After exploring the food at Nainital we set out for Kasar Devi village in Almora. The picturesque and serene hilltop village is a perfect getaway for mountain lovers. And were on our way to know more about the food scenario over there. Interestingly the drive from Nainital to Almora had quite a few popular spots and food points which ought to be explored as we tend to get hungry during the journey.
So this episode brings you a delightful food experience from the 71 km journey between the two points.
Our first stop was a Fruitage outlet in Bhowali. It is a home grown brand that makes squashes, pickles, jams and honey from native fruits and vegetables that grow abundantly in these mountains. One of the quintessential and popular fruit concentrates is the buransh squash and that is what we purchased. It is made with Himalayan rhododendron flower juice. We didn't try it right away.
After another pleasant drive we reached Golu Devta temple in Ghorakhal. This fascinating temple full of thousands and thousands of bells is dedicated to the deity of justice Golu Devta. People come here to seek blessings for their court cases. They make wishes for such cases and when it gets fulfilled they come back and offer bells of different sizes as a token of gratitude and reverence. We were surprised to see the court papers hanging from the trees. These have been graced by the deity.
Next we headed to the tea garden situated 1.4 km away from the temple because we were curious to learn about the Uttarakhand variety. It is open to tourists but due to Covid the visiting time has been curtailed. Mr. Joshi, the supervisor, gave us a brief tour of the garden and shared some snippets about the produce. After the tour we purchased one of their products and drove off to our next destination Kainchi Dham.
It is a peaceful, serene spiritual destination dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Surrounded by mountains and forests and a river flowing alongside, Kainchi Dham is a heaven for people who seek peace and calm. It has gained global attention after social media buzz about the visit of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to this Temple. There are quite a few food points outside the temple that serve economical fare.
We tried two places. One was the Lemon Soda wala right beside the exit of the temple and the other was the Maruti Restaurant a few meters away. At the former place we had the most amazing lemon soda because it had a hint of green chillies in it. At the later one we polished off a plate of hot and crisp moong dal pakoda with an impressive kakdi raita.
Next we stopped at Kakarighat to try and to learn more about one of the key Kumaoni specialities, the Pisi Noon, from the organization that has been making it for the past 7 years. The enthusiastic and genial founder of Himalayan Flavours Sandeep, showed us around his small and delightful workshop cum store and shared some interesting snippets about this staple Kumaoni food item. With a mind blowing range of delicious hand ground flavoured salts, this place was a real delight. No wonder it is quite famous with the tourists and visitors.
This was our last food stop and after picking up a few of the flavoured salts we headed off to Kasar Devi. On reaching there we met our host Sanjay who took us to the Kasar devi temple and showed us around. The place became famous after Swami Vivekananda came to meditate in the temple premises and more so among international celebrities like Bob Dylan, Beatles guitarist George Harrison, singer Cat Stevens and other spiritual seekers from the West paid a visit.
After the visit we went on to rest and get ready for the following day.