Saturday, September 23, 2023

Nanda Devi Temple, Almora: A Complete Travel Guide

Amidst the picturesque landscapes of the Himalayas lies a place where spirituality meets nature in a harmonious embrace. Welcome to Nanda Devi Temple in Almora City, a sacred haven where the soul finds solace, the heart finds peace, and the spirit finds liberation. For centuries, the place continues to attract a deluge of pilgrims, spiritual seekers, nature enthusiasts, and iconic personalities looking for divine connection and inner transformation. As the name says, Nanda Devi Temple celebrates a namesake deity who destroys evil, saves the righteous, and liberates anyone seeking refuge in her.

Beyond the spiritual realm, Nanda Devi Temple is a cultural hub, hosting festivals and rituals all year round. Events like the Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra are an exhibition of the local culture and traditions passed from generation to generation. So, join us, as we explore the enchanting lore, awe-inspiring legends, and spiritual significance that surround this ancient temple.

Nanda Devi Temple at a Glance

  • Deity: Nanda Devi
  • Architectural style: Himadri
  • Opening & Closing Time: 6 AM to 10 PM
  • Engagement Time: 1- 2 hours
  • Nanda Devi Peak Height: 7,817 meters
  • Nanda Devi Temple Elevation: 1,642 m
  • Best time to visit: April to June and September to November
  • Things to Do: Pilgrimage, Trekking, Camping, and Sightseeing

Nanda Devi Temple, Almora: Architecture

The Nanda Devi temple may seem unassuming at face value but it is one of the holiest places in Uttarakhand. The thousand years old temple is steeped in history and nature. Call it a heady mix to keep you awe-struck and clamoring for more. Typical of all temples in the Kumaon area, the Nanda Devi features a Hamidri style of architecture, characterized by simple, tidy, and strong construction.

Think of the Nanda Devi mandir as an antechamber perched within the confines of an expansive Shiva shrine. Nanda Devi is a manifestation of goddess Parvati, the spouse of Lord Shiva. That speaks for the temple-within-a-temple arrangement. The temple is attributed to the Chand rulers who held sway over the region in the medieval era. They came up with it to commemorate their patron deity, Nanda Devi. Since then, it stands tall as a prime pilgrimage and cultural center.

Just step inside the temple premises – an immaculate monument greets you. It features a notched stone disk, Amalaka, on top, which symbolizes the deity of the temple. These carvings are a delight to the eye, depicting mythologies with attention to detail and elite craftsmanship. You would stop in your tracks to acknowledge how craftsmen pulled off such a miracle with limited resources.

Nanda Devi, an embodiment of Goddess Durga is also the Mother Goddess of the Kumaon & Garhwal regions. That speaks for the kind of reverence the temple draws from the region and beyond. The temple is also the site of some of the biggest annual fairs in the region, notably the Nanda Devi Fair.

Famous Visitors

The magnetic pull of Nanda Devi Temple transcends boundaries, attracting individuals from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. From saints, sages, yogis, and spiritual luminaries to statesmen, poets, artists, philosophers, and scientists, everyone found inspiration, spiritual awakening, and divine communion here. Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Ravindra Nath Tagore, JL Bajaj, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vijay Laxmi Pandit, and J.C. Bose, you name it. And, that’s some pedigree!

Where is Nanda Devi?

Where is Nanda Devi? Well, it is situated amidst the tranquil vistas of the Garhwal and Kumaon hills in Almora, Uttarakhand. The holy shrine sits pretty in the main town of Almora, with the Nanda Devi peak height of 7,817 meters. The snow-capped Himalayas, standing in all their magnificence, make the sight even more pious and pleasant. It’s an experience in itself that stays with you forever.

  • District: Almora
  • Division: Kumaon
  • State: Uttarakhand
  • Travel Time: 10 minutes (from Almora main market)
  • Address: Unnamed Road, Dharanaula, Almora
  • Coordinates: 30°22′33″N 79°58′15″E
  • Closest Airport: Pantnagar Aerodrome (116 km)
  • Closest Railway Station: Kathgodam (82 km)

Nanda Devi Temple (Almora) Weather

Nanda Devi Temple (Almora) WeatherNanda Devi temple sits pretty at an elevation of 1612m. Since the altitude determines the climate, the minimum, and maximum temperatures are sub-zero and do not exceed 25 degrees Celsius.

Summers:

The summer season gets underway in May and lasts until June. The weather is sunny and cool, with the temperature touching 25 degrees Celsius. This is the ideal time to pay obeisance to Nanda Devi and explore the sights and sounds of the city. Also, the time is right for trekking into the wilderness and spending a night in a tent stargazing.

