Cradled in the wilderness of Himalayan ranges, the sprawling town of Almora shaped like a horse-shoe is a hill station that boasts of a pre-British heritage and an adyllic vibe.
Famous for its rich cultural heritage, unique handicrafts, sumptuous cuisine and magnificent wildlife, coupled with an easy accessibility, Almora promises its tourists a visit full of fun and unforgettable moments. This agrarian town has two major rivers- Koshi (Kaushaki) and Suyal (Salmali) flowing through it. "The enchanting beauties of the Himalayas, their bracing climate and the soothing green that envelopes you leaves nothing more to be desired. I wonder whether the scenery of these hills and the climate are to be surpassed, if equaled, by any of the beauty spots of the world. After having been nearly three weeks in Almora Hills, I am more than ever amazed why our people need go in Europe in search of health. " - Mahatma Gandhi
Located in the beautiful Kumaon mountains. Pleasant temperature throughout the year. Rich culture and history.
Road travel is the only way to reach Almora. Summer is a very busy season, and the destination is crowded by tourists.
Almora is the perfect destination for everyone. It is very popular with honeymooners, adventure travellers, photographers, families and groups of friends looking for somewhere to cool off.
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Almora has a rich diversity of natural vegetation, with about 4000 species of plants, owing to its great range of elevation. The variation in climatic conditions, precipitation, nature of valleys, and alignment of ranges determine the altitudinal growth and variety of vegetation. The flora of this region may be classified into tropical, subtropical, alpine and sub-alpine vegetation. The alpine and subalpine zones are said to home the largest number of medicinal plants.
The subalpine zones of Almora and its outskirts act as a natural sanctuary for leopard, languar, Himalayan black bear, kakar, goral, etc. The high altitude zones house musk deer, popularly known as 'Kastura Mrig', snow leopard, blue sheep, thar, etc. the entire region is rich in a remarkable variety of birds possessing magnificent designs and colors- like peacock, grey quail, black francolin/ 'Kala titar', whistling thrush, chakol, monal, cheer pheasant, koklas pheasant, etc.
Almora was previously known as 'Rajpur' during the early phase of Chand rule, which is mentioned over a number of ancient copper plates. When King Bhisham Chand laid the foundation of this town, he had initially named it as ‘Alamnagar’. However, popular belief states that Alora got its name from the term 'kilmora'., a short plant found in the nearby region which was used for washing utensils of the Sun Temple at Katarmal. The people bringing kilmora were known as ‘kilmori’ and later came to be known as 'almori'. The place came to be known as ‘Almora’.
Almora is located in the Kumaon mountain range and is one of the most popular destinations in India for mountain biking. Since it is easy to reach Almora and the altitude is relatively low, one does not need too much training to bike here. Many shops and resorts rent bikes by the hour or by the day, and you can enjoy cycling across the rugged mountain paths.
Almora is an excellent place to explore various valleys, plains and forested areas on the bike and many roads are lined with flowers. Fruit orchards and pine trees that are most loved by bikers. Trekking is another activity that draws adventurers to Almora. Many routes that go deeper into the Himalayas start from Almora, and there is also a single day to weekend treks near the town. The smaller treks are famous for the bird and animal life the trekkers get to experience on the route.
Unlike most other hill stations in Northern India, Almora was not developed by the British as a summer retreat. It was the capital of the Chand dynasty that ruled the Kumaon region for over a thousand years until they were ousted by the British. Despite this, Almora has preserved its unique culture over the years and today is known as the cultural capital of the Kumaon. This is reflected in many daily aspects like the style of building houses, the food consumed by people, the way of celebrating festivals, worshipping deities and the language. There are many monuments, old temples and museums that celebrate this rich history. The Govind Vallabh Pant Museum has an extensive collection of artefacts, paintings, sculptures and weapons as old as 2nd Century AD chronicling the rise and fall of the Chand dynasty. The two famous temples in the town are the Nanda Devi temple and Kasar Devi temple, both dedicated to mountain goddesses widely worshipped in the region.
Day 1: Reach Almora by road and settle into your hotel. After lunch, leave for the Nana Devi temple, which is located in the heart of the city. The architecture of the temple is very typical for the region, and till today, it has a tiled roof. Another temple close by is the Kasar Devi temple which is located on top of a hill and offers a magnificent view of the Hawabagh Highway. In the evening, explore the street markets of the town and shop for some souvenirs.
Day 2: Leave in the morning for Simtola or Martola, two of the most scenic spots near Almora that are very popular day trips for tourists and locals. You can get a view of the magnificent alpine forests and vast swathes of stepped farms. In the evening, visit Deer Park, a spot where you can bask in the evening sun or follow the deer as they hop around the park. There is also an abundance of bird life in this park, and you can pick up a bike to explore the area further.
While in Almora, you can indulge in the delicious and authentic local cuisines of Uttarakhand. Do try these dishes, as these are some of the unique preparations that the Indian platter has and almost exclusive to the area. The must-try items here include the popular and traditional local sweets. Bal Mithai, famous milk sweet of Almora, Choklate - a condensed milk sweet with fudge-like consistency and Singauri - a kind of milk sweet wrapped in a green Malu leaf used for flavoring are some popular treats in Almora that one just cannot miss.
The other local delicacies include Bhaang Ki Khatai, Mixed dal Salad, Kappa (a green curry), Sisunak Saag(a dish prepared with green leafy vegetables and many local ingredients), Aloo ke Gutke( a Kumauni potato dish), Aloo Daal Pakora, Rus ( a preparation of many dals) and much more. The 'Adrak' (ginger) tea is also a famous welcome drink here.
When in Almora, do visit Baba cake at Kasardevi on the Almora-Binsar road. It is a small café run by Baba and Uma (a German who has settled in India). They serve great food; do try their Apple crumble cake and Lemon nana.
Nearly an Alpine hill station, Almora will get good and cold in the second half of December. Last year, places in the higher reaches of Uttarakhand like Almora, Binsar and Munsiyari received a good amount of snowfall before Christmas. If you're planning to visit, make sure you get a heated hotel and carry sufficient warm clothes. A few feet of snow always makes a hill station amazing to visit!