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Old 6th November 2006, 11:42   #1
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Hi Guyz,

Need some urgent info regarding road condition in Uttaranchal. I am planning for a trip covering Almora - Kausani - Binsar in mid-November.

1. I am yet to decide the order of the places to visit. Give me your opinion on that. I have tried to list some of the options (as per night-stay). Any other option is welcome.
a) Almora - Kausani - Binsar
b) Kausani - Binsar - Almora
c) Kausani - Almora - Binsar

2. Also share your experiences on the Ramnagar - Ranikhet route. Is the condition of the road bad now (after monsoon)? I have travelled by that road before, but want to know recent experience, if any.

3. Places to stay in Kausani and Almora, Binsar is decided.

Thanks in advace Guyz!!
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Old 6th November 2006, 12:24   #2
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Contact iraghava for the same. He does those places regularly. He is our resident Uttranchal tourist information service
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Old 6th November 2006, 12:42   #3
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Thanks tsk , trying to reach iraghava..
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Old 7th November 2006, 12:11   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noviceDriver
Hi Guyz,

Need some urgent info regarding road condition in Uttaranchal. I am planning for a trip covering Almora - Kausani - Binsar in mid-November.

1. I am yet to decide the order of the places to visit. Give me your opinion on that. I have tried to list some of the options (as per night-stay). Any other option is welcome.
a) Almora - Kausani - Binsar
b) Kausani - Binsar - Almora
c) Kausani - Almora - Binsar

2. Also share your experiences on the Ramnagar - Ranikhet route. Is the condition of the road bad now (after monsoon)? I have travelled by that road before, but want to know recent experience, if any.

3. Places to stay in Kausani and Almora, Binsar is decided.

Thanks in advace Guyz!!
During my trip to uttaranchal many years back, we chose to visit the place in following order: Nainital -> Raanikhet -> Almora -> Binsar -> Almora -> Kausani -> Nainital.

Binsar is close to Almora, and you have to book the Govt. Guest House (only accomodation) from Almora or Nanital. Better book it as early as possible. I would suggest you to spend 2 days at Binsar. It is a beautiful place and you will get 120-degree view of Himalaya range (carry a wide lense if you are already bitten shutterbug). The 2KM trek to view point in early morning is awesome and you will feel like in heaven once you reach there. But be aware that binsar is a place under Kumaoon Forest Reserve and should not go out in the night as there could be chance of attack by snow leopard or other wild animals. You dont have electricty there (dont know if it is still the same now) but a genset which will be on from 6PM - 9PM. In the starry night in complete darkness you can enjoy the sky with a feeling of horizon below your feet.

Stay in Gandhi Ashram at Kausani. If you want to have a glimps of village life in uttaranchal mountains then ranikhet is best place to be in. If you have another day to spare then dont miss pithorgarh (I had to miss it due to lack of time).

I remembered we celebrated new year (31st Dec night) around a camp fire and dinner which was arranged by the hotel for all their guests. The white Annapurna mountain was visible clearly in the moonlight. It was one of my most memorable experiences in my whole life.

All the best for your trip and please share the photos once you are back.
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Old 7th November 2006, 14:32   #5
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@souravbasu: Thanks for the detail information.

I have already covered Nainital + Ranikhet, so these 2 are out. So you recommend Almora - Binsar - Kausani for night stays, right?

I am unable to get any contact info for Gandhi Ashram in Kausani, do you still have any info which I can use? OR, which one would you recommend as place of stay between Chevron Maountain Villa AND Krishna Mountain View Resort?

@Others: Any info on road condition will be of great help.
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Old 7th November 2006, 17:10   #6
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Uttaranchal roads are usually pretty good. But UP roads which you have to cross are mostly BAD.

All main roads in the Almora, Binsar, Kausani segment are fine, but the Binsar forest road is patchy.