Rains:

Extending from July to August, the wet season experiences 3000 mm of precipitation. The mercury falls to a maximum of 15 degrees Celsius. The place comes alive with greenery. However, there’s a thumb rule to avoid traveling to hill stations during monsoons for fear of landslides. That applies to the Nanda Devi temple in Almora too. Plus, the rain won’t allow you to venture out.

Autumn:

The autumn months (September and October) can be pleasant and sunny, but cool and cloudy at the same time. You can consider planning a trip to Nanda Devi at this time of the year. The weather is pleasurable, crowds are fewer, and the best deals on hotels are there for the taking.

Winter:

The winters (December to February) can be brutal, with temperatures dropping to zero degrees and below. Snowfall is always anticipated. When that happens, you are treated to some stunning vistas of the nearby snow-clad peaks.

Table 2: Nanda Devi Temple Weather

Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Temp. 8.9 11 15.5 20 23 23.2 22.2 22 21.9 18.8 15 11.1
Clear 77 74 72 79 90 83 47 42 75 93 89 80
Rain 0.8″ 1.1″ 0.7″ 0.7″ 1.2″ 4.3″ 10.1 9.4″ 5.2″ 1.0″ 0.1″ 0.3″
Wind Speed 4.7 5.4 6.1 6.6 6.7 6.1 5.2 4.7 4.4 4.5 4.5 4.4
  • Temperature: In Celsius Degree
  • Rainfall: In Inches
  • Clear: In Percentage
  • Wind Speed: In Miles Per Hour

Legends Associated with the Nanda Devi Temple:

Legends and mythologies abound around Nanda Devi. These legends excite intrigue and create an aura that pushes believers to comply, no matter how fictional they look. One interesting piece of folklore explains how Nanda became the patron deity of the locals.

The Nanda Devi Story:

The Nanda Devi story (read legend) dates back to antiquity. A Rohilla Prince, a scion of Chamoli’s Chanda Dynasty, fell in love with Princess Nanda. When denied her hand, the infuriated prince annexed Chamoli and wreaked havoc on the locals. Beleaguered but unwilling to surrender, the princess sought refuge in the higher reaches and merged herself with a 25,643-foot-tall peak. Thus, the peak became her permanent abode, and she, the patron deity of the region.

Even Nanda’s sister, Sunanda, was forced to follow her sister into seclusion. As such, there’s a summit dedicated to her as well, which they call the Sunanda Devi Peak. It shares the same ridge as the Nanda Devi summit, located on its western end. The twin peaks are revered as the saviors of the region and Dharma. From fairs to marriages, no event gets underway in the region without offerings to the goddesses. After all, no one can afford their ire, particularly on auspicious occasions.

The Ramayana Link:

Legends even associate Nanda Devi with Ramayana. Hanumana visited the hills of the Chamoli area seeking the wonder herb, Sanjeevani, which could save the unconscious Lakshmana. As the legend has it, Laxamana suffered a potentially fatal blow in the battle with Ravana’s son, Megnath. Failing to zero in on the herb, Hanuman lifted an entire mountain and flew to Lanka. However, he forgot to ask for Nanda Devi’s permission, which didn’t go well with her. Infuriated, the goddess warned locals not to chant Hanuman’s name. As such, Hanuman temples are hard to find in the entire region.

Things to do on the Nanda Devi Temple Trip:

Nanda Devi temple isn’t all about spiritual experiences, divine communion, and inward journeys. It has something to offer to peace seekers, nature lovers, adventure seekers, and backpackers too.

1. Trekking:

Almora is a gorgeous hill station, tailor-made for trekking. The trails are diverse, coming in multiple distances and difficulty levels. Let’s narrow down your options if you feel spoilt for choices.

1.1 Binsar Sanctuary to Jageshwar Trek:

Even if you are a seasoned trekker, the 40-plus-km Jageshwari trek would treat you to some scenic landscapes and cultural landmarks while also testing your fitness levels. It gets underway at Binsar Sanctuary and takes you through lush jungles, refreshing streams, and steep sections all the way to Jageshwar Temple. It’s your chance to get up close and personal with oaks, rhododendrons, cedars, and wildflowers, alongside musk deer, leopards, langurs, and several bird species.

