Almora is a hill station in Uttarakhand State. Almora was the seat of power of the Chand Dynasty who ruled the land of Kumaon for almost one thousand years. An interesting fact about the discovery of Almora is that unlike other hill stations, it was not discovered and developed by the British. The Katyuri Dynasty ruled the region around Almora from the 9th century AD, till it made way for the Chand dynasty. Raja Balo Kalyan Chand made Almora as his new capital in 1560 AD, when he transferred his capital from Champawat to Almora. The Chands occupied Almora till the 19th century AD. The rivers Kosi and Suyal flow around Almora providing a natural barrier. There is an interesting local legend about the discovery of Almora. Raja Kalyan Chand, the ruler of the Chand Dynasty was riding on the horseshoe shaped ridge in the pursuit of a prey. The hunted quarry protected its life by taking refuge behind the thick bushes of Kilmora, a local wild barberry bush and revealed the place to the king. The story might not be corroborated by any literary or archaeological evidences but continues to be told by the locals. The Gorkhas captured Almora in 1790 AD and finally British took it over from the Gorkhas after the Gorkha wars of 1814-1815.
Jawaharlal Nehru served a term of imprisonment in the Jail at Almora during the British rule. He had left behind an elaborate account of the pleasures of solitude and the varied moods of nature in his various letters written from this place to his daughter.
Almora, a town of about 60,000, is situated in the Kumaon mountains of the Himalayas in eastern Uttarakhand. Most of the town is situated on a crescent shaped mountain ridge about 5 km long, and most of it is above 6,000 feet. Unlike Shimla, Ranikhet and Nainital which were developed by the English, Almora is a hill station totally developed by the Kumaoni Indians.
The town itself is your usual crowded hilltown in northern India, but the natural beauty around is astounding. Almora is also called a town of temples. Situated in the centre of the town is the temple of Goddess Nanda Devi. The mountain is visible from the nearby areas as well.
Almora is an agricultural base and also a trade centre.
The town is served by the Kathgodam station which is very close to Haldwani. Railway service to Haldwani/Kathgodam from delhi is a daily service (thrice a day). The best way to reach Almora is that from 'Haldwani taxi station' you get into a shared Alto which will charges Rs. 200/250 per person or Sumo's vehicle which will charge Rs 175/200 depending on the kind of bargaining you can do. Buses are also available and no advance booking is required. The station handles 46 express trains per week.
There are daily bus services from Delhi. The buses leave from ISBT Anand Vihar and are run by Uttarakhand Roadways.
Driving to Almora takes 10 to 12 hours. From Delhi, it's highway driving throughout. NH 24 connects Delhi to Rampur via Hapur. At Rampur, turn and head north on NH 87 all the way up to Almora. En-route halts include the Wonderland, Rwy crossing, Moradabad and The Kaichi temple, Kaichi.
Contrary to popular belief, flying into Almora is the fastest way to reach the hill station. Almora is served by PantNagar Airport, located about 4 hours away. It is served only by Jagson airlines. It is one of the least busy airports in the country, handling only 6 scheduled flights a week.
JA 101 - Dep. Delhi 1315 Arr. PantNagar 1415 (Mon, Wed, Fri) JA 102 - Dep. Delhi 1445 Arr. PantNagar 1545 (Mon, Wed, Fri) Fare - Rs 2250/$ 90 for adults, Rs 1400/$ 55 for children.
Taxi fare is around Rs 1200-1500.
Home to Chetai Temple
Chetai Temple is dedicated to Golu Devta, an incarnation of Gaur Bhairav and is a local Kumauni god. The people of kumaun have immense faith in Golu Devta & he is the most worshipped God in Kumaun. Chetai Temple is located around Eight Kms from Almora. The route to here is a nice scenery full of pine trees. Golu Devta is reputed to make every wish come true, provided the worshipper ask for it with a clear conscience. People hand their wishes, griefs and sorrows in the form of letters here, they tie them around the circumference of the temple. And once their wishes are fulfilled they come back again and tie a Bell around the temple. There are thousands of bells strung across the temple premises.
Walk the famous bazaar - still with glimpses of the old Kumaouni culture
Woolen garments. Copperware
Bal Mithai, a famous milk sweet of Almora. Also Choklate (not chocolate), a condensed milk sweet with fudge-like consistency and Singauri, again a kind of milk sweet wrapped in a green Malu leaf, which gives it its acclaimed flavour. For a delicious meal, go to Joshju's, a spacious restaurant with excellent food (Indian, Chinese & Continental) and great view over the mountains. It is located in Hotel Jeewan Palace, near Sha Bhairav Mandir, at the Mall Road (phone # 9412995906).
Lots of 'adrak' (ginger) tea - the popular local drink - to welcome guests & also to keep warm.
Hotels include the upscale Club Mahindra and the relatively down-to-earth KMVN
are all around Almora and attract nature lovers