Have your first halt at Almora if you are driving down from Delhi, as otherwise the drives are too long and it will get dark early. Almora has nothing much to see but is a very good base for Kumaun sightseeing and treks, + the people are friendly and helpful.
Check out http://almora.nic.in/

Places to stay-
Almora: Shikhar hotel is centrally located - ok for a night halt.
tel 05962 230253
Kausani: Village Resort has inexpensive cottages, very basic facilities, but superb views.
tel c/o 05962 258353

It will be pretty cold in mid Nov, so carry your woollens.
have a good trip.
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Old 7th November 2006, 19:13   #7
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ND - Sorry for not being able to reply to your thread/PM. It's been awfully busy for me, however I will be able to give you suggestions tomorrow evening. Could you please give me a call then?


Also for when exactly are you planning this trip?
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Old 7th November 2006, 21:20   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noviceDriver
Hi Guyz,

Need some urgent info regarding road condition in Uttaranchal. I am planning for a trip covering Almora - Kausani - Binsar in mid-November.

1. I am yet to decide the order of the places to visit. Give me your opinion on that. I have tried to list some of the options (as per night-stay). Any other option is welcome.
a) Almora - Kausani - Binsar
b) Kausani - Binsar - Almora
c) Kausani - Almora - Binsar

2. Also share your experiences on the Ramnagar - Ranikhet route. Is the condition of the road bad now (after monsoon)? I have travelled by that road before, but want to know recent experience, if any.

3. Places to stay in Kausani and Almora, Binsar is decided.

Thanks in advace Guyz!!
Hai there,

Just finished that route 10 days back. You can chek out my trip logs for distances and road conditions in the Travellogues, Uttranchal trip, thread.

Roads are good and bad, Kasauni towards Koshi Basaar for 25 KM is excellent after that up to Almora the road is average. Reportedly Binsar roads are also average.

Would suggest Kasauni, Almora, Binsar, that way you would begin and end with the Himalayas with the alpine terrain of Almora sandwitched between. Since your staying options are closed, Im not going into that.

During the time I was around there, from 23rd to 26th, evening were clouded with low scope for photography; early mornings are the best for photography.

One thing I found useful was bottles of lime juice; when vomit prone people/ children are around, I found it useful to hydrate them with lime juce; enough to take you till that days night stop. As you know the Kasauni, Almora, Binsar road is full of sharp & tight twisties; can make even toughies giddy.

Do post your photos when you finish.

Happy driving,

--Ramky.

---------------
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Old 8th November 2006, 11:43   #9
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Norbu: Thanks for your valuable inputs, the link in a real informative one.

ramkya1: I have seen your trip log and thread, definitely a great help to my planning. Will surely put up my pics when I'm back.

iraghava: I am planning to be there between Nov 16-20, if everything goes well.
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Old 8th November 2006, 16:56   #10
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Default Re: Almora - Kausani - Binsar

I was in Uttaranchal for Diwali.

I went on the Ramnagar-Ranikhet road part of the way (till Mohaan Check Post). This section was good except in a couple of places where water had swept the road away. I was told that the road forward from Mohaan to Ranikhet is good. Ranikhet is 95 kms from Ramnagar.

The road from the Ayarpani Check Post to Binsar is quite bad and a bone-rattling ride.

In case you are proceeding to Kausani from Binsar, you can take the Bageshwar road (Binsar is off the Almora-Bageshwar road) and proceed further to Baijnath. From Baijnath, Kausani is close by. The road till Bageshwar is not great, but thereafter it is good.

You can also stay at Club Mahindra which is on the way to Bageshwar at Bansoli village.

Rather than stay at Almora, Binsar is a nicer place to stay in - the KMVN has got a hotel at aprime location (facing the snows, and the closest to zero point 1-2 km away). Apart from KMVN, there are 2 private resorts on the way from the Check Post to Binsar.

