The Kasar Devi temple sits at the top of “Cranks Ridge” and offers magnificent views across the valley all the way down to Almora. An ancient and important temple dedicated to the Goddess Durga, the Kasar Devi temple finds mention in India’s ancient texts, and its magnetism and peaceful surroundings have attracted the most eclectic of travellers, comprising mystics, scholars, poets and artists alike, including personalities such as Swami Vivekananda, DH Lawrence, Earl Brewster, Tiziano Terzani, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Lama Angarika Govinda, W. Evans Wentz, Robert Thurman and Alfred Sorensen, to name just a few.
Almora is an ancient market town with a central market strip. Along the market are numerous old houses with unique hand-carved windows and balconies. The town has a traditional metalworking tradition, and new and antique pieces can be purchased here.
A slightly challenging walk which descends into an adjacent valley to a beautiful waterfall. The walk is ideal for the adventurous who might like to bathe under the waterfall on hot days. Enroute you pass local villages and beautiful terraced fields farmed by villagers.
Chitai, the Bell Temple, is a unique local temple built to venerate the local deity ‘Golu Dev.’ Worshippers leave a request to the deity, and should it be granted, return to hang a bell in gratitude. The temple appears as if made only of bells of various sizes.
The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is a forty minute drive from the hotel. Binsar is a protected area and a haven for birds and mammals including leopards and brown bears. Guests first explore an ancient Shiva temple adjacent to a lovely meadow at the centre of the sanctuary, with a stream flowing nearby. Guests then proceed up old sanctuary trails to Zero Point, which affords 360 degree views of the high Himalayan peaks, from Himachal in the north-west to Nepal in the east.
Katarmal temple is an hour’s drive from the hotel. In the same architectural style as the Jageshwar Temples, Katarmal was built by the Katyuri dynasty that ruled the Kumaon region between 800 AD and 1100 AD. The temple is dedicated to Surya (the Sun God), and is one of only three extant temples in India dedicated to the Sun. An architectural gem, the site is under the protection of the Archeological Survey of India.
This hike down to the Kosi river is ideal for a picnic and swimming day. The walk starts from the hotel and descends through Hawalbagh village to the river, where it is possible to picnic, swim and sunbathe on large riverine boulders. We pack picnic hampers for this all-day excursion.
This walk is dedicated to the experience of Kumaoni culture. It descends from Kasar Devi to the Balta village through fruit orchards and old thatched houses, giving an immersive experience of the agricultural practices and lifestyles of the region.
The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is replete with different trails that stretch through Oak and Rhododendron forests. A number of walks to the villages inside the sanctuary can be curated.
This is a majestic walk which encompasses four different arboreal zones in response to changes in altitude. The walk begins in the oak and rhododendron forests of Binsar, descends through pine forests, rises back to a ridge, and finally descends through a magical cedar grove emerging into the sacred temple complex of Jageshwar, an ancient and highly venerated space dedicated to Shiva.
This walk extends through similar forests encountered on the Binsar-Jageshwar route, but with a particular density of oak and cedar forests. The end-point is a lesser visited temple than Jageshwar, but arguably more beautiful.
The hotel has wonderful onsite masseurs; the massage I experienced was exceptional. My two-night stay was simply too short!
This place is the #oasis I’ve been dreaming about
Our stay in The Kumaon was so amazing. We decided to extend for another two days. The staff - all of them - are so warm and accommodating. They made us feel special and cared for.
I think what is most inspiring is what they are doing to prove : that luxury and empathy towards the environment can co exist. They are showing the way for the whole region.
Having been to India over 25 times and stayed all over, I would rank this in my top 5 of places I have visited.