Kasar Devi Temple is a famous Hindu shrine which sits high at an altitude of 2,116 metres above sea level. This 2nd century temple is adorned on a hillock overlooking the town of Almora, Uttarakhand. Deodar and pine forests can be found in this area. It also offers views of Almora and the Hawalbagh Valley, as well as a panoramic vista of the Himalayas stretching from Bandarpunch Peak on the Himachal Pradesh-Nepal border to the Api Himal in Nepal.
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, also stayed here for some time.
Famous American psychologist Timothy Leary also streaked here in the 1960s. Leary wrote majority of his ‘psychedelic prayers’ here.
Then in the 1930s, Danish mystic Sunyata Baba (Alfred Sorensen) came here and lived here the over three decades, as did Ernst Hoffman, who became Tibetan Buddhist Lama Anagarika Govinda and Li Goutami. This led to a series of spiritual seekers from the west, visiting the shrine.
The location later became a section of the Hippie route during the height of the hippie movement. Crank’s Ridge, also known as Hippie Hill, is a renowned tourist site that sits ahead of Kasar Devi. It was home to a number of bohemian artists, writers, and western Tibetan Buddhists, and even visited by mystic-saint Anandamayi Ma.
The temple is divided into two sections, one dedicated to devi and the other to Lord Shiva and Bairava. The main temple has an akhand jyoti that burns continuously for years. It also has a dhuni (havan kund), which burns wood logs 24 hours a day. Dhuni ash is said to be extremely powerful, capable of curing any mental illness.
This temple has been of special importance because the region around this temple has enormous geomagnetic field because this temple comes under the Van Allen Belt. The causes behind the formation of this belt have been researched by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) .
The other two famous places having similar high magnetic field are Machu Picchu in Peru and Stone Henge in England. Many people believe that due to the presence of these fields, one can get an ultimate peaceful and relaxing experience in such places. People who have meditated at Kasar Devi have expressed a degree of higher rejuvenation and have attached special importance to it.
A large fair, known as Kasar Devi Fair, is held at the Kasar Devi temple on the occasion of Kartik Poornima in the Hindu calendar, corresponding to November and December.
It is being developed as a tourist place in Uttarakhand and Uttarakhand government have many plans to develop this place. Presently the work of construction of ropeway from the district headquarter to Kasar Devi is in progress.