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The Shaivite temples of Kumaon do not attract the same fervour as their equivalents in Garhwal, so there is far less tourist traffic, villages are largely unspoilt and trekking routes unlittered. To the east, Kumaon’s border with Nepal follows the Kali valley to its watershed with Tibet; threading through it is the holy trail (closed to foreigners) to the ultimate pilgrimage site, Mount Kailash in Tibet, the abode of Shiva and his consort Parvati. Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam, or KMVN (w http://www.kmvn.gov.in), are in charge of tourism in Kumaon, providing a similarly patchy range of services to GMVN in Garhwal. Note too that Kumaon’s electricity supply can be capricious, with frequent power cuts, and that, ATMs apart, the only banks that change cash are in Nainital, though you can change travellers’ cheques in Ranikhet and Almora.

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