Almora Overview

Almora: The Cultural & Ancient Capital of Kumaun

Almora is a picturesque hill town located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Known for its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, Almora is a popular destination for travelers seeking a peaceful retreat in the lap of nature.The town is nestled in the Kumaon hills at an altitude of 1638 meters above sea level. Almora is surrounded by dense forests, snow-capped mountains, and sparkling streams, making it a paradise for nature lovers. The town's weather is pleasant throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C.

History:

According to popular legend, Almora was founded by Raja Kalyan Chand, a descendant of the Katyuri dynasty, in the 16th century. The legend goes that the king was on a hunting expedition when he came across a shepherd boy who guided him to a beautiful valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The king was so enamored by the beauty of the place that he decided to make it his capital and named it 'Khagmara', which later came to be known as Almora.

The Katyuri dynasty ruled the region for over 400 years, during which time the town flourished as a center of art, culture, and commerce. The Katyuri kings were known for their love of art and architecture, and many of the town's temples, including the Jageshwar Temple and the Katarmal Sun Temple, were built during their reign. The town's strategic location on the trade route connecting Tibet and India also made it a bustling commercial center.

In the 18th century, the town came under the rule of the Chand dynasty, which had its capital in the nearby town of Kumaon. The Chand rulers continued the tradition of promoting art and culture, and many of the town's iconic landmarks, including the Nanda Devi and Kasar Devi temples, were built during their reign.

In 1815, Almora came under British rule after the Anglo-Nepalese War. The British recognized the strategic importance of the town and made it the headquarters of the Kumaon division. The town was modernized with the introduction of schools, hospitals, and other amenities. The British also established the Almora Regiment, which played a key role in various conflicts, including the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the First World War.

After India gained independence in 1947, Almora became a part of the newly created state of Uttar Pradesh. In 2000, Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh, and Almora became a part of the new state.

Culture and Festivals:

Almora has a rich cultural heritage, and the town is known for its vibrant festivals. The most famous festival in Almora is the Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra, which is held once every 12 years. The festival is a 19-day pilgrimage to the Nanda Devi Temple, and thousands of devotees from across the country participate in it. Other popular festivals in Almora include Bikhauti Mela, Jageshwar Monsoon Festival, and Dussehra.

Food:

Almora is known for its delicious Kumaoni cuisine, which is a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Some popular dishes include Bhatt ki Churkani, Aloo Ke Gutke, and Baadi. The town also has several restaurants and cafes that serve a variety of cuisines.

Tourist Attractions:

Almora is known for its natural beauty and ancient temples. The town has several tourist attractions that are worth visiting. Here are some of the must-see places in Almora:
Kasar Devi Temple: This ancient temple is located on a hilltop and offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas. It is believed to be one of the most sacred temples in India.

Bright End Corner: This viewpoint is located at the end of Mall Road and offers a stunning view of the sunset over the mountains.

Nanda Devi Temple: This temple is dedicated to Goddess Nanda Devi, the patron goddess of the Kumaon region. It is a popular pilgrimage site for locals and tourists alike.

Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary: This wildlife sanctuary is located on a hilltop and is home to a variety of wildlife, including leopards, barking deer, and Himalayan black bears.

Jageshwar Dham: This ancient temple complex is located on the banks of the Jata Ganga river and is believed to be one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India.

Golu Devta Temple: This temple is dedicated to Golu Devta, a local deity who is believed to grant wishes. The temple is famous for its unique bell offerings, which are made by tying bells to trees.

Kumaon Regimental Centre Museum: This museum showcases the history and achievements of the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army.

How to Reach Almora?

To reach Almora, a charming town in Uttarakhand:

By Air:
The nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport (PGH), approximately 125 km away. From the airport, hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Almora, enjoying a scenic journey that takes around 3-4 hours.

By Train:
The nearest railway station is Kathgodam Railway Station (KGM), about 90 km away. From Kathgodam, take a taxi or a bus to Almora, with a travel time of approximately 2-3 hours.

By Road:
From Delhi:
- Take NH9 or NH44 towards Haldwani.
- Continue on NH87 to reach Almora.
- The road journey takes about 10 hours, covering around 370 km.

From Nainital:
- Drive southeast on Mall Road/NH109.
- Follow NH109 to Bhowali.
- Continue on the road to Almora, approximately 70 km away.

Local Transport:
Almora is well-connected by local buses and taxis. Auto-rickshaws and shared jeeps are also available for short distances within the town.

Almora Route on Map

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