Katarmal Sun Temple

ASituated around 17 KMs Northwest of Almora in Uttarakhand, Katarmal is famous for 800 years temple dedicated to the Sun God. Katarmal is a 800-year old Sun Temple and is the second in importance after the Sun Temple of Konark in Orissa. The deity of the sun temple in Katarmal is known as Burhadita or Vraddhaditya (the old Sun God). The temple, noted for its unique architecture, artistically cut stone and metallic sculptures and beautifully carved pillars and wooden doors, has 44 small, exquisitely carved temples surrounding it. The image of Surya in the temple dates back to 12th century.

The idols of Shiva-Parvati and Lakshmi-Narayana are also found in the temple. However, the intricately carved doors and panels have been removed to the National Museum in Delhi after the 10th-century idol of the presiding deity was stolen. Now it is preserved by Archaelogucal Survey of India.

This sun temple is one of the most important temples dedicated to the Sun God. It was built by Katarmalla, a Katyuri raja, in the 9th century. In the early medieval period, Kumaon was ruled by the Katyuri dynasty. They ruled from the 7th to the 11th century and controlled large parts of Kumaon, Garhwal and western Nepal. Bajinath, near the present-day Almora, was the capital of the Katyuri kings and a centre of art. They used stones instead of bricks in these temples.

Large stones were quarried and transported over the hilly terrain, and iron clamps were used to hold the stones together. The deity of the sun temple in Katarmal is known as Burhadita or Vraddhaditya (the old Sun God). The temple, noted for its magnificent architecture, artistically made stone and metallic sculptures and beautifully carved pillars and wooden doors, has a cluster of 44 small, exquisitely carved temples surrounding it. A beautiful trek leads you to the Temple. If anyone don’t feel like trekking they can also drive very close to the temple.