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Almora

Kumaun Division

Kumaun Division consists of the district of Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar, Almora, Bageshwer, Pithoragarh and Champawat. The name of the socio cultural region of Kumaun is believed to have been derived from "Kurmanchal", meaning Land of the Kurmavtar (the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Preserver of Hindu Trinity). Extending from the northern end of the Ganga plains right upto Tibet, Kumaun's endless panorama of scenic wonders is nothing short of a romance with pristine and soul-lifting nature itself.

Almora

Almora, a picturesque district in the east of the state of Uttaranchal in Kumaun region, is a fine blend of mountain beauty; ancient cultural influences, sanctified spots, thickly wooded forests, scenic valleys, quaint cottages, crystal lakes and gushing rivers.

Almora at a glance
Area 11.9 sq.kms (city area)
Population 53.507 (1991census)
Altitude 1646 meters (5400feet)
Temperature 4.4*to 29.4*
Rainfall Average 828mm (33'')
Languages Hindi, English and Kumauni

How to reach

By Air

The nearest airport to Almora is at Pantnagar, the seat of a famous agricultural university, about 127 km from Almora.

By Train

The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, 90 km away. Connected by rail with Lucknow, Delhi and Howrah.

By Road

From Kathgodam local transport, private taxies as well as buses run by private operators, and buses run by the state government corporation - UASRTC are available at all hours. Connected by road with most places of Uttranchal. Private taxis are available for local conveyance.

Distance from Almora to :
Lucknow 466 km
Dehradun 412 km
Nanital 71 km
Delhi 382 km.
Bareilly 205 km
Kathgodam 90 kms
Pithoragarh 122 kms
Haridwar 357 kms
Haldwani 96 kms

Places of Interest

Deer Park ( 3 km )
Kasar Devi ( 6 km )
Mohan Joshi Park ( 2.5 km )
Chitai Temple ( 8 km )
Simtola ( 4 km )
Brightend Corner ( 2 km )
Kamlimath Museum at Bus Stand ( 5 km )

Religious Places


Bhadrishwar Temple
Hanuman Temple
Ulka Devi Temple
Jama Masjid
Ratneshwar Temple
Bhairav Temple
Murli Manohar Temple
Church
Raghunath Temple
Nanda Devi Temple
Khagmara Temple
Deoli Danda Temple

Important Telephone Numbers

District Magistrate Office, Almora 30170
Supdt. of Police, Almora 30007
Chief Medical Officer, Almora 30322
Nagar Palika Parishad, Almora 30021
Fire Station, N.T.D Almora 34101
Police Station, Thana Bazar, Almora 30325
Police Station N.T.D. Almora
State Bank Of India, Almora 30048

Almora Town

The Township of Almora is the district headquarter and has all the facilities for a tourist of twenty first century. This ancient hill station is reputed for it's health giving climate and is perched on a five Km long horse saddle shape ridge in between the river Kosi and Suyal and has been a cultural and political region of Kumaun for almost four hundred years, settled by Chand Rajas and nurtured by the British. One can have a panoramic view of the snowy peaks of Himalayas on any clear day and in addition a glimpse of the township with it's tiled roofed houses and paved streets would take you to the sixteenth century in some thoughtful moment. The eastern portion of the ridge is known as Talifat and the western one is known as Selifat. The market is at the top of the ridge where these two, Talifat and Selifat jointly terminate. The main Mohalla (wards) of Almora are :

Selifat

Joshikhola, Shelakhola, Dyodhipokhar, Thapalia, Kholta, Champanaula, Gururanikhola, Chaunsar, Galli, Karadiyakhola, Kapina, Paniudiyar, Ranidhara, Chaudharikhola, Pokharkhal, Jhijad and Kasoon.

Talifat

Chinakhan, Makedi, Dharanaula, Chandani Chowk, Vishtakuda, Tyunara, danya, Bansbida, Upretikhola, Khasiya-khola, Badekhola, Dubkiya, Nayalkhola, Tiruvakhola, Dugalkhola and Tamtyuda etc.

Market

Mostly the wards have been named after the communities that inhabited them. Lala Bazar, Karkhana Bazar, Khajanchi Mohalla, Jauhari Mohalla, Malli Bazar and Thana Bazar. The market is 1.25 miles long and is covered with stone slabs. The place of the present cantonment was formerly known as Lalmandi. Presently where the collectorate exists, the 'Malla Mahal' (Upper Court) of Chanda kings was located. The site of present District Hospital used to be 'Talla Mahal' (Lower Court) of Chand rulers.

