Location: Kumaon (Uttaranchal)
Main Attraction: Nanda Devi Temple
Best Time: April to June and September to November
Languages / Dialect: Hindi, English, and Kumaoni
Almora is one of the most beautiful places in Kumaon region. The glamour and glitter, which is seen in Ranikhet and Nainital, is totally absent in Almora. In this point of view Almora is very virgin hill-station and is full of scenic beauty. It appears that Mother Nature has spread and blessed this place with her pure love. Nestled in the lap of nature this region has small houses built on the slopes and splendor of this place is added colorful attire of the natives. Just besides city flow the Koshi (Kaushaki) and Suyal (Salmali) rivers.
In the 9th century Almora was ruled by Katyur dynasty. By 16th century rulers from Chandravansh ruled this place. King Balo Kalyan Chand established this town in 1563. This place was then Capital City of Kumaon region. The forts, monuments and palaces built by the rulers of Chandravansh and Katyur dynasty are even today evidence of the splendor this place had in the past. In 1790 Almora passed in the hands of Nepal Gorkhas. The British’s gained control of this place from Gorkhas in 1815.
Almora is situated on a hillock, which is in Horseshoe shape and is surrounded by dense forests of fur and pine trees. In the backdrop are the lovely snow-capped peaks of Himalayas. Almora has been able to retain the tradition and ancient culture even when other places are being influenced by modern trends. The absence of any town planning and inclusion of tiles and stones on the pavements and houses prove that this place has not yet adopted the modern technology in a big way. Right in the middle of the town is the Nanda Devi temple and Narsingh temple are evidence of the great faith of people in their God. Culturally also this place is very rich and all round the year Almora celebrates many festivals and cultural events.
Public Museum: Near Almora bus stand is the Govind Vallabh Pant Public Museum. This museum provides a deep insight of the development of art, culture, life style of this region. It has very rich collection items relating to Archaeological, Historic and cultural significance. This museum has unique collection of 'Apen', a folk style of painting. One can have a good view of the various aspect of this style painting. This museum is open from 10:30 in the morning to 4; 30 in the evening.
Nanda Devi Temple: This ancient temple is one of the main attractions of Almora town. This temple is hundreds of years old and carries deep faith of many people from this area. The images and statues on walls of this temple are intricately and delicately carved. They are very attractive and almost true to life depiction has been done. Every year a fair, Nanda Devi fair, is organized here. People from all over the place come and participate in this fair. Groups of young men & women dance on the pulsating music of the mountains.
Chetai Temple: The local people have much faith on this temple. The Chetai temple is located eight kms from Almora. This temple is surrounded by dense fur and pine tree forest. If you are a nature lover then you will certainly enjoy this place.
Bright & Corner: Two kms from Almora is situated Bright and Corner. This place became famous for excellent sight of sunset and sunrise. From Bright and Corner a different kind of view is obtained of dawn and dusk. The unusual calm and peacefulness during this time is rarely felt on any other hill station offering a similar view. Serene and calm circuit house very close to this point is an added attraction. Nearby is the Vivekanand library in Ramkrishna Kutir. In this library one can find many books relating to philosophy and spiritual thinking. There is also a place dedicated to Swami Vivekanand. It was at this place Vivekanand spend few days while his stay in Himalayas.
Deer Park: Deer Park is located some three kms from Almora. An evening stroll in Deer Park has its own pleasure.
Simtola: This is a picnic spot about three kms from Almora town. The whole place is covered with pine and fur trees. The calmness and peaceful environment has fun of its own kind.
Jageshwar: Jageshwar is located 34 kms from Almora. There is an ancient Shiva temple at Jageshwar. Huge fur trees surround this temple. In fact, this temple is in the series of ancient temples, which were built in Kumaon region many centuries ago. The Jageshwar Shiva temple carries archaeological importance too. The architecture of this temple is worth giving a close examination.
Gannath: Gannath is known for natural caves and ancient Shiva temples. This place is 47 kms from Almora. It is good place for nature lovers and ideal for spending your day with surpassing beauty. Every year on Kartik Purnima day a fair is organized here.
Klamath: From Klamath one gets a good view of Almora town and the adjoining area. The sight of the nearby hills is amazing. This place is 4.5 kms from Almora. Close to Kalimath is Kasar Devi. There is temple dedicated to Kasar Devi. This temple dates back to second century. One can go on foot from Kalimath to Kasardevi, which is hardly one kms.
