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Almora: On Wings of Dreams

Romola Butalia, Editor, India Travelogue, writes about Almora in Kumaon, Uttaranchal which is 'home' for her.

Almora is the one place I can be transported to on the wings of my dreams. Just after the milestone that says 2 kms to Almora, at Bright End Corner, I spent three years watching every sunset that was a symbol of the glory of the day gone by. If I shut my eyes what I see in the space between the hills of Almora and Sitlakhet, is the Kosi river that flows below. Somewhere in the azure skies, somewhere in the thin wave of mist, somewhere in the setting sun and the changing colors of the skies, somewhere in the inky blue skies of night with the Milky Way stretching forever, the falcon flies and stops mid-flight to remain suspended for an age without a name.

More on Uttarakhand

Kumaon Remembered
Homestay near Bhimtal
Mumbai to Mussorie


Pindari Glacier
Pilgrim Trail

I remember the summer evening I first reached Almora, and the rainbow in the valley before me. I recall the warm welcome of the place I had come home to, where it seemed I had belonged for ages past, and where a part of me lives forever more. I remember the day and I remember the dream that was no longer a dream...it was a lifetime to be lived.

The memories are a flood of quiet moments. Of the quaint market place of cobbled stones. Tin roofs on which the rain drums a different tune each time. The smell of pine, and the feel of a bed of pine leaves to walk on, with pine cones strewn. Wild flowers that dot the hills. Flying squirrels that glide from tree to tree at dusk. The chameleon that pops it's head out from behind a stone and stares quizically. Afternoons spent on the rocky banks of the Kosi and Saryu rivers.

And the friends, there were many. Hours spent over cups of tea and coffee, sharing thoughts, exchanging ideas, living dreams, past and future.

Almora town has changed since. It is a busy bustling town now, where traffic wends it's way noisily and the winds of change rumble. And yet, Almora always beckons me to return to it's quieter walks, to smell the air I breathe. As the road weaves it's way up from the railhead at Kathgodam, every turn in the road is a familiar place to be, each mile brings me closer to myself, the self I cannot see in the harsh glare of city lights. And I long to be in the forests of Binsar, I yearn for a glimpse of the Trishul peak, I want to walk again the Pindari trail in the inner reaches of Almora district.

Read: Kumaon Remembered

How To Get There

By Air: Nearest Airport is Pantnagar (Nainital): 127 km.

By Train: Nearest Railway Station is at Kathgodam, 90 km, from where direct trains are available for Delhi, Lucknow and Agra. Some of the important trains for Kathgodam are:

  • Shatabdi Express
  • Howrah Express (3019/3020)
  • Ranikhet Express (5013/5014)
  • Rampur Passenger (1/2 R.K. Passenger and 3/4 R.K. Passenger)
  • Naintial Express (5308/5307)

    By Road: Almora is well connected by road to important centres in the region. Some distances:
    Delhi (378 km)
    Lucknow (460 km)
    Nainital via Ranikhet (103 km)
    Kathgodam (90 km)

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    Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.