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February 16, 2017

Exploring divine Almora...Day 3 & 4

After a wonderful exploration of Almora and Pithoragarh district, Day 3 was reserved for counting the numerous temples in Jageshwar Dham and visiting nearby temples and spots.

First in the list was the Jhanker Sam temple, located 6 km. from Jageshwar. Lord Jhanker Sam is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The legend associated with this place is that Lord Shiva was meditating when lot of demons gathered to spoil his prayers. Furious Lord Shiva then opened his third eye and Lord Jhanker Sam was born out of it. He created an army of his Ganas (followers) to kill those demons. It is believed that Lord Jhanker Sam will return again to Jageshwar Dham to save humanity.

Next spot was the Vridh Jageshwar temple (Old Shiva Temple), 3km. uphill trek in the hills or 16 km. by road from Jageshwar Dham. It is older than Jageshwar temples and is considered to be an abode of Lord Shiva prior to coming down to present Jageshwar. 

As told by the locales once King Chand saw a cow milking itself on a stone while he was going for a battle. On further checking the place a ‘Shivling (holy symbol of Lord Shiva)’ was revealed. After returning victorious from the war, King Chand constructed this temple. Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, also houses a status of Lord Ganesha.

Try taking road to Vridh Jageshwar to cherish the vibrant natural beauty of the place.

Being situated on the topmost point in the Jageshwar valleys, the spot offers fascinating views of the nearby hills. If there are no clouds the snow-capped Nanda Devi peaks are clearly visible from this point.

Heavenly peace and beautiful landscapes; pilgrimage as well as adventures…Amazing Almora. Trekking enthusiasts can take a trek back to Jageshwar, this is the 3 km. trek from the back of Vridh Jageshwar temple…

And the last nearby spot was the Dandeshwar temple complex, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is the biggest shrine of all the 500 temples in Jageshwar. Contrary to custom the Shivling here is a natural uncut rock. Flowing water steam and adjacent hills provide a fantasy tale setting to this temple.

Read more about DandeshwarTemple…

By late afternoon we were back at Jageshwar, the evening was totally reserved for exploring the Jageshwar temples and take part in the evening worship, AARTI at the temple.

There are around 500 temples spread across the hills surrounding the Jageshwar Dham. Keep on exploring the beautiful surroundings, keep on counting the temples. This is the most beautiful complex of temples in Almora or temples in India, I have come across.

Uttarakhand is called as देवभूमि, Land of the Gods. At Jageshwar there is no doubt Gods must have stayed or still are staying at this place.  There is also a museum, 50 m. from the Jageshwar Dham, which carries an intricate treasure of beautiful statues. Do take some time to visit this, you will be astonished by the art... 
Photography is strictly prohibited inside the museum...

The Aarti finishes by 6:30 PM and thereafter the Jageshwar town goes to sleep. That finished our Day 3 as well in Jageshwar. Perfect harmony with nature Jageshwar.

Day 4: After early morning worship at the temple, we set out for return journey to Kathgodam. We had night train from Kathgodam, so we had sufficient time to cover the Katarmal Sun temple and Bhimtal.

Katarmal is 16 km. from Almora town and hidden inside cluster of hills. Visit here is all joys and curiosity how such a gigantic construction took place at this spot. Once in year, the first ray of sun falling on temple enlightens statue of Sun God in the temple and many devotees from the nearby places visit this temple. Katarmal is one of the perfect offbeat attractions in Uttarakhand.

It will take around 1.5-2 hours to cover. Read more about Katarmal…

While cruising via Almora, do try the delicate sweets of this region. Bal Mithai (बाल मिठाई) is a brown chocolate-like fudge, made with roasted khoya (thickened/ dried milk by heating), coated with white sugar balls. Singori or Singauri is a sweet made with fresh Khoya and wrapped in maalu leaf.

