Located at a height of 2116 meters above the sea level, in the Kumaon Division of Uttarakhand, India, is the famous Katarmal Sun Temple. At some 7 km from Almora, this 9th century temple is considered the second most important Sun Temple in India – only behind the Konark Sun Temple in Orissa. The temple was built by a Katyuri Raja – KATARMALLA – as the region was then ruled by the Katyuri dynasty.
The Katarmal Sun Temple is much an architectural gem as it’s a building of historical significance thereby drawing a big number of visitors every year. The temple has intricate sculpturing which gives it a unique design. Although the temple has idols of Shiva-Parvati and Lakshmi-Narayana, the main deity is locally known as Burhadita or Vraddhaditya (the old Sun God). And quite obviously, the temple receives the first rays of the SUN every day.
Apart from one main temple, the complex of Katarmal Sun Temple has 45 other smaller shrines or intricately carved temples that encircle the main temple. The temple is renowned for its splendid architecture and it’s enriched with metallic sculptures, exquisitely carved pillars, wooden doors and inventively designed stone. Housing a 12th-century image of Surya, the temple however in ruins, continues to draw visitors and devotees of Sun in big numbers.