Katarmal: After the Sun temple at Konark, Orissa, Katarmal has the second important sun temple in the country. This temple is almost 800 years old. But this temple has not received the amount of attention it must have received. Due to neglect, the sun temple at Katarmal is in very bad shape. One feels very sad that a monument of such historical importance has been left to decay like this. This temple has some unique architectural style and the images carved on the walls are very intricately done. All this is bound to attract attention of the visitor. This place is 17 kms from Almora.
Binsar: This place has received its name from Lord Binsar Deo or Shiva. Binsar is 30 kms from Almora. The Chandravansi King Kalyan built the Shiva temple. This temple is built at a height of 2,412 meters. The peace and calm of Binsar provides peace of mind and soul.
Bageshwar: Bageshwar is the commercial town of Kumaon region. This town is some 90 kms from Almora. It is located along the River Saryu. There is temple dedicated to Lord Bagnath from which this place derives its name. This temple was built in 1450. A little away from Bageshwar is the Pindari Glacier. At Bageshwar one has good accommodation facilities.
Baijnath: Baijnath is a place of much historical importance. This is 71 kms from Almora and 21 kms from Bageshwar. There are many ancient temples at Baijnath. These temples have historical and archaeological importance. These temples have Shiva, Ganesha, and Parvati as the presiding deities. Most of the temples are located along the Gomti River. Rulers of Katyur dynasty built these temples in 12th and 13th century.
Martola: This lovely place with gardens and forests is located 10 kms from Almora. Martola is so scenic and picturesque that many foreigners decided to settle here. This place is a good picnic spot.
Koshi: Natural beauty of this place surpasses any other place. Koshi is 12 kms from Almora. The Govind Vallabh Pant Environment Research Institute is located here. There is guesthouse, which provides good and comfortable stay at Koshi.
HOW TO GET THERE
The best way to access Almora is by bus. The winding and spiraling roads take you though deep valleys and dense forests. One enjoys the journey to Almora by bus as the speed is slow, scenic beauty of the region are clearly visible. There are bus services to Almora from almost anywhere in Uttaranchal and some of the services operate from outside the state too. The conducted tours by private travel agents and tour operators are always there. The nearest airport is that of Pantnagar. The nearest broad gauge railway head is Kathgodam. Kathgodam is 91 kms from Almora and is connected by trains from cities all over the nation. The small gauge line terminates at Lalkuan, which is 112 kms from Almora.
PLACE TO STAY
Accommodation is Almora is largely centered on the Mall. However, one can easily get reasonable budget accommodations over here. There is an also KMVN's Holiday Home, a tourist bungalow, with cottage accommodations.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
Kasar Devi Mela: The picturesque old part of the town of Almora is the venue for the fair held twice a year.
Shravan Mela: Jageshwar lying in the beautiful Jatganga Valley, housing one of the 12 jyotirlingas of India is a complex of 12 temples in all.
Somnath Mela: The Somnath Fair held on Vishuwat Sankranti day is celebrated in the Shiva Temple at Masi.
Devidhura Mela: The Devidhura Fair is held on the day of Raksha Bandhan in August, at the Varahi Devi Temple.
Ram Lila: The festival of Dussehra is celebrated with great pomp and show all over Kumaon.
When one comes to Almora one does not forget to taste the sweets here, which are quite famous. Particularly Singora and BAL Mithaiare liked by one and all. Apart from sweets, Almora is famous for Rabbit wool cloths. A special breed of Rabbit, Angora produces wool, which is very soft, fine and very warm. Warm clothes made from this wool are famous all over the world. In Almora one can get good bargains at comparatively low prices. Then there are decorative items, brass items and other kind of metal utensils, which are quite popular among the visitors. One can purchase woolen garments at reasonable rates from the Garud woolens. This shop is part of the Kumaon Schedule Tribe Development Corporation at Shikhar Hotel compound. For Bronze and Brasswares & decorative items one can have a look in shops at Lal Bazaar and Chowk Bazaar.
April to June and September to November are the best seasons to visit Almora. In fact except the rainy seasons, Almora can be visited any time of the year. During summers the temperature of this place is comparatively more than any other hill stations. Even then evening and morning temperatures are low enough to wear light warm cloths. The fun of walking among hills in warm sunlight cannot be described in words. During winters festival of Dussehra has its own added attraction.
POPULATION:About 54,000 people reside in this city.
MAIN LANGUAGES:Kumaoni & Hindi