Kasar Devi Temple
Kasar Devi is a village near Almora, Uttarakhand. It is known for the Kasar Devi temple, a Devi temple, dedicated to Kasar Devi, after whom the place is also named. The temple structure dates to the 2nd century CE. Swami Vivekananda visited Kasar Devi in the 1890s, and numerous western seekers, Sunyata Baba Alfred Sorensen, and Lama Anagarika Govinda. A place is also known for Crank’s Ridge, just outside the village, which was a popular destination during the Hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and continues to attract trekkers and tourists, both domestic and foreign. Kasar Devi first became known when in the 1890s, Swami Vivekananda visited and meditated here and has mentioned his experience in his diaries. Walter Evans-Wentz, a pioneer in the study of Tibetan Buddhism, who later translated The Tibetan Book of the Dead, stayed here for some time. The village is mainly known for the Kasar Devi temple, the shrine dedicated to Kasar Devi. The temple itself dates back to the 2nd century. A winding walkway from the gateway on the main road, right the beginning of the village, leads up to the temple.
The area is home to deodar and pine forests. It also provides views not just of Almora and the Hawalbagh Valley, but also of the panoramic view of the Himalayas from Bandarpunch peak on the Himachal Pradesh border to Api Himal in Nepal.
The temple consists of two different groups of temples one of Devi and another of lord shiva and bairava. The main temple consists of Akhand Jyoti which keeps on burning 24 hours for years. It has also a dhuni (havan kund) where wood logs are burned 24 hours. The ash of dhuni is said to be very powerful that can even cure any mental patient. The Hilltop provides a beautiful scene of the valley and Himalayas that make it a place suitable for photography. The main shrine of Devi is situated inside a cave-like formation by the huge rocks. City buses, taxies, and cabs can take you there at suitable prices. But it can also be reached by hiking and trekking. Kasar Devi is situated on a hilltop, on the edge of a ridge off the Almora-Bageshwar highway on the Kaashay hills of Kumaon Himalayas. As it is situated above the ridge of Almora town, it is accessible through an eight-km hike from Almora or 10 km by road. One km away is the village of Kalimath popular with tourists. Also close by is the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, which lies 30 km away.