KASAR DEVI

a mystic village in uttarakhand

Overview

Located in the Almora district of Uttarakhand, the Kasar Devi village is famous for the Kasar Devi temple. Both the place, and the temple have been named after Goddess Kasar devi. The ancient temple structure dates back to the 2nd century CE and just a few miles away, you can witness the Hippie hill. The Hippie hill was also known as the Crank’s ridge and was considered the focal point of poetry, art and hippie culture. The history of this place brings back foreign, as well as local trekkers who relish homestays and old bakeries. As a matter of fact, a lot of famous people have visited this place. To name a few, we have Earl Brewster, a famous Buddhist American painter who resided in the Snow view estate, which is now a defunct Hotel. Beyond the snow view estate, lies Simtola hill where Pandit Uday Shankar and his ensemble often rehearsed when the Uday Shankar dance academy was located in Almora during the late 1930s to early 1940s. About 13km towards the north of Kasar devi, you will find a remote town named Binsar, which was the vacation spot of India’s first prime minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as he visited his sister’s Khali estate was also located in Binsar.

How to reach Kasar Devi?

Kasar Devi Temple

If you are planning to visit Kasar Devi via the fastest way ( airline), you can take a flight to the nearest airport ( Pantnagar airport). Air India operates 3 flights per week from New Delhi to Pantnagar. For those who enjoy train journeys to the mountains, a Shatabdi runs daily from New Delhi to Kathogodam, from there you can book a direct cab to Kasar Devi. 

Direct trains also run from cities like Lucknow and Dehradun. You can also consider the shared cab service which is available from Kathgodam to Almora. 

The air and rail connectivity is present, but limited. Therefore, the best way to reach there is via road. You can drive your own vehicle or hire a cab from your own city.

Best time to visit Kasar Devi

Panoramic view from Kasar Devi

The ideal months to visit Almora are between April-June and September-November as the climate remains pleasant during these months. July marks the beginning of the monsoon season, and the threat of facing a landslide or other natural calamity is quite high during the monsoon. Also, the roads get really slippery and may not be suitable for drivers who have no experience of driving on the mountains during heavy rainfall. If you wish to visit the Kasar Devi temple as well, timings are 7am-7pm and it is open for visits during all 7 days of the week. 

If you want to take a look at the rich cultural festivals of Almora, September would be the best possible month to plan your visit. The Nanda Devi festival is one the most popular festivals of Uttarakhand and is held every year in the month of September. During the 17th century, King Dyot Chand built the Nanda Devi temple. Since then, the Nanda Devi festival is celebrated each year to worship the Goddess of Kumaon, who symbolizes the economic and cultural prosperity of the region. 

The Dussehra festival, which is celebrated to acknowledge the victory of good over evil is also celebrated in high spirits in the Kumaon region. Every year, at least 5000-6000 people gather to mark the celebration of Lord Rama over Ravana.

History of Kasar Devi

The Kasar Devi temple has been in the highlights for scientific reasons as well. According to the experts,  the area around this temple has a colossal geomagnetic field as it comes under the Van Allen Belt. The basis behind the formation of this belt have been researched by NASA. Due to the geomagnetic field in the region, peaceful and tranquil environments can be experienced in this area. 

Kasar Devi is considered another form of Goddess Durga and is one of the most significant Durga temples in Uttarakhand. According to the Devi Bhagavata Purana,  Kasay hills was the place where Kaushiki Devi slaughtered the two demons Shumbh and Nishumbh. Another interesting fact is that you can see the imprint of Goddess Durga’s Lion on the rock face behind the idol. 

Kasar Devi is also famous for being among the only 3 places in the world which are under the influence of the Van Allen Belt. According to NASA, the Van Allen Belt is considered to be a very powerful electromagnetic field, which is filled with tremendous positive energy cosmic rays and solar wind. The other two places which are under the influence of the Van Allen Belt are Machu Picchu in Peru, and Stonehenge in England. Both these sites are also ancient spiritual sites. 

This unique distinction of Kasar Devi has attracted a number of Sage mystics and Yogis/ spiritual gurus over the years. Even today, the visitors can experience the positive energy and serenity at this place, as it continues to remain undiminished.

Swami Vivekananda Spiritual Enlightenment

Enlightenment Swami Vivekananda

The Kumaon region has attracted the most brilliant minds across the world from both India, and abroad. Swami Vivekanand, one of the greatest Hindu Indian monks travelled to Kumaon in search of internal peace. He began his journey from Nainital, where he stayed at the Kakrighat Ashram. He covered the distance from Nainital to Almora by foot, where the local Sah family played a warm and welcoming host. Swami ji was offered their house in the main bazaar of Almora. During his stay he walked through the lush green hills of Simtola and Kasar Devi and meditated there for hours, finding answers to the deeper questions of life. 

