I remember sitting on roof of a local general store in front of Kempty Falls, Mussoorie. As I chilled my spines off my final beer for the night, my mind began exploring for a next stay in Uttrakhand. After travelling to Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Mussoorie and Dhanaulti, I already had my complete fill for adventure and mountains. What was absent (and common) in all these destinations was what a nature lover essentially seeks – peace. These were heavily-packed tourist destinations having a distinction on world map. That was when I heard of Kasaar Devi from a locale who had accompained me for the drink. The idea and description seemed apt, I decided to find the reality for myself. I laid rest to my back with my eyes wide open, exclaiming at the mesmerising beauty of the night sky and wandering through thoughts of a tiring unknown journey the following day awaited.
Kasaar Devi is a small village located on one of the narrow ridges of Almora district, 8 kms north of the main town. The place derived its name from the famous Kasaar Devi temple, which is believed to be one of the 108 shaktipeeths in Hindu mythology. In the popular hippie trail to Kathmandu in 70s, Kasaar served as a popular station for hippies from around the world. It was then, this place derived its popular name ‘Crank’s Ridge’.
As I reached Kasaar, with knowledge and spirits in equal but opposite proportions, I begin searching for an ideal-budget place to stay. Sparsely populated, Kasaar doesn’t offer vast variety of stays to visitors. If you’re looking for a budget stay, Dolma’s guesthouse is highly recommended. A few other budget accomodations like Freedom Café, Hotel Himsagar could be explored along with a number of cafés downhill which provide rooms as cheap as INR 150. Standard stays include Mohan’s Binsar retreat (Great food!), Kasaar Jungle Resort and Imperial Heights resort. You can find variety of food in decent cafés at normal prices.
Although what makes this tiny village noteworthy amongst travellers is not food or stay. Kasaar is famously known as a centre of alternative meditation. Every year, meditators from all globe arrive here for imploring their inner-selves. Kasaar holds the legacy of being the place where people like popular songwriter Bob Dylan, Hindu saint Vivekananda and countless other mystics sought refuge in calmness. One can hear chants of psychedelic hymns as your pass nearby Buddhist Centre.
So, if you’re a backpacker travelling on tight budgets and crave for untouched nature’s bounty, this place is sure to fill your soul with inner peace.
Places to visit:
Kasaar Devi Temple, Buddhist Monastry, Binsar Wildlife Sanctury, Jogeshwar Mahadev Temple.
How to reach:
Nearest Railway station is Haldwani. Regulars trains move from New Delhi to Haldwani. From Haldwani one can take bus to Almora (90 kms). Shared cabs at nominal prices ply at regular intervals from Almora to Kasaar Devi (only at daytime). If you happen to arrive in Almora at night, you’ll have to book a personal taxi or cover the distance on foot.