The next day – on 3rd November – we left Bimtal and headed towards Almora. There was little traffic as we headed towards Bowali (or say just outside Bimtal) …. road mending work was going on. Otherwise all the way to Almora or Binsar was traffic free. Roads were smooth – landscape was pretty much green – the river that runs by the road side was crystal clear – the sky was pristine blue. There was silence most of the time as we’re busy enjoying the beauty of the nature. Last February – when we went to Binsar Mahadev following the Ranikhet route via Ramnagar ….. i felt mountain sick – dizzy and nausea. i was actually afraid that i might feel terrible this time too but i was surprised that i exactly didn’t feel anything of that sort. i too was enjoying the nature’s beauty to my fullest. Every now and then we ‘re stopping for a tea break or to take a photo or just to adore the nature.
Finally we reached Almora before lunch … the Tourist Rest House (TRH) run by the KMVN was good but the surrounding was cold – though its garden was full of colorful floral plants. After having our lunch and taking rest -we went out to see Almora market. Little crowdy but beautiful market. But the most surprising matter was the jaggery that we tasted and later bought from there. It was the most pure sugarcane jaggery we ever had tasted. In Delhi we had looked for that sort of jaggery but we depressingly failed. We’re surprised to see such good quality jaggery in Almora. After some hours of roaming in and around the market – we headed back to the TRH …. on our way back – we enjoyed a beautiful sunset.
At night my wisdom tooth – which sometime gives me trouble began to bother me again. i thought it might subside by morning …. but i was very wrong.
Next day – we headed for Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. We had heard a lot about this place and we had imagined picture of it too in our mind. As we entered the sanctuary gate (which get close by 5 pm and one has to pay an entry fee as well) ….. we felt it was as normal as the road we had travelled so far – only difference was that it was one way (means narrow) road. After crossing the Binsar temple – the road seemed to get more narrower and winding …. but truly beautiful in itself. In monsoon – this roads would be more beautiful with many little streams running down the hillside. But then driving on that kind of road would be very unsafe …. so actually me and my uncle came to a conclusion that by walking uphill or roaming around the hill by foot can give one true satisfaction of enjoying the real beauty of this place.
By the time we reached the TRH of Binsar – it was just before lunch time. Now let me first tell you a little bit about the accommodation (rooms) and the food at TRH Binsar. Rooms (executive) were very different as they’re made of wood ie. the floor – the low ceiling – the small but pretty windows – all were made of wood. The rooms were small and compact … very cosy and clean (from bed sheet to blanket – everything tidy and white) …. also the bathroom was spacious and very clean too. Jethu (uncle) still talks about its comfort. For him the place was elegant and warm …. that to without room heater – there’s no electricity at TRH Binsar. No electricity makes the place more beautiful and at the same time little difficult to stay too. For people like us who need hot water every now and then …. finds it little difficult to stay at Binsar TRH. It is not fair to say that electricity isn’t available at all – for 2 hrs. in the evening ie. from 6 – 8 pm electricity is available. One can recharge their phones and camera batteries or any such thing. After 8 – one can lit the candles …. which are kept on a stand that is attached to the wooden wall – this gives the room a cosy feeling.
Lunch and dinner is served as buffet style. I can’t tell about breakfast as we didn’t have – but i’m sure it would be same as the other two. Food was simple and tasty but the best part of their service is that if you ask to make changes – they’re happy in arranging that too. Like – they prepared food with minimal spices and without onion or garlic – just for us two as jethu don’t eat them. So that was an extra effort to make their guest comfortable and at home. There was many tuki-taki things about the service they provided …. it actually didn’t seem that it’s a state govt. run rest house. Staff very well mannered and at your service all the time.
After lunch we took little rest. By late afternoon – my tooth was aching terribly – i took a painkiller and then we went out to a place known as sunset point. The road that meander through the wood on the hillside was awesome …. very quiet and lonely – it seemed as if only we’re there and no one else and it was true too ! Such a tranquil place – one would feel totally rewind and relaxed. But sad part was …. there’re no flora and fauna – no wild flower – no birds (forget about the leopard) – one would only hear a buss sound similar to the sound created by the housefly.
This part was disappointing. Maybe we’re there at a wrong time ie. November. In April that place would be full of Rhododendron blooms and that would attract birds and bees …. it might look a totally different place. In the name of flora …. almost every trees – brushes and shrubs were covered by moss –which now i think was interesting too. There were turmeric like plant with red fruits which gave the moss covered landscape a bit of colour.
