Temples of Almora - exploring the history of the town through its temples

It was a day of temples today, not a difficult task if you in Almora as the place is littered with small shrines all over the place and there are many famous (more often locally) temples around the town.

We followed an approximately 36 km trail from Almora to Chitai to Vriddh Jageshwar to Jageshwar and back.

The most well known amongst these is Chitai, the place responsible also for my conversion to vegetarianism. It’s a beautiful temple dedicated to Golu devta and full of bells of all shapes and sizes. As per the tradition, one asks for a wish, writes it on a chit of paper and leaves it there (the request is called ‘arzi’, urdu for request). Once the wish is fulfilled, you buy a bell and tie it there in the premises. Based on the number of bells I saw today, it seems many wishes do get fulfilled.

Temples of Almora Uttrakhand Chitai bells
Bells at Chitai
Temples Almora Uttrakhand Chitai
Chitai - main temple
Temples Almora Uttrakhand Chitai
A marriage procession outside Chitai
The road to Jageshwar is straight from there. About six kilometers before Jageshwar, there is a diversion to a much less known but much older temple - Vriddh Jageshwar (Old Jageshwar). It’s a stunningly beautiful journey and much cooler from rest of the path. After ascending for about 10 kilometres, one reaches the hill top and the simple temple. The road also ends at the temple. The view is breath-taking and the breeze is blissful. A hot cup of tea at a local tea stall can potentially make your day!

Temple Almora Vriddh Jageshwar travel tourism Uttrakhand
Vriddh Jageshwar
Temple Almora Vriddh Jageshwar travel tourism Uttrakhand
Vriddh Jageshwar from outside
Temple Almora Vriddh Jageshwar travel tourism Uttrakhand tea
Tea Stall at Vriddh Jageshwar
Unlike Vriddh Jageshwar, Jageshwar is a valley. There are three main group of temples – Dandeshwar, Jageshwar and Kuber. The first group of temples in the valley is Dandeshwar, which boasts of one of the tallest temple of Kumaon. There is one main temple with seated Lord Shiva inside, and about 12-13 smaller temples. The place would come alive even more after some more rains, when the mountain stream would grow bigger and make that beautiful crashing sound. One can either park the vehicle there and walk through the stunning Deodar (cedar) jungle to the main group of temples (Jaheshwar), or just drive on the well-maintained road. A small mountain stream also connects the two groups of temples.

Temple Almora  Dandeshwar Jageshwar travel tourism Uttrakhand
Dandeshwar temple - the wooden hood
Temple Almora Dandeshwar Jageshwar travel tourism Uttrakhand
Dandeshwar - main temple
It goes without saying that Jageshwar is a true jewel of the valley; a group of about 124 large and small temples, it’s a sight to behold. Photography is allowed (except for the inner sanctum) and even the pujaris are more than happy to pose. I recommend spending at least a few hours there, one can walk into the Deodar jungles all around the place (be careful of the monkeys though) or just around through the streets, catch a meal at the small dhabas. There is a Government Tourist guest house and a few other places to stay; I can imagine how amazing it would be to stay in this valley with your loved one. This is also a temple which newly weds often visit for God’s blessings.

Temple Jageshwar travel tourism Uttrakhand Almora
Jageshwar - Pujaris inside the main temple
Temple Jageshwar travel tourism Uttrakhand Almora
Jageshwar - some of the many shrines
Temple Jageshwar travel tourism Uttrakhand Almora priest
Jageshwar - inside the temple
Temple Jageshwar travel tourism Uttrakhand Almora
Jageshwar - the sleeping priest
At walking distance from Jageshwar main complex is the Kuber temple on a small hill-top. Gives a nice view of the main temples from top.

Within Almora, there is the famous Nanda Devi temple which boasts of old Kumaoni temple style. Sadly I could only see it from the outside. There is also the Murli Manohar temple in close vicinity. We visited the Batuk Bhairav temple, Him being our Isht Dev. It’s a small shrine and apparently there are only a few of them (surprisingly there is one in Jageshwar as well). The representation of our beloved God is highly abstract and the group of small idols inside the shrine got us all confused, only the pujari/ caretaker (surprisingly a female) could tell us who our God was! Batuk Bhairav basically means Small Bhairav (one of Shiva’s many forms).


  1. My parents used to make us walk to Chitai all way from Almora.We used to walk in a big group with chachas ,chachis ,buas ,fufas ,cousins ...gawd i miss those days.And eating aalo gutka with raita after darshan used to be a great treat.

  2. Yummmm...don't remind me of aalo guka and raita...I rarely ever get rai raita anywhere ever! Loved those...amma still makes them at home :)

    I have also walked from Almora to Chitai with a picnic basket with cousins etc...used to be super fun!

  3. And next time u r dere, don't forget 2 visit the magnificently built Surya Mandir at Katarmal. It's also a great place to unwind and connect with one's inner self.

    1. I have been there, but no pictures survive from the time! I must revisit for sure...


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