In the way we came across a spot called “Frog Point”. Out of curiosity we stopped the car and went ahead on the suspension bridge to see this place. A huge rock resembling the shape of frog is lying at the river bed and most of the visiting vehicles stop at this point. Check out…

Finally, towards the end of our journey we arrived at Bhimtal. Prominent attraction here is the Bhimtal lake which is named after Bhim, the most powerful of the Pandavas. A huge lake with an island at the centre is a major attraction. One can enjoy boating in the lake, horse riding, mountain biking and hang gliding at Bhimtal.

Bhimtal is the place which connects Kathgodam to the Kumaun region and to Nepal and Tibet. It might have been the part of the famous ancient silk route. There is a big market nearby to lake and one can enjoy every cuisine in this market.
After Bhimtal, Kathgodam railway station was in sight and it was the time to cherish some amazing memories which we accumulated during 4 days of exploring undiscovered Almora and Pithoragarh districts of Kumaun region.

About Kumaun:
State of Uttarakhand consists of two regions Kumaun and Garhwal. Kumaun region is made up by districts of Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar. It is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Nepal, on the south by the state of Uttar Pradesh, and on the west by the Garhwal region.
People of Kumaun are known for their bravery, valour and indomitable spirit. They carry the title of martial race and Kumaun regiment is one of the most decorated regiments in Indian army.

To reach Almora:
Nearest major centres and railway stations are Haldwani (88 km.) and Kathgodam (85 km.). Regular bus services are available from Haldwani to Almora. If you are coming by train get down at Haldwani station as most of the buses start from Haldwani.
By Train: Haldwani/ Kathgodam are connected to New Delhi with regular train services.
By Road: Almora is well connected by bus services from Delhi and other nearby cities.
By Air: Nearest airport is at Pantnagar, 149 km. However very few flights operate for Pantnagar.

Keep travelling Guys...

February 1, 2017

Exploring Kumaun... Almora & Pithoragarh (Day 1&2)

Almora is a hill station in the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand. Unlike many other hill stations in India, Almora remained unknown to British. It has been preserved and developed solely by natives of Kumaun region and as a result, it is totally devoid of usual crowds at other hill stations. Almora district offers an ideal option to those looking for solitude in the arms of mighty Himalayas. Almora is also called as land of temples and the temples are located in some of the most stunning landscapes.
To enjoy the spiritual vibes along with unspoiled beauty of the undiscovered Kumaun region, we took early morning train from Delhi and landed at Kathgodam railway station at 11:40 AM. The objective was to explore the road to Almora to Jageshwar and Patal Bhubaneshwar.

Our Itinerary:
Day 1: Delhi-Kathgodam-Kainchi Dham-Almora-Lakhudiyar-Jageshwar Dham
Day 2: Jageshwar – Pithoragarh (Gangolihat – Patal Bhubaneshwar) – Jageshwar
Day 3: Jageshwar and nearby temples
Day 4: Jageshwar – Almora – Katarmal Sun Temple – Bhimtal–Kathgodam -Delhi

Outside the railway station there were many taxis available for Nainital, few to Jageshwar (120 km. from Kathgodam) but very less if Patal Bhubaneshwar was also included in the itinerary as well. Some negotiation and we were on the way to Jageshwar Dham. Estimated time for the drive was approx. 5 hours including halt at enroute attractions in order to attend the 6 PM “AARTI” at Jageshwar Dham. This started our Day 1.
First spot in the way is Bhimtal (21 km. from kathgodam), but we skipped to cover during return as we had to reach Jageshwar by evening.
Next spot in the way is Neem Karoli Kainchi Dham, which is 37 km. from Kathgodam and is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Kainchi Dham was established in 1962 by the sage Shri Poornanand Ji of Kainchi village. Devotees can stay in the ashram and practice meditation.
This is the same place which Steve Jobs had advised Mark Zuckerberg to visit in order to find way ahead. You will love the atmosphere and surroundings of this spot. After having some snacks in the roadside eateries, we again started our drive to Jageshwar.

Exceptionally picturesque drive with dense vegetated hills and accompanying river streams was resulting in frequent halts for photography. So we decided to skip the Katarmal Sun temple (16 km. from Almora town) and not to stop in the way anymore before our next destination, Chitai Golu Devta Temple (52 km. from Kainchi Dham, 89 km. from Kathgodam). It was built during 12th century and is characterised by countless bells hung in the temple premises.

