With the majestic snow capped Himalayas in the backdrop, dense pine and fir forests all around and the rivers Koshi (Kaushiki) and Suyal (Salmale) flowing beside, the scenic hill station of Almora is situated at an altitude of 5,900 ft at the southern edge of the Kumaon Hills. Blessed with salubrious climate all year round, this beautiful horse shoe shaped town will keep you gaping with its pretty cottages, placid lakes and picturesque terraced fields. Almora is also famous for its handicrafts. You may try out Pashmina shawls, folk art, decorative candles, drift wood statues and copperware.
Here are the major attractions of Almora:
1. Shiv Temple
In the old section of Almora town is the noble Shiv Temple. Its antechamber houses the Nanda Devi Temple.
2. Nanda Devi Temple
Nanda Devi Temple is a thousand year old temple in Almora. The temple is housed in the antechamber of the Shiv Temple. An interesting feature of Nanda Devi Temple is the elaborately carved images on the walls. The Nanda Devi Dance Festival held in September is very popular.
3. Almora Bazaar
The crowded stone flagged bazaar of Almora presents a pleasing blend of old and modern architecture.
4. Khajanchi Mohalla
Khajanchi Mohalla is a historical building in Almora and the name translates to ‘Treasurer’s Area’. The building features an ancient style of architecture.
5. Tamta Mohalla
Tamta Mohalla is home to several traditional craftsmen like coppersmiths and the weavers of tweeds and shawls.
6. Almora Fort
Belonging to the Chand dynasty, Almora Fort gives a scenic view of Almora town and the surrounding mountains from the top. The fort has now been converted into the District Collector’s Office.
7. Bright End Corner
Situated about 2 km from Almora, Bright End Corner is famous for the magnificent view of the sunrise and sunset seen through the Himalayan peaks. For those visitors wanting peace and quiet, Bright End Corner is the perfect place. A circuit house, Vivekanand Library and a memorial to Swami Vivekanand are places worth visiting.
Martola is about 10 km from Almora. With lush gardens and forests, Martola is a perfect place for picnics. One can take a bus or taxi to Panuwanaula and walk from there to reach the place.
9. Kalimutt (or Kalimath)
At a distance of 4.5 km from Almora, Kalimutt is a haven for picnickers. One can see the magnificent Himalayan peaks from here.
10. Deer Park
The Deer Park is located about 3 km from Almora. A stroll in this park is an uplifting experience.
11. Govind Vallabh Pant Public Museum
Govind Vallabh Pant Public Museum near the Almora bus stand has a large display of historical, archeological and cultural items. A folk style of painting of this region called ‘Apen’ is a part of the museum collection.
Simtola is a pretty picnic spot situated at a distance of 5 km from Almora. The magnificent view of towering mountains covered with pine and deodar forests captivates the mind and heart. One can visit an abandoned diamond mine nearby. The impressive ‘Granite Hill’ close to Simtola is also worth a visit.
13. Chitai Temple
Walking a distance of 8 km through a pine forest one reaches Chitai Temple. A unique feature of this temple is lots of little bells hung there by devotees whose wishes have been fulfilled. The grand Himalayas can be seen from here.
14. Katarmal Sun Temple
Situated about 7 km from Almora, Katarmal Temple is an ancient temple dating back 800 years and is the second most important sun temple in India after the Konark Temple in Orissa. The temple features fine architecture, delicately carved images on the walls, skillfully made stone and metallic sculptures and tastefully carved pillars and wooden doors. The temple is surrounded by a complex of 44 small temples with eye catching carvings.
15. Binsar hill (Or Jhandi Dhar)
Located about 32 km from Almora, Binsar Hill has a temple dedicated to Shiva called Bineswar Temple at an altitude of 2,412 m. The place is a veritable nature lover’s paradise with ferns, hanging moss and several species of wild flowers. Oak and rhododendron forests lead to the top of the hill which has a spectacular view of Almora, the Himalayas and the surrounding valley.
