Known for its cultural diversity, Almora, this bewitching hill station is situated at an average elevation of 1,638 meters and is spread across a 5 km ridge atop Kashyap Hill. Being surrounded by the dwindling pines and old oaks, the city has a divine aura that is enough to allure the backpackers. Although King Kalyan Chand built Almora in 1568, the Hindu epic Mahabharata mentions human settlements in the hills and surrounding region. The Chand monarchs who ruled over the Kumaon Kingdom had their capital in Almora. It is considered the cultural hub of Uttarakhand’s Kumaon area. Almora is known as the heart of kumaon. Almora got its name from Bhilmora, a kind of sorrel,(although some have tried to derive it from Berberis “kilmora) a short plant commonly found there, which was used for washing the utensils of the sun temple at Katarmal. The people bringing the Bhilmora/kilmora were called Bhilmori/Kilmori and later “Almori ” and the place came to be known as “Almora ”.This beautiful hill town was founded in 1568 by Kalyan Chand during the rule of the Chand dynasty. Prior to that the region was under the control of Katyuri King Bhaichaldeo.It is situated on a ridge at the southern edge of the Kumaon Hills of the Central Himalaya range in the shape of a horse saddle shaped hillock. The eastern portion of the ridge is known as Talifat and the western one is known as Selifat. The Almora Market is situated at the top of the ridge, where these two, Talifat and Selifat jointly terminate. It is surrounded by thick forests of pine and fir trees. Flowing alongside the city are rivers of Koshi (Kaushiki) and Suyal (Salmale). The snow-capped Himalayas can be seen in the background.The region is immensely rich with 4000 species of plants, having remarkable diversity in its natural vegetation by virtue of its being at a great range of elevation. The sub-alpine zones of Almora and outskirts are a natural sanctuary for leopard, Langur, Himalayan black bear, kakar, goral etc. Whereas the high altitude zones abound musk deer, popularly called “Kasturi Mrig”, snow leopard, blue sheep, thar etc. The entire zone is rich in a remarkable variety of birds possessing plumage of magnificent design and colours like peacock, which include grey quail, black francolin/kala titar, whistling thrush, chakor, monal, cheer pheasant, kokla, and pheasant.Almora also has many notable temples, including Kasar Devi, Nanda Devi, Doli Daana, Shyayi Devi, Khakmara, Asht Bhairav, Jakhandevi, Katarmal (Sun Temple), Pataal Devi, Raghunath Mandir, Badreshwar, Banari Devi, Chitai, Jageshwar, Binsar Mahadev, Garhnath and Baijnath.Almora has attracted several eminent people through the ages, including Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Uday Shankar and his troupe, including Guru Dutt and Zora Sehgal came here for a performance, and Ravi Shankar, who contributed to the cultural enrichment of the town. Govind Ballabh Pant, noted freedom fighter, first chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and later Home Minister of India, was born in Almora. Sir Ronald Ross, who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology (or Medicine) for his path-breaking discovery of the malaria parasite, was born here in 1857. The town also serves as the starting point for many treks like Jageshwar, Pindari, Mornaula, Mukteshwar, Binsar, and Ranikhet among others.The town is visited by thousands of tourists annually from all over the world.