Last weekend we headed to the hills of Binsar in Uttrakhand state of India. The plan was to spend 3 days in Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary and we chose to stay in KMVN hotel, which is in the middle of the wildlife sanitary and on one of the highest peaks in Binsar. This Photo Journey shares more about our experience of KMVN and some interesting facts/tips.
When we first read about KMVN hotel, we thought that probability of getting timely response would be low. But we were surprised by prompt email replies and continuous inputs over phone. This effective communication convinced us to explore more about the place and we started reading varied reviews. And as usual, we got mixed reviews. But many of the reviews were indicating that it's a perfect place to stay for the kind of vacations we were looking for. We booked 2 deluxe and 2 executive rooms for 2 nights.
A deluxe rooms costs you 2200 Rs and an executive room tariff is 3300 Rs. This includes breakfast and dinner for 2 people per room. Pricing also sounded reasonable to us and we knew that rooms are going to be basic and expect average service.
Since KMVN hotel is inside the Wildlife Sanctuary, we needed to pay entry charges as well. But this fees is charged only once from people who are staying inside. You are allowed to go out of the sanctuary any number of times. We paid 1750 Rs for 11 people and Tempo Traveller.
Binsar had got heavy rains a day before. Road condition till entry gate of Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary was brilliant, but inside the sanctuary road was under maintenance. Our Tempo traveler was fine till the very end of the road, but got stuck 100 meters before the hotel. Hotel staff was extremely helpful. Almost of 10 of them came to help and without them it was impossible to take out the tempo traveller.
Above photograph shows the entry gate of KMVN Binsar, which is located at almost end of the wildlife sanctuary. The road ends after 500 meters of this hotel campus. At the end of the road, there is another forest guest house, which has 2 rooms. Booking of this guest house can also be done through Almora office. The location of both these places is equally good. But at Forest guest house, you need to take raw material for cooking.
KMVN has basic but clean rooms. Please note that electricity is only available for 3 hrs in the night. After 9pm, candles are lit all over the campus and their are fixed candle stands in rooms. Candles & a matchbox is provided to every room. Executive rooms have wood-work on walls as well. Since wood is majorly used to build this hotel, you can hear sounds of other rooms. And if you are staying in a deluxe room and some kids are staying in the room above you, expect lot of noise :). I found all of this very interesting. Overall environment around the place is quite peaceful so slight sound gets amplified very easily.
KMVN Binsar has a huge dining area and timings are fixed for bed tea, breakfast, lunch, evening tea and dinner. Bed tea is served in rooms at 6am. So when you are staying at KMVN Binsar, assume that you would be sleeping at 10pm max and the day would start at 6am. Usually they don't serve food in rooms. There is a beautiful terrace on the backside of the hotel, which offers great views of snow covered himalayas. You can request the staff to serve evening snacks on the terrace and they arrange it.
I liked the food served at KMVN Binsar. We didn't have very high expectations but again they proved us wrong by offering a good variety in breakfast & dinner. We were never at hotel during lunch time. On day one, they served Poori-bhaji, upma, bread toasts, cron flakes along with tea, butter, jam, pickles etc. Likewise interesting options & tasty food in dinner as well. Good food makes your vacation special.
Hot water is served in the morning. Folks staying at the hotel need to put empty bucket outside the room and the staff fills the bucket with hot water. There is no direct supply of hot water in rooms. Generator is used for electricity and heating water. The way we arrived, generator was not working, so staff was using wood for hot water. It becomes trickier for the staff when they have arrange water for 10+ families. But they do a great job in such situations as well.
This board says a lot about KMVN Binsar ! Please do read carefully.
Every morning, we used to walk around the treks in wildlife sanctuary. We saw lot of birds and probably I will share a separate Photo Journey on birds of Binsar. Clouds, sun and sky plays lot of games throughout the day. So it's extremely important to be outside of your rooms and enjoy these games of nature. Hotel has nice places sit and relax.
This is a view from the terrace on backside of the hotel. All rooms on ground floor are deluxe rooms and on first floor, they have executive room. If you are wondering about the occupancy, KMVN Binsar is full during most of the weekends and lot of adventure lovers stay there during weekdays as well. Many times it happens that folks have to go to other properties because no availability of rooms at KMVN Binsar.
There are some solar panels installed in the campus but most of them don't work now. There are few lights installed outside, which are operated by solar energy. After talking to the staff, I got to know that renovation of this hotel is planned soon. Lot of stuff was lying in their store and plan is to start the work during Monsoons, which is comparitively relaxed period of KMVN Binsar.
Supportive staff of KMVN Binsar makes all the difference.
Definitely it's not a place for you, if you are looking for action packed vacation with lot of activities or bonfire/music etc. It's for folks who want to have a peaceful vacation and enjoy nature at it's best. And place like Binsar can be best enjoyed by staying in such properties.
Weather around KMVN Binsar is always great and more towards cold, so do ensure that you have warm cloths with you. Sunset point and 0 point are 2 interesting points around this place. Sunset point is brilliant, which is located at 500 meters from KMVN. And zero point is 2 kilometers through dense forest. If you walk around these treks in morning, there is high probability of finding colorful birds and wildlife. During one of the mornings, we saw lot of birds and a barking deer :).
This is what you see from terrace of KMVN Binsar. Different snow covered mountain ranges can be seen from the hotel. We were lucky to have this clear view because most of the times it's hazy and hard to notice those peaks. Ghori Parbat, Hathi Parbat, Nandaghunti, Trishul, Mrigthuni, Maigtoli. Nanda Devi, Nanda Devi East, Nanda Khat were very clear in the morning. Th other mountains on right side of these peaks were hidden behind the clouds.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at KMVN Binsar and we are extremely happy about the decision to do our bookings there.