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.
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 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 1,800 m. The rivers Kosi and Suyal flow around Almora providing a natural barrier. Unlike Shimla, Ranikhet and Nainital, which were developed by the English, Almora is a hill station totally developed by the Kumaoni Indians.
The town is typical of crowded hill towns in northern India, but the natural beauty around it 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 located approximately 35 km away. Taxis charge ₹600 to Almora. You can also share a cab at ₹125 per person. Most hotels will arrange for pick up on prior request, ₹700-₹1000. The station handles 46 express trains per week.
- Shatabadi Express(12040) daily-EC, CC-Dep New Delhi 0620 hrs, Arrival Kathgodam 1120 hrs
- Bagh Exp (daily) - Dep. Howrah 2145 Arr. 0935 - 2 nights
- Dehradun Kathgodam Exp (Wed, Sun) - Dep. 2230 Arr. 0725 - 1 night
- Ranikhet Exp (daily) - Dep. Delhi Jn 2245 Arr. 0500 - 1 night
- Sampark Kranti Exp (daily) - Dep. Delhi Jn 1600 Arr. 2245 - 7 hours
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 (PGH IATA), 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 - ₹2250/$ 90 for adults, ₹1400/$ 55 for children.
Taxi fare is around ₹1200-₹1500.
- Binsar temple The Bineshwar temple is a large temple complex situated 8 km from Almora. In addition, there is a good view from the nearby Binsar Top.
- Temples Nearby. There are many temples in and around Almora. One can visit Chitai Temple, 8 km from city, and a group of temples in Jageshwar (20 km from Almora).
Kasar Devi, 8 km from the city, has great views.
- 1 Mahavatar Babaji Cave, Ratkhal, Near Kukuchina Bus Stand, Pandukholi Mountain Dwarahat, ☏ . 10 AM - 2 PM. Mahavatar Babaji's Cave is the place where the immortal Babaji initiated Lahiri Mahasaya into Kriya Yoga in 1861 (as described in the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda).
Walk the famous bazaar - still with glimpses of the old Kumaouni culture
- Woolen garments.
- Himalaya Woollens, Fair View (Above Holiday Home). Local hand woven tweeds that you can also see being made.
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.
Lots of 'adrak' (ginger) tea - the popular local drink - is offered to welcome guests and also to keep warm.
Hotels include the upscale Club Mahindra and the relatively down-to-earth KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam) Tourist Rest House.
- Ayush Guest House, Paparsali Badi, Almora (On Kasardevi Road), ☏ , ✉ AyushGuestHouse@Yahoo.in.
- Hotel Bhagwati Palace, Near Taxi Stand Link Road Almora, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jungal House homestay, Kasardevi (in a silent side road, just 1 km from Kasardevi temple on the road towards Binsar), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. The Jungal House is home to Kishan and his wife Prema. They live here with their 2 sons Rakhshit & Vishal. They are a typical Kumaoni family, living in the central block of the house. They have build the extra room for guests. 4 rooms.
- Binsar Resort.
- Kalmatia Sangam - just outside of Almora.
- Khali Estate.
- Sitala Estate .
- Binsar is a wildlife sanctuary 25 km from Almora. Taxis can be taken at the Almora taxi stand. The sanctuary has one resort (Club Mahindra Resort) and a forest guesthouse with an attached restaurant. Binsar has a beautifully lazy feel around it. There are jungle walkways and one can see lots of birds everywhere. In the winter Binsar can be very cold and heavy woollens are required.
- Quaint hill resorts such as Chaukori, Ranikhet, Sitlakhet, Binsar, Kausani and Bageshwar are all around Almora and attract nature lovers.