Monday, December 26, 2011

Kumaon – Kausani

Kumaon – Kausani
Panoramic view of Himalayan ranges with valley housing Baijnath below - view from KMVN Kausani
Kausani, set at an altitude of over 6075 ft (1890 mt) above mean sea level, the hill station offers a panoramic view of the snow-capped Himalayan Mountains and soul-stirring scenic beauty, which has earned it the moniker the 'Switzerland of India'. Besides being the birthplace of the famous poet Sumitra Nandan Pant, the place was also visited by Mahatma Gandhi, who was enamored by its dazzling natural beauty and stayed at the Anashakti Ashram here. Originally known as ‘Valna’, in the ancient texts, this mesmerizing hill resort of Kausani, offers a memorable vacation in its salubrious environs.
View of Almora township from road above

We had started from Binsar at around 9.30 A.M., after a hearty breakfast and having visited the Binsar Mahadev temple enroute, exited that forest check-post at Ayarpani. The road from here, heads towards Bageshwar on the right and back towards Almora on the left hand side. While browsing through the map, I had observed that on the route heading towards Bageshwar, there was a small link road, which connected directly to Someshwar, though Gananath, a small village with an ancient temple. As I was inclined to explore the temple at Gannath, I was keen take this route. However, I was advised by most of the drivers at the Hotel that the road was kuccha (unpaved) and that the Car I was traveling in was not a vehicle, recommended for such road conditions. Thus, I had no other choice but to head back to Almora and there-from, to head towards Kausani, covering a distance of 68 Kilometers.
The Woodpecker - moved to side of road - after being attacked by an Eagle

As we were about to reach Almora, we saw a beautiful panoramic sight of the township and the valley below, from the road above it. We were compelled to stop the Car and ponder around the place for some time. Thereafter, the road descended till we reached the Kosi river and the road from here trifurcates towards Kausani, Ranikeht & Mukteshwar. As we moved on towards Kausani and were about to reach Someshwar, a spectacular sight, right out of the ‘National Geographic Channel’ like, unfolded before our very eyes, an Eagle swooped down upon a Woodpecker in flight and seized it with its powerful talons. Having broken one of its wings in the attack, but due to intense fluttering by the frightened bird, it had to let go of it and the poor bird fell on the road, right in front of our vehicle, as the Eagle was about to swoop down on it, our Car came close to it and the blowing of the horn frightened it away. I got down from the Car and found that the bird was in no shape to move on its own and would definitely be run over, I requested some local boys to help it but they were unwilling. Finally, I picked up the bird and put it under some dense vegetation where some water was trickling by, hoping that it recovers & flies away. Whilst we were engrossed in discussing this event, we reached Someshwar, which is situated about 12 Kms. away from Kausani, placed on the right bank of river Kosi.
View of still waters of Kosi river

A typical pahari house in Someshwar

The temple at Someshwar is not visible from the main road, there is only a narrow lane that leads to it from the market area and thus, it is advisable that directions be sought immediately upon entering the market area of the township. As you pass through the outer façade of the market, you are immediately transported to a bye-gone era, where the time has stood still over the years. The village houses are ancient & quaint, built in typical ‘Pahari’ style with painted door & window facades and slate topped roofs. After having traversed about 150 meters through a narrow & dirty village lane, you reach the main temple gate of the famed Someshwar temple. This ancient temple was built in the 12th Century A.D (purportedly by Raja Som Chand of the Chand Dynasty) as per the hoarding put up (in Hindi) in the temple precincts by the Archeological Survey of India. The ‘Garbh Griha (Sanctum sanctorum) of the main temple houses a Shiv linga and apart from it statutes of Uma-Mahesh, Reclining Vishnu, Durga, Bramha, Lakulisha, Ganesh etc. also find place inside it. Within the complex there are two other smaller temples situated which are contemporary of the main temple and house images of Lord Shiva & Lord Ganesha respectively. However, I was pained to see that some of the beautifully crafted stone sculptures of Gods & Goddesses placed outside had their faces axed off, a gift from the Muslim invaders!
View of main temple facade

A view of the damaged stone images
Preparing hot local 'Malpuras' in Someshwar
Having visited Someshwar and having partaken some sumptuous local sweetmeat called ‘Malpuras’, we headed for Kausani. In Kausani, we again checked into the Tourist Rest House run by KMVN. We were pleasantly surprised to find that this Rest House in Kausani offers a mind-boggling panoramic view of the Kumaon Himalayas. Views the changing moods of the high Himalayan peaks, like the Nanda Devi, Trishul and the Nandakot etc., as it is situated at a vantage point, from where one can have a mesmerizing view of the vistas and photogenic scenery of the landscape, including the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas & the valley housing Baijnath below. The other major attraction of the hill resort of Kausani is the Anashakti Ashram. The Anashakti Ashram has the proud privilege of having hosted Mahatma Gandhi. The Ashram serves as the resting place for the tourists, who experience complete peace after a hectic sightseeing tour. The Ashram also offers some dazzling spectacle of the Himalayan peaks of the Kumaon region. The library of the Ashram is worth visiting too.
Distance chart of important destinations from KMVN in Kausani
Evening setting in, as are the clouds over distant Himalayan peaks - view from Kausani
A short film of the destination may be viewed here –

© S Roy Biswas., all rights reserved.


  1. I would like to visit kausani in Oct-Nov.
    Would like to know about accomodation facilitiesin KVMN Kausani and Gandhi Ashram (prior booking reqd?). Thanks