The easy and comfortable way
Jageshwar Taxi Services
In addition to a 10 seat Tavera car, Mahesh and his brother Bhuwan can help with all your travel requirements, including train ticket booking.
Mobile: 09410773187, 07895118085
Jageshwar is 45km from Almora in the Kumaon region of Uttaranchal, India. There is one bus daily from Almora at about 12pm. Taxi's can be shared or privately booked throughout the day.
Almora can be reached from Delhi directly by state buses and one private bus (10 hours).
The nearest rail is at Kathgodam with 2 trains from Delhi (8 hours). It is easier to alight at Haldwani to make bus and taxi connections to Almora (3 hours).
I've not tried the online reservation system which was not up and running last time I was in India. http://www.indianrail.gov.in/
Booking your own tickets at the first floor tourist booking office at New Delhi Railway station is relatively straightforward and tickets are usually available the day before travel (for foreigners). You will need to have the following:
The office is open from around 8am-5pm (probably shut for lunch). Fill in the form (available at the office) and wait in a queue. Train details can be obtained from a book called trains at a glance (Rs50, from bookshop on platform 1). Departure is from (old) Delhi, terminus Kathgodom. Recommended to alight at Haldwani for ease of onward connections, this is the stop before the terminus.
I personally feel 3-AC for night journeys, AC-Chair for day journeys offer optimal comfort for cash. The more sanitised conditions do mean that you don't experience the full impact of Indian railway travel and my most memorable and enjoyable journeys have been made in sleeper class, I was younger then...
Be cautious about booking from travel agents around New Delhi. Your hotel may be more reliable, or not.
Return bookings can be made in advance if you know the date of your return. There is a train booking office in Almora (at the government guest house on Mall Road) but it is less likely that you will obtain tickets in the tourist quota from here than New Delhi, be prepared for disappointment.
Cost is around Rs300 (£4/$8) in 3-AC.
Taxis are faster than buses, you can rent your own or share it with others. Shared taxis will not depart until full and may stop and wait for extra passengers if someone gets out on the way. Shared taxis can get very full, usually jeeps or white Tata-Sumo carriers which should carry 6 but twice this is not uncommon. It is uncommon for drivers to attempt to extort more fare from foreigners in Kumaon and hence usually unnecessary to haggle prior to departure. However, it is hectic at Haldwani as drivers attempt to get their car-full of passengers as they get off the train. Also be wary between Thal and Munsyari where the traditional Kumaon nature seems to be becoming slowly perverted.
If you have trouble finding a shared taxi to Jageshwar get one to Artola and walk 3kms down the hill to get to Jageshwar.
Rates: Shared taxi Rs1 per km. Whole taxi Rs6-8 per km.
In other parts
You may want to do the whole trip in luxury in your own taxi from Delhi. A reliable hotel may be able to find you a driver. Rates as above, plus tip and driver fees of around Rs100 daily. Advances are usually necessary for petrol, food etc. but don't part with more than this! The driver usually travels with a friend. If you don't take the return trip you will still be expected to pay for the driver to get home. The distance is probably around 450kms from Delhi to Jageshwar, and take at least 10 hours this way.
In Kumaon buses leave more infrequently than taxis, take slightly longer and only cost slightly less than a shared jeep. Destinations are written in Hindi on the front of the bus. Devanagari script is quite easy to learn prior to getting to India (try Teach Yourself Hindi). If you miss the one direct bus from Almora to Jageshwar take a bus that passes through Artola and walk 3kms down the hill through the forest from here.
From Delhi, state buses run almost hourly to Almora and Haldwani in the day. Exceedingly cheap and unforgiving to the buttocks, requires some endurance.
Private buses. There's one overnight 'luxury' bus from Almora to Delhi that I've taken, price around Rs250. Not pleasant, but a means to an end. Tickets and departure from Heena Travels, near the Ghandi statue on Mall road, Almora. I've never taken it from Delhi, I'd suggest booking via a trustworthy hotel rather than a travel agent if you want to make this journey.