Jageshwar is situated 38 km from Almora on the Almora-Pithoragarh road and has a Shiv temple complex within dense Deodar forests. The temple is noted for its exquisite architecture and graceful art. The temple complex has 124 shrines and hundreds of statues with outstanding craftsmanship.
Gannath is at a distance of 47 km from Almora. There is an ancient Shiv temple with natural caves here. It is at an altitude of 2,116 m and offers a stunning view of nature.
18. Kasar Devi Temple
The second century temple of Kasar Devi is about 1 km from Kalimutt and about 7 km north of Almora.
The hill station of Ranikhet (meaning Queen’s Meadow) is situated about 50 km from Almora at an altitude of 1,869 m. Places of interest around Ranikhet include Chaubatia Gardens known for its orchards, Tarikhet where Mahatma Gandhi once stayed, Majkhali village with awesome views and Upat (about 6 km from Ranikhet) with an excellent 9 hole golf course. Another attraction is the resort of Sitlakhet situated on the Syahi Devi Hill. Near the Sitlakhet resort is the Kafni Glacier at a height of 3,870 m above sea level. About 7 km from Ranikhet is the famous Jhoola Devi Temple.
Kausani hill station, described as India’s Switzerland by Mahatma Gandhi is a magnificent place with fruit orchards, pine forests on hills, pine laden air and terraced fields. It is situated at a distance of 51 km from Almora and an altitude of 1,890 m. Splendid view of the mountains can be had from Anakshakti Ashram situated on the top of a hill where Mahatma Gandhi once stayed.
Situated 14 km from the town of Palampur and 71 km from Almora on the banks of the River Gomti, the historical town of Baijnath is known for several 12th and 13th century temples. One famous temple is the Shiv Vaidyanath temple dating back to the 13th century. The temple houses the statues of Ganga and Yamuna, the image of Surya (The Sun God) and the lingam of Shiv Vaidyanath. Aesthetic balcony windows, ornamented foliage and exquisite carvings are the notable features of this grand temple.
22. Kosi Temple
Situated about 12 km from Almora, the 12th century Kosi Temple is an example of one of the earliest Sun temples in India.
Someshwar is situated about 35 km north of Almora. It has an old Shiv temple.
Bageshwar is 90 km from Almora on the bank of the Rivers Saryu and Gomti and is the commercial capital of the Kumaon region. The Bagnath Temple here is a 14th century temple very near the Pindari glacier. Bhairav Temple, Dattatrey Maharaj, Ganga Mai Temple, Hanuman Temple, Durga Temple, Kalika Temple, Thingal Bhairav Temple, Panchnam Junakhara and the Vaneswar Temple comprise the Bagnath Temple complex. Every year on the 14th of January, Uttaryani Fair is held to mark the occasion of Makar Sankranti. Other fairs such as Kartik Purnima, Shivratri Fair, Bikhauti and Harela are also celebrated with great gusto by the locals.
Situated at a distance of 71 km from Almora and an altitude of 1,938 m, Nainital is a pretty hill station. Naini Lake, Snow View point, Tiffin Top or Dorothy’s Seat, Ropeway, Naina Peak or China Peak, Hanuman Garhi and Land’s End are some of the places worth visit.
Location: Almora district, Uttarakhand, India.
Altitude: 5,900 ft
Climate: Average annual maximum temperature of 23°C and average minimum temperature of 11.5°C. The summer season is from April to July with maximum temperature below 30°C, the winter season is from December to January with minimum temperature of 4°C and the monsoon season is from August to October with moderate rainfall.
Best time to travel: April to June & September to November
Accommodation: Dharamshalas, hotels, resorts, holiday inns, a circuit house, a forest guest house and a PWD inspection house are available.
By Flight: Pant Nagar is the nearest airport at a distance of 127 km from Almora.
By Train: The nearest railway station is at Kathgodam, about 90 km away from Almora.
By Road: Bus services are also available to Almora from various places like Dehradun (412 km), Nainital (71 km), Delhi (382 km), Lucknow (466 km), Bareilly (205 km), Kathgodam (90 km), Pithoragarh (122 km), Haridwar (357 km) and Haldwani (96 km).