Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
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|Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Oaks on a mountain slope in Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
|Governing body||Department of Forest Uttarakhand|
Binsar was the summer capital of the Chand Kings, who ruled over Kumaon from the 11th to 18th centuries AD. Binsar was established in 1988 for the conservation and protection of the shrinking broad leaf oak (Quercus) forests of the Central Himalayan region, and it has over 200 bird species.
The sanctuary is spread over 45.59 km2 and situated at an altitude varying from 900 to 2500 metres with an average height of 2412 metres. It is located 35 km from Almora in the state of Uttarakhand.
Flora and fauna
Binsar has a museum about the flora and fauna of the region. Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its wide variety of flora ranging from 25 types of trees and 24 types of bushes to seven varieties of grasses. The higher altitudes of sanctuary are covered with oak and rhododendron trees. March and April are the months when flowers, especially ruby red rhododendron, are in full bloom.
The mammals include leopard (Panthera pardus), Himalayan goral (Naemorhedus goral), chital (Axis axis), musk deer (Moschus spp.), Sumatran serow (Capricornis sumatraensis), jungle cat (Felis chaus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), black bear (Ursus thibetanus), pine marten (Martes martes), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), gray langur (Presbytis entellus), rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), red giant flying squirrel (Petaurista petaurista), and Indian muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak). It has over 200 species of birds including tits, forktail, nuthatches, blackbirds, parakeets, laughingthrush, magpies, kalij pheasant (Lophura leucomelana), monal, koklas, eagles, woodpeckers, and Eurasian jays. Binsar is also home to many reptiles and a wide range of butterflies.
Places of interest
There are two Binsar in Almora. The Binsar Mahadev is located in a jungle around 20 km from Ranikhet and nearly 70 km from Almora. It is known for the temple of Lord Shiva. Every June yajna is organised in which thousand of devotees visit there.
The Bineshwar Mahadev temple is a holy destination for Hindus. Binsar was named after the temple, which is dedicated to the god Shiva.
Kasar Devi temple
Kasar Devi temple is located around 9 km from Binsar. It housed Dutch monks from 1970 to early 1980s. It gained recognition in 1920 when Swami Vivekananda meditated there.
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Hotels and resorts
The Khali estate was once the home of Sir Henry Ramsay, who was the commissioner of Kumaun from 1856 to 1884 and called by British authors the King of Kumaun. He also built his bungalow at Binsar. Vijay Laxmi Pandit, the sister of Jawahar Lal Nehru, also lived here.
Mary Budden estate
The Mary Budden estate located at 8000 feet is a restored colonial home with two cottages and a temple to Shiva.
Binsar Forest Retreat
Binsar Forest Retreat is an eco-friendly homestay situated at an altitude of 7,600 ft on the south west flank of Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. The Retreat is surrounded by the sounds and sights of the Binsar forest, with spectacular views of the higher Himalayas to the north and the valleys and hills to the south and west.