making meaningful connections

The Kumaon Experience

Discovering the real rural India

The Kumaon Experience

With an average altitude of 2,400 metres, temperatures around 20C, and views across forested hills and valleys with tantalising glimpses of the Panchachuli range, it is almost impossible not to relax here, deep in the beautiful and unspoilt heart of Binsar – the ideal Summer retreat. Now it’s your opportunity to take a break from city life and  discover a deep sense of peace as you stay in our community owned and managed 3 bedroom guesthouse in Kathdhara. 

This ideal short break in northern India is your chance to relax, recuperate, and soak in all the sights, sounds and smells of life that essentially hasn’t changed in centuries.

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A rural escape in a mountain village homestay

Bubu Guesthouse, Kathdhara

Owned and managed by the local community, our guesthouses are more than just homestays. Your stay benefits the wider community, making it a socially responsible way to travel, and you have the opportunity to experience local culture in the most authentic way.

With a name meaning Kath (wood) , Dhara (stream), this scenic village boasts extensive terraced fields, orchards and well maintained farms. The three simple, comfortable bedrooms at Bubu House have en suite shower rooms with plenty of hot water, heated by solar power, and solar-powered lighting is available after sunset. There is a communal room for relaxing and eating as well as meeting villagers informally. Your hosts prepare freshly harvested, healthy vegetarian dishes that have zero food miles, and self-sufficiency comes as standard. Water is boiled and fitered from fresh mountain streams. There is an attractive terrace to sit and enjoy your tranquil surroundings.

Connecting with authentic village life

How you spend your time in the village is very much up to you and your interests. We get you started, however, with a guided village tour that gives you a flavour of village life, the surrounding area, and the range of activities you can choose from, such as a temples tour, ploughing with oxen, or cooking Himalayan style.

Connect with your welcoming hosts and understand the value of community hospitality. This is thriving rural India, that few people want to leave – if they can achieve a rewarding lifestyle, and you staying here helps provide that.  You’ll find our guides are as keen to take you on gentle wildlife spotting walks on ancient paths as villagers are on showing you their homes, and discussing their lives. Switch off from the outside world and wander along wooded footpaths, breath in the fresh, mountain air, and relax with a book to the sound of birdsong. Do as little or as much as you wish.

If hiking from village to village appeals to you, then perhaps take a look at our Himalayan Wildlife Sanctuary Experience.

Getting here

The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary lies about 20km from Almora in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.

Transfers from Haldwani, Kathgodam or elsewhere are available on request, and we can also arrange for train journeys. Book in advance for our negotiated rates.

The Kumaon Experience

3 Night Stay
What's Included
  • Private room with en-suite facilities
  • 3 meals a day featuring locally grown, seasonal produce
  • Guide and Porter services
  • Guided tour of the village taking between one and three hours depending on you
  • GST


 PARTY 4-6

Prices coming soon

"One thing that stood out was to see the content faces of the people we met. They were happy with what they had." Elizabeth Z
As an added bonus, it's good to know that as the accommodation is community owned, and all staff are local villagers, your stay is contributing to villagers' financial welfare, and as Responsible Tourism principles and practices are followed, and sustainability is a priority, altogether your stay will be doing them much good as well as you.

Moderate walking

Mixed Terrain


Where In India?


Binsar lies in the Himalayan foothills at the centre of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand State. It lies about 20 km from the district capital of Almora. Kumaon is derived from Kurmanchal, meaning land of the Kurma Avatar, the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and it has always been a land that lends itself to slow exploration - none more so than Binsar. With vast swathes of oak forest, rich soils, and panoramic views of Himalayan peaks, it's entirely understandable why it was chosen as the summer capital of the Chand Kings, as the retirement home of the British Raj Commissioner for Kumaon, as the location for Mahatma Gandhi's Mountain Ashram, and for the Nehru family's first organic orchards and gardens.  Binsar itsel is named after the Bineshwar temple. Binsar comprises sequence of steep, pine-clad and terraced hills with picturesque villages clinging to their sides. Elevations range from around 1,200 m in the main valleys, rising up to 2,500 m at the ‘Zero Point’ summit. Binsar is overlooked by the great snow-capped, majestic peaks of Nanda Devi, Trisul and Panchachuli. Binsar occupies a special place in Village Ways history. It is where, from 2002, we developed the concept of establishing community- based holidays in partnership with villagers in the neighbourhood of Khali Estate. In 2003-04 five villages joined Village Ways in this pilot project: Risal, Gonap, Satri, Dalar and Kathdhara. A sixth village, Matkanya, joined later in 2012. Binsar has been a firm favourite among our guests from the beginning.