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Best Time to Visit : November - February

Katarmal Sun Temple, Almora Overview

Alighted at an altitude of 2,116 metres above the sea level, the Sun Temple in Katarmal village, Uttarakhand, is considered the second most beautiful shrine dedicated to Surya in India. Around 19 kilometres away from Almora, this temple complex is visited by thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year. The main temple is dedicated to the Surya deity, Vraddhaditya. 

This shrine is enlightened at dawn as it receives the first rays of the sun. Its very location amidst the Kumaon hills interrupted by the Kosi river, makes this site extremely photogenic and absolute. This 9th Century temple complex dates back to when Katarmalla, a Katyuri ruler used to rule the region. This 800-year-old temple has one main temple and 45 smaller shrines. Other smaller shrines have idols of Shiva, his consort Parvati, Lakshmana and Narayana, enunciated in them. 

Photos of Katarmal Sun Temple

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Specialty of Katarmal Sun Temple

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!

Best Time to Visit Katarmal Sun Temple

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.

How to Reach Katarmal Sun Temple

Located atop a hill around 19 kilometres from Almora, the Sun Temple is around 32 kilometres towards the east of Ranikhet, Uttarakhand.
  • 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.
  • Airways: Pantnagar Airport is situated 168.4 km away and Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun is 313.5km away. From there, you can take pre-paid taxis or car rentals.

Architecture of Katarmal Sun Temple

As per the historical records, the magnificently carved stones of Katarmal Sun Temple were carried to the hilltop to build this architectural masterpiece. The Baraditya temple, facing the East, is said to be the oldest and the largest of all temples in the complex. 

The temple complex is known for its unique architectural design and intricate carvings on wood and on stone. The Sun Temple was beautified with artfully carved wooden doors and panels and a guileful idol of Lord Vraddhaditya, installed in the tenth century. After the theft of this idol, several wooden doors and other valuable carvings were shifted to the National Museum, Delhi. 

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.

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.

Tips

  • 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.

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