Episode 1 of Temple Series – Uttarakhand Diaries
Have you felt a bit of pressure when selecting a destination to celebrate those landmark years with your loved one? I was in pursuit of that perfect place that will hold fond memories for us. I gave in to my Hubby’s choice who was quiet insistent on traveling to Uttarakhand. Plans were made tickets and rooms booked and luggage packed all done in a state of disbelief wondering if I made the right decision. Was I in a rude bit of surprise, yes of course. I was surprised to see the raw beauty of this place, virgin highlands, architectural rich sites. In fact this place inspired me start my travel blog.
How to reach Binsar:
Binsar is a small city in Uttarakhand and a seat for some architectural wonders. You can reach Binsar by air, rail and Road. We travelled by air from Bangalore to Delhi and changed flights in Delhi to Pantnagar. From Pantnagar we drove down to Binsar which was a 6-7 hours of hectic journey covering close to 140 kms by road traversing mountains . Make note that only AirIndia flies to Pantnagar from Delhi and there are no daily flights to this destination. Locals told us that 30-40% of the time the flights get cancelled, so I would urge you to keep in mind this fact before you draw up your plans. The nearest railway station to Binsar is Kathgodam and well connected to major cities. Binsar has got good motorable roads that’s very well-connected to major cities and towns. The nearest city is town of Almora.
Best time to Visit: Binsar has something to offer every season to all type of travelers. Summer months is from April to June with the weather being pleasant and the temperatures range around 30 degrees Celsius. Summers are considered the best time to visit. The monsoon season starts from July to September and experiences moderate amount of rain. Though the temperatures drop to somewhere around 22 degrees Celsius which can be considered a good climate, I personally would avoid this season to visit Binsar. The winter begins from the month of October and lasts till end of February, the temperatures can go as low as 0 degrees celsius and as high as 20 degrees celsius. If you are looking for snow, this would be the perfect time to visit Binsar and be in awe of the beauty that nature has to offer.
Where to stay: There are many luxurious resorts that provides the travelers spectacular views of the Kumanon region. The above picture is from a Club Mahindra’s property called Binsar Valley and that’s where we stayed. Travelers can also choose from a range of Budget hotels and guest houses.
Kumauni Cuisine: For the non vegetarian gourmet travelers the traditional Kumauni cuisine has endless options to choose from. There is a mixed influence in food here as there are many Iranian settlers in this region. Each season has its own dish to be lavished on. As a vegetarian we only tasted the usual culprits Daal, Kaufli, Roti’s and Rice. But there’s one sweet dish that shouldn’t be missed, its called Bal Mithai. Believe me when I say you cant just stop eating one. It has the melt in your mouth taste and smooth texture. We bought this in the city of Almora. I have posted the picture of the Mithai without its ornaments on.
The Top Tourist Attractions nearby Binsar are: Jageshwar Temple, Mallika-Gananath, Bageshwar-Baijnath-Kausani, Kataarmal Sun temple, Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave, Zero Point and Bird Sanctuary and Chaukori. This would keep you busy at least for a week if not more. One thing I learnt the hard way is that one should be ready to travel a minimum of 4-6 hours by road. The best way is to hire a car and do a day trip and come back to Binsar for the night. Finding a taxi is not a problem as you have many to choose from and be ready to bargain a good deal. The driver acts as a guide too and gives you the local gossip and their take on the history.
The first chapter of the series began with our visit to a temple in Bhubneshwar a small village near Gangolighat. Our journey to Patal Bhuvaneshwar was through the mountains and was fused with twists and turns and breath taking scenery. We were always on a lookout to catch a glimpse of the elusive Himalayan range en-route. If I have to write a single sentence on this temple it would be an extract that I borrowed from Manaskhanda.“
“He who wants to feel the presence of eternal power should come to the sacred Bhuvneshwar situated near the confluence of Ramganga, Sarayu and Gupt-Ganga.” -Manaskhanda, Skandapuran, whose 800 verses refer to Patal Bhuvaneshwar.
This cave is believed to be as old as earth itself. The journey inside the cave is speckled with adventure. You have to climb down a steep decline of approximately 10 feet drop. You can use the with help of chains that are set on either sides. There are four entrances inside the cave named as Randwar, Paapdwar, Dharamdwar and Mokshadwar. The Paapdwar was closed soon after the death of Ravana and the Randwar ( which means war) was closed down after the great Mahabharata war. At present only two gateways are opened which is the Dharamdwar and Mokshadwar. The religious sect believe the formations are deities and almost every God that you have heard of resides in this transcendental cave. Watch the video for more information on Patal Bhuvaneshwar cave.
Note: Don’t get confused with Bhuvaneshwar, the city in Odisha.
Hope you like the first episode of the Temple series of my Uttarakhand Diaries. Stay tuned as there’s more coming every week from my travel to one of the fabulous places on earth.