On the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam declared to take the initiative in creating a tourist circuit that encompasses all the places visited by Swami Vivekananda on the Kumaon Hills. The present Swami Vivekananda Heritage Committee of Uttarakhand is responsible in developing and promoting this project. Arriving in 1890 and being extremely fond of the place Vivekananda travelled to various destinations of the region which now has been turned into a prominent landmark. This tourist circuit which is around 500 kilometers will commence from Kathgodam. The package will include places like Almora, Champawat, Nainital etc.
Kathgodam, the springboard for a journey into the Kumaon was the place from where Swami Vivekananda started his journey. Retracing the footsteps of Swami the tour will start from the Kanchi temple of Kakrighat where Vivekananda used to meditate under a peepal tree. Run by the followers of Neem Karoli Baba, the temple is situated on the bank of Kosi river. The shrine is devoted to Vaishno Devi, Ram, Shiva and Hanuman. The temple has a very calm and peaceful ambience which starts from early morning prayers. This serene location was perfect for the Swami who was always in search of inner peace. This is the place where his spiritual awakening took place and came by the theory of Zero as he mentioned that he had seen the macrocosm in a microcosm.
Vivekananda was so fascinated by Almora that he visited the place twice, first in 1890 and then in 1898. First time he walked from Nainital to Almora and stayed at the house of Badrinath Shah and second time he stayed at the Thompson House, which are still there. During his stays in Almora Vivekananda found a cave near Kasar Devi where he used to meditate and today it is regarded as a spiritual spot. In the year 1971 Lady Imerson Sen built the Vivekananda Memorial Guest House, in memory of a place where the Swami fainted after attaining his enlightenment. After the demise of his mentor Sri Ramkrishna, Swami built one of the Ramkrishna Missions in an area known as Bright end Corner. Apart from these places he used to make frequent visits to the Chitai Golu devta. The Jageshwar temple, which is 35 Km from Almora is situated in a beautiful valley is also worth visiting. 4 kilometers from Almora there is Simtola, which can be reached by following a bridle path. Vivekananda used to walk along the trail whose ridges are profoundly covered with orchards and pine forests. According to Swami Narsimhanand, in 1901, a year before his death Vivekananda spent some days in the Shyama temple.
After Almora the circuit continues to Champawat district where Vivekananda founded the profound Advaita Ashram, also known as the Mayawati Ashram. Inaugurated in 1899 it has become one of the most popular spiritual destinations for people from all over the world. It provides boarding and lodging for tourists and guests. It is equipped with a printing press where the first edition of the works of Vivekananda was published. Its worth mentioning that in this remote corner of the Himalayas the Mayawati Charitable Hospital is the only place where people from near about 1,400 villages gets treated for free. The Ashram is beautifully located amidst a tea estate, situated at the height of 6,400 feet above sea level. Surrounded by lush green mountains on the three sides it provides a stunning view of a snow capped mountain. Beside this the tour will include temples visited by the Swami, like the Purnagiri, Hingla Devi and Baleshwar.