Nainital in Uttarakhand is one of the most popular hill stations in India. It is famous for its lake, Naini Lake, after which it is named. Furthermore, Nainital is also named after the goddess Naina Devi.
Set amidst the towering peaks of the Kumaon Hills, the lake resort of Nainital has a lot to offer. From boating to feeding animals at the zoo; from picnicking on the hills to exploring Jim Corbett National Parl, Nainital has all that you could hope for in a hill station.
Nainital is set in two parts, Tallital and Mallital, with the big Naini lake separating them.
Tallital is the southern side of the lake, while Mallital consists of the northern upper reaches. It is renowned for its lake, bird’s-eye views, and prestigious educational institutions.
Things To Do In Nainital
Boating in Naini Lake
Boating in Naini Lake is a must. Paddle boats can be hired by the hour. You can also hire a yacht from the Nainital Boat Club, which costs by the hour (very minimal I would say) and comes with a boatman.
You can also rent a self paddle boat.
Explore the Caves
Located approximately 2 km further up from Mallital (northern end of the lake), there is a cave complex, developed and maintained by the local administration.
This consists of a series of six caves (Tiger, Panther, Porcupine, Bats, Flying Fox, and Apes) which get narrower as you progress.
Caution: People with claustrophobia are advised not to explore the later ones and walk out from the exit available at the end of each cave.
Feed the animals at the Nainital Zoo (Gobind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo), where you will find high-altitude species that are native to the region.
The zoo also has an interesting sponsorship program where you can sponsor the maintenance and food of the animal of your choice.
Note: The zoo is spread over a wide area and requires a lot of walking.
Trek to Naina Peak
Naina Peak is the highest point in the region (8,622 ft or 2,628 m). You can get scenic views of the whole region.
Hiking there takes around 60 mins and is not so strenuous. From September to November, you will be able to see a panoramic view of snow-capped Himalayas further north.
On top of the mountain, you can find a small tea shop serving bread omelet, some biscuits, tea and coffee for a reasonable price. Not many people go there making it a good option to escape from the buzz.
Trek to Tiffin’s Top
Tiffin Top, also known as Dorothy’s Seat, is in the Aryapatta Hill. It’s a slightly touristy place where you can feel the crowd. You can get on a horse to go to the top. The Horse ride is an extremely nice experience.
If you want to hike it, it’s doable and you would have more fun. Just make sure you are physically able to hike at high altitude (2292 m).
On top of this hill, one can find all kinds of shops, flocking with people.
Gurney House, Aryapatta Hill
This was the former home of Jim Corbett. It has been converted into a museum and houses Corbett memorabilia.
Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha
Visit the one and only Gurdwara Sahib situated at the heart of Nainital.
Guano Hills, Pangot
These hills in the Pangot village are excellent for walks through forests of thick oak, bamboo, and deodar. Some rare birds such as the grey woodpecker and black-chinned babbler are found in the forests.
Naina Devi Temple
One story tells us that this temple was constructed in the 15th century during the Kushan reign but another version states that it was built by Moti Ram Shah.
Naini Lake is set amidst seven mountains that surround this stagnant water pool and high peaks that almost touch the sky.
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram and Temple is in Kainchi which is approximately 18 KM from Nainital on the road going to Almora. It is a Hindu religious center, and temple, dedicated to Shri Neem Karoli Baba, a famous Hindu Guru. Many of his devotees visit this temple from all over the world.
St. John in the Wilderness
This charming church (St. John Wilderness Church) was named and founded by the Bishop of Calcutta and it is located in Mallital.
Sariyatal is a lake in Nainital. The water can be extremely cold, but this is a nice area to spend some time. There is a park of the same name (Sariyatal Park) where you can relax or have a picnic.
Snow View, Sher-Ka-Danda Ridge
Located at an altitude of 2270 m, Snow View offers spectacular views of the Naina Devi Peak. It can be reached by the Aerial Express Ropeway.
There are two main shopping areas, The Mall and Barra Bazaar. Traditional things to buy include shawls, scarves, cardigans and local jams. You can also buy wooden handicrafts which are a good and cheap option for souvenirs.
- Other Nearby Hill stations – Almora, Ranikhet, Kausani – these hill stations are situated well above 6,000 feet on semi-circular shaped mountains
- Jim Corbett National Park – the first national park of India and is placed at foothills of Himalayas. The key attraction for wildlife enthusiasts and tourists is the view of Tiger with its wilderness
- Other Nearby Lakes – Bhimtal, Sattal, Kamal Tal
- Nanakmatta – one of the ancient towns named after Gurdwara Nanak Mata Sahib, which is a Sikh pilgrimage site
- Pilibhit – there are various religious places located in Pilibhit and most famous among them are Ardhanarishwar temple, Jaisantri Devi temple, Dargah e Shahji Miyan, Gauri Shankar temple, and Jama Masjid
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning to feel tourism of Nainital, the best time to visit there in between May to July, the summertime in India.
The weather in Nainital is quite pleasant. Summers are hot and temperatures may reach 32 °C. During winter, temperatures may be sub-zero. The town receives snowfall during December and January.
Getting Around in Nainital
Nainital is nicely connected with the different towns around the city with buses frequently running.
There are a few cycle rickshaws in town. Rates are usually fixed from one end of the mall to the other. They can only pick and drop passengers at the ticket booths of either end.
However, there is no better way to explore Nainital than on foot. The mall has smooth pavements, making it extremely pedestrian-friendly.
During the summer season, entry is denied on the mall from 6 to 9 PM, making the road a pedestrian’s dream. The town is fairly small and there are some very interesting shops and emporiums in the mall, making the walk a pleasure.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of hotels in Nainital. Visitors are spoiled for choice in the top end category. Mountain Quail and Jungle Lore offer tents. There are hotels on the mall road. There are hotels that are cheaper but reaching there by foot is a challenge.
Do some research and you’ll find plenty of options that suit every budget.
While driving your car on uphill, don’t hit brakes very hard as the risk of jamming them may arise. Most of the petrol pumps close by 7 PM, so keep an eye on your fuel meter and get a tank of your car filled in time.
Nainital is a safe place but during high season a surge of visitors keep visiting this beautiful place and some people exploit this opportunity for their own benefit. So a note of caution is given while roaming around the city.
July 16, 2019 12:36 pm
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