On your way, the resplendence of snow-clad Nandadevi, Trishul, Nandaghunti, Panchachuli Massif, and other Kumaon hills would spellbind you. Even the green, expansive meadows are tailor-made for pitching your tents and spending the night gazing at the stars. Upon meandering through ridges and valleys, you finally get to the Jageshwar Temple Complex. Featuring 100+ temples, the complex mesmerizes you with its exquisite architectural craftsmanship and intricate stone carvings.

  • Starting Point: Binsar Sanctuary
  • Endpoint: Jageshwar Temple Complex
  • Total Distance: 40-plus-kilometer
  • Trek Duration: 4 – 5 days, depending on your pace & the route
  • Difficulty Level: Moderately Difficult with some steep sections
  • Accommodations: Guest Houses, Lodges, & Tent Camping
  • Best Time to Trek: April to June and September to November
1.2 Zero Point Trek:

When a small, quick trek is a priority, the Zero Point will exceed your expectations. The 1.5 km walk starts from Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, within which it is located, and takes you to Zero Point. here, you’ll find a tower, which serves as a vantage point for some ravishing views of the Garhwal hills, such as Kedarnath Peak, Shivling, Nanda Devi, and Trishul. The sunset is surreal here.

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Total Distance: 1.5 kilometers
  • Travel Time: 30 – 45 Minutes
  • Exploration Time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Timings: From Sunrise to Sunset
  • Best Time To Visit: February to April, and October to November

Entry Fee:

  • Adults (Indian): INR 150 per person per day
  • Students: INR 75 per student per day
  • Foreigners: INR 600 per person per day
1.3 Bright End Corner Hike:

Also, consider taking a 15-minute hike to the Bright End Corner to be mesmerized by the panorama of sunset and sunrise.

2. Camping:

So, camping is your idea of a vacation. No problem, Almora has you covered. Just park your tents in an open space amidst the meadows, and you are in for a fabulous star-gazing night with your family or friends. You should keep in mind that camping is only feasible in the summer when the weather is appropriate and the skies are clear. When it comes to camping gear, you can either bring it along or hire it from local tour operators. The experience costs you north of INR 5200 per person per day.

Your top five camping options near Nainital Temple, Almora include:

2.1 Himalayan Oak Camp and Resort
  • Ratings: 7.2
  • Distance from Almora: 19 kilometers
  • Nature: Resort & Campsite
  • Address: Dhari-Kasiyalekh Road, Near Mukteshwar
  • Telephone:+91-9871414139
  • Website: www.himalayanoak.in
2.2 Incredible Birding Camp
  • Ratings: 7.3
  • Distance from Almora: 27 kilometers
  • Nature: Campsite
  • Address: Sattal Main Road, Bhimtal
  • Telephone: +91-989171545012
  • Website: incrediblebirding.com
2.3 Glamping Tales
  • Ratings: 7.2
  • Nature: Campsite, Resort & Farm
  • Address: Tada Alchauna Near Chanfi in Bhowāli
  • Distance from Almora: 27 kilometers
  • Website: frozenwoodsresorts.com
2.4 Camping At Frog Point
  • Ratings: 7.2
  • Nature: Campsite
  • Address: Suspension Bridge Garampani, Nainital
  • Distance from Almora: 27 kilometers
  • Telephone: 9720350381
  • Website: campingatfrogpoint.com
2.5 YMCA Sattal Camp
  • Ratings: 7.3
  • Nature: Campsite
  • Address: Mehra Gaon, Sattal, 263132
  • Distance from Almora: 26 kilometers
  • Telephone: +915942247288
  • Website: www.newdelhiymca.in

3. Picnicking:

If you are a family or group traveler, a picnic should be on your to-do list. The town offers multiple picnic spots but none as iconic as the serene environs of Kalinath Temple. Unwind and enjoy quality time with family and friends while soaking in the fresh air and the natural beauty of the place.

  • Location: 5 km from Almora
  • Travel Time: 40 minutes
  • Entry fee: No entry fee
  • Best Time To Visit: March to May and September
  • Exploration Time: 5 to 6 hours

4. Sightseeing

The magnificent vistas are just waiting to be discovered, and you can’t let them pass you by. Just pack your bags and embark on a journey into the heart of the Garhwal hills to get up close and personal with the local history, culture, and all-pervading natural beauty. It’ll be a journey for the ages.

4.1 Ranikhet

RanikhetRanikhet, a quaint hill station cradled between two slopes in the Kumaon region, has natural beauty at its fingertips. It’s flanked by old pines and dwindling oaks that merge into undulating mountains, presenting a visual delight to be cherished. The hill station comes alive post-dusk, as fog envelops the hamlet and its environs, presenting awe-striking sight. So, it’s not for nothing that celebs like Rajnikanth frequent Ranikhet.

Ranikhet is located at an elevation of 1829 meters above sea level. Besides sightseeing, you can hike between Chaubatia and Holm Farms, play golf at a gorgeous 9-hole link, or go fishing at Bhalu Dam. Plus, paragliding and cycling are possibilities here. With so much to do, you are spoilt for choice. Ranikhet also takes care of your accommodation and food requirements head-on.

  • Elevation: 1829 meters
  • Distance from Almora: 46 Km (98 minutes drive)
  • Things to do: Sightseeing, hiking, paragliding, cycling, golfing, fishing
  • Best time to visit: March to June and September to November
  • Engagement time: At least two days to explore it fully
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kathgodam (96 km)
  • Nearest Airport: Pantnagar (114 km)

4.2 Jageshwar

JageshwarHow about a destination that merges history and religion, just like the Nanda Devi Temple? Welcome to Jageshwar, a magical destination with 124 temples dotting its topography. Organized into clusters, the temples have a rich history dating back to the 7th century. However, some of them came up as late as the 20th century. Who built the temples is a mystery. Some attribute them to the Pre-Gupta era, some to the Chand and Katyuri kings, and some to Adi Shankaracharya.

Built with cut stones in the Nagara style, the temples typically honor Lord Shiva, while a select few are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the goddess Shakti. The Dandeshwar Temple is the largest and most visited temple in the area. The town is illuminated during the Monsoon Festival of Jageshwar, which takes place in August, and the Shivaratri fair, which takes place in spring. Beautiful deodar trees, green meadows, a refreshing breeze, and the Jat Ganga contribute to the scenery.

  • Elevation: 1870 meters
  • Coordinates: 29°38′14.3″N 79°51′16.9″E
  • Distance from Almora: 36 Km (77 minutes drive)
  • Things to do: Pilgrimage, sightseeing, camping, bird watching, yoga
  • Best time to visit: March to June and September to November
  • Engagement time: At least one full day
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kathgodam (125 km)
  • Nearest Airport: Pantnagar (150 km)

Know more about Jageshwar, Here

4.3 Bageshwar

BageshwarThe small, sleepy town has been nestled at the convergence of the rivers Gomti and Saryun since the 7th century. From great locales and a soothing breeze to the serene ambiance and fine weather, Bageshwar offers everything a city dweller craves for. However, it’s better known for its religious, cultural, and historical significance. If the Puranas are anything to go by, Bageshwar has the power of deliverance from sins and the otherwise unending cycle of birth and death.

The entire town has profound imprints of Lord Sadashiva, who is said to reside here. Lord Sadashiva is the all-powerful, ingenious, and absolute form of Lord Shiva. Through intense Tapasya, Sage Markandeya persuaded Lord Shiva to visit the place as a bag (tiger). Hence, the name. There’s even a temple to commemorate the “event.” Built by Laxmi Chand, they call it the Bageshwar temple.

Other notable shrines here include Dattatrey Maharaj, Ganga Temple, Bhairav Temple, Hanuman Temple, Durga Temple, Kalika Temple, and more. Besides temples, the town supports trekking and hiking. It is a moderately difficult trek to the Pindari top, a bewitching place offering some stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

  • Elevation: 935 meters
  • Coordinates: 29.8404° N, 79.7694° E
  • Distance from Almora: 73.3 Km (154 minutes drive)
  • Things to do: Pilgrimage, sightseeing, camping, trekking
  • Best time to visit: Jan to May and October to December
  • Engagement time: At least one full day
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kathgodam (180 km)
  • Nearest Airport: Pantnagar (193 km)

know more about Bageshwar, Here.

4.4 Deer Park, Almora

Deer Park, AlmoraThe Deer Park, around 5 km from Almora, presents a perfect setting for an outing with family while, of course, admiring the exotic wildlife. Just hop on a jeep and explore the lush green surroundings, and tall pines and gaze at the deer across the terrain. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a leopard and a Himalayan Black Bear.

Even if you are a reluctant animal lover, the tranquillity of the place will get you. Feel free to embark on a leisurely walk and see for yourself how it feels to be in the lap of Mother Nature. Your Nanda Devi temple trip cannot be complete without visiting the deer park. You will go home with a treasure trove of memories to cherish for a lifetime.

