Almora- Nature’s Own Abode !
Almora was founded in 1568 by King Kalyan Chand, however there are accounts of human settlements in the hills and surrounding region in the Hindu epic Mahabharata (8th and 9th century BCE). Almora was the seat of Chand kings that ruled over the Kumaon Kingdom. It is considered the cultural heart of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Almora got its name from “kilmora”a short plant found nearby region, which was used for washing the utensils of Katarmal Temple. The people bringing kilmora were called Kilmori and later “Almori” and the place came to be known as “Almora”
Considered the cultural center of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Almora is a popular hill station 316 km from the state capital Dehradun. Situated at 1646 ms, popular pilgrimage sites like Nanda Devi and Jageshwar are located near Almora and fairs held at these temples attract thousands of devotees from across the world. Almora also serves as the starting point for many treks like Mornaula, Mukteshwar, Binsar, Ranikhet among others.
Almora was founded in 1568 by Kalyan Chand during the rule of the Chand dynasty. Prior to that the region was under the control of Katyuri King Bhaichaldeo who donated a part of Almora to Sri Chand Tiwari. Almora is also a good place to catch up on history. Govind Ballabh Pant Museum houses a rich collection of artifacts belonging to the Katyuri and the Chand dynasty.
Besides the museum and temples, Almora also has the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary for the wildlife enthusiasts. Cave paintings dating back to the Stone Age can be found on the outskirts of Almora at Phulaseema (4 km), Pharkanauli and Lakhuudiyar (20 km). Humans doing daily chores and dancing and animals and reptiles form the theme of the paintings.
Almora is also a cantonment town and serves as the home to the Gorkha Rifles.
PLACES TO VISIT IN ALMORA
Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
Binsar was the summer capital of the Chand Kings, who ruled over Kumaon from the 11th to 18th centuries AD. Binsar was established in 1988 for the conservation and protection of the shrinking broad leaf oak forests of the Central Himalayan region, and it has over 200 bird species.
Binsar has a museum about the flora and fauna of the region. Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its wide variety of flora ranging from 25 types of trees and 24 types of bushes to seven varieties of grasses. The higher altitudes of sanctuary are covered with oak and rhododendron trees. March and April are the months when flowers, especially ruby red rhododendron, are in full bloom.
Bright End Corner
“Bright End Corner” refers to a vantage point that offers some of the most picturesque views of the sunrise and sunset amidst the mighty Himalayas. The point marks the beginning of the mall road at Almora and is named after Mr. Brighton. It is also known for its various meditational centers and the famous Swami Vivekananda Library.
Kasar Devi Temple
Kansar Devi Temple is believed to date back till the 2nd century AD and is dedicated to Kasar Devi. The temple is located at an average elevation of 2,100 meters above sea level and is popular among most hikers as it offers scenic views of the surroundings. The spot itself is situated amidst thick covers of Pine and deodar forests and that is a home to various species of birds.
Katarmal Sun Temple
Located 16 kilometers away from the town of Almora, the Katarmal Sun Temple is the second most important temple dedicated to the Sun god in India. The temple was constructed by the Medieval Katyuri Kings in the 9th century AD. The temple is known for its unique architecture and various carvings on walls and its ceilings. The temple complex consists of one shrine and is surrounded by 45 smaller shrines which are carved out of stone.
Gobind Vallabh Pant Museum
Gobind Vallabh Pant Museum is located at the mall road in Almora and is named after the freedom fighter Gobind Vallabh Pant. The museum contains an impressive collection of ancient items which belong to the medieval dynasties of the Katyuri and the Chand kings who ruled the region. The museum is also famous for its folk paintings and has vast information on the culture and history of Uttarakhand.
Kumaon Regimental Centre Museum
Kumaon Regimental Centre Museum is located uphill from the mall road in Almora and was established in 1970’s. The museum is known for various war treasures and weapons recovered during the various wars like World War II and the 1962 war with china. The chief purpose of the museum’s establishment was to pay respect to the brave soldiers and to protect the culture of the Kumaon region.
Located amidst lush green forests at a distance of 10 kilometers from Almora, Martola is a popular tourist destination. Martola known for its gardens and is a home to various tourists who chose to settle here because of the picturesque locations that can be seen here. The town is located 520 meters above sea level with the backdrop of the great Himalayas.
Kalimut is a picnic spot which is located 3 kilometers away and is located between pine and fir trees. The place was formerly a diamond mine and is a granite hill. The small village town is located at the end of the horseshoe ridge and is known for its serene and picturesque surroundings and is one of the best places to visit with family or friends.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ALMORA
Almora has a decent range of budget and mid-range hotels along the Mall Road and Link Road. It also has a few resorts. During September, hotels rooms tend to get booked fast since tourists throng the town to attend the Nanda Devi fair and so it is advisable to make your travel plans in advance.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN ALMORA
Bal Mithai is a popular sweet made of milk, found in Almora Options to eat in Almora are limited. Most of the restaurants are situated on Mall Road. The restaurants generally offer north Indian and Kumaoni cuisines. In-house restaurants in hotels are usually good options to eat. Most of them offer multiple cuisines like Indian, Chinese and Continental. A few cafes are also located on Mall Road.
HOW TO REACH ALMORA
Almora does not have its own airport but it is well connected with cities like Delhi and Dehradun by road. You can reach Almora from the Pantnagar airport. Here is how to reach Almora: