Nainital city of lakes
Uttrakhand

Nainital – city of lakes

Nestled in the picturesque Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, India, lies the enchanting city of Nainital – a jewel in the crown of the Himalayan foothills. Fondly known as the “City of Lakes,” Nainital is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Steeped in colonial charm and surrounded by lush greenery, this hill station offers a perfect blend of serene landscapes and vibrant local culture.

As the crisp mountain air embraces you upon arrival, the emerald lakes and towering peaks create a breathtaking panorama. Nainital, at an elevation of 2,084 meters, captivates visitors with its tranquil lakes, dense forests, and snow-capped peaks. Let’s embark on a journey through this mesmerizing city, exploring its key attractions and uncovering the secrets that make Nainital an unforgettable destination.

1. Naini Lake: The Heartbeat of Nainital

At the heart of Nainital lies the iconic Naini Lake, a shimmering water body surrounded by hills and dotted with vibrant boats. This pristine lake, named after the mythological eye of Goddess Parvati, is the centerpiece of the city.

Visitors can indulge in leisurely boat rides, absorbing the tranquility and breathtaking views. The charming Thandi Sadak, or the Cold Road, flanks the lake, providing a serene promenade for evening strolls.

Whether it’s the bustling activity around the lake or the reflective calm during sunrise, Naini Lake stands as a testament to Nainital’s allure.

2. Naina Devi Temple: A Sacred Oasis

Perched atop the northern shore of Naini Lake, the Naina Devi Temple adds a spiritual dimension to Nainital. Dedicated to Goddess Naina Devi, the presiding deity of the town, this sacred site attracts pilgrims and tourists alike.

Legend has it that the eyes of Sati, the consort of Lord Shiva, fell here, giving rise to the name Naina, meaning eyes. The temple’s architecture and the panoramic views it offers make it a must-visit destination, providing a glimpse into the religious and cultural fabric of the region.

3. Snow View Point: Touching the Skies

For those craving a panoramic spectacle of the Himalayas, the Snow View Point is an absolute must-visit. Accessible by cable car or a scenic trek, this vantage point offers awe-inspiring views of the snow-capped peaks, including Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Nanda Kot. The journey itself is an adventure, with every step revealing a bit more of the mesmerizing landscapes. Whether shrouded in mist or bathed in sunlight, the Snow View Point is a testament to the raw, unbridled beauty of the Himalayas.

4. The Mall Road: Shopping and Strolling

No visit to Nainital is complete without a leisurely walk along The Mall Road. Lined with charming shops, bustling markets, and quaint cafes, this vibrant promenade is the social and commercial hub of the city. From local handicrafts to winter woolens, The Mall Road offers a delightful shopping experience. As the sun sets, the twinkling lights and the aroma of local delicacies from the street vendors create an inviting atmosphere, making it the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploration.

How to Reach Nainital

You can reach Nainital by these mode of transportation i.e. Road, Train as well as by Flight.

Nainital By Road

How to reach Nainital by Road is not a big task. There are excellent services of buses from several cities. From the National Capital New Delhi, ISBT Kashmiri gate as well as ISBT Anand Vihar you will get enormous buses plying to Nainital.

Take a bus from ISBT New Delhi Kashmiri gate to Nainital Kathgodam. You can choose the bus according to your budget – like AC, Non AC and Volvo buses are plying daily on this route.

The best and the convenient way to reach Nainital is boarding the bus at night from Delhi. The overnight journey from Delhi to Nainital is convenient. You will reach Nainital in the morning.

I believe road trip is the best way when it comes to travelling by road. Now a days the transportation has improved with lot of economic buses. You can select the best bus AC or Non AC at a economic price. Travelling by bus gives you ample time to view the beautiful lush green hills. The twists on hills rush the adrenaline in you because you can enjoy the natural beauty in hills.

 From North India- Delhi to Nainital it takes six hours to reach Nainital.

From Agra to Nainital it takes eight hours to reach Nainital.

From Dehradun to Nainital it takes approximately 7 hours to reach Nainital.

Nainital By Train

The nearest railway station from Nainital is Kathgodham Railway Station. Which is 34 km far from Nainital.. There are several trains from Delhi to Nainital, Dehradun to Nainital. Even you will find trains from Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Agra and Mathura. can even take a train till Kathgodam.

Once you reach Kathgodam railway station. You will find several private taxi or shared taxi to Nainital.

Nainital by Air

Pant Nagar is the nearest airport to Nainital. You can take a flight from Delhi to Pant Nagar. Then hire a taxi to Nainital which is one and half hour drive from Pant Nagar to Nainital.

Most visited Destinations in Nainital- The city of lakes

Around Nainital, there are many tourist attractions. You must visit these places. Some of the places are

  • Kanichi Dham
  • Hanumangarihi
  • Bhimtal,
  • Khurpatal,
  • Naukuchiatal,
  • Saattal
  • Mukteshwar
  • Tiffin top

These are the popular places in Nainital. High Altitude Zoo, Snow view point and tiffin top are some of the frequently visited places in Nainital.

Hanuman Garihi near Nainital

Hanuman Garihi temple is 5 km from Nainital. It takes 15 minutes to reach the temple. Hanuman Garihi is temple of hanuman which was build by Neem Karoli Baba in 1950s.