During his Almora stay, Swami Vivekananda inspired Captain Sevier and Mrs Sevier. Along with them, he also inspired Swami Swarupnanda, his apostle, to commence looking for a place to build an Ashram. They found the perfect place at Mayawati, at around 6400 ft. above sea level. The place was located in Champawat and was surrounded by mountains,with the view of the gigantic Himalayas. The Mayawati Ashram was inaugurated in 1899. Swami Vivekananda visited the Ashram in January 1901 and stayed there for 14 days.

Things to do in Kasar Devi

1. Experience the wildlife closely at Binsar wildlife Sanctuary

Binsar wildlife sanctuary
People who wish to explore the flora and fauna of the region while trekking through the mountains can consider a trip to the Binsar wildlife sanctuary. The 2-day trek starts from the Binsar wildlife sanctuary and extends up to the Jageshwar trek. On your way, you will come across some rare flora and fauna while walking through thick pine and deodar forests.

2. Visit the Chitai Devi Temple

Chitai golu temple
The unique way of worshipping God is what makes the Chitai Devi temple different from other temples of the area. The devotees need to write their wishes on a piece of paper and tie them anywhere in the temple. The temple has hundreds of bells, some of them being as large as the size of a human. Once your wish is fulfilled, you need to come back to untie your slip. The temple is also famously known as the Golu Devta Chitai temple, which is dedicated to Golu Devta, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The walls of the temple are covered with petitions of people who did not get justice from the court. Chitai temple is located around 9km away from the Almora district and 3km away from Kasar Devi.

3. Zero Point

zero point

Source: Traveltriangle

The Zero Point at Binsar is the highest standpoint from where one can savour a 360-degree view of the Himalayas and the Nanda Devi peaks. The months of February to December are considered ideal to pay a visit. This is basically a short trek which is located in the heart of the Binsar wildlife sanctuary. The 2km trek takes you to the hilltop, and you will have to cross lush green forests in order to reach there.

4. Govind Ballabh Pant Museum

Located on the mall road at the Almora city, the GB Pant museum was established in 1980, in order to honour the great freedom fighter Pandit Gobind Ballah Pant. The exploration time is around 2 hours and the museum possesses a unique collection of antiques belonging to the rulers of the Katyuri and Chand dynasty. It also showcases a collection of ancient Kumaoni paintings, which are also known as Apians. In addition, you can also see terracotta sculptures, woodworks, bronze items, manuscripts and much more.

5. Chaubatia

Located in the Ranikhet region of Uttarakhand, the Chaubatia gets its name from the intersection of 4 roads. The place is under the cantt area, which is why it is even more densely forested and colder than other areas in the region. You will also find a large number of flowers in and around this place. Seeing Apple orchards is a common sight during the visit, but it again depends on the month in which you are visiting. Avoid going in the summer season as the shops might be closed and the view of apple orchards is least likely to be there.

Accomodation Options

HOTS Kasar Devi

Mohan’s Binsar Retreat- Mohan’s Binsar retreat or Mohan’s cafe is a famous cafe which provides comfortable rooms along with attached bathrooms. The restaurant serves everything, from pizza to local Indian food. For more information, you can visit www.mohansbinsaretreat.com.

KMVN Deenapani- Deenapani is a government guest house near Kasar Devi which offers mesmerizing mountain views. The price range is around Rs2300 for a double room.

Stars and Pines- If you are a backpacker who wants to live in a hostel like environment, stars and pines should be your go-to place. The hostel is famous for its budget-friendly prices and excellent service. The Kasar Devi temple is hardly a 10-minute walk from this place. A room for 4 people would cost you around Rs 1600, while a room for 3 people would cost around Rs1200.

HOTs Kasar Devi- The location of this place makes it popular among regular visitors and trekkers.
The hostel has a 24×7 helpdesk which is available at your service anytime. If you are looking for a budget-friendly place which has all the basic amenities covered like food, Wifi, heaters and cozy beds, this place might be the best fit for you. Prices start from Rs600 onwards for a single person and goes up till Rs 1128 for a private double bedroom.

Conclusion

Now that you have all the information about planning a trip to Kasar Devi, we hope that you plan a visit anytime soon with your family or friends. In case you are visiting with friends, we suggest that you can consider hostel stays as they are much more cost-efficient. Kasar Devi is the ideal destination to visit the Gods of the Kumaon region while experiencing some beautiful trails through nature. The place gives you  a sense of serenity and calmness, which is not so common during these days.