Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the heart of Kumaon, 30 kilometres north east of Almora town in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in North India. It comprises about 50 square kilometres of protected area on a mountain rising 8000 ft in altitude above the neighbouring valleys with dense oak, rhododendron and pine forests. Binsar has a wide variety of wildlife (leopards, mountain goats, barking deer, wild boars, porcupines, serows, and the ubiquitous langurs and macaques) and over 200 bird species.
Binsar offers stunning views of the chain of Himalayan peaks from Yamunotri in Garhwal to Mt. Nampa in Nepal, dominated by the sacred peak of Nanda Devi and flanked by her sentinels, Trishul and Nanda Kot. Equally beautiful are the sweeping views of the mountains and valleys of Kumaon as far as the eye can see to the south and west.
The name Binsar is a British distortion of Veeneshwar, one of the many names given to Lord Shiva. The Binsar Mahadev temple is unique in that it is situated at the centre of a mystical cross, with important Shiva and Devi temples exactly 14 kilometres due north, south, east and west. The temple is venerated by the locals and is said to have the power to bring rain. The legendary Saptarshis are said to have meditated in a part of the Binsar forest named Satkhol, which the locals consider very sacred. The local deity, Dana Golu, is also said to have resided in the forest. He appears as a white horseman and guides lost people and offers protection to the forest’s denizens. There is a beautiful Golu devta temple in the lower reaches of the Sanctuary.