Chitai temple is 6 km. from Almora town and is dedicated to Golu Devta, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Golu Devta in the most worshipped God in Kumaun region and has reputation of granting every wish, if requested with a clear conscience. People from far off places come here and convey their wishes/ problems written on a paper which are tied around the temple premises. We came across many official stamp papers hanging around with details about the litigations.

Once their wishes have been fulfilled, people come back and tie around a bell in the premises as thanksgiving to Golu Devta. Even people who have not got justice in court of law come here to seek the true justice and they have got the divine justice from Golu Devta. Now we realised why thousands of bells are hung around the temple premises. We too prayed and requested the all mighty for fulfilment of our wishes.

By now we were driving along with the mountains covered with Pine trees. Suddenly we noticed big heaps of fodder hanging around the tree trunks.

Well this heap is fodder for animals for winter, when fodder is not available on the hills due to snowfall. This has been tied a little above the ground to avoid animals finishing this in summers itself.
16 km. from Almora town we came across Lakhudiyar, where painted cave shelters which were inhabited by cavemen have been found. Colour of the paintings by cavemen is till intact.

Finally, we reached our destination for the day, Jageshwar Dham. Inside a small valley, adjacent to meeting point of 2 river streams (Nandini and Surabhi) and hills covered with Deodar forests, something out of the regular world. This was our destination for next 2 days. Main temple complex at Jageshwar Dham consists of 127 small and big temples. Most prominent being Mritunjaya Temple, Nagesh Jyotirlinga temple and Dandeshwar complex of temples. And yes we reached in time to attend the worship at Jageshwar Dham.
Next day, Day # 2: We started early morning for the Patal Bhubaneshwar Cave temple, which is 105 km. from Jageshwar Dham. One full day is required for this as travel time is approx. 4-5 hours, one side. During the drive we came across a truly wonderful place, unspoilt by civilisation. We were lucky to see the majestic snow covered peaks of Nanda Devi, Nandaghunti and Panchachuli.

Kumaun is a region where rivers flow with clear divine waters and hills covered with Pine, Oaks and Rhododendron ensure purity of the airs.

91 km. from Jageshwar we reached at Gangolihat in Pithoragarh district. Haat Kalika Mandir an important pilgrimage centre and is worshipped as one of the Shakti Peeths. The temple is the abode of Goddess Mahakali, who is believed to shift her place from West Bengal to Gangolihat. The temple is much visited by the Indian Armed Forces as well and is maintained by Kumaun regiment.

Another 40 minutes from Gangolihat and we were at our destination Patal Bhubaneshwar cave temple. This is the most important spot in the Kumaun region, the limestone cave is believed to be as old as the earth itself. As mentioned in Skanda Puran Lord Shiva resides in this cave and all other Gods and Goddesses come here to worship Lord Shiva.
Around 822 AD, Adi Shankaracharya arrived at this cave and established a Shivlinga, for Lord Shiva.

This is the place where the severed head of Lord Ganesha fall. On request of Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha was bought back to life. Lord Brahma had sprinkled holy water from his divine 8 petalled lotus (visible in stone) to keep sustain the body till the time head of elephant was implanted. 
One has to get down 30 m. underground to reach the magnificent world of Patal Bhubaneshwar Cave. Vow, it was one of the best experiences we had in our lives. Thanked Gods for such an opportunity to visit this heavenly place. Will surely come at least once more to this cave temple, that’s a promise. By the time we returned to Jageshwar it was pretty late in night. That was our wonderful Day 2.

Please note that there is a filling station just at exit of Jageshwar. And there is no petrol pump/ filling station for next 70 km. till Gangolihat. Make sure you do not run out of fuel.

Route map for Day 1 and 2, click here...