In case you want to see the snow-clad peaks, 2 other places where you can see them at close quarters are (a) Gwaldam, which is 20 kms further from Baijnath, and has a lovely GMVN hotel) aand (b) Munsiyari which is a deviation from Bageshwar.

Kumar
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Old 8th November 2006, 17:33   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar
I was in Uttaranchal for Diwali.

I went on the Ramnagar-Ranikhet road part of the way (till Mohaan Check Post). This section was good except in a couple of places where water had swept the road away. I was told that the road forward from Mohaan to Ranikhet is good. Ranikhet is 95 kms from Ramnagar.

The road from the Ayarpani Check Post to Binsar is quite bad and a bone-rattling ride.

In case you are proceeding to Kausani from Binsar, you can take the Bageshwar road (Binsar is off the Almora-Bageshwar road) and proceed further to Baijnath. From Baijnath, Kausani is close by. The road till Bageshwar is not great, but thereafter it is good.

You can also stay at Club Mahindra which is on the way to Bageshwar at Bansoli village.

Rather than stay at Almora, Binsar is a nicer place to stay in - the KMVN has got a hotel at aprime location (facing the snows, and the closest to zero point 1-2 km away). Apart from KMVN, there are 2 private resorts on the way from the Check Post to Binsar.

In case you want to see the snow-clad peaks, 2 other places where you can see them at close quarters are (a) Gwaldam, which is 20 kms further from Baijnath, and has a lovely GMVN hotel) aand (b) Munsiyari which is a deviation from Bageshwar.

Kumar
Hai Kumar,

Nice to see your post and good to see that you have joined the BHP message rally. I am sure lots of people will get first hand / 1st class info. from you.

--Ramky
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Old 8th November 2006, 18:04   #12
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@hvkumar: Since you have the most recent experience of the roads in that area, do you think a stock Zen can pass through them? Seriously thinking of including Gwaldam in my itinerary.
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Old 8th November 2006, 20:41   #13
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Roads are quite good and definitely not 4WD type. Zen will drive through admirably. All roads are wide enough for 2 vehicles and have decent shoulders. Post-rains, the potholes have all been patched up, but the road is not smooth making for a bumpy ride in parts.

And yes, Gwaldam is just a couple of hours from Kausani and a peaceful place to stay in. In case you are more ambitious, you can link up ahead to NH58 at Karnaprayag (i.e. the Rishikesh-Badrinath road), and return to Delhi from Hardwar!
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Old 9th November 2006, 09:16   #14
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Note of appreciation to all you guyz for filling my knowledge in with detail and minute information.

@hvkumar: Special thanks for sharing the most recent experience. May be I'll think of being more ambitious when I'm actually there, will decide at "run-time"

@iraghava: Did try your number last evening, but "service temporarily unavialable" was the message I heard from the Service operator. Never mind, will catch up with you later.
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Old 9th November 2006, 11:42   #15
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Here is an account of our drive from Mumbai to Uttranchal this Diwali. Let me describe the drive from Delhi onwards: Corbett Park, Nainital,
Gwaldam, Badrinath, Tehri and Dhanolti.

From Delhi, we crossed the Nizamuddin Bridge to take the Ghaziabad
road on NH24 (or is it NH24A?). This is a good route that goes via
Ghazipur Mandi and bypasses Ghaziabad and takes you through Hapur
(bypassed), Gajraula (bypassed), Moradabad (bypassed) and Kashipur
to Ramnagar (base town for Corbett Park).

I guess if you leave early in the morning, this would have been a
pleasant 4-5 hour drive (265 kms from Nizamuddin Bridge), but I left
Delhi after 3 pm, through lots of messy traffic in the villages/
small towns of UP en route. The road is a double road till Hapur
after which construction work is going on in a chaotic fashion. Lots
of miscellaneous traffic, you need to be very patient and tolerant
even when cars cut across the Q at toll gates!. Wierdly, each one of
the UP villages had 2 pillars of a flyover built, but no flyover!
Hopefully, in the next 5 years the flyovers will eventually be
built. Petrol pumps are aplenty throughout, including Reliance
(after Ghaziabad, at Gajraula, at Kashipur and Ramnnagar). You can't
go fast, maximum speeds possible are 100kmph. You cross the River
Ganga after Grahmukteswar and Gajraula is eatery town (try aloo
parathas).

