The pretty little hill town of Almora sits on a five-km long horseshoe-shaped ridge, 1,650 metres above sea level. The town overlooks a verdant terraced valley and four ranges of hills — Banari Devi, Kasan Devi, Shyahi Devi and Katarmal. From the town one can see the magnificent Himalyan ranges in the north with the peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot standing tall in proud splendour. Most hill stations in India were established by the British. But Almora has a different and older history. The Kashaya Hill on which the town is built is first mentioned in the Skanda Purana scriptures. In 1560 Raja Kalyan Chand of Kumaon made it his capital. It was then known as Rajapur; ancient inscriptions on many places still have Rajapur carved on them. The Chand dynasty ended when the Gorkhas from Nepal occupied the area in 1790. The British defeated the Gorkhas in 1815, and established a small army establishment and a cantonment.