ALMORA, a town and district of British India, the chief town and administrative headquarters of the Kumaon division of the United Provinces, situated on a mountain-ridge of the Himalayas 5494 ft.
Almora is also celebrated as the scene of the British victory which terminated the war with Nepal in April 1815, and which resulted in the evacuation of Kumaon by the Gurkhas and the annexation of the province by the British.
The District of Almora was constituted in 1891, together with Naini Tal, by a redistribution of the two former districts of Kumaon and the Tarai.
It lies among the mountains of Kumaon, between the upper waters of the Ganges and the Gogra, here called the Kali.
It is not a uniform speech, but comprises several dialects which have been classed by Jaeschke into three groups, namely (i) the central or the dialects of Lhasa and the central provinces of U and Tsang (including Spiti) which is the lingua franca of the whole country, (2) the western dialects of Ladak, Lahul, Baltistan and Purig, and (3) the eastern dialects of the province of Khams. In addition to these, however, are many sub-dialects of Tibetan spoken in the frontier Himalayan districts and states outside Tibet, namely, in Kunawar and Bashahr, Garhwal, Kumaon, Nepal including especially the Serpa and Murmi of eastern Nepal, Sikkim (where the dialect is called Danjong-ka), Bhutan (Lho-ka or Duk-ka.), all of which are affiliated to a central group of dialects.
Farther west Tibet may be reached from Kumaon by one of a group of passes (of which the best known is the Milam) leading to Lake Manasarowar.
By the Nepal, Kumaon and Ladak routes go borax, gold and ponies.
It is not uncommon on many parts of the Himalayas, where it breeds; and on the mountains of Kumaon and the Punjab, and is the "golden eagle" of most AngloIndians.
At the head of the Bay of Bengal in Chittagong district, side by side with coffee on the Nilgiri hills, on the forest-clad slopes of Kumaon and Kangra, amid the low-lying jungle of the Bhutan Dwars, and even in Arakan, the energetic pioneers of tea-planting have established their industry.
Organized upon a sort of military and feudal basis, they soon became a terror to all their neighbours, marching east into Sikkim, west into Kumaon, and south into the Gangetic plains.
This tract presents the same general features as the Gangetic valley, varied by the damp and pestilential submontane region of the tarai on the north-east, at the foot of the Kumaon hills.
In 1815 the Kumaon division was acquired after the Gurkha War, and a further portion of Bundelkhand from the peshwa in 1817.
In 1823 (though not officially known till later) an epidemic broke out at Kedarnath in Gurwhal, a sub-district of Kumaon on the south-west of the Himalayas, on a high situation.
In 1880 therefore plague existed or had existed within ten years, in the following parts of the world: (I) Benghazi, Africa; (2) Persian Kurdistan; (3) Irak, on the Tigris and Euphrates; (4) the Asir country, western Arabia; (5) on the lower Volga, Russia; (6) northern Persia and the shores of the Caspian; (7) Kumaon and Gurhwal, India; (8) Yunnan and Pakhoi, China.
With regard to origin, several endemic centres are now recognized in Asia and Africa, namely, (I) the district of Assyr in Arabia, on the eastern shore of the Red Sea; (2) parts of Mesopotamia and Persia; (3) the district of Garwhal and Kumaon in the North-West Provinces of India; (4) Yunnan in China; (5) East and Central Africa.
Next in importance is the Ramganga, which receives as its tributaries most of the hill torrents of the Kumaon mountains.
It is found in Kumaon and Bhotan and on some of the Nepal ranges, but does not grow in the moist climate of the Sikkim Himalayas; it is found at a height of 7000 to 12,000 ft., and attains large dimensions; the wood is highly resinous, and is said to be durable; great quantities of a white clear turpentine exude from the branches when injured.
The Zoji La, the Kashmir water-divide between the Jhelum and the Indus, is a prominent case in point, and all the passes from the Kumaon and Garhwal hills into Tibet exhibit this formation in a marked degree.
In Kumaon many of them descend to between 11,500 and 12,500 ft.
Passing to the westward, and viewing the flora of Kumaon, which province holds a central position on the chain, on the 80th meridian, we find that the gradual decrease of moisture and increase of high summer heat are accompanied by a marked change of the vegetation.
In the less exposed localities, on northern slopes and sheltered valleys, the European forms become more numerous, and we find species of alder, birch, ash, elm, maple, holly, hornbeam, Pyrus, &c. At greater elevations in the interior, besides the above are met Corylus, the common walnut, found wild throughout the range, horse chestnut, yew, also Picea Webbiana, Pinus, excelsa, Abies Smithiana, Cedrus Deodara (which tree does not grow spontaneously east of Kumaon), and several junipers.
The herbaceous tropical and semi-tropical vegetation likewise by degrees disappears, the Scitamineae, epiphytal and terrestrial Orchideae, Araceae, Cyrtandraceae and Begoniae only occur in small numbers in Kumaon, and scarcely extend west of the Sutlej.
Middlemiss, " Physical Geology of the Sub-Himalaya of Gahrwal and Kumaon," ibid., vol.