Almora district is a district in the Kumaon division of Uttarakhand state, India. The town of Almora is surrounded by Pithoragarh district to the east, Garhwal region to the west, Bageshwar district to the north, and Nainital district to the south. The landscape of Almora attracts tourists each year for its views of the Himalayas, cultural heritage, handicrafts, and cuisine, and is a business hub for the Kumaon region.
Almora has attracted several eminent people through the ages, including Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Uday Shankar, and his troupe, and Ravi Shankar, who contributed to the cultural enrichment of the town. Govind Ballabh Pant noted freedom fighter was born in Almora. Former Indian Captain and ace cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has ancestral roots in Lwali village in Almora. The town also serves as the starting point for many treks like Jageshwar, Pindari, Mornaula, Mukteshwar, Binsar, and Ranikhet among others.
The place owes its name to “Kilmore” a tiny plant found in the nearby regions, used for washing utensils of Katarmal sun temple. The people who used to bring the plant were referred to as Kilmore or Almora. Hence, the town came to be known as Almora or Almoda.
Places to visit –
- Chitai Golu Devta Temple
Presided by the deity of Golu Ji, an incarnation of Lord Shiva in the form of Gaur Bhairav, the Chitai Temple is recognized by the number of copper bells hung in its premises. Although there are many temples of Golu Devta in Almora the Chitai Golu Devta Temple is the most sacred one.
- Kasar Devi
Kasar Devi is a village near Almora, Uttarakhand. It is known for the Kasar Devi temple, a Devi temple, dedicated to Kasar Devi, after whom the place is also named. The Kasar Devi temple offers a pleasant view of the Almora city and Hawabagh Valley. In the 1890s Swami Vivekanand came to this temple for meditation.
Dunagiri temple is located 14 km far from Dwarahat. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Durga. It is believed that when Hanuman Ji was carrying the mountain with ‘Sanjiwani buti’ for Laxman, a piece of it fell here and since that day this place is known as ‘Doonagiri’ (‘giri’ meaning fell).
One of the finest examples of architecture in Uttarakhand, Jageshwar Dham is a group of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Jageshwar temple site attracts many pilgrims and visitors every day. Many complete a part of the post-cremation last rites after the death of a loved one at the Jageshwar temple site.
Binsar is a small town adorned on the hills of Kumaon. Binsar is known for offering spell-binding views of the majestic Himalayan peaks such as Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, Panchauali, and Kedarnath. This compact hill town is encircled by the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary which serves as a habitat for the rare animals, birds, and flower species. It is the best place for experiencing adventurous hiking and camping.
- Katarmal Sun Temple
Katarmal Sun Temple is considered the second most important sun temple in India after Konark Sun Temple (Orissa). It is believed to be the only sun temple located in the hills. The Katarmal Sun temple is a unique cluster of temples that is the tallest temple in the Kumaon region. Inside the main temple along with the statue of Vraddhaditya, other deities are also present. The locals believe that this shrine is significant for two reasons. One, this is the only Sun temple in the hills, and second, in February and November, the sun rays fall directly on the deity making it an extraordinary sight.