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 enjoy a video walk through of 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...




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9 comments:

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  2. Beautiful temple series . I wanted to go there in November but change the plan and reached kausani . Thnx for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by...
      Kausani is also a wonderful place...May be next time you may drop in to Katarmal...

      Delete
  3. Very nice post.. thanks for sharing info about this unique place

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful spot...I am still confused that why there is no information about this place.
      If you plan a visit there, you will love every moment spent at this temple.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by..
      Your comment summarizes the feeling we get at this spot...

      Delete
  5. I was in Ranikhet -kausani and had a plan to visit Almora too but unfortunately could not make it . Its a great place to visit and your post with grand pictures telling everything about it .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aah...Katarmal would have been a wonderful addition in your itinerary. There is always a next round.
      During my trip I missed out for Kausani. Please le me know the attractions in Kausani..

      Delete

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