Temples in Almora

The temples at Almora can be conveniently divided by two groups, Shaivite temples include the temples dedicated to female form of Shiva. In the former group Tripur Sundari, Udyot Chandeshwer and Parbateshwer were erected in 1688, after the victory of Udyot Chand, the then ruler of Almora over Doti and Garhwal, are presently on the hill just above the Lala Bazar. The temple of Parbateshwara was again endowed by the then rulers of Almora, Dip Chand in 1760 and was renamed Dipchandeshwar. This present temple began to be called the Nanda Devi temple when the image of Nanda was removed from the fort by Mr. Trail, a famous British, the then divisional commissioner of Kumaun. Again eight temples of Bhirava, a form of Siva, were erected during the reign of Gyan Chand to allay the wrath of Bhola Nath. These are :

1. Kal Bhairava
2. Batuk Bhairav
3. Shah Bhairav
4. Garhi Bhairava
5. Anand Bhairava
6. Gaur Bhairava
7. Bal Bhairava
8. Khutkuniya Bhairava
It seems that eight gates of the city of Shiva are watched by eight Bhairavas. There are nine temples dedicated to nine forms of Durga. They are :
1. Patal Devi or Patreshwari Devi
2. Yakshini Devi
3. Rajrajeshwari Devi
4. Tripura
5. Nanda
6. Ulka Devi
7. Sitla Devi
8. Kot Kalika
9. Durga Ratneshwari

There are also temples of Vishwanath, Someshwar and Kshetrapal. Among the Vaishnavite temples, the most important is the temple of Siddha Narsimha. It was endowed by Gorkhalis. Raghunath temple was endowed in 1788 by Raja Mohan Singh Chand. There are four temples dedicated to Lord Ganesh. They are Bhitla Ganesh, Gairi Ganesh, Nanda Devi Ganesh and Siddha Ganesh. The Nar Singh temple at Narsimha Bari is another Vaishnavite temple. The temples of Murli Manohar, Hanuman and Badreshwer were erected very late. One of the Ganesh temples was endowed by the then ruler Kalyan Chand in 1731 A.D. This small town can fairly be called a city of temples which proves the religious zeal and favour of the Hindu Rajas and their Brahman and Kshatriya followers. The orthodox rites and rituals of Hindu religion have still been preserved in pure form.

Himalayan peaks around Almora

Name of The Peak Height (in fts) Height (in mts) Heightwise Absolute No. in the world
Nanda Devi 25645 7820 31
Kamet 25447 7758 40
Nanda Devi East 24370 7430 81
Chaukhamba 23420 7140 161
Trishul 23360 7120 171
Trishuli North West 23080 7036 200
Panch Chuli 22650 6905 234
Nanda Kot 22510 6860 246
Mrigthuni 22490 6856 249
Trishul East 22360 6817 263
Maiktoli 22320 6804 266
Trishuli 21949 6691 308
Deo Damla 21770 6637 318
Nanda Khat 21690 6612 326
NilKhantha 21640 6597 333
Peak N.E of Panchchuli 21217 6468 378
Panchchuli V 21120 6439 391
Panchchuli IV 20780 6335 429
Panchchuli III 20710 6314 435
Nandaghunti (Nandakna) 20700 6310 437
Trishul III 20243 6171 497

Places of Interest around Almora

Ranikhet

Around fifty Km from Almora, the quiet and beautiful cantonment township of Ranikhet, is famous for it's salubrious climate, balmy breeze captivating and panoramic Himalayan View and soothing and pollution free greenery of pines and oaks. It is also famous as the regimental center of the Kumaun Regiment of Indian Army- one of the most prestigious and the most decorated of all. The Kumaun Regimental museum and amicably maintained grassy and green golf course are memorable experiences. From Ranikhet four Km sojourn takes you to the Chaubatiya Gardens famous for it's sprawling orchards of delicious apples, plums, peaches and apricots. It is result of the pioneering efforts of a British settler 150 years ago. In and around Ranikhet there are some famous temples of the Hindus for religious minded like Jhoola Devi Mandir, Ram Mandir, Herakhan Mandir, Kalika Temple and Binsar Mahadeva.

Binsar

Situated only 30 km away from the township of Almora lies Binsar nestled amongst thick forests of Oak and Rhodendron and yet offering surprisingly close views of the Himalayan peaks. The entire region is now a wildlife sanctuary and has a host of wildlife like Panther and Barking Deer. The temple of Binsar lies nearby. One of the many legends concerning Binsar states that 'Should anyone take away anything belonging to the God or his worshippers and avenging spirit and compels him conscience stricken to restore it twenty fold. Even the faithless and the dishonest are said to be reformed by a visit to Binsar.

