bottles.
• BSNL and Idea mobile signals are easily available in this area but not the others.
• Gaunap is not connected by the grid. We will have to manage with solar lamps. There are only one or two mobile charging points.
• Temperatures are likely to drop down to 5 deg C at night. Please carry appropriate warm clothing.