Travel Diaries: Rishikesh-Jim Corbett-Binsar-Munsiyari-Mukteshwar

#1 Jun 17th, 2017, 01:00
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Sep 2016
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Mumbai
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  • me_niks2 is offline
#1
Last year when I was planning my Uttarakhand trip, India Mike site helped me a lot in my planning so I thought I should also share journey/experience/itinerary which could help someone plan their trip.

I always wanted to plan a trip to North of India. I was clear in my mind that i wanted to skip the well-known places as they would be crowded with people and if you are from Mumbai thatís the one thing that you want to avoid if you are planning your trip. So Shimla, kullu Manali, Nainital, Mussorie was off my radar and to be honest when i started my planning i wasnít even aware these places are in which states. I always thought they would be close to each other within a distance of 2-3 hoursí drive. I always thought UTTARAKHAND was like UP, MP, BIHAR till i started to plan my trip. My search started with which offbeat places to visit in North and after reading few articles the biggest decision that i had to make was whether Himachal OR Uttarakhand. Himanchal was obviously more popular and a known place but popularity means more crowd and i wanted to avoid that so went with Uttarakhand. That was second best decisions of my life. First was getting married to the love of my life. (She has forced me to include this in here). In Uttarakhand, Nainital, Mussorie and Dehradun are the three known hill stations so plan was to avoid these places but it was shocking to know that there are similar may be 50 another small hill stations only in Uttarakhand. So now the task was to pick the best of the 3-4 remote places as we only had 9 days in our hand. We had plan our trip in such a way that it included adventure activities as well as some time to chill out as we thought we will get bore at the end if we only keep visiting hill stations to catch a glimpse of snow filled mountains.

Let me first share some very important tips before i share my planned Itinerary and travel experience.
1) Start your date no later than 7.00 am especially if you are travelling. In Uttarakhand if you have to explore different wonderful places, you will have to travel a lot. Most of these wonderful places are at a distance of 6-8-10 hrs. drive and that is the only option available as there are no rail or plane services unless you are Ambanis and you have your own private Helicopter or something. The best thing to experience in the high hills is the SUNSET. I got a glimpse of few sunrises in Uttarakhand but there are nowhere close to Sunsets and if you have to experience the best thing that you will see in your life you will have to reach your destination before 4.00 pm for which you will have to start your journey at 7.00 am. That 7.00 am should not become 7.20-7.30 am or you could miss out by few minutes and if you have planned only 1 day at that place you will regret it for the rest of your life.
2) You will have to travel a lot if you have to explore places in Uttarakhand so enjoy the drives. Donít sleep or get engrossed in your mobile. You do that anyways daily in your normal life. Chat with your friends, plan some games for travel or just sit back and enjoy the scenic roads. The Drive to Binsar or Munsiyari are unique in its way and you will not get to experience such rides again so enjoy those moments.
3) Plan your trip properly. Every minute details, plan it in advance and try to stick to the plan. If your plan is to go there and figure out how to spend the day then thatís NOT A GOOD PLAN.
4) Hire a reliable and experienced cab. You cannot rely on local or state transport if you are planning a hectic and short trip so your only option would be to hire a car and cover as much distance as possible. The cab driver is gonna stay with you so he is gonna be a part of your journey. Please be clear with your preference (you want someone who talks less OR talks a lot but ll also give you all the information of the places you are visiting. Pros and cons you see) when your booking the cab for your tour.

Now let me share what i had planned and my itinerary and the experience of my entire trip.

After doing lot of research, reading different blogs and experiences, these were the 4 places that i had finalized for my trip
1) Rishikesh (MUST VISIT for Adventure sports)
2) Jim Corbett National Park
3) Binsar
4) Munsiyari
5) Mukteshwar (unplanned)

ITINERARY:

Day 1 Friday 11th Nov 2016 7.00 pm IST: Our first Destination was Rishikesh so it was going to be Mumbai-Delhi-Haridwar-Rishikesh. Train Tickets (3 A/C) from Mumbai-Delhi would cost you ₹2000 for a single way journey unless you are lucky and if you get the Garibrath Train tickets which will only cost you ₹1000 and drop you in Delhi in 16 Hours. We were not lucky so we opted for Plane tickets which we got for ₹2600 one way which was not a bad deal as it was going to save time for us. We had 11.00 pm flight which was going to land in Delhi at 12.30 am on 12th Nov. Then from Delhi we had a train to catch at 4.00 am heading towards Haridwar dropping us there at 12.00 pm on 12th Nov. Haridwar-Rishikesh is just 20 Kms drive so one can take an auto and reach Rishikesh in another 30 minutes. We dint had the luxury of leaving the office early on Friday so we had no option but to book a late night flight. Ideally the best way to plan is to book an evening flight from Mumbai which will land in Delhi at around 10-11 pm and then catch a train to Rishikesh which will reach early morning. This way you have the full day in your hand and you can relax.