Continue reading for Day 3 and Day 4...
About Kumaun:
State of Uttarakhand consists of two regions Kumaun and Garhwal. Kumaun region is made up by districts of Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar. It is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Nepal, on the south by the state of Uttar Pradesh, and on the west by the Garhwal region.
People of Kumaun are known for their bravery, valour and indomitable spirit. They carry the title of martial race and Kumaun regiment is one of the most decorated regiments in Indian army.
To reach Almora:
Nearest major centres and railway stations are Haldwani (88 km.) and Kathgodam (85 km.). Regular bus services are available from Haldwani to Almora. If you are coming by train get down at Haldwani station as most of the buses start from Haldwani.
By Train: Haldwani/ Kathgodam are connected to New Delhi with regular train services.
By Road: Almora is well connected by bus services from Delhi and other nearby cities.
By Air: Nearest airport is at Pantnagar, 149 km. However very few flights operate for Pantnagar.

Continue reading for Day 3 and Day 4...

January 13, 2017

Places to visit in North Goa...

Goa is a beach paradise of India and its proved by the regular attendance of millions of tourists from all parts of the world, all year around. Goa is divided into North Goa and South Goa. North Goa is popular as a happening and lively place, while South Goa is more relaxed with its quiet and secluded ambience. 
The life in North Goa have so much to offer that you need to plan your itinerary carefully to make the best of your trip.

We would like to present you with a complete guide on the best places to visit in North Goa to help you plan a memorable itinerary.

1.  Beaches- known and lesser known

The serene sands of North Goa that take you from the ecstasy of the endless sea to the zenith of the all-night beach parties are the highlight of any goa trip. The most famous ones are the Vagator beach where white- skinned come for some sun tan and some quiet time, along with the Anjuna beach that rests between the Aravalli hills and is a treat for the nature lovers. (Try going there on a Wednesday and you can enjoy shopping at the flea market too.)

Another very famous is the Calangute beach. Perhaps, the most beautiful beach of North Goa, Calangute beach is more commercial with showrooms and shops crowding its line, but every bit is a must visit. For the adventure enthusiasts, Sinquerim beach makes for a perfect place. From scuba- diving, parasailing, wind surfing, and water skiing, there’s nothing you’ll miss over here. For the ones seeking some quiet time, Mandrem and Arambol beaches are perfect options. Honeymooners and love birds love it here.

2.   Forts and churches
Although South Goa is known for churches, there’s no dearth of some great historical forts and old age churches in North Goa as well. One of the most famous is the fort Aguada. The view of the lighthouse is simply splendid. Other prominent forts are the Chapora fort and Reis Magos fort. All these historical forts remind beautifully of the amazing architecture used at the time of Portuguese rule.
The area of North Goa is also very popular for the amazing churches. No matter the spirituality beliefs, there’s a certain sense of calm that is experienced by one and all. Some well-known churches that are a must visit are the Mae De Deus Church known for its impeccable architecture, Reis Magos church, Church of Lady of Miracles, and church of Nossa Senhora. One very interesting Hindu temple to visit is the temple of Bogeshwara. A masterpiece in its own right, the temple offers a mesmerising charm that captivates your senses.

3.  For partying and entertainment

Goa and parties are synonymous to each other. From the upmarket crowd hangs of the Candolim area to the discos of the Baga- Calangute stretch, every night is a night to remember in goa.
While in Candolim, don’t forget to enjoy at SinQ beach club located right opposite Taj Holiday village and the LPK waterfront near Nerul market. Alongside the stretch between Baga and Calangute, you can enjoy Cape Town café, Cock’s Town beach shack, and Club Tito’s.

If your night stay is around the Vagator beach, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Hill Top. No, it’s not a mountain, it’s the most happening area for the perfect psy- trance parties. Some other names like the Club Cubana near Baga beach, Paradiso near Anjuna, and AZ.U.R. of Marriott resort are some of the most legendary names in Goa party circuit.