  • Entry Fee: Zero
  • Alternative Name: Mrig Vihar
  • Location: NH309B, Almora 263601
  • Coordinates: 29.61284, 79.67415
  • Engagement time: About 3 to 4 hours
  • Distance from Almora: 04.7 Km (15 minutes drive)
  • Things to do: Animal watching, sightseeing, leisure walks, picnic
  • Best time to visit: March to June and September to November

4.5 Kasar Devi Temple, Almora

Kasar Devi Temple, AlmoraKasar Devi temple is one of the prime attractions of the town, housed in an eponymous village. Built in the 2nd century, the temple continues to withstand the test of time, enthralling visitors with its splendor and mystic aura. Call it a cave temple, since the sanctum sanctorum rests within a cave surrounded by massive boulders. Sitting pretty at an elevation of 2116 meters, the temple is a vantage point for some exotic views of Almora town. For a shutterbug, it’s simply a godsend.

The serene ambiance and mysticism in the air make Kasuri Devi a popular destination for yoga and meditation. Even Swami Vivekanand couldn’t resist the charm of this place when he paid a visit in 1890. However, he wasn’t the only celeb to be mesmerized by the natural splendor of Kasuri Devi. The likes of Sunyata Baba, Alfred Sorensen, and Lama Anagarika Govinda visited it at different points in time. Interestingly, it was also the epicenter of the Hippie Movement way back in the 60s.

  • Elevation: 2116 meters
  • Coordinates: 29.6417° N, 79.6617° E
  • Distance from Almora: 08.5 Km (25 minutes drive)
  • Things to do: Pilgrimage, sightseeing, trekking, meditation
  • Best time to visit: March to June and September to November
  • Engagement time: About 4 to 5 hours
  • Festival: Kasar Devi Mela (November/December)
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kathgodam (83 km)
  • Nearest Airport: Pantnagar (124 km)

4.5 The Lakhudiyar Caves

How about exploring one of the most historical places in Uttarakhand? Just head to the Barechhina village, and a cave structure awaits to transport you into the stone age. Discovered in 1968, the prehistoric site once sheltered humans from bad weather. Here, you can feast your eyes on simple yet captivating paintings featuring humans, animals, dwellings, and geometric shapes in a variety of colors. The name, Lakhudiyar, means “one lakh caves,” which perhaps includes several rock shelters across Almora like Fadkanoli, Falsima, Lwethap, Petshal, Kalamata, and Malla Paneli.

  • Famous As: Archeological Site
  • Location: Barechhina Village
  • Entry Fee: Zero
  • Exploration Time: 2 hours
  • Timings: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Coordinates: 29°38′32″N 79°44′51″E
  • Travel Time: 45 Minutes from Almora City
  • Best Time To Visit: March to June, September to November

4.6 Chitai Golu Devta Temple

Chitai Golu Devta TempleYou might be tempted to dismiss this as just another temple near Nanda Devi. But

The famous Temple of Chitai Almora is the Golu Devta Chitai temple, dedicated to Gollu or Goljyu Devta an Avtar (incarnation) of Lord Shiva in the form of Gaur Bhairav. Although there are many temples of Golu Devta in Almora, the Chitai Golu Devta Temple is the most sacred one. It is reputed to make every wish come true, provided the worshipper asks for it with a clear conscience. The temple is situated at 9kms from Almora.

Know more about Chitai Golu Devta, Here.

5. Fairs & Festivals

“Utsava Priya Khalu Manushiya,” meaning humans are innately festivity-loving. It holds true in Almora. The place comes alive with celebrations virtually all year round, giving you one more reason to visit Nanda Devi Temple. An integral part of social life, fairs, and festivals allow the local folks to showcase their religion and culture and keep the local economy alive and kicking.

Think of these fairs and festivals as a necessity for the local folks. Almora is a remote town with hostile terrain and a scattered population. These festivities allow them to congregate at a convenient place periodically to meet, connect, trade, and celebrate. Even in the age of information and communication, these fairs and festivals retain their appeal. These are the most notable of them all.

5.1 Nanda Devi Mahotsav:

It doesn’t get any bigger than this. The festival has been a part of the local culture for over a century, attracting lakhs of visitors from across the globe. The Chand dynasty, which is credited with building the temple, instituted this festival in honor of their patron deity, Goddess Nanda Devi. The idea was to invoke Nanda Devi for the kingdom’s peace and prosperity.

It’s an annual 5-day event held in September on the “Ashtami” of “Bhadara Shukla.” The venue of the fair is the Nanda Devi Temple premises. The flower-laden palanquins of Nanda and Sunanda are taken out in the form of a procession, with local folks dancing, singing, and chanting. On the last day of the fair, they are submerged in water with all the pomp and show.