Moradabad bypass is the best of the lot, and even to go to Ramnagar,
you can take it. Go to the end of the bypass and then turn back for
2 kms towards Moradabad, where you will see a right turn to
Ramnagar. Signages are very prominent at the end of the bypass and
the point where you turn right. From Moradabad to Ramnagar is a
narrow but otherwise excellent road (NH121). Uttaranchal has great
roads all the way, and traffic is also far more orderly.

After spending 2 nights at Corbett Park (we sighted Tiger, elephant
herds, lots of deer, black/red-faced monkeys and also took an
elephant ride into the jungles), we took the road to Nainital. There
are 2 routes to Nainital from Ramnagar, both of them via Kaladhungi.
The first turns left at Kaladhungi and Nainital is 30 kms from
there. The other route goes via Haldwani and is longer at 65 kms. We
did not go directly to Nainital, instead taking the road 3 kms
beyond Kathgodam to Bhowali to see the Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal and
Sattal lakes - all more peaceful and scenic than Nainital town which
was choked with tourists from Bombay and Gujarat!

Signages/ roads are good.

We spend exactly 1.5 hours in Nainital town, before leaving for
greener pastures. Ramky (of Ahmedabad Ford Fusion fame) and I had a
rendezvous just outside Bhowali (Ramky was doing a Uttaranchal
holiday too), and we ended up comparing log books and taking
photographs - he was lucky to have to seen snow at Badrinath the
previous day.

It was sunset time at Binsar (the road from Ayarpani Check Post to
Binsar is awful and rattled everyone), and we were disappointed that
KMVN did not have rooms to spare. We thus carried on via Club
Mahindar at Bansoli to reach Bageshwar for the night (there is a
KMVN hotel there). Please be warned that faclities are very poor
after leaving Almora till you reach Karnaprayag.

The next days' drive from Bageswar to Badrinath was good - the
scintiallting Himalayan snow-clad peak views at Gwaldam and the
riverside cliff-hanging roads all the way to Karnaprayag where you
join the NH58 coming from Rishikesh. NH58 was in good condition all
the way to Joshimath, the base camp (and the convoy gate)for
Badrinath. There being a landslide, the road was closed for 2 days
and we were lucky to be in the first convoy after the road was
cleared. For those not in the know, please remember that the 47 km
drive from Joshimath to Badrinath is regulated by gate timings (630,
900, 1100, 200 and 430), and you have to be there on the dot to
catch the convoy. Despite the landslide, the Badri road was good and
we were disappointed not to see snow (it had snowed 2 days ago).

Turning around from Badrinath, it was a fast drive on NH58 till
Deoprayag (via Joshimath, Karnaprayag and Rudraprayag). There is at
least 1 GMVN hotel every 25-40 kms, and several petrol pumps (please
see listing in my log book). Traffic was light because the
pilgrimmage season has more or less ended (Kedarnath, Gangotri and
Yamunotri had just closed), and we reached Deoprayag by 100 pm
(having left Badri at 620 am).

We took the country road from Deoprayag to Tehri via Hindolokhal and
Anjani Sain - this is a very peaceful but steep climb and the road
was in great shape. Approaching Tehri, you are treated to a fabulous
view of the Dam and the reservoir. Unfortunately, the original road
is now under water and the new road takes a 15 km detour. The roads
in and around New Tehri are a total mess and there are no signages,
very easy to get lost. Keep asking for the way all along!