4.  For shopping
Shopping in goa is great fun but not when it’s about branded clothing and super stores. Goa shopping is all about hippie clothing, funky jewellery, and gothic accessories in a variety that’s hard to find anywhere else. You’ll love shopping here if you know the art of bargaining. Go to the Mapusa market and walk through the brilliant flavouring agents of the delicious Goanese cuisine. Yes, find delectable variety of spices, vintage, textiles, conventional handicrafts, Goan earthenware, exotic fruits, and more.
Another market bustling with tourists is the Anjuna flea market. Held every Wednesday, the place has amazing handicrafts, junk jewellery and accessories. Beware of the high prices and don’t buy without proper haggling. If earthen jewellery excites you, the Calangute market square will make you super happy. Buy a beer and a plate of fried prawns from one of the stalls and go on a shopping and leisure spree.

How to reach North Goa:

By Air - Fly from any main city of India to the Dabolim airport located at just 30kms from Panjim. From Panjim you can travel easily by taxi, rented vehicles or bus as well.
By Bus - KSRTC, MSRTC and KTC are the most well-known bus operators and are the ones who are almost always on time J. The private bus operators also operate from the major cities of North Goa.

By Train - For train, here are only two main station options Manmad which is the most famous one and Thivim. From here you can take taxis and reach to Panjim and other nearby cities within 1-3 hours’ time.

Planning your itinerary
While you may stay in North Goa for over a month and still won’t feel the need to go back home, ideally a period of 3-4 days are enough to enjoy the North side in a superficial way. If you have a week with you, you can even visit its off-beat destinations and can even make some local friends.

Almost, all the destinations of North Goa are within hours’ distance from each other. If you start from Panjim, Calangute is just 15kms, Candolim is 12.4kms, Aguda fort is 16.6kms along with many other destinations. The best way to enjoy North Goa is to start from its capital city Panjim. It is well connected and most populous too.

About Neha Singh:
A postgraduate in Mass Communications, Neha loves everything about life. Traveling is extremely close to her heart and writing came to her naturally.
An avid trekker & explorer, who often takes off some time from her busy life for mountaineering, she loves meeting new people & gets attached to their culture very easily. Her ambition is to explore as many places as she can in her life. She strongly believes in Gandhian principle – “simple living high thinking”.

January 2, 2017

Dandeshwar Temple, Jageshwar Dham - Almora

Dandeshwar temple is where Lord Shiva stays with a staff and protects the region. Dandeshwar Shiv temple complex (दंडेश्वर मंदिर समूह) is situated slightly upstream, 1.9 km. from the Jageshwar temple complex and can be easily reached on foot from Jageshwar Dham. Jageshwar is a small pilgrimage town in Almora district, Uttarakhand. Lord Shiva resides in Jageshwar in form of Jyotirlinga, so Jageshwar is also popularly called as “Jageshwar Dham”, residence of Lord Shiva.

Temples at Jageshwar Dham are considered to be dated back to 9th - 13th Century and are being preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Out of all the temples in the Jageshwar Dham, Dandeshwar Temple is the biggest shrine. Dandeshwar temple complex is being restored by ASI, and the condition of the temples is improving gradually.

Last day of our stay at Jageshwar was solely dedicated to explore numerous nearby temples to Jageshwar main temples complex. After Vridh Jageshwar temple and Jhanker Sam temple, we started on a cosy walk along side the flowing water stream to enjoy the Dandeshwar temple. Occasionally we were also enjoying going down to the river bed. Word Dandeshwar is formed by coupling of Dand "Staff" and Eshwar "The God". In line with the meaning of staff; the Dandeshwar temple is so tall that you may risk a camp in your neck. It is believed that Lord Shiva resides in this temple with a staff and keep a guard over this region.
The stone lingam or the deity here is a natural uncut rock, which follows the local custom of worshipping the Gods in their natural divine form. There are some carvings also on the top of the dome.
There are several small shrines in the premises to ensure some interesting memories in lieu of valuable moments spent at Dandeshwar.

Bifurcated by a river stream flowing underneath the temple, the premises also present a beautiful scenic vista to the travellers.
Come here early morning to cherish the beautiful foggy appearance of this temple complex.
Situated at a distance of 36 km. from Almora town, in Kumaun region, temple town of Jageshwar consists of more than 500 small and large stone temples, spread across the town and on the flanking hills.