Day 2 Saturday 12th Nov 2016 1.30 pm IST: After reaching Haridwar we booked an auto where we paid ₹450 after some bargain. We had lost half of our day so we were aware that the day was going to be hectic as we had planned for 2 days stay in Rishikesh and we had to cover Ganga Aarti, Water rafting and BUNGEE JUMPING. We had booked our stay at Rishikesh Valley (One of the best places to stay in Rishikesh I would say). Anand, the Owner had planned our rafting for the same day and book our Bungee spot for the next day. Rishikesh Valley is 3 kms from the heart of Rishikesh but the place is located on a hill where only few drivers dare to go. We were already late so Anand advised us to go for rafting directly as we had to cover 23kms rafting stretch. The auto dropped us directly near the rafting office where we met Pradeep (Very helpful guy like all the others that you will find in Uttarakhand). He had set up a Tent so that boys could change and arranged a room where girls could get ready (The changing place was not great so please leave early from Mumbai to have hassle-free day 1). Praveen also owns a small Restaurant- Shiva Cafť where we had our Lunch. It was kind of a breakfast as we all had omelet bread for Lunch but a very nice place to chill, have a cup of Tea or coffee or that matter early breakfast. After Lunch which ended at around 3.00 pm, our next stop was rafting starting point which was around 20 odd kms away. (Before I go ahead let me give some idea about rafting activity in Rishikesh, Apart from Professional rafters, for people like us there are two stretches that we can opt for. 1st is a 16 km stretch from Shivpuri to Laxman jhula and the other was is a 24 km stretch from Marine Drive to Laxman Jhula. We had opted for the 24 km stretch and I would suggest one should opt for the bigger stretch even though they are beginners). Pradeep was the savior again as he drove us so fast to the starting point that I would have to say even best drivers couldnít have manage to match the speed. We had around 1.5 to 2 hrs of day light left before we started our rafting. It was our second rafting experience as we had done rafting in Dandeli previously but this was altogether a different experience. Luckily for us we were only four of us in our raft and the only one starting from the Marine Drive for two reasons. 1) It was not the peak season and 2) most of them prefer the 16km stretch. The climate, surrounding, calmness when we started cannot be described in words so you should experience it yourself to get that feeling. Once the Rapids started (a fast-flowing and turbulent part of the course of a river) the calmness was quickly turned into thrill. The rapids were good enough to scare you but the rapids that we experienced in Dandeli were much better and scarier. The water was damn cold still we took the risk and spent some time swimming. Even though we didnít knew how to swim, we had our life jacket on so it was risk free. You should also experience CLIFF JUMPING with your life jacket on which comes in between your rafting ride. It is around 30ft high so not easy as you may think. After the rafting and cliff jumping was over, we were dropped again at the rafting office from where we were gonna get picked to reach Rishikesh Valley. We were soaked in water and it was freezing cold so we wanted to reach our rooms as quickly as possible. To our horror, Anand the Owner of Rishikesh Valley informed us the cab was gonna arrive late. For the umpteenth time Pradeep Ė the rafting organizer was the rescuer who dropped us at Rishikesh Valley for ₹300. (Note- If you are planning to stay at Rishikesh Valley please keep in mind that the only option to reach the Rishikesh main market is via some limited cabs which will charge you 300/trip. Anand the Owner of Rishikesh Valley can arrange the cabs for you so get all your stuff before you head back to the room as once you are up in the hills itís a task to come back again in Rishikesh main market). It was 7.00 pm but already pitch dark by the time we reached our rooms. We got fresh, wore the thickest of jackets that we had and we were so hungry that we planned our Dinner right away at 8.30 pm. Rishikesh Valley serves only Veg food. Even though we being pure non vegetarian, we had the best and the biggest Dinner of our entire life. They serve organic food which they grow themselves and serve it hot. The weather was cold, we didnít had our Lunch and we had exercised so it was bound to happen I guess. Let me tell you something more about Rishikesh Valley and give you my reasoning for claiming it to be the best place to stay in Rishikesh. Even though you have to pay ₹300 every time you have to reach the main Market, the place is just 3kms away from the main city. It is situated on top of a hill with a waterfall flowing nearby where you stay in huts. You will not get such experience specially after being so close to the main city. You will see lot of ads of camping sites and reviews around it but these camps are 15-20 kms away from the city so itís a challenge to drive back and forth if you are that away from the main city.


