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Uttarakhand: A Tourist's Guide to Almora, Binsar and Jageshwar
Almora, Binsar and Jageshwar :
How to Reach: Almora is 63 kilometers from Nainital, via Garampani of Bhawali and takes about 3 hours. The beauty is rustic, and it is not as modern a place as Nainital or Ranikhet. Nearest Railhead is Kathgudam at 90 kilometers. It takes about 3.5 hours by bus via Kherana. It is also well connected by bus to Kaushani and ranikhet, both of which takes about 2.5 hours.
When to visit: You can visit all the year round, as neither the winters, nor the summers are extreme. The highest temperatures in summers can be upto 30 degrees Celsius, while the lowest in winters can go down to 4 degrees Celsius.
Where to eat: Try Glory restaurant near the bus stand, or Madras Cafe opposite to it. Definitely taste the local sweetmeats.
What to buy: Not much shopping to do, but you can check out the market at mal or the 200 years old market called Lal bazar. You can collect woolens or Khadi clothes at Gandhi Ashram, or Tamta, copper wrapped in silver, as a momento.
The Beauty of Almora:
Almora is situated on a ridge, at a height of 1646 meters. It is surrounded by mountain peaks. Each of these peaks have a temple on top of them, which has magnified the beauty of the place. Entire Almora is shaded in coniferous trees like Deodar and Pine.
Do not miss the beautiful sun rises here, standing on the ridge. The entire Himalayas lights up and welcomes you in shades of gold and orange. It is a place to take rest, to inhale the calmness. The atmosphere here is particularly suited for people with ailments of the lungs. The water helps in fixing digestive system problems. You will return a healthy lot, if you spend some days here, though most choose to keep it as a transit point.
What to visit: Check out the Govinda Ballav Panth State Museum, open all all days except Mondays from 10am to 4 pm. Also check out the Tagore house at cantonment. Other attractions are:
Sri Ram Krishna Mission Ashram
Brightened Corner View Point, near the ashram. Remember to reserve a few hours for this view point as the Himalayas will unfold to you at 180 degrees, and will change colors every now and then. It will be a memory to cherish.
The Patal Devi temple: Deities are Shiva Parvati.
Maa Anandamayee's Ashram, situated opposite to the temple.
Udot Chandaneshwar temple, situated nearby.
Simitola: Situated 3.5 kilometers away, it is a lovely picnic spot. There is a open air theater too here, at its pine ridge.
Kalimath: 1.6 kilometers from Simitola, the soil is black here, earning the name. It is known for its rustic Himalayan beauty.
Deer park, Sihi Devi, Bandini Devi and Binsar view, all at a distance of 3 kilometers from Mal.
Kasar or Katyani Devi temple: A place that Swami Vivekananda frequented, it is situated at a distance of 7 kilometers from Almora.
Where to Stay:Many hotels are here, try our hotel booking links below.
Binsar: About 30 kilometers from Almora, at a height of 2412 meters, is Binsar. It used to be the summer retreat of the Maharajas of Chand.
It is a truly beautiful place, unspoilt by civilization, and covered is green foliage of Oak, Pine and Rhododendron. Peaks like Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Trishul, Panchachuli, Miraghunti, Devidarshan, Nanda devi, Nandaghunti are all clearly visible from Binsar, on a clear day. The span of Himalayas visible from here is an astounding 340 kilometers! The sunlight on the snow covered mountains take beauty to a level that cannot be explained and can only be experienced. Take a small trek of 2 kilometers to zero point to check the Sunset between two mountain peaks, its the best attraction of Binsar. Numerous birds chirping, with presence of a wide variety of wild flowers will add to the ambiance.
Take a walk to the higher side from the Binsar Bungalow and you would reach one of the coveted spots of Binsar, the Zero Point. This is the place where from nature lovers get an opportunity to witness the beautiful sunset at the back end of two snow clad peaks of Himalaya. These peaks look lovely against the sunset.
Countless numbers of hilly birds fly in and around the terrain to enjoy the sweet aroma of hundreds of species of blooming wild flowers.
The hallowed Bineshwar temple, amidst the dense bushes, pulls pilgrims from faraway places. The name of the temple obviously had been derived from the name of Binsar. The bird’s eye view of the pretty hill retreat, Almora, from the hilltop of Binsar, is pleasing. Nature lovers and swarms of tourists admire Binsar mainly because of its remoteness. It’s a serene destination in the calmness of Nature. The scarcity of water, however, becomes a problem every now and then for the inhabitants. Binsar doesn’t have many shops around. The hillock is lacking modern amenities and facilities. Solar lights illuminate the hilly huts and undulating streets of Binsar during nights though. The primitive beauty of Binsar would definitely entice nature lovers of any age.
Binsar is primitive. There are not many stores, and absolutely no scope for shopping. It is one of the few easily reachable tourist spots of Himalayas, that have the age old rustic, unspoilt beauty. Electricity is primarily based on Solar energy. There is a wildlife sanctuary here too, however, no spottings of the big cats have been reported yet. However, the more than 150 species of birds here, makes up for it.
There is a mini museum here too, with its collection of local flora and fauna.
How to reach: Buses do not connect to Binsar. You will have to hire private vehicles from Almora. They will charge you about Rs.1000 a day to and fro. Night halts will be charged extra.
Where to Stay: KMVN's tourist holiday resort, Forest rest house, Binsar valley resort, mountain resort, or tents deep in the sanctuary. Refer to our hotel booking links below.
Jageshwar is place for lovers of archeology and for Hindu pilgrims. It is a place of great archeological importance, as there are about 168 ancient temple complexes here,built between the 8th and the 9th century by the Maharajas of Katyuri.
The Buddhist styled temples bears exqisite carvings and art works. Most of them are in ruins or in a dilapidated condition. Some of them are abandoned as well. Still, interiors of most of the temples are in their glory as ever. The highest temple is of Shiva or Jageshwar. The other important temples are Maha Mrityunjay, Yotirlinga, and Pustumata. There is a Kund here called Brahma kund, and bathing here is considered holy. The Jataganga river flows by. Trek for 3 kilometers and you will reach Buda (Old) Jageshwar. The scenic beauty is awesome here too.
The archeology department has a museum here, do check it out. Also check out the Danteshwar temple, about a kilometer away.
The locals claim Jageshwar to be the ninth Yotirlingam. Quite a few believe it too.
How to reach: It is en route Almora Pithoragarh route, situated at a adistance of 38 kilometers from Almora. Buses ply on the route. You can also take a bus from the rail head Halduani. You can also hire private vehicles.
You can also drive down from Binsar and the road is picturesque to say the least. It passes through the sanctuary and takes about 2 hours, to cover a distance of 65 kilometers.
Where to stay: KMVN's Tourist Bungalow is your best bet. Else there are a few Dharamshalas.