Simple yet elegant structures of these temples in the laps of mother nature along with some quiet moments will make up for a lifetime of memories. Dandeshwar temple can be easily reached by walk from Jageshwar Dham. Lets check the 360 degree view of the Dandeshwar Temple.

This was our last day of stay at Jageshwar Dham and next day was return back to Delhi. But we had to discover the Katarmal Sun Temple hidden in Almora Valleys. Check out the Route from Dandeshwar/ Jageshwar to Katarmal Temple. Return journey to Kathgodam still had excitement of discovering yet another offbeat destination.

Never knew Almora district has so many attractions to explore. Keep travelling Guys...

December 31, 2016

5 Destinations for A Quiet Retreat on Week-Ends Near Bangalore

Bangalore is a city known for its amazing advancements and discoveries in technology and is one of the busiest places in the country. However, not a lot of people are aware of the fact that the city also has some wonderful calm and quiet retreats for those wanting to clear up their heads and relax their mind and body during the weekend.

1.      Cubbon Park

Home to various exotic species of flora, Cubbon Park is the ideal place to go to if you want to take a back seat from the hustle and bustle of daily life and simple enjoy the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer. There is greenery as far as the eye can see which makes it an extremely peace and serene place. The delightful park has rides for children and walking trails for all ages.

2.      National Gallery of Modern Art

The gallery is home to many beautiful paintings and masterpieces, most of which have great historical significance. What the gallery lacks in size and space, it makes up for with the specimens it houses like contemporary paintings and works by artists like Anjolie Ela Menon and Raja Ravi Verma. Located amidst a stunning garden, this is a place that art lovers and history enthusiasts must not miss on their trip to Bangalore.

3.      Lalbagh Botanical Garden

A mesmerising garden with even more mesmerising scenery, the Lalbagh Botanical Garden houses some of the most striking floral exhibits found within the country. There is a flower show held in January every year in which the garden and glass house is beautifully decorated according to a particular theme and the area sees an increase in the number visits by locals and tourists during this time of the year. This is the perfect place to go to if you crave a morning walk or an evening jog or if you simply want some peace and quiet from the busy city life.

4.      Turahalli Forest

Located near Kanakapura Road, this forest offers stunning natural beauty and amazing trekking potential for the adventure enthusiasts. The forest is one of the few Reserved Forests within the country containing exquisite flora like the eucalyptus trees with their exquisite aroma and gorgeous fauna like the charming peacocks found within the spectacular wood land and the scenery all around is absolutely breath taking. It is the perfect refuge for those longing for peace and quiet and is an ideal destination for trekkers and cyclists due to the moderately challenging terrain in some places. The forest also offers sports like rock climbing and hiking for those amongst us that pine for adventure and the exhilarating thrill that comes along with it.

5.      Ancient Temples and Monuments

Be it the Chokkanathaswamy temple in Domlur, the fort at Devanhalli, Tipu Sultan’s palace, the Bangalore Palace or places of great historical significance like Chikkajala, Hejjala and Savanadurga, the stunning city of Bangalore has it all. Take a romantic stroll with your lover or take a walk through the compound with friends and family. The magnificent structures and incredible architecture will make your jaws drop and eyes widen as they stare back at you with their enchanting splendour.

With lovely weather throughout the year, it is no wonder that Bangalore is a much-visited tourist destination and is on the bucket list of almost every other Indian residing within the country and abroad. It offers delicacies that resemble heaven on a plate and the choices offered for food lovers are countless. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and treat yourself to all the peaceful and serenity that Bangalore has to offer.

Author Bio:
Rohit, an avid traveller residing in India enjoys writing about his experiences on TransIndia Travels and hopes to visit every corner of the country and discover the many exciting cultures and cuisines that each place has to offer.

December 1, 2016

Katarmal Sun Temple, Almora

Call of the blue skies and sight of mighty mountains makes a thrilling combination for an Explorer’s heart beats. Enjoying on the mountainous snaky roads and sometimes making the way out of non-existent roads to uncover hidden spots truly justifies the explorer spirit of a vagabond.