I never thought mountains can be so very full of surprise – with every season it would change so dramatically …. similar to the mood of a human being. Binsar TRH has a large terrace like place – from there one can view the Nanda Devi and Panchchuli range. The place that we went which is known as sunset point – actually wasn’t interesting as one can only view the sun getting behind the far mountain and exactly nothing happening. We got back to TRH on time and viewed the mighty Himalayan range changing its colour ….. from white to pink –then to orange – and then to red – and finally darkness covered everything.
Actually when you’re there – you’re so involved in that magical atmosphere that you don’t realise that you’re fortunate to view something so precious and so fine moment of your life …. which later people recall and cherish.
By the time we finished adoring our magical moment – my tooth ache was beyond tolerance …. my right cheek swell by an inch and i mean that. I hardly could open my mouth – and i was unable to eat anything. Jethu thought of an idea of soaking marie biscuits and eat it by licking it off my fingers. I did that and then took a Disprin. I went to bed but the pain was unbearable – i just kept turning and twisting in bed for a long time. Finally it was dinner time – for me eating was just next to impossible …. but jethu had to have his dinner. He was worried – i know – but he remind very calm. I tried to lay very still – thought any movement would increase my pain. When jethu came back from dinner – the tooth ache was so intolerable that i started to cry …. asked if i could take another Disprin and so had soaked biscuits in the same manner and then Disprin. Then jethu put his hand on my head and said,” you’ll be fine – now go to sleep.” It was nothing less than miracle that within minutes my pain subsided and i slept in peace.
We’re to stay at Binsar for the next two days ie. 5th and 6th of November but we could only manage to stay there for one day …. later we shifted to Dinapani TRH – which is between Almora and Binsar. I’ll write in detail about our stay at Dinapani in my next post …. but before i end my Binsar trip – i’m to write about our memorious walk to the “Zero Point”.
On 5th November – i was as fit and good as i always had been. Asked jethu if we can walk to the Zero Point … and so we got ready fast. Jethu had his breakfast and i had my soaked biscuits. Checkout time from Binsar TRH was by 12 pm – so we decided to be back by 11:30am.
There was a group of people with their guide who’re heading towards Zero Point. We decided to follow them. To be sure – we’re following the right path as there were many crossing which bend to different trekking route …. and so that we don’t get lost by taking wrong route – we decided to follow them. There was no sign board directing towards Zero Point and this should be the way it should be – otherwise there would be no feeling of adventure …. no sense of wonderment in the woods – no sense of enjoyment in the possibility of getting lost or excitement in really getting lost but right then we couldn’t afford to get lost either as we’re to get back to TRH by 11:30 am. Otherwise walk is the most loveable leisure that we enjoy …. it’s a different story that jethu no longer has the strength to walk long distance at a stretch anymore.
The group remind well ahead of us – so they had their privacy and we had ours. Occasionally we would meet another group of people coming back from the Zero Point. We followed the quiet and peaceful zigzag road. At times we would be walking just near the cliff but it wasn’t scary …. the mud-stoney road was enough wide for two people to walk side by side comfortably.
I remember jethu saying that something was missing …. “this place seems lifeless !” Actually his work took him to nearly all the hills in North East (India). The hills in the North East are very different from the western Himalaya – they are more greenery and orchids hang from every trees or grow on rock here and there ….. and that too all year around. So i guess he imagined Binsar to be like that – which eventually we didn’t see …. so he was disappointed. Those Rhododendron trees and shrubs gave him some hope that in spring – this place would look different.
When we reached Zero Point – the group whom we followed were viewing the mountain range from a “machan” like concrete hut. As they left – we climbed the “machan” and watch the snow clad mountain range with adoring eyes.
P.S. note one thing – it really matters with whom you’re visiting any particular place. Your co-traveller should have similar taste and thought as yours about the place you visit. Otherwise beautiful moments would be missed in irritation and frustration.
After watching those mighty Himalaya for sometime – we decided to return back to TRH. On our way back we saw this beautiful fungal moss. We kept watching it for some time and thought it’s a piece of art …. but created by whom? This force one to believe in the supreme power who have created this ever changing nature and it’s way of mesmerizing us !
By the time we’re back from Zero Point – jethu began to like those moss covered trees as well.
P.S. we also got to see our favourite wild yellow flower – it’s a roadside flower …. somewhat like Calendula.
Back at TRH – we paid our bills and moved out for Dinapani … on our way and before too – we’re think how that place would be? Another surprise waiting for us – good or bad …. so many thought crossing our mind !!