Day 3 Sunday 13th Nov 2016 6.00 am IST: After the Dinner on day 2, we went to bed early at around 11.00 pm as our next day was going to start at 7.00 am where we were headings toward our Bungee site. Anand the Owner of Rishikesh Valley had booked our slot. We had to reach the main Market at 8.00 am from where Jumping Heights Ė the Bungee organizers were going to pick us up. They charge ₹3500 for bungee and additional 400 for pick and drop. They also have other activities like flying fox and free swing but trust me once you had done bungee you are not gonna enjoy anything else. There is no match to the trill that you get after you had jumped from 83 mtr height. We always thought till we had not done our jump that itís gonna be an OK experience and ₹3500 was lot to pay for 83 mtr height jump. Believe me we were totally wrong and its gonna be the most memorable experience of your life and no amount can buy it for you. Itís a MUST thing to do if you are in Rishikesh, period. After the Bungee experience we came back to Rishikesh and had lunch at Chotiwala Hotel. You can skip this place as I thought it was overrated. Chotiwala Hotel is in the same lane from where you can attend the Ganga Aarti. Parmarth Niketan Ashram is the best place to attend the Aarti but book your place well in advance at around 5.00 pm as later it gets crowded. In the same lane there is a tours and travel shop from where we booked a cab for our next destination Jim Corbett. He charged us only half the amount compared to other Vendors. (3500/- where other travel agents were charging 6000-7000) We went to the Hotel and again had the best VEG DINNER of our lives, enjoyed the bonfire at night and went to sleep at 11.00 pm

Day 4 Monday 14th Nov 2016 6.00 am IST: We woke up at 6.00 to check out at 7.00 as we had an afternoon safari the same day at Jim Corbett. (If you are planning to go to Jim Corbett the best bet is to contact Ramesh Suyal, a veteran guide at Jim Corbett. You can also stay at his place where you will have private A/C rooms, good home cooked veg/no-veg food. The home stay with food and 2 safaris cost us 3500/- which I think was not a bad deal. )

Our Cab was late and due to the traffic we reached Ramnagar (The closest place to JC) at 3.00 pm when we were supposed to reach there by 1.30 so that we can have lunch and go for our Safari. As we were already late, we didnít had any option but to skip our Lunch and straight head for our Safari. When you book your Safari with the Veteran at Jim Corbett everything is handled and planned properly. The cab was waiting at the door steps of Ramesh Suyalís home and after stuffing our luggage in the rooms we headed for our afternoon safari. A Tip here, If your aim in a Safari is to enjoy the journey rather than spotting a Tiger or any other animal for that matter, then you will really have fun. We loved the surroundings, the way our guide was keeping a track of animals, chasing the tiger. After our Afternoon safari we went to Ramesh Suyalís home, had tea and a good conversation with Ramesh and his wife on how things are shaping up in Jim Corbett. We had an early dinner at 8.00 pm (which is normal in that part of the world) went to sleep by 10.00 as we had to wake up at 4.30 for our morning safari.

Day 5 Tuesday 15th Nov 2016 5.00 am IST: So the trick is to reach first for your morning safari so that your car goes in first which gives you advantage over others. We were third in line which was not bad but we didnít had the luxury to sight a Tiger in any of our 2 safaris. You can see n number of Deerís of different species as there are 60 thousand of them in the entire JM.
After our morning safari we were scheduled for checkout and move to Binsar. For a whole next journey we had a cab hired (Xylo) for 2500/- day. Anand Goswami Ė 09568274128 can help you with Car as well as plan your trip if you need any help. Very reliable, knows the area well and will not over charge.
Our car came on time to pick up at Ramesh Suyalís home. We left for Binsar at 11.00 am which was late as we missed the sunset at Binsar and we had only 1 day of stay at Binsar. I donít know if I have mentioned earlier or not but for me SUNSET was far more beautiful that SUNRISE. Please try not to miss the sunset at any of these hill stations coz you can die for such view.
We didnít miss our sunset completely but we were half an hour late. The route to reach Binsar (last 30 minutes) is the best you will see in any part of the world. The best place to stay in Binsar would be the Binsar Kmvn. If you cannot get a booking then please donít go to Binsar. Simple as that. Binsar Kmvn has the best view of Panchachuli Mountain range. They even have a Platform kind of a thing from where you can view the SUNSET and SUNRISE.

We reached Binsar at around 5.00 pm which was already late so we went directly to the Forest House Point (which we thought was Zero Point). Forest House Point is just 5 minutesí walk where we spent an hour and at around 6.00 when sun was down we went to the hotel to check-in. It was freezing cold out there in Binsar so be prepared for it. Carry lot of woolen clothes, caps, gloves and try to wrap yourself in layers to save yourself. Binsar Kmvn served hot food which again we had at 8.00 am and slept at 10.00 pm to get up for the Sunrise. [Note- Binsar Kmvn is in a forest reserve so after 9.00 pm there is no electricity but that makes your journey more enthralling, something which we donít experience a lot so you would love it]