A temporary market springs up on the temple premises, selling local crafts, sweets, and other household items. The fair also provides a stage to help local talents showcase their singing and dancing skills. The Nanda Devi Mahotsav is simultaneously celebrated in other parts of the state, including Bageshwar, Bhowali, Nainital, Kot, Johar, and more.

Be a part of it to have a first-hand experience of the local culture, traditions, and arts & crafts.

  • Venue: Nanda Devi Temple, Almora
  • Duration: 5 to 7 days
  • Frequency: Annually
  • Held in September on the Ashtami of Bhadara Shukla
  • Timing: Early morning to 9 PM

5.2 Dussehra Festival:

Dushera has a deep philosophical connotation attached to it. On this auspicious day, Lord Rama triumphed over the ten-headed demon, Ravana, and Goddess Durga over the buffalo–incarnated demon, Mahishasura. In both cases, good overcame evil after intense battles. It reminds us to subdue negativity and embrace dharma. The festival usually falls in September or October every year, preceding Diwali.

While Dushera is celebrated enthusiastically India-wide, the celebrations in Almora are at a different level altogether. Thousands from across the Kumaon division flock to Almora to be a part of the grand occasion. In every nook and cranny of the town, you’ll come across well-decorated effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna, and Megnatha. In the presence of thousands of attendees, these effigies are put on fire as a mark of demolishing evil.

  • Venue: Every nook and cranny of Almora
  • Duration: 1-day
  • Frequency: Annually
  • Held in: September/October
  • Rituals followed: Shami Puja, Aparajita Puja, and Seema Avalanghan

5.3 Jageshwar Monsoon Festival

How about a month of festivities? It’s not wishful thinking but a reality, thanks to the Jageshwar Monsoon festival. Lasting from mid-July to mid-August, the festival has immense religious and cultural significance for the local folks. The festival honors Lord Shiva and invokes his blessings.

It’s time for them to indulge and celebrate life. At this time of year, the sleepy town transforms into a vibrant destination full of religion, tradition, and tourists. Even if fairs aren’t your idea of a vacation, Jageshwar is a wonderful place to relax, wander, and seek some plenary indulgence. The place is home to 124 ancient temples, some of which feature idols engraved on stone.

  • Venue: Jageshwar
  • Duration: One-month
  • Frequency: Annually
  • Held from 15 July to 15 August
  • Alternative Name: Shrawan Mela, Shrawani Mela

5.4 Nanda Devi Raj Jaat

Nanda Devi Raj Jaat is Uttarakhand’s version of the Kumbh Mela. The three-week-long fair happens every 12 years, attracting legions of pilgrims from across the state and beyond. For the uninitiated, Jaat refers to a religious procession accompanying a deity. The fair is marked by a congregation of deities from all across the Kumaon division. Nanda Devi of Almora is also an attendee here.

Held in the Chamoli district, the Raj Jaat aims to facilitate better interaction between the folks of the Kamoun and Garhwal regions. Recently, the government altered the route of the Jat to include Nanadakesri, where deities and their devotees from across the region join the main Jaat. The Jaat gets underway at Kansuwa hamlet and concludes at Hemkund. Interestingly, at the fag end of the Jaat, a four-horned sheep (Chausingya-Meda) is released.

If you lack the patience to wait for 12 years, feel free to be a part of the Nanda Lok Jat, which is a yearly affair. The jat heads to each hamlet featuring a shrine dedicated to Nanda Devi. It halts at Koti for an overnight stay, where the Doli is worshipped from night till dawn and the locals dance and sing their hearts out.

  • Site: Chamoli
  • Duration: 19 to 20 days
  • Frequency: Once in 12 years
  • Trek Length: 280 km approx.
  • Held in: August & September
  • Rituals followed: Kali Puja and release of Chausingya-Meda

How to Reach Nanda Devi Temple?

Planning to visit Nanda Devi Temple? Here’s how to get there via air, rail, and road.

      • Air: Nanda Devi Temple is around 126 kilometers from Almora, which houses the nearest airport to reach Nanda Devi Temple.
      • Rail: The nearest railway station is at Kathgodam, about 85 kilometers away. Kathgodam is directly connected by train to all the major northern towns and cities.
      • Road: The road leading to the Temple of Nanda Devi in Almora is well-served by an evolved road infrastructure. You may either drive to Almora in your personal vehicle or hire a cab or a taxi from nearby towns and cities.