Bageshwer

Situated around 90 km from Almora, Bageswer is now a new district headquarter and the centre of administration for the entire region called Danpur. The place is significant from both religious and tourist point of view. Situated at the confluence of the rivers Saryu and Gomti, Bageswer is the seat of the famous Uttaraini fair which is held every year in January. The famous and ancient temple of Bagnath from which the township gets it's name has been attracting thousands of devout Hindus year after year since the birth of history. It is believed that Markandey sage has lived at the place and that Lord Shiva, one of the most important gods of Hindus had wandered about as a tiger. Even for the adventurous tourist Bageshwer is a necessary destination since in order to reach the glaciers of Sunderdunga, Kafni and Pindari one has to necessarily cross Bageshwer.

Shitla Khet

Situated between Ranikhet and Almora this picturesque place not only affords a wide view of the Himalayan peaks but is also full of fruit orchards. Scouting camps are frequently held here and there is a beautiful temple of Syahi Devi around 3 km away on a lovely mountainous trail. The birth place of the first chief minister of the province of Uttar Pradesh, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant is a place called Khunt situated nearby. Some years back a centenary memorial has been built at this place to commemorate the memory of this great son of the soil.

Jalana

Situated 35 km away from Almora in picturesque surroundings Jalna offers a wide panoramic view of Himalayas. There are a number of orchards which produce a number of variety of fruits such as apricots, peaches, peers, plums and apples.

Baijnath

Lying in the Katyuri valley, 19 km away from Kausani is the small but ancient town of Baijnath. It was once upon a time the capital of the Katyuri dynasty of kings and the place was then called Kartikyapura. The remnants of those glorious days lies at the bank of the Gomti river in the form of a group of temples. The temple is famous for it's ancient and magnificent stone idol of the Hindu goddess Parvati. Around 8 km from Baijnath on the Gwaldam road lies the famous Kotkimai temple. One can also visit Pandusthal which lies nearby.

Dwarahat

Situated in a wide valley of the river Ramganga, Dwarahat lies around 32 m from Ranikhet. And is a very important town from both historical and archeological point of view and may also have been the capital of some branches of Katyuri kings. Around 10 km from Dwarahat lies the famous Doonagiri temple atop a hillock which is famous in legends for containing the herb drug Sanjivini. The temple dedicated to the goddess Durga is situated in the midst of beautiful and dense forest and a tea estate. Some distance from Dwarahat lies the temple of Naithan Devi.

Manila

Manila literally means enchanting. The famous temple of Manila Devi, the family goddess of Katyuri kings lies around 85 km from Ranikhet. The surrounding forests and the Himalayan views from this hill ridge are worth remembering.

Katarmal

Situated around 17 km northwest of Almora, Katarmal is famous for 800 years temple dedicated to the Sun God. The only temple in India dedicated to Sun is the Konark temple in Puri at Orissa.

Patal Bhubneshwer

Fastly emerging on the international tourism map, Patal Bhubneshwer is a unique wonder of the nature. Situated about 110 km from Almora towards Gangolihat, in Pithoragarh district the underground cave of Patal Bhubneshwer has a vertical tunnel shaped 40 meters path for getting inside into it from the ground .After reaching at the bottom, the main passage opens into several small horizontal caves, out of which the longest accessible cave is 120 meters horizontal in length. The most important thing is to notice is the mystery of natural carving of many animals, Gods and Goddesses in such a fine way that all it seems real. The cave temple of Patal Bhubneshwer is traditionally believed to be the abode of thirty three crore deities. These marvelous creature of the nature can evoke weird romantic fancies and images in the religiously inclined person.

Jageshwer

Situated around 35 m from Almora, Jageshwer one of the most important religious places of Hindus in Kumaun and is believed to be the abode of the one of the twelve 'Jyotirlingas'. It is even mentioned in the great epic of 'Mahabharata'. The great temple complex is situated in a narrow and beautiful valley covered with Cedar trees. Two streams Nandini and Surabhi flow down the hills and meet near the sacred spot. Dense grove of Cedar trees, perpetual verdure, and sweet murmur of the riverlets give a peculiar charm and sanctity to this place. There are 124 temples and hundreds of magnificent statues of exquisite craftsmanship. The oldest shrine is of the 'Mrityunjaya' and the biggest shrine is of the 'Dindeshwara'. During the monsoons there is huge fair held every year at Jageshwer.