Thursday, January 15, 2009

Down the Memory lane – Beautiful Binsar

The winter had already stepped in when we visited Binsar in 2006. After spending a day in Delhi seeing the magnificent Akshar Dham temple, RashtrapathiBhavan and a few other places, we had to really hurry up to catch the Kathgodam express to the Almora valley. The train took us to Kathgodam by 7 in the morning and after negotiating with few taxi drivers, we kind of settled for 800 bucks for a drop to Binsar. And I must tell you this was one of the most prolific rides I ever had on tipsy, curvy ghat routes of the Kumaon mountain ranges. Otherwise also there were share taxis available, where in one might have to change a few taxis before reaching the Binsar. Regular Buses also operate from Kathgodam.

Binsar is a picturesque Himalayan destination, located 33 Kms north of Almora. It took almost 3 hours from Kathgodam, to reach Club Mahindra holiday resort in Binsar. The resort is built in a valley offering a good view of Himalayan mountain ranges from its backyard. After a warm welcome from the resort manager we just retired in to room. With the idea of spending time as leisurely as possible, we didn’t make any kind of plans for the rest of the week and just thought we should enjoy the place. As this was our first visit to any kind of resort, we were bit cautious about the budget as well.

After an evening walk near the resort we found a “Shuddh Shakhahari outlet” owned by a gentleman named Pradeep Bisht who was an ex service man! Needles to say this became our favorite hangout during out entire stay @ Binsar. As the vegetable supply to this hilly town is mostly once a week, we had very limited but very delicious choices to make from his menu.

On another evening we set out for a nearby peak & temple. We had to pass through the Binsar neighborhood to reach on top of the hill. The sunset from here was simply amazing, and we had two local lads for our company :-). On our way back we met few friendly locals who were singing along side their routine chores.

Next day we went on a small trek to a British Bungalow, just in front of the resort. Club Mahindra folks have bought this bungalow and now they have converted this to a guest house. Located a bit above the main resort this offers a vintage experience, with breath taking sceneries. One can either climb up all the way or there is motor able road too.

Next day we went on a visit to nearby Reserve forest and a few view points, which was just an hour+ drive from the resort. We made sure that we start pretty early so that we won’t miss the sunrise on our way to the forest. We stopped our vehicle at lot of points to enjoy the sunrise. We reached the Sanctuary well in time, and here we have a guest house run by KMVN -Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd.

We were told that from this guest house and a view point nearby, we can get a semicircular view of Himalayan mountain ranges. But to our bad luck due to the very bad weather we couldn’t catch the glimpse of the mountain ranges. Weather god played hara-kiri and spoiled our chances of catching the beautiful view, typically on visiting these locations one must be careful to visit these spots early during the day as the ranges would get covered by clouds during later part of the day. After visiting PatalBhuvaneshwar, it was time to bid adieu to Binsar vowing to be back again!

Useful links
Club Mahindra Binsar
KMVN Guest House

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hanumana Gundi @ Kudremukh

Enroute on a pilgrimage with my family, bumped upon this wonderful waterfalls near Kudremukh. Water gushing down from a height of approx 100 ft is really a treat to watch. Manned by Karnataka Forest Department, one needs to pay a nominal entre fee of Rs 20/Person to get to see the falls. To actually get in to water one has to climb down the rocky terrain a bit!

A word of caution though for the visitors, The entry and exit points of Kudremukh National park are monitored and one has to pass through the exit within two hours of entry.
Ofcourse, spending couple of odd hours at the falls is permitted, after showing the entry ticket for the waterfalls @ the National park exit.

Armed with my new camera I did some experiments, As I was hard pressed for the time, I could just take few snaps with the camera, and it was time to return back. I guess, it would be at its ferocious best and a treat to watch during Monsoon, except for the leeches :-). Any way I have already made up my mind to visit this during coming Monsoon season.

Location info: Inside Kudremukh National Pak, 30 Kms from Kalasa,
Best time to visit: October to March,

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Canon 450D

This time around, for my birthday S gifted me a high end camera, CANON 450D. Needless to say, I was at my gleeful best when I got this gift :-)

But, But, it comes with an unexhaustive set of riders and conditions

-> I have to teach her the photography ( what ever I know !!1)
-> Go for more trips
-> Every trip we go, she will use the camera also ( Hmm...this one is bit hard.. )
-> I have to take good pictures of all delicacies she is going to Cook (Photographer in me should work hard, otherwise I might.... you know....)
-> Blog more
-> Lenses are not part of the gift package/ neither they will be in future.. gotta buy them myself
-> .......................... and the list goes on...
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