Kasar Devi is a village near Almora, Uttarakhand. It is known for the Kasar Devi temple, a Devi temple, dedicated to Kasar Devi, after whom the place is also named. The temple structure dates to the 2nd century CE. Swami Vivekananda visited Kasar Devi in 1890s, and numerous western seeker, Sunyata Baba Alfred Sorensen and Lama Anagarika Govinda. A place also known for Crank's Ridge, just outside the village, which was popular destination during the Hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and continues to attract trekkers and tourists, both domestic and foreign.
The temple hosts the annual "Kasar Devi Fair" on Kartik Poornima (November–December).
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, stayed here for some time.
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 them. In 1961, Govinda was visited by Beat poets, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky and Gary Snyder. In later history, at the peak of the Hippie movement, the area also became a part of the Hippie trail. Crank's Ridge, colloquially known as Hippie Hill, which lies ahead of Kasar Devi became a popular destination. It became home to several bohemian artists, writers and western Tibetan Buddhists, and even visited by mystic-saint Anandamayi Ma. The ridge got its name amongst hippy circles, after American psychologist Timothy Leary streaked here in the 1960s. Leary wrote majority of his ‘psychedelic prayers’ here. Thus, through the 1960 and 1970s, the area was visited by personalities of the counter-culture, George Harrison and Cat Stevens, Western Buddhist Robert Thurman, and writer D. H. Lawrence, who spent two summers here.
Kasar Devi temple
The village is mainly known for the Kasar Devi temple, the shrine dedicated to Kasar Devi. The temple itself, dates back to the 2nd century CE. A winding walkway from gateway on the main road, right the beginning of the village, leads up to the temple.
The area is home to deodar and pine forests. It also provides views not just of Almora and the Hawalbagh Valley, but also of the panoramic view of the Himalayas from Bandarpunch peak on the Himachal Pradesh border to Api Himal in Nepal.
The temple consist of two different group of temple one of devi and another of lord shiva and bairava. The main temple consist of akhand jyoti which keep on burning 24 hours for years. It has also a dhuni (havan kund) where wood log are burned 24 hours . The ash of dhuni is said to be very powerful that can even cure any mental patient.
The Hill top provides beautiful scene of the valley and Himalayas that make it a place suitable for photography.
The main shrine of devi is situated inside a cave like formation by the huge rocks. City buses , taxies and cabs can take you there at suitable prices . But it can also be reached by hiking and tracking.
Overview and mystery
Kasar Devi is situated on a hilltop, on the edge of a ridge off the Almora-Bageshwar highway on the Kaashay hills of Kumaon Himalayas. As it is situated above the ridge of Almora town, it is accessible through eight-km hike from Almora or 10 km by road. One km away is the village of Kalimath popular with tourists. Also close by is the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, which lies 30 km away.
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 .
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- "Slide shows with Kasar Devi photos, especially from Bodh Ashram's area and around, taken from 2000 until 2007; also slide show with March 2013 Kasar Devi's photos showing Bodh Ashram, Mohan's cafe, etc".