Where the first ray of sun falling on temple enlightens statue of Sun God in the temple! This phenomenon happens once in a year and attracts thousands of devotees from the nearby places. Let’s unearth one of the perfect offbeat destinations in Uttarakhand. In the picturesque Almora district of Kumaon region is the hidden Katarmal Sun temple. Despite being one of the biggest and tallest temples in the Kumaon region, Katarmal Sun temple is relatively unknown in the tourist circles.
Spectacularly nestled in the nascent pristine Himalayan ranges and enveloped by lush green surroundings in the Almora district of Uttarakhand is the “Katarmal Sun Temple”. Proud addition and latest entry in the list of offbeat destinations explored by this vagabond…!

From Almora there are 2 options to reach this temple, either a trek of 3 km. from the Kosi main market or drive for 3 km. and then explore the way out through a 2 km. unpaved road. We were ready to trek for 3 km. when someone told about the unpaved road, which was actually road under construction. Nonetheless car was able to go all the way to the final point at Katarmal village. And the last 300 m. from inside the Katarmal village has to be covered on foot, around 10 minutes walk. With lot of expectations we started the final march towards the Katarmal temple. Our excitement to reach the temple, did not let us take a break even for a cup of tea. We were ready to click lifetime memoirs on this hill top temple. .
There are also 44 smaller temples around the main temple devoted to Sun God. The smaller temples are dedicated to Shiva-Parvathi, Lakshmi-Narayana and various Gods and Goddesses. The spacious compound in the front is enough to depict the glory of the bygone times. Check out the smaller temples opposite to the main temple...
Why One of the temple which is directly opposite to main temple has a square hole above the pillars? Strange...
Believed to have constructed by the King Katarmal of Katyuri dynasty, somewhere around 9th century. Main temple is dedicated to Sun God, Vraddhaditya or Baraditya...There is not even a proper approach road to this temple, think for a moment how this mammoth construction would have carried out in the past times. A proud moment for engineering acumen available in India in ancient times…!

Temples on the left hand side of the main temple. Some pillars look different from rest, due to restoration work by Archaeological Survey of India ..

One extremely small temple...

All of a sudden I realised that the gates of the main temple are not the original ones. The caretaker told that the original carved wooden doors and panels are safely resting at the National Museum, Delhi. Katarmal Sum temple has been declared a monument of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958.

One carved structure...

While moving around, I asked the caretaker, why this temple is called as Sun temple, just because Sun God is worshipped here? He took us in front of the Square hole visible in one of the smaller temples just opposite to the main temple. This square hole in the walls of the temple is meant to guide the first ray of sunlight to the Sun deity. The sun rays strike first the circular structure in front of the hole. That’s why this sacred moment which happens once in a year attracts devotees from far of places. The mystery of square hole finally resolved.

Lets walk through the Katarmal Temple...

Finally the incredible views of the Almora valley from the temple! No words, just clicks. Someone has rightly said, it is the journey of thousand steps that makes the view from top so exhilarating…
Blessed are the people who are natives in these heavenly valleys. Vow, we also didn't wanted to go anywhere from this magical spot, but we had a train to catch in the night and come again to the maddening city life.
Good news for the travellers that a road is being constructed to ensure easy access to the Katarmal Temple.

We started early morning from Jageshwar Dham just to ensure we have ample time in hand to discover the Katarmal temple. If you are reaching Kathgodam in the morning, then you should cover Katarmal during the way to Jageshwar Dham/ Patal Bhubanaeshwar.

Last spot in our itinerary was Bhimtal which we skipped during our drive to Jageshwar. And we still had time to enjoy that also. What this trip had turned out to be...simply Amazing...!!!

To reach Katarmal:
Situated in Almora district, Katarmal is 130 km. from Kathgodam, 16 km. from Almora town and 24 km. from Dwarahat (left turn) while on the way to Almora/ Jageshwar Dham. 2 hours are all which is required to experience this architectural marvel. Road is in pretty good condition, you may try for self driving too.

Keep travelling Guys...