Distance Chart:

Wondering how far Nanda Devi Temple is from your city? Well, figure it out with the road distance table mentioned below.

Table 03: Nanda Devi Temple Road Distance from prominent city centers

City Distance
Delhi 388 Kilometer (09 hours)
Chandigarh 502 Kilometer (11.5 hours)
Dehradun 337 Kilometer (08.20 hours)
Shimla 591 Kilometer (14 hours)
Jaipur 623 Kilometer (13 hours)
Lucknow 446 Kilometer (11 hours)
Noida 357 Kilometer (08 hours)
Mumbai 1614 Kilometer (32 hours)
Chennai 2320 Kilometer (46 hours)
Bangalore 2288 Kilometer (43 hours)
Kolkata 1451 Kilometer (30 hours)
Gurgaon 393 Kilometer (09 hours)
Rishikesh 306 Kilometer (08 hours)
Nainital 65 Kilometer (02.15 hours)
Hyderabad 1697 Kilometer (34 hours)

Hotels Near Nanda Devi Temple

Almora, being a holy and jolly town, offers an extensive range of hotels and resorts to suit every need and budget. Some good options are given below, along with their Google ratings, to help you choose wisely.

Hotels Price range( in INR) Google Rating
Rudra Himalayan Retreat 2200-2600 4.7/5
Savoy Hotel 1100-1500 4.0/5
Hotel Milan Inn 2800-3200 3.9/5
Hotel Shivalik 1500-1800 3.8/5
Hotel Himsagar 1700-2100 3.7/5
Hotel Shikhar 1900-2200 3.8/5

Food

Almora is a foodie’s paradise, with an impressive variety of Pahadi Garhwali delicacies to suit every palate. Your best options include:

This gastronomical experience is not to be missed by any foodie. The sauce, with a tangy taste and a tempting aroma, pairs well with local and Indian dishes. It’s healthy as well, thanks to ingredients like hemp seeds, tamarind, cumin seeds, and more.

Singodi: You cannot afford to leave Almora without sampling Singodi. The Molu leaf stuffed with khoya just bursts inside your mouth, leaving you clamoring for more. The coconut milk and taste enhancers just further your experience.

Kheer: Kheer, a typical Indian dessert, is accessible in Almora. Jhangora (Bajra) is the main ingredient, which is complemented by milk, sugar, and dry fruits. It’s the finest dessert to finish off any meal because it’s both healthful and flavorful.

Dubuk: Get ready to sample one of the best delicacies in Uttrakhand, Dubuk. It’s dal paste fried and cooked on a low flame. The dish is served hot with rice, roti, and local sauces like Bhang Ki Chutney. It is delectable, easily digestible, and a godsend for your tummy.

Baadi: Make way for a simple pleasure called Baadi. Made of flour, the dish pairs perfectly with Gahat ki dal and other local preparations. It’s palatable, healthy, easy, and quick to prepare.

The other culinary options include Bhatt-Ki-Turakhani, Roat, Bal Mithai, and Bhatia. You can find them in every authentic Garhwali restaurant across Almora.

Best Time to Visit

You are welcome to visit Nanda Devi Uttarakhand at any time of the year. However, the town lights up during the Ashtami Nanda Devi Mela in September. At this time, people from around the country flock to it to worship the goddess and seek blessings. The monsoon season, from June to August, is dangerous to visit because of landslides, cloudbursts, and sudden floods. Therefore, it is advised to avoid visiting during the monsoons.

Months Average Temperature Weather
January 4.5 Degree Celsius (01 to 08) Snowfall Expected
February 08 Degrees Celsius (06 to 10) Snowfall Expected
March 07 Degrees Celsius (03 to 11) Sunny but Cool
April 11 Degrees Celsius (06 to 16) Sunny but Cool
May 18.5 Degree Celsius (12 to 25) Pleasant and Sunny
June 12.5 Degree Celsius (09 to 16) Pleasant and Sunny
July 13 Degrees Celsius (11 to 15) Overcast and rainy
August 15 Degrees Celsius (12 to 18) Overcast and rainy
September 13 Degrees Celsius (11 to 15) Pleasant and Sunny
October 12 Degree Celsius (10 to 14) Cool and Cloudy
November 10 Degree Celsius (06 to 14) Clear but Cool
December 8.5 Degree Celsius (05 to 12) Snowfall Anticipated

Nanda Devi Temple: Travel Tips

Your eagerness to be in Almora is understandable. But before embarking, keep in mind the following essential points:

1. Choose the Right Time:

Visiting the place at an appropriate time is integral to an unforgettable trip.

