Kausani is an enchanting little village situated in the Bageshwar District in the beautiful state of Uttarakhand, India. There are very few places in the Himalayas that can compare with the beauty of Kausani – a picturesque village well known for its scenic splendor and its spectacular 300 km-wide panoramic views of Himalayan peaks like Trisul, Nanda Devi, and Panchchuli. Kausani lies atop a ridge at an altitude of around 1890 m amidst dense pine trees overlooking Someshwar Valley on one side and Garur and Baijnath Katyuri Valley on the other. Mahatma Gandhi called this place the ‘Switzerland of India’, due to similarity in landscape.
Here are the best places to visit in Kausani:
Built around the 8th century A.D. by the legendary Katyuri kings of Kumaun, the Baijnath group of temples is an example of the Indo-Aryan style of architecture. Overlooking the river Gomti, the temple complex is adorned by intricate stone carvings. The lustrous main idol inside the main shrine is of the Goddess Parvati – a true reminder of the Golden Age in medieval India where artisans could so effortlessly breathe life into various stone forms. Adjoining the temple complex on the ceremonial steps known as ‘ghats’, you can see schools of the great Himalayan Mahaseer, (the world’s largest carp) surface to feast on handouts from priests and worshippers. The largest of these carp can grow up to a meter long and weigh over 50 kilos! Don’t miss the beautifully built Satyanarayan temple located in the village of Baijnath, just a small walk away from the main temple complex.
On a hilltop overlooking the Baijnath valley is the Kot Mandir, a goddess Temple, some 30 minutes uphill walk from Baijnath and also reached by road. Every year on Nanda Ashtami an important local fair takes place here.
Perched on a ridge above Kausani, the Anasakti Ashram offers the most wonderful views of the mountains. Mahatma Gandhi stayed there briefly in the summer of 1929 while traversing the hills of the United Provinces campaigning for National freedom. While staying there he wrote the introduction to his translation into Gujarati of the Hindu religious text, the Bhagavad Gita, which he titled Anasakti Yog. It houses various period photographs and some belongings of Gandhi. A visit in the evening is recommended as the ceremonial ‘arti’ takes place in the prayer hall. However, photography is not allowed.
Along the Anashakti Ashram is the Sarala Behn Memorial Museum, housing a fine display of photographs depicting the life of Sarala Behn, as well as some of her personal belongings.
Located some fifteen minutes on foot from the main Kausani Bazaar. One of the most famous followers of Gandhi, British-born Sarala Behn, started her work for the social upliftment of women here in the pre-independence days. It still is a very well-run organization emphasizing women’s welfare and a visit to the ashram is highly recommended.
Sumitranandan Pant Gallery
The renowned Hindi poet Sumitranandan Pant was born in Kausani. Sumitranandan Pant Gallery was built to commemorate Sumitranandan Pant. The gallery houses hundred of English and Hindi books in glass cabinets. A poetry symposium is organized here every year to mark the poet’s birth anniversary.
Anamay Vedic Ashram
Anamay Vedic Ashram is the only Vedic Ashram of its traditional Guru Kul style, teaching the Vedas and other Vedic Disciplines like Vyakaran (Sanskrit Grammar), Jyotish, basic Ayurved, etc. in the Himalayas. It has 40 to 50 Students and 10 to 12 Acharyas in a picturesque setup in Kausani Estate above the village Bhanapatiyar. All buildings are made according to Stapatya Ved (Vastu) including a Guesthouse with Panchakarma Setup providing to the traditional treatments with oils prepared by the Ashram itself. It has its own dairy farm with about 20 cows. Ashram grows a lot of vegetables, fruits, and herbs organically in their own fields. All Ashram inmates practice daily Transcendental Meditation to ensure the full development of the human potential. The atmosphere is charged with Vedic Chants recited by Students and Acharyas throughout the day.
Kausani Tea Estate
The original tea gardens of Kausani were established by the British in the early 1800s, the earliest attempts by the British to cultivate tea in India. They had even got Chinese managers to ensure that the plantations were maintained immaculately and the plucking was perfect. Some of the descendants of these Chinese still reside in this area even today. In recent decades the tea gardens in the Kausani area have been revived and are managed by the Uttarakhand Tea Board. You can visit the gardens and also buy some local tea from the government tea factory which is open for visitors.
The enchanting Rudradhari Falls is a natural hidden attraction of Kausani and feature many ancient caves. The base of the waterfall is surrounded by small cascades merging into one single large pool, and a lush green valley surrounds it which makes the place awe-inspiring. Nature lovers can enjoy a small trek from the neighboring Kantali village to the main point of this magnificent waterfall.
Surrounded by thick pine trees, lush green hill farms, and terraced paddy fields, the waterfalls are one of the popular places to visit in Kausani and can be viewed while trekking to Adi Kailash. It is one of those places that you can count on if you are looking to de-stress yourself from the hustles and bustles of daily monotonous life.
Starscapes Observatory Kausani is the first public observatory from Starscapes which is located near the famous Anashakti Ashram Kausani. There are regular shows every evening where you can learn about reading the night sky, identifying objects in it, and the science behind their movements and appearances. You will get to observe the Moon, various planets, galaxies, nebulae, and even some interesting star systems, through our state-of-the-art equipment. There are shows during the day too – you will see our very own star, the Sun, through special filters that let you study its surface. And maybe, if you are lucky, you will be able to catch a sunspot or a solar flare!
At the Starscapes Observatories, in the show Conducted by resident expert StarGuides, you will spend time looking at the amazing night sky. You will get to know about stars and constellations – identifying them, their origins, the science behind them, the mythologies we as humans built around them, and the rules governing their cycles and appearances.
Watch the glittering delights of the sky and star gaze at the heavenly creations through the telescope at this planetarium-cum-internet cafe. Early morning and late night are the perfect time to marvel and spot the stars as they dazzle brightly in the sky and if you are lucky you can spot some of the most impeccable moments on a clear night.
This is a great place to visit for families with kids and to learn about the interesting fundamentals of astronomy and celestial objects like the Moon, star clusters, planets, and galaxies. The guided tour on the celestial positioning of many planets and star constellations and the view of the mountainous peaks of Nanda Devi by the owner makes it an enthralling experience.
Part of the 124 temple group and the largest altar in Jageshwar, the Dandeshwar temple houses the Hindu God Shiva and is situated slightly upstream from the main temple complex. The temple is a visual delight with a picturesque landscape and offers a calming retreat. One can spot a number of cascading waterfalls which makes it a perfect place for nature lovers too.
The revered temple holds great significance to the local tribes of the region and has historical ruins belonging to Shivaji’s era. The scenic surroundings and the divine panoramic views of the plains make up for the ruins that are remaining of the temple. Remember to carry your cameras as the place is a great spot for capturing hues of colors of nature and provides a great view of the woods, village, and nearby areas.
Rudrahari Mahadev Temple
Located in a small cave just beside the Rudrahari waterfalls, this temple is about 12 km to the base of the hill from where one has to trek along the marshy landscape. The caves feature a large repository of beautiful scriptures and inscriptions dating back a few centuries. It is a treat for trekkers and nature lovers and one can get a glimpse of the pristine grandeur this place has to offer.
You can also relax in the vicinity of the waterfall and enjoy the tranquility there. For adventure seekers, the huge mountain and the deep dense forests present an excellent opportunity to explore and trek on its meandering ways. It is advised to carry your own umbrellas, a windcheater, a bottle of water, and some snacks to eat along the way.