Trip, trip, trip, my soul sister had been chiming continuously since the beginning of year. Well, I very well knew the hidden meaning – Goa, Goa, Goa…. I have pestered my other friends for a year now, taken desperate planning initiatives, but could not land in Goa. Work, Marriage, Budget Constraints, are a few reasons out of the many, that Goa seems a far fetched idea for us. The timing is just never right. Well, we will make it happen together is the pact.
I have itchy feet, and the holiday list from office showed a long weekend in March that coincided with my birthday. I could not let it pass like a casual weekend. I knew the chiming friend would be game while other friends will find some excuses. The travel bug has not bitten them yet. I had to abide by my pact, so Goa was out of the list.
Party was not on our mind, relaxation was. Escaping the city life was the criteria.
“Where do you want to go?”
“I want a combination of greenery, hills, river, I want to walk in a forest and maybe bird watching”
“When did you become so demanding?”
“Well, it is my birthday”
(A jaunt to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary has been in our minds, so bird watching unfolded from our previous discussion)
Thus, began the research to find such a place. Almora/Binsar met the above criteria and appealed to us. Our priority was simple, book a luxurious property to stay but to cut down on travel expenses. Pack as little as possible to make it easy for the bus rides uphill. We booked our train tickets and hotel a month in advance. And then eagerly waited for the getaway…
A month later:
Shatabdi made us reach Kathgodam by 11:40 in the morning. Discussion on our way:
“Let us take the cab, it will be more convenient”
“We decided we will backpack and try to save money on the commute”
“Yeah, but state transport, are you sure?”
“Yes, I have never done it, and it will be fun and a new experience”
I already knew this discussion will pop up, my friend has never been a believer of economical trips. Not to take away the fact, she has travelled more in buses for her journeys to her hometown.
Bus it was, and it was not bad, just bumpy, speedy and overcrowded. Maybe when I say that 2 days later we booked a cab for our downhill journey, you will understand me better.
Let me present to you Almora and Binsar:
Breeze so Fresh and fullness of green
Breathing in the environment unusually serene
The overbridge casts an alluring spell
Pristine views adding to the charm of hotel
Stroll in Binsar with wilderness around
Chirpiness and tweet, a never-ending sound
Trust your ears and get clicks on your side
You’ll need luck to sight animals in the wild
There lies a jungle resort near the zero point
Fairyland that turns scary in the night?
Losing track in quest to reach the crest
Chilly winds too dampen the interest
As we descend towards Almora
Highlight is the colourful flora
The valley leaves us spellbind
A definite rejuvenation of mind
Scribe your wish on a paper, tie it with a bell
Then be a strong believer, your prayers will fulfil
As the sun makes mountain its blanket
The sky gradually blushes in scarlet
The peaceful days culminate, the calm remains
With the glimpse of stream, we approach the plains
Believe me, it was a perfect getaway from city’s hush hush life. Life in these 3 days seemed unperturbed. When the hills are calling, be assured Almora will not disappoint you as a destination.
Hotel and Food Details
The room rent was INR 3900 a day for a valley facing package (without breakfast). The best price was available through cleartrip app. The views and the entire look of the resort justify the price. It could improve upon its services a bit, like providing barbecue facility even if the occupancy rate is not 100%. The food served in the hotel is more than satisfactory. One could also visit Kasar Rainbow restaurant for more economical yet delicious meals. You can read books or play chess while savouring the food here.
Costs of Travel
As I mentioned in the beginning, we hired a cab for our return to Kathgodam. If you book your own taxi, it will cost you INR 1000-1200 bucks (one way). Be careful, and do not pay for a two-way ride as these taxi drivers make a constant up and down journey with passengers. Do not be misled into paying INR 2500 for your one-way ride. There is also an option of sharing your ride with other travelers. It will cost you around INR 250 per person. The bus rides costs INR 125 per person to Almora. To reach Binsar, you can again share your rides or book your own taxi. Expenses on train ticket will be INR 700 for one way.
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