Nevertheless, NH94 from Tehri to Chamba was good, and so was the
road from Chamba to Dhanolti. The Dhnaolti road winds alongside the
cliffside and one is advised to take utmost caution on this narrow
road since there are no protective walls on the valley side (and
boisterous Delhi/Uttaranchal drivers come tearing in from the
opposite side).

Musoorie Town is a horror story, especially when you come in from
the Tehri side. The direct route into Musoorie town descends into
narrow alleys and eventually you can get lost in the Landour Bazaar
if you miss the check post to enter the Mall. It is a better idea
to take the Dehra Dun Bypass road 5 kms before Musoorie town and
climb back along the Dehra Dun road to Mussorie. The Road leading
out to Kempty Falls was choked up and we had to turn around after
waiting almost an hour in the traffic jams. I wish the Mall is
restored to being a walkway instead of letting vehicles in.

From Dhanolti, we headed out to Agra via Dehra Dun and Roorkee.
Unfortunately, we had to go via Delhi - not being sure of the Meerut-
Aligarh-Hathras-Agra direct route. Musoorie-Dehra Dun is a good road
and the signages through Dehra Dun city are adequate. We turned off
NH72A at Chutmalpur and took NH73 to Roorkee (which has a good
bypass) to link up to NH58 coming from Hardwar. NH58 is in a bad
shape especially in and around Meerut town and it gets congested as
you cross Modinagar and approach Ghaziabad.

Thanks to Mohnish, I was able to navigate a less-congested corridor
to exit Delhi (I was passing through to go to Agra direct), such
that I reached Badarpur from Ghaziabad in 1 hour - quite a record
considering that there was dense midday traffic. The route I took
was as follows: I turned right into NH24 at Ghaziabad and
immediately after crossing the Hindon River, turned left (signages
point to Shahadra straight, and Delhi to the left), and kept going
till I reached NH24A at Ghazipur Mandi where I turned right
(straight goes into the Mandi). Just before Nizamuddin Bridge
begins, turn left and take what is the beginning of the road to
Greater Noida all the way through Mayur Vihar, Noida till you cross
the Noida Toll Bridge - 9 kms from the Nizamuddin Bridge turn off,
turn right to cross the Yamuna at the Saritha Vihar bridge and touch
Mathura Road just after Apollo Hospital and before Badarpur.
Badrapur's jams make you wish that there is an overhead road.
Traffic remains chaotic on NH2 till you cross Faridabad and
Ballabhgarh after which you can take off. The Agra road is as
wonderful as ever and we reached Agra city in 1.5 hours from
Faridabad. When are they going to build a bridge across the railway
line at the entry point to Agra and avoid the stoppages at the level
crossing? Happily, the approach road into the city has now been
widened and improved. There is so much confusion as to which gate to
take to reach the Taj Mahal and signages abruptly disappear at
crucial junctions.

Back in Delhi after an overnight stay at Haryana Tourism's Dabchik
Motel at Hodal (UP-Haryana Border) - in the early morning, you can
cover the 85 kms to Delhi in an hour.

You will notice that I deliberately did not return to Bombay on NH3
from Agra instead opting to return to Delhi and take NH8 via Jaipur.
My past experience with NH3 has not been encouraging especially
after the rains, and the GQ makes the drive on NH8 a pleasure
despite the larger distance that you have to cover to get back to
Delhi. We also did not take the direct Agra-Jaipur road via
Bharatpur since we wanted to visit Delhi for a few hours to show the
kids around Delhi.

The return to Bombay on NH8/GQ was another wonderful driving
experience. Having left Delhi Airport by 4 pm, we stopped near
Kishangarh for the night (Hotel Panghat, at the end of the Jaipur-
Kishangarh expressway, just after the toll gate and before the
bypass to Bhilwara/Chittorgarh/Udaipur. The hotel is on the right
and you will have to drive ahead and make a U turn.

Leaving Kishangarh at 4 am the next morning, we reached Bombay by
630 pm after having stopped for an hour on the Vadodara Expressway.
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