Katarmal Sun Temple was built by the Katyuri king Katarmalla in between 9th to 13th century. About 17 km from Almora, this ancient piece of history lies in the salubrious Hills of Kumaon. Katarmal Sun Temple is considered as the second most important sun temple in India after Konark Sun Temple (Orissa). It is believed to be the only sun temple located in the hills. A 2 km steep climb is required to reach the temple, which is placed at the top of the hill. What awaits the visitor is the brilliantly made architectural wonder perched at 2,116 metres above sea level. Main deity of the well-designed temple is the old Sun God known as Burhadita or Vraddhaditya. The primary shrine is surrounded by 45 smaller shrines. Besides the statue of Vraddhaditya, the main temple structure also includes statues of other deities.
Intricate carvings can be found on pillars, walls, doors and panels. Paintings and beautiful sculptures made of stone and metal showcase the level of artistry achieved by the artists of that time. Once a 10th century idol was stolen from the temple premises, since then the wooden doors and panels, with fine carvings, were removed and shifted to National Museum in Delhi. From the temple complex, one can have a wonderful 180 degree view of the valley.
Though Almora’s Sun Temple is now under the protection of ‘Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958’, it doesn’t see much visitors; it’s usually a few foreigners and local devotees that care to pay a visit. Be it natural beauty, history, adventure or architectural brilliance – this place lacks nothing, and should be made a part of one’s must see attractions of Almora.