OT Itinerary: Your Complete 2-Day Guide To Binsar In Uttarakhand

A weekend trip to Binsar will refresh your heart and soul. Here's all you need to know about what to do and see in this quaint Kumaon town with royal heritage
Enjoy view of the Kumaun Himalayas
Enjoy view of the Kumaun HimalayasShutterstock.com

Situated in the Jhandi Dhar hills is Binsar, the erstwhile summer capital of the Chand Dynasty rulers who were in charge of the Kumaon region from the 7th to 18th century. With an elevation of 2,420m, Binsar is a picturesque hamlet with a thriving biodiverse landscape and spellbinding views of the Himalayan peaks. Locals say Binsar was named after the Bindeshwar Mahadev Temple.

The British used the town as a summer capital and built several estates inside its forest. In 1988, Binsar was established as a sanctuary for the conservation and protection of the shrinking broad leaf oak forests of the Central Himalayan region. If you’ve started formulating a trip to Binsar then check out our two-day guide.

Day 1: Explore Binsar’s Biodiversity


Pine forests in Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
Pine forests in Binsar Wildlife SanctuaryAmit kg/Shutterstock

Start your first day by checking out Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread over an area of 45 square kilometres and 24km from Almora, the sanctuary is home to gorgeous forests and plentiful hiking trails. With rhododendrons and oaks at higher altitudes and pine forests at lower altitudes, this refuge is home to reptiles, butterflies, leopards, wild boar, gorals, jackals, porcupines, the Indian red fox, deer, over 200 types of birds, and other floral and faunal species. The sanctuary hosts 25 types of trees, 24 types of bushes and seven varieties of grass.

Visitors can avail of wildlife safaris and birdwatching tours. You can spend anywhere from three hours to a full day here. There are accommodations within the sanctuary for visitors to stay at.


The view from Zero Point
The view from Zero PointSondipon/Shutterstock

After lunch take a short 2km trek to Zero Point. This is a vantage point from where you can savour 360 degree views of Himalayan peaks like Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Shivling, Trisul, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Panchachuli. It can get crowded so be patient and mindful of getting in the way of people’s photographs. The sunrise and sunset views from Zero Point are unmissable.

Next, head to the Binsar Sanctuary Museum. It’s a treasure trove of information about the sanctuary and details the history and culture of the region.

The Bindeshwar Mahadev Temple after whom the village of Binsar is named
The Bindeshwar Mahadev Temple after whom the village of Binsar is namedRohit Gosain/Wikimedia Commons

Afterwards, check out the Bindeshwar Mahadev Temple. This ancient Hindu rock temple is dedicated to Shiva who is worshipped as Bindeshwar, a popular deity in this region. The temple is set amid dense forests of birch, deodar and rhododendron. The central chamber of the temple features the idols of Ganesh, Shiva, Parvati and Mahishasuramardini.


Bhat ki chudkani is a Kumaon dish of black soybeans cooked in spices
Bhat ki chudkani is a Kumaon dish of black soybeans cooked in spicesFotema/Shutterstock

Now is the time to tuck into a delicious dinner. The Anjana Multi Cuisine Restaurant, Mohan’s Binsar Retreat and the Kasar Kitchen are our suggested picks. You will find Indian platters and continental cuisine in the area’s restaurants and cafés. If you want to sample Kumaoni cuisine then try aloo ke gutke, madve ki roti, bhaang ki khtaai and Kumaoni raita.

Once you’ve eaten it is time to relax outdoors with views of the peaceful hills and mountains. Grab a mug of your favourite beverage or drink and chat with loved ones as the stars twinkle overhead before going to bed.

Day 2: Learning The Local Culture


The Katarmal Sun Temple of Almora
The Katarmal Sun Temple of AlmoraNafisa Lohawala/Shutterstock

Your final morning in Binsar should begin with a visit to the Katarmal Sun Temple of Almora. This hidden gem is more than eight centuries old and features ornate stone carvings. It was built by the Katyuri kings who loved art and architecture. With views of the Himalayan peaks, the temple is noted for its unique architectural blend of Nagara and Dravidian designs. The sanctum is decorated with a shikara symbolising the rays of the sun reaching towards the heavens.

Next, head to the Kasar Devi Temple which is 21km east. It rose to prominence when Swami Vivekananda meditated here in the 1890s and mentioned his experience in his diaries. The village and temple is believed to possess cosmic energy similar to that of Stonehenge in the United Kingdom and Machu Picchu in Peru. Also known as Hippie Hill or Crank's Ridge, the Kasar Devi Temple complex draws seekers hoping to answer life's most mysterious questions.


The Kasar Devi Temple
The Kasar Devi TempleYogesh Pilankar/Shutterstock

Grab lunch at the Himalayan Hobbit House or the Pahadi Rasoi.

Another temple visit beckons, this time to the Gairar Golu Dham. Golu Devta is regarded as the “Lord of Justice” and believed to be the incarnation of Shiva. Devotees visiting Gairar Golu Dham present clothes, turbans and shawls in white colours as a token of love and respect.

Galgal chutney is a souvenir item you can pick up from Binsar
Galgal chutney is a souvenir item you can pick up from Binsarkilmorakgu/Facebook

Now is probably the best time to collect souvenirs. Buy buransh (rhododendrons) squash or purchase woollen jackets, mug holders and caps. Most souvenir shops like Kilmora also sell packaged honey, organic spices and herbs like rosemary and Himalayan sesame seeds, and soaps.


Shops in Almora's Lal Bazaar
Shops in Almora's Lal Bazaarbalajisrinivasan/Shutterstock

Wrap up your stay by taking one last stroll or a trip back to Zero Point. If you had a good experience in this quaint town then make sure to keep coming back again and again.

Where To Stay

For a luxury stay consider The Kumaon and Club Mahindra Resort. Pocket-friendly options include The Moksha and the Hotel Aeradyo Inn. Hobo Huts and the Zen Oaks Homestay are suitable for backpackers.

Getting There

Pantnagar is the nearest airport and the Kathgodam Railway Station is the closest train stop. A number of buses ply from Dehradun, Almora, Nainital and Delhi to Binsar. If a direct bus is not available then head to Almora first.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller