Katarmal Sun Temple: Abode of Sun God in the Hills

Dedicated to the ancient Sun god Lord Buhadita, the Sun Temple is situated slightly off the track in Almora’s Katarmal Town. Located atop a hill around 17 kilometres from Almora, the Sun Temple is around 32 kilometres towards the east of Ranikhet.

Katarmal Sun Temple, Katarmal
Katarmal Sun Temple, Katarmal

The Katarmal Sun Temple attributes its popularity to the hypnotizing temple architecture at an elevation of nearly 2,100 metres above the sea level! Although the 2-kilometre steep climb will exhaust you towards, the 360–degree view of the surrounding hills at the end will surely be amazing. The viewpoint here is a great photo-op too!

History of Katarmal Sun Temple

Built by the Katyuri Kings of the Kumaon region during the 9th Century CE, the Katarmal Sun Temple hosts temples for Lord Shiva–Goddess Parvati, Lord Narayana–Goddess Lakshmi and many other gods and goddesses from the Hindu mythology. Shortly after the Sun Temple was discovered, an idol dating back to the 10th Century AD was reported stolen.

Eventually, all the wooden doors and panels of the temple were removed and shifted to the National Museum in Delhi. Presently, the Katarmal Sun Temple has been declared a national monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958.

Transportation

Railways

If you are travelling to Katarmal via railways, you’d have to book train tickets from Delhi to Ranikhet via the Ranikhet Express. Since it would be an overnight journey, you would have enough time to wash off the fatigue before leaving to  Katarmal the next morning via roadways from Ranikhet.

Roadways

Travelling to Katarmal Sun Temple via roadways is the most convenient option. For this, you may first travel to Almora or Ranikhet via the State Transportation bus and then travel to Katarmal in a rented taxi. It will take approximately 1 hour to reach the place from either of the cities.

Best time to Visit

November to February is the best time to visit Katarmal Sun Temple. During these months, the sun rays fall directly on the idol of Sun God in the main temple, extraordinarily illuminating the site.

Architectural Highlights

As per the historical records, the magnificently carved stones of Katarmal Sun Temple were carried to the hilltop to build this architectural masterpiece. While the main temple houses the idol of Sun God Buhadita, the 45 smaller temple structures surrounding the main temple have idols of other Indian gods and goddesses.

Further, metallic clamps and other types of linkages have also been used to keep the temple structures together. From the doors to the temple interiors, the Katarmal Sun Temple compound gives you a glimpse of excellent ancient Katyuri architecture. The intricately carved statues inside the temples are quite attractive as well. 

Tips to Remember

  • Carry ample food and water supplies while travelling to and from Katarmal Sun Temple since the place is situated away from the town.
  • Those suffering from lung or heart related problems are advised to carry proper medication as well.
  • Wear acceptable clothing while visiting the temple.
  • Prefer wearing sport shoes since you may have to climb to the hilltop.

This post was published by Ashutosh Chandra

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