Katarmal Sun Temple

Katarmal Sun Temple is dedicated to Lord Burhadita or Vriddhaditya (Sun God). The temple is perched at an altitude of 2,116 m. The present idol of Surya (Sun) in the temple dates back to 12th century. It was built in the 9th century by the Katyuri Kings.

Katarmal is a village located in Almora district of Kumaon division, Uttarakhand, India. The village is known for its Surya Mandir or Sun Temple. The temple is at a distance of 20 km from Almora and 30 km from Ranikhet.

Katarmal village is known for its ancient and rare Surya Mandir (Sun temple). The Katarmal Surya temple was constructed by the Katyuri Kings in the 9th century CE. The pristine village of Katarmal is snuggled in a spectacular position with uncut Himalaya View. The place is crowned by lush green forests.

Visiting the Katarmal Sun Temple provides not only a glimpse into the rich historical and cultural heritage of the region but also an opportunity to appreciate the architectural brilliance and spiritual significance of this ancient temple dedicated to the Sun God.

katarmal sun temple almora

Architecture and History of Katarmal Sun Temple:

The Katarmal Sun Temple is popular for its magnificent architecture. The idols of Shiva-Parvati and Lakshmi-Narayana are also present in the temple. The building faces the east in such a way that the first rays of the sun fall on the Shiva Lingam. Stone-built walls, intricate figures, beautiful pillar carvings and exquisitely cut out wooden doors are among the distinctive features of the Sun temple.

The carved wooden doors and panels were transported to the National Museum, Delhi, after an idol from the 10th century was stolen. The temple is surrounded by 44 smaller temples around the main idol of Surya, which is called as Burhadita or Vraddhaditya. The temple is well known for its unique architecture. It has become a center of attraction for the devotees of every part of the country. The temple is now preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.

What to See

When visiting the Katarmal Sun Temple in Almora, there are several things to see and explore. Here is a detailed description of what you can expect to see at the temple:

  • Main Temple Complex: The main temple structure is the focal point of the Katarmal Sun Temple. It features an intricately carved sanctum sanctorum (garbhagriha) where the idol of Lord Burhadita, the Sun God, is placed. Admire the architectural details of the temple, including the beautifully sculpted stone walls and the ornate entrance.
  • Shikhara (Spire): The temple’s towering shikhara is an impressive sight. The spire rises high above the temple structure and showcases intricate stone carvings and designs. Take a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship and architectural grandeur of this prominent feature.
  • Mandapa (Assembly Hall): The temple complex includes a mandapa, which serves as an assembly hall for devotees and visitors. The mandapa has intricately carved pillars and a raised platform where rituals and ceremonies take place. Spend some time in this serene space, absorbing the spiritual ambiance.
  • Smaller Shrines: Within the temple complex, you will find smaller shrines dedicated to various deities. These include shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Goddess Mahisasuramardini. Each shrine has its own unique architectural features and religious significance. Explore these smaller shrines and learn about the diverse pantheon of deities worshipped at the temple.
  • Sculptures and Carvings: The temple is adorned with intricate stone carvings and sculptures depicting various mythological stories and figures. Marvel at the fine craftsmanship displayed in these artistic creations, which bring the temple walls to life with their detailed representations.
  • Natural Surroundings: The Katarmal Sun Temple is nestled amidst the picturesque landscape of the Kumaon region. Take a moment to soak in the natural beauty surrounding the temple, including the lush greenery, panoramic views of the Himalayas, and the serene atmosphere.

As you explore the Katarmal Sun Temple, immerse yourself in its rich history, architectural splendor, and spiritual aura. It is a place where you can connect with the past, witness stunning craftsmanship, and experience a sense of tranquility amidst the beauty of nature.

Interesting Facts About Katarmal Sun Temple:

  • The Katarmal Sun Temple is one of the few sun temples in India and dates back to the 9th century. It is believed to be the second most important sun temple in the country, after the famous Konark Sun Temple in Odisha.
  • The temple is dedicated to Lord Burhadita, the Vedic form of the Sun God, Surya. It is an important place of worship for devotees of the Sun God.
  • The temple showcases intricate stone carvings and architectural elements characteristic of the Katyuri dynasty. The temple’s design follows the Nagara style of architecture, with a mandapa (assembly hall), sanctum sanctorum, and a tall shikhara (spire).
  • The temple’s alignment and design have astronomical significance. The structure is positioned in a way that the first rays of the rising sun fall directly on the sanctum during specific times of the year, particularly during the equinoxes.
  • The Katarmal Sun Temple complex consists of a main temple along with smaller shrines dedicated to other deities such as Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Goddess Mahisasuramardini. These smaller shrines reflect the religious and cultural diversity of the region.
  • Over the years, the Katarmal Sun Temple faced neglect and decay. However, restoration work has been carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to preserve and protect the temple’s architectural heritage.
  • The temple’s hilltop location offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding Kumaon Valley and the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, making it a picturesque and serene destination.
  • The name of the temple is Katarmal Sun Temple because it was built by the Katyuri king Katarmalla.
  • The temple and the village is also popular among trekkers. It is only 19 km from Almora and 30 km from Ranikhet.
  • Because of a robbery in the temple complex, the ancient and rare relics from the temple were then moved to the National Museum in New Delhi to keep them safe.

How to Reach Katarmal Sun Temple:

Katarmal Sun Temple is almost 20 km away from the city of Almora and 3 km away from Kosi village.

By Road

Almora is well connected by motorable roads with cities like Delhi (360 km), Lucknow (437 km) and Dehradun (346 km). Buses to Almora and Haldwani can be taken from ISBT Anand Vihar, Delhi and ISBT Dehradun. Almora is linked with NH 87 and NH 87E. Taxis to Almora are easily available from all the major cities.

By Train

Kathgodam railway station is the nearest railhead from Almora, which is 82 km away. Kathgodam and Haldwani are well connected to major destinations of India like Lucknow, Delhi and Kolkata. Trains run frequently to Kathgodam as it is the gateway to Kumaon region. Buses and Taxis are easily available to Almora from Kathgodam.

By Air

Pantnagar airport is the nearest airport to Almora, which is at 116 km away. Taxis  to Nainital, Haldwani and Almora are easily available from Pantnagar Airport. Buses to Almora are also available from Haldwani, Kathgodam and Nainital.