  • You are better off scheduling the trip anytime from May to June when the weather is fine and the scope for exploration is at its maximum.
  • At all costs, avoid the wet season. But you can consider winter if snowfall piques your curiosity. No matter when you travel, check the weather updates beforehand.
  • Scheduling the trip during fairs also makes sense. By that token, your best option is September, when the temple comes alive during the Nanda Devi Fair.

2. Pack Right:

It’s crucial for a convenient and incidence-free trip. Here’s what to pack.

  • Clothing: At least two pairs of sweaters, jackets, trousers, and shirts. When visiting in winter, make sure to take along woolen caps, socks, mufflers, and warmers.
  • A First Aid Kit: A first aid kit would come in handy for addressing any minor injuries or medical conditions during the trip to the Nanda Devi temple. Preferably, stuff the kit with band-aids, antiseptic creams, Balms, and any other medicine you might require.
  • Cosmetics and Hygiene Products: Don’t forget to pack in your soap, cold creams, moisturizers, sunscreen ointments, and Deo. Also, it’s advisable to carry handwash and extra masks to ward off infections.
  • Eatables: As Nanda Devi Temple is cradled in the heart of Almora, eatables are easily available. But if you like to err on the side of caution, feel free to take along dry fruits, glucose, energy bars, biscuits, and cup noodles for instant energy.
  • Miscellany: Prefer carrying a DSLR to capture the beauty of Nanda Devi Temple and its environs with exceptional detail and clarity. Consider a power bank as your cell phone battery will need to juice up on the go.

3. Go Low on Cash:

Don’t carry much cash. It’s risky and difficult to handle. You won’t need it in the first place. The ATMs are easily accessible across every nook and cranny of the town. Plus, the local vendors accept digital payments.

4. Make Advance Reservations:

Accommodation can be an issue, especially during the peak season. You are better off making reservations at least a month in advance. Also, deals and discounts are readily available on advance bookings.

Why Visit Nanda Devi Temple

Still unconvinced? Here are a few compelling reasons to visit the Nanda Devi temple no matter what your travel goals are – sightseeing, pilgrimage, adventure sports, or simply relaxation.

  • It’s devoted to Goddess Nanda Devi, an embodiment of Goddess Durga, destroyer of evil, and the Mother Goddess of the Kumaon and Garhwal regions.
  • Nestled in a hill station (Almora), the shrine, with its panoramic views and incessant charm, keeps you awe-struck and coming back for more.
  • The Chand monarchs consecrated the temple over a millennium ago, which makes it one of the most historical places in Uttarakhand.
  • It is the cultural center of the region where traditions come alive, especially during fairs and festivals.
  • A simple yet charming architecture offers a glimpse into the magnificence of a bygone era. The intricate wall carvings and sculptures are breathtaking.
  • It is easy to access virtually all year round via road, rail, and air. With hotel options galore, getting safe, comfortable, and need-based accommodation isn’t an issue.
  • It’s close to some of the major attractions of Uttarakhand-Ranikhet (48 km), Simtola (08 km), Katarmal (19 km), Binsar (30 km), Sitlakhet (38 km), Jalana (35 km), and more.
  • Feel free to indulge in hiking, camping, cycling, paragliding, and more to satiate your cravings for adventure.

Conclusion

We hope that while booking tickets for your grandparents to worship at Nanda Devi Temple, you might as well book yours to explore the temple and the ecosystem around it. After all, haven’t we given you enough reasons to come visit Nanda Devi yet?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who Build Nanda Devi Temple?

The Chand Rajas built the Nanda Devi Temple in Uttarakhand.

Where Nanda Devi Temple is Located?

The Nanda Devi Temple is Located in Almora District in Uttarakhand.

In Which State is Nanda Devi National Park?

The Nanda Devi National Park or Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is situated in Chamoli Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.

What Hotels are Near Nanda Devi Temple?

Hotels Near Nanda Devi Temple are:

  1. Hotel Shivalik
  2. Imperial Hotel Binsar
  3. Hotel Himsagar
  4. Hotel Shikhar
  5. Hotsteller Kasar Hotel
Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar
Passionate about content quality and attention to detail, Rohit has penned over 15,000 copies for some of the leading online and offline publications in his eight-year career. Currently heading the content team at Dunia Ka Gyan, he believes in team spirit, ingenuity, and reader satisfaction.

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