We decided to go live outside Almora for a week last diwali. Childhood stories had primed me to expect long walks along forested hills. Even though I knew that things would have changed since, the reality was like being hit on the nose by a fish. Almora sprawls across a horse-shoe shaped mountain wall: all the way from the crest to the bottom, and laps up several lower hills in the surrounded valley. It can be picturesque from a little further away at sunrise (above) and sunset (below). The district is beautiful, and we had a lovely holiday living in a hotel 10 kilometers further down the highway towards Binsar.
On diwali night our driver insisted on filling up the tank, and we drove around until he found a satisfactory petrol pump. We walked on to see the lit up town of Almora sprawled in front of us. As I took photos, a family running a shop nearby invited us to their balcony for the view. It was lovely, and became even more charming when the man pointed out that the humps on the ridge look like a dinosaur’s back. Indeed they do.
From Srinagar in the west to Dambuk in the east, the hills are alive with the sound of construction. But the mess is full of friendly people living out their lives like you and me.