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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Club Mahindra Binsar trip for travel bloggers- Part 1

Last year, Club Mahindra had organized a trip to Coorg to a group of select travel bloggers, handpicked from all over India. [Details] This year, they organized a similar trip again, this time to a far away destination- Binsar in Uttaranchal near Almora. Team size was half that of last years, only six.

From Left to right-Prashanth,Ruchika Vyas, Kiruba, myself, Arun Bhat and Arun Nair. One more selected participant, Akshay Mahajan gave it a miss in the last minute (when Kiruba called him from Delhi airport asking why he has not arrived by the flight he was booked in), citing some urgent work, missing an opportunity for himself and depriving someone else of a chance, who could have taken his place had he informed his cancellation little earlier.

Myself, Kiruba and Arun Nair met at Chennai airport and left for Delhi. Prashanth and Arun Bhat flew from Bangalore while Ruchika flew in from Mumbai. We assembled at New Delhi airport. We had to catch Ranikhet Express which would leave from S. Rohilla at 9.50 PM or from Old Delhi from 10.30 PM. Last time, I had to Catch 10.15 PM Mussoorie express from Old Delhi station and flight had landed at 8 PM. It had taken little less than 2 hours to reach Old Delhi station due to legendary traffic jam. This time it was going to be worse. We left at around 7.30 from airport in a rented Tavera (no, not self drive- Avis fellow insisted on Rs 65000 deposit for Swift on self drive)

2 full hours in Delhi’s traffic and the station was nowhere to be seen. Had a localite not helped us through a shortcut to railway station, we might not have made it to railway station in time. Kiruba and Arun have written in detail about it, hence I’m skipping further details on this part)

We got down at Kathagodam at around 6 AM to be taken to Naukuchiatal resort of Club Mahindra for refreshments and breakfast. Naukuchiatal means nine cornered lake. This resort is a recently acquired property, commissioned on October 1st. Looks more like a hotel from outside as it is a single building and not multiple cottages as in Binsar or Coorg or other CM owned properties. Half of the rooms have lakeview and landscaping around the resort was in progress. Resort Manager Atul explained us it may take about 6 months for entire landscaping and related constructions to get completed. We were told horse riding till the hill top and paragliding are main attractions here (second one was recently introduced), besides boating in the lake.

After breakfast we left for Binsar. Bhimtal was another big lake on the way but we didn’t stop as that was not on our agenda. View of the valley was amazing throughout (at least for those visiting it for the first time)- Rivers hardly had any water and white stones were made a nice view. Roads were satisfactory and we reached Binsar resort, some 13 kms from Binsar on Bhageshwar road, by around lunch time. Binsar is on the north-eastern extreme of Uttarakhand while Dehradoon and Mussoori are on the western side. A detailed review of the resort and its staff and facilities is available in a separate review.

After delicious lunch resort Manager Bakshiji called Activity in-charge Mr Kundan and suggested that we try rock climbing in the evening. This rock climbing spot was some half a km from the resort. I came out of my room little late and rest had already left. I took guidance from security guard on how to reach the place, but took a wrong turn and headed towards Mani-pur Villa, to have an adventure of my own. I crossed few herds of Donkeys which were being commissioned to carry construction material uphill, to aid road laying work to Manipur Villa. I regret now that I didn’t click a snap of that group of donkeys-guess I was in a hurry to cross them and catch up with the team, which believed was somewhere ahead on the same road. Caretaker of the donkeys had warned that if I go close they would kick me heavily-so had to bypass the herd without going close. Interacted with a few locals who enthusiastically posed for photographs in different positions. While they were grouping together for a photo, one of them suggested : “shall we call our supervisor also”.. “uski m**…k*…” came an immediate reply, clear indication of how much respect they had for the supervisor. They asked how they can get a copy of the photo, I said I’ll send it to Club Mahindra and they can collect it from them. That’s my commitment and I’ll print it and send by post soon.

After walking over few kms and exploring the place, I couldn’t locate where this rock climbing was-on my return, Kundan and his assistant had launched a search and rescue mission and picked me up on the way and dropped at the right spot. Hadn’t tried rock climbing with professional equipments earlier and this was a good experience. Looking forward to next appropriate rock climbing mission at CTC (Chennai Trekkers Club) so that I can try little more on this front. Gopal and K G Panth were the two guys who helped us in this exercise, besides Mr Kundan who is an expert mountaineer by himself.

TT, Pool, Carom, VirtuaCops and Cricket kept us busy when there were no outdoor activities. To be continued in subsequent posts. If you're in a hurry, refer to CLAY or Arun Bhat's blog where a complete travelogue has been already published.

Read part 2 of Binsar trip write up

Similar: Wayanad travelogue * Review of CM timeshare membership

6 comments :

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Those who came here from Kiruba's blog, please scroll up or click here to go to TOP

Mohan said...

Seem to be a nice place far away from the regular city life we used. Will wait for the complete series of posts on Binsar from you before making up my mind about this place.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Mohan

mridula said...

Shrinidhi, Happy Diwali.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks and new year wishes to you (Too late to wish for last year's Diwali, so wishing on a currently applicable event- sorry for missing to respond earlier...)

Security guard said...

Great post I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in sharing this article. Nice....