Day 6 Wednesday 16th Nov 2016 6.00 am IST: We saw the sunrise from the Platform that I have mentioned earlier, had our breakfast and we were about to check out when we found that the point that we had visited earlier was the Forest House and not the Zero Point. Zero Point is 2 kms away and again a MUST VISIT place if you are in Binsar. There is nothing much to do in Binsar so 1or 2 day stay is enough but it is 1000 times better than places like Nainital, Mussoorie and Dehradun.
At 11.00 am we left Binsar and started our Journey for Munsiyari. Binsar to Munsiyari is a long journey (6-8 hours) but again very beautiful. By the time we had reached Munsiyari, it was dark and we checked in to Munsiyari Kmvn. The room that we had at Munsiyari Kmvn was not having a good view and they also didnít had anything available from menu in non-veg option as it was off season. We had to settle for egg and few veg items. We again slept at 10.00 am as we were tired from our long Journey.

Day 7 Thursday 17th Nov 2016 8.00 am IST: This was the only day when we had a good long sleep as we had one more day in our hand at Munsiyari to experience the breathtaking view of Panchachuli Mountain range at SUNSET and SUNRISE. Morning 9.00 am we checkout from Munsiyari Kmvn, visited local places like Nanda Devi Temple, Darkot and Local Handloom market for Shopping. We were back till 12.00 pm and we were scheduled for a stay at Hotel Milam Inn. When we checked out of Munsiyari Kmvn we were surprised to find out that the dinner was free of charge for us either because most of the items were not available for Dinner or due to de-monetization as we had requested for online money transfer option. [Note - Binsar Kmvn online booking includes food while Munsiyari Kmvn will charge only for room. Food is charged separately]
In Munsiyari, Hotel Milam Inn is the BEST place to stay as it gives you the breathtaking view of Panchachuli Mountain range from your room. All rooms will give you the best view so go for standard room. If you book if early from Agoda, or similar sites you will get the best deal. We got the room for 1400/- from Agoda which was actually 2800/- at the hotel counter. We checked in to Hotel Milam Inn and rather having the Lunch at the Hotel we planned to visit the market which is 20-25 minute walk to see if we can experience any local delicacies. I am fond of local Dhaba type thelas and we found few in the market serving Dal, Rice, Mutton and vegetables. We loved the food even though the place was nothing more than a hut. We went back to the room and just sat in our Veranda whole evening enjoying the SUNSET. The rooms as well has French windows so you can sit in your room and enjoy the SUNSET and SUNRISE if you cannot bare the outside cold. We had our Dinner at Milam Inn as we were not interested to travel. The Food was ok.

Day 8 Friday 18th Nov 2016 9.00 am IST: The Direct journey from Munsiyari to Kathgodam is too long so it is advisable to take a halt in between and drivers also prefer a halt rather than driving on a stretch for 10-12 hours. Anand Goswami- the Car owner has a Resort at Mukhteshwar, so on his suggestion we had a halt at his resort which he arranged for us at discounted rate. We got the room at 1500/- which was not a bad deal for a posh resort (Pathik Resort) The view from the room was good as well. We reached Mukteshwar by evening, had early dinner, tried to stay awake as much as possible as it was the end of the journey but still ended up sleeping at 11.00 pm as we were exhausted with the travelling. Had Dinner in the hotel which was good. They had Jams which they sell at reception which you can skip.

Day 9 Saturday 19th Nov 2016 9.00 am IST: The day was planned for local sightseeing and then a drop at Kathgodam. All the Local places were OK which you can skip. One can do Paragliding which was cheap at 1200/- compared to other places. But then it was done from a relatively small hill as well. In the Evening we were dropped at Kathgodam station where we had our early dinner outside station, boarded our train for Delhi from where we had a flight schedule for Mumbai early Morning next day.

Day 10 Sunday 20th Nov 2016 5.00 am IST: Our train was having a halt at New Delhi Station (NDLS) which was just 16 kms from Airport. We booked a cab and reached Airport by 6.00 am. We had a flight at 8.10 am which took us to Mumbai by 11.00 am that meant we had remaining Sunday to relax before we start again with our boring office life.
#2 Aug 19th, 2017, 01:14
Join Date:
May 2017
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kolkata
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  • antu1975 is offline
#2
Can you give Mr Ramesh Suyal's phone no.
#3 Aug 19th, 2017, 01:53
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  • kmalik is offline
#3
me_niks2 -

Really enjoyed your report and observations. Have similar viewpoint on Binsar - for instance - where we have stayed twice.. One can get a guide and do a day hike in the surrounding area.

For future visitors to Munsiyari, I'd highly recommend Khaliya pass and, if possible, Kaliya top. That is the single most remarkable and beautiful thing we found about Munsiyari... Try it next time...
#4 Aug 27th, 2017, 16:05
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  • me_niks2 is offline
#4
Here is Ramesh Suyal's number..+919758613308

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