Almora – top offbeat tourist destination of India
‘May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view of Almora. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds- Edward Abbey’
Almora is one of oldest and historical town of Kumaun hills. A city of ancient temples, as locals say there are about 365 temples in Almora, one for each day to see. It is one of the top offbeat tourist destinations in India that can be said without any hesitation. The city is at the height of 6100 feet above sea level and its settlement is on both side of the hill like a saddle on the horse. Blessed by majestic view of Himalayas, valley and rivers flowing nearby, one can only thank God for overwhelming perfect gift bestowed upon us.
Best time to visit Almora-
Weather is excellent from March To June and October to December, hence this time is the best for visit.
How to reach Almora
The train is available from New Delhi to Kathgodam from there taxis & buses are available. By Road Delhi to Almora can be reached by taxis or bus. Nearest airport is Pantnagar about 125 km.
Places of Tourist Interest
1. Bright End Corner
A vantage point famous for sunset view of Himalaya, when sunlight plays trick on Himalayan range and snow clad mountains turn golden yellow then crimson. There is Ramakrishna mission and Vivekananda Library nearby which is worth a visit. From that corner sprawling view of Almora town is visible.
2. Binsar wildlife sanctuary
Binsar is at altitude of 8000 feet above sea level, at a distance of 35 km from Almora town. This place used to be summer retreat of Chand dynasty. The forest is being used for oak plantation and a special variety Shrinking broad leaf oak is developed here. There are about 200 species of local or migratory birds too. The view of Himalayan range is amazingly beautiful from the top.
Kausani is 50 km from Almora and famous for the aesthetic Himalayan view at sunrise. There is one place Anashakti Ashram a retreat where Gandhiji stayed for some time.
4. Shopping in Almora town
Shopping in Almora town market is pretty big and everything , ethnic or contemporary modern can be had here.
5. Chaubatia Gardens
Chaubatia Gardens is near Ranikhet which is a sprawling orchard of fruits and one can see some rare variety of apples here, which is developed by horticulturists of the garden.
Bageshwar should be seen for 16th century Bagnath temple on river bank of Saryu.
Peeking at Almora’s history of rulers to see in today’s perspective is important. After the downfall of Katyuri clan in 12th century AD, Chand rajas came to rule in Kumaon region. In 16th century the Chand’s formed Almora as their capital. In mid-18th century AD Almora was attacked by Rohellas captured. They stayed for only seven months and were thrown off by Chand raja, hard terrain was their undoing too. Then Nepali Gurkhas attacked and captured Almora and ruled for 24 years. In early 19th century British Raj came to rule Almora which lasted till India’s independence in 1947.
Nanda devi Temple
Ancient temple is Nanda devi which is inside ancient market called Lala bazaar. This temple was built by Chand rajas 400 years back. Every year in September one big fest is organized, thousands of devotees throng peaceful temple which should be seen for its religious sanctity, demos of fighters of Chand era and celebrations are worth a visit once in a lifetime.
This is a sun temple second only in India after Konark, there is a place called Kosi which is 12 km from Almora. Katarmal is located on top of the hill. It’s amazing to see how in 9th century AD in Katyuri era, at such an unassailable height, single piece of huge stones were taken up.
8th century AD cluster of ancient and amazing temples are a treat to watch. Built by Katyuri’s, your feeling of amazement will know no bounds to see how huge stones were brought and used in building those temples. Besides the temples, there are very huge Deodar trees which are equally amazing.
8 km from Almora this temple has lot of faith of people in Golu Devta which is the deity of temple. People wish and if wishes are fulfilled, they come again and tie up a bell. Temple is loaded with small and big bells.
Kasardevi Temple is an ancient temple about 5 km from Almora in village of Kasardevi. The temple came into prominence when Swami Vivekanand visited the temple in 1890. Surrounded by pine and deodar trees, Almora town can be seen from top of the hill where temple is located.