If you are looking for a place with a clean and healthy atmosphere, a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayas, a glimpse of a township with it's tiled roofs facing the sun, then pack your bags and head for Almora, one of the best cities of the Kumaon region in Uttar Pradesh.
Situated on a 5 Km long horse saddle shape ridge between the Kosi and the Suyal rivers, this magnificent city has been the centre of cultural and political influences of Kumaon. The earliest settlers of this region were the Chand Rajas and later the British domesticated this city.
Other important and equally beautiful places around the main city are the Bright End Corner, where you can witness a beautiful and unforgettable sunset; the Chitai Temple with it's long rows of brass bells of all shapes and sizes; Kasar Devi, residence of the Europeans who could not resist the bewitching charm of Almora; Nanda Devi, the religious focal point of Almora for many centuries; and the Lala Bazaar, a two-century old market with streets of stone.
How to reach
By Air - Nearest airport is Pantnagar, which is about 125 km away
By Rail - Nearest railway station is at Kathgodam 91 kms away
By Road - From there, buses and taxies are available which take you to Almora at reasonable rates.
Places to see
When visiting Almora, make sure to include these nearby places in your itinerary:
Ranikhet is famous as the centre of the Kumaon regiment of the Indian Army. It is situated around fifty Kms from Almora and is one of the most beautiful and well-maintained townships of the Kumaon region. A pollution free greenery of pine and oak-trees greet the traveler. The Kumaon Regimental Museum and a grassy green golf course make the experience memorable.
A four-Km drive from Ranikhet takes you to the famous Chaubatiya Gardens, that are famous for it's sprawling orchards of apples, plums, peaches and apricots. There are some important temples like the Jhoola Devi Mandir, Ram Mandir, Herakhan Mandir, Kalika Mandir and the Binsar Mahadev Temple for the religious minded tourist.
Just 52 Kms away from Almora lies Kausani, famous as the "Switzerland of India". You can have a really close view of the snow-covered Himalayan peaks and a wide expanse of carpets of green. At sunrise, the famous Katyuri valley offers a breathtaking view. Pinnath (10KMs), Bura Pinnath (5KMs) and Bhakot are the highest points near Kausani. The Anasakti Ashram, dedicated to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, who was so bewitched by the beauty of Kausani that he was forced to stay here, is another important place to visit.
Binsar, now a wildlife sanctaury with a host of wildlife like the Panther and Barking Deer, is nestled amongst a thick growth of Oaks and Rhodendron. The famous temple of Binsar lies nearby. The place offers a spectacular view of the Himalayas and is just 30 Kms away from Almora. Legend has it that whoever takes away anything belonging to the Gods or His worshippers from Binsar has to return it twenty times.
Avoid July and August being monsoons landslides may occur. Skiing in Uttaranchal generally takes place in the winter seasons specifically December to March. The monsoon season continues from July till September. You will get good weather during the October months and in April-May-mid June when it is Yatra time and a lot of rush.
The best time to visit Uttrakhand if it is a religious tour esp to Sri Badrinath,Kedarnath,gangotri & Yamnotri is in the last week of May to mid July before arrival of monsoon. This time the weather remains pleasant and the roads are in good condition. You may also plan the trip in October post monsoon but then the weather gets quite cold but u get plenty accomodation at a cheaper price.