At 100km from the last station named Kathgodam on the foothills of Kumaoun Himalayas lies an old town named Almora.
Although what I am about to share is not actually a trip but a 12 year long vacation that I have had in this city.
Almora is the hub of culture with the aroma of a perfect pahari hill station. Gratefully, it is still away from the development from a tourist point of view that has helped the city sustain its authenticity and originality of its genesis.
The beauty of Almora is in its 2 km long market that itself has multiple designated markets within. Each stretch has been given a certain name of which the main ones are Malli Bazaar, Lala Bazaar, Thana Bazaar and Karkhana Bazaar. This 2km long market is covered with stone slabs which adds to its bequest. All along as you walk you witness these little yet deep shops that cater to all the need you have in the world. These shops are crowned by the beautiful intricate jharokas that mark their existence right from when Almora may have been formed. Strolling in this market is a dose for shopaholics, with a difference :).
A few stairs down from the main market, from Hotel Sumangal, there is the Tibetan market where one can get fascinated by the cute and sexy stuff they sell. Ofcourse, it all is within your budget.
Just as you step onto the grounds of Almora, you encounter the Brightend Corner where you can satisfy your appetite with the delicious burgers and view the splendid sun setting behind the Himalayas. You got to experience the peace when in Almora.
From Almora, you can view these two prominent hill tops, both have divine residents - Kasar Devi and Siahi Devi with very prominent silhouettes. A day trip each to both is a great getaway to a calmer and a closer to nature place. You might be lucky to encounter some wildlife too, like snow leopard, jackals, hyenas, snakes, Himalayan hawk etc.
There are quite a few temples around the city, some of them being Chitai temple where dwells true God of Justice - Golu devta. This temple is famous for the many prayers in written form hanging all over the temple and the many bells that signify the fulfilment of the lucky ones.
Another one placed in the heart of the town is the Nanda Devi Temple. While one can view the mighty Nanda Devi peak from Almora standing tall in the entire range, which beautifully changes its colours with the movement of the sun, this temple is one of the main attractions in Almora. In the month of September people celebrate the Nanda Devi festival. The beauty of the temple lies in its intricate carvings.
The Katarmal Sun Temple is a temple built on the hill more than 800 years ago. It is said to be the second most main temple to Sun God. It is above the River Kosi.
As mentioned before, Kasar Devi and Siahi Devi temple are amongst the few.
By virtue of their locations, most of these temples can only be reached through a small trek through the pines and the deodars.
Almora is a town situated on a ridge, with one side being Kalifat and the other side being Selifat. It is an interesting experience to encircle the town as both the sides are charecteristically unique.
An evening or a morning walk in the cantonment area is a pleasant experience bang on to making one feel what it is to be like in the hills. In winters usually the snow peaks will meet you everyday with bright white in the mornings and orangish pink in the evenings. On clearer nights, the peaks shimmer in the moonlight and mark their existence against the darkest skies. You inhale the purest of air and have the farthest of vision.
This town is but a homely cocoon for those who live there and a quietude yet exhilarating vacation. Drop the role of a tourist and just explore the city as the twining roads take you. :)