Almora Travel Guide

AlmoraNature's Munificence

Of the three districts of Kumaon, Almora occupies a central location. Being further away from the plains than Nainital, this district provides tranquil spots where one can enjoy the mountain air without jostling against milling holiday-makers.

The town of Almora (1646 m), lies along a saddle-ridge amidst a lush amphitheatre of terraced slopes. Overlooking the arterial Mall, where the bus terminus, shops selling bal mithai (a famous milk confection of Kumaon), and private lodges and restaurants are located, is flattish bowl-the virtual picture of fertility with its canals, hamlets and the foaming Kosi river. Beyond and behind the ridge lie tiers of hills and dales, edged ultimately by a Himalayan panorama.

Unlike Shimla, Nainital and Ranikhet - north Indian hill stations discovered and patronized by the British. Almora is truly Indian hill resort. It was founded by Raja Kalyan Chand in 1560 (he shifted his capital here from Champawati).

There is Mohan Joshi Park, a favorite picnic ground close to the Mall. Bright End Corner, 2 km away, commands a grand view of the Himalayas - particularly spectacular at dawn and dusk. Deer Park and Simtola (both 3km away) offer lush environs. Kalimath (5km) is famed for its scenic grandeur and a panoramic view of Almora town. A kilometre from here is Kasar Devi temple, worth a visit for its superb surroundings.


BAGESHWAR : 77 km This pilgrim town, once a trade terminus, lies at the sangam or confluence of Gomti and Saryu rivers. This is also the base for treks to Pindari, Kafni and Sunderdhunga glaciers (all in Almora district).

Baijnath : 71 km (19 km fro Kausani) Lying on the bank of Gomti river in a flat valley, the temple complex of Baijnath or Vaidyanath was constructed by the Katuri kings.

Binsar : 30 km Chosen summer retreat of the Chand rulers, it derives its name from the temple to Bineshwar (an aspect of Shiva) built by Raja Kalyan Chand. The main attraction is the stunning and uncluttered panoramic stretch of the Greater Himalayan range.

Chitai : 8 km The Gaur Bhairav temple here enshrines Gollu Devta, the much loved deity of the Kumaonis. He was a valourous general of the Chand rulers and embodies the martial tradition of the hillmen. The hundreds of brass bells strung on chains in the temple compund are donations from devotees whose wishes were fulfilled.

Gananath : 47 km . It boasts of Shiva temple, caves and marvellous scenery.

Gwalkot : 26 km A bend in the Kosi river mid-way between Kausani and Almora has so fashioned a land mass that it ears an uncanny resemblance to peninsular India.

Jageshwar : 34 km A complex of over 150 shrines set gem-like in a narrow riverine valley enclosed by towery, ancient deodars. Counted amoung the 12 Jyotirlingas, it is an important Shaivite pilgrim centre. The shrine to Vriddh Jageshwar, 8 km (motor road; 3 km trek) from here, offers a scenic view of the Himalayas.

Katarmal : 17 km This is renowned for an 800 years old sun temple. A little beyond are the woods of Bikut.

Kausani : 53 km This hill station is justly famous for spectacular sun shows as the 300 km - Himalayan snowscape of Trishul, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot appears incredibly close. Kausani also has the distinction of having provided eminent Indians with inspiration . There are many ashrams here.

Lakhu- Udyar : 16 km Literally meaning 'one lakh caves', this is noted for pre-historic wall paintings. A hood-likle rocky shelter is the chief specimen.

Ranikhet : Ranikhet1829 M 49 km a cantonment town of immense charm, it was once the pet excursion ground (Kshetra) of Padmini, queen of the Katyuri kind Sudhardev (1180AD). There is much to see in and around Ranikhet starting with Kalika temple (5km) known for its forest nursery and the shrine to goddess Kali. The plateau of Upat (6km) has a 9-hole golf course ringed by tall pines. Tourists visit Chillianaula (5km) for its Shiva temple.

Trikhet (8km) is known for its Gandhi Ashram, and the highly venerated temple to Gollu Devta. Both Majkhali (13km) and Chaubatia (10km) offer a view of the Himalayas. Picnickers flock to the lake at Bhaludam (13km) while anglers coverage on Kherna (24km)

Idyllic Sitalakhet (34 km) is ideal for a quiet holiday. If ruins can recall grandeur then the cluster of 55 temples at Dwarahat (38km) recreates the glory of the Katyuri kingdom through its architecture. Dating back to the 12th century, the Durga temple at Dunagiri (52 km) attracts pilgrims round the year. Not being widely known, the resort of Manila (77km) can be enjoyed in solitude.

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