The entry at the temple is free. The timing are from 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM and then in the evening 04:00 PM to 09:00 PM. The best attraction for tourists at this point view is the sunset and sunrise. You will witness the rosy sky during the early hours of sunrise and in the evening.

The temple is crowded on Tuesday and Saturday. Rest of the days specially weekdays now much crowd is witnessed.

Bhimtal near Nainital

Bhimtal is 23 km from Nainital. From Nainital it takes around one hour to reach Bhimtal. Bhimtal is considered as the famous lakes in India. The best attraction in Bhimtal is the fish aquarium. you will see variety of species. There are variety of activities in the Bhimtal Lake.

To avoid tourist crowd i suggest visiting in the early morning to enjoy the beauty surrounding the lake. The surrounding of the lake is clean and well maintained.

According to the Historian, it is said that the Bhima, one of the Pandavas visit this place, that why it is called Bhimtal.

Kainchi Dham

In the Bowli region some 18 kms from Nainital, there is an Hanuman Temple and ashram of Neem Karoli Baba. The Ashram is surround with trees, hills and the river flows besides. Kainchi dham was established by Neem Karoli baba in 1960s.

Every year in the month of June mela is organized and is very famous among the villagers and locals. EX CEO Steve Jobs once visited the Kainchi Dham temple and meditated. Many famous Hollywood stars also visited Kainchi ham temple.

Read more information on Kainchi Dham

Exploring Offbeat Stays Around Nainital: Unveiling Hidden Gems

While Nainital’s popular tourist spots exude charm and allure, the discerning traveler often seeks a more intimate connection with nature and a break from the usual tourist circuit. Fortunately, the vicinity of Nainital is adorned with offbeat stays that promise a unique and immersive experience. These hidden gems allow visitors to escape the crowds and discover the tranquil beauty of the Himalayan foothills in a more personalized manner.


1. Sattal: The Seven Lakes Retreat

The Distance from Nainital is approximately 22 kilometers (14 miles) to Sattal. A serene cluster of seven interconnected freshwater lakes. Away from the bustling city, Sattal offers a tranquil escape with its pristine lakes and dense oak and pine forests.

Here, tucked away from the mainstream, you can find charming cottages and eco-friendly resorts, providing a perfect blend of comfort and nature. Wake up to the melodies of chirping birds and take leisurely walks around the lakes, immersing yourself in the untouched beauty of Sattal.


2. Pangot: Birdwatcher’s Paradise

Distance from Nainital is approximately 15 kilometers (9 miles). For nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers, Pangot is a haven waiting to be discovered. Located approximately 15 kilometers from Nainital.

Pangot is renowned for its rich birdlife and untouched landscapes. Offbeat stays in Pangot range from cozy cottages to rustic homestays, all offering a front-row seat to the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Spend your days exploring the dense forests and spotting a myriad of bird species, including the elusive Himalayan Monal, making Pangot a delightful retreat for those seeking a closer connection to nature.


3. Khurpatal: A Tranquil Reservoir Retreat

A short drive west of Nainital leads to Khurpatal, approximately 15 kms, a peaceful destination nestled around a crystal-clear lake.

Known for its tranquility and scenic beauty, Khurpatal offers offbeat stays ranging from lakeside cottages to eco-friendly resorts.

Immerse yourself in the serene surroundings, take boat rides on the lake, and embark on nature trails that unveil the mesmerizing biodiversity of the region. Khurpatal provides a peaceful alternative for those wanting to experience the essence of the Himalayas away from the usual tourist hustle.


4. Mukteshwar: Echoes of Serenity

For a more elevated retreat, Mukteshwar, perched at an altitude of 2,286 meters, offers a serene escape from the crowds. The distance from Nainital is 50 km approximately.

Surrounded by apple orchards and oak forests, Mukteshwar is dotted with offbeat accommodations, including boutique resorts and charming guesthouses.

The unobstructed views of the snow-capped peaks and the tranquil atmosphere make Mukteshwar a perfect destination for those seeking solitude and a closer communion with the Himalayan landscape.


Conclusion: Embracing the Offbeat

These offbeat stays around Nainital offer a unique opportunity to escape the conventional and embrace the untouched beauty of the Himalayas. Whether you choose the secluded lakes of Sattal, the birdwatcher’s paradise in Pangot, the tranquil reservoir retreat of Khurpatal, or the serene echoes of Mukteshwar, each destination promises an intimate connection with nature. These hidden gems beckon the traveler to step off the beaten path, discover the lesser-known facets of the region, and create memories that linger long after the journey has ended

Budget-Friendly Abodes – Affordable Accommodations in Nainital

  1. Hotel Happy Stay: Nestled in the heart of Nainital, Hotel Happy Stay offers a budget-friendly stay without compromising on essential amenities. Its central location provides easy access to popular attractions, making it an ideal choice for travelers looking to explore the city on a budget.
  2. Lakeview Inn: Offering a scenic view of Naini Lake, Lakeview Inn provides an economical yet cozy stay. The simplicity of its accommodations is complemented by warm hospitality, making it a popular choice for budget travelers seeking a comfortable retreat.
  3. Pine Retreat: Tucked away amidst pine-covered hills, Pine Retreat is a pocket-friendly option for those seeking a tranquil escape. The hotel’s serene surroundings and basic facilities make it a suitable choice for travelers looking to unwind without straining their budget.
  4. Himalayan Budget Inn : provides affordable accommodations with a focus on cleanliness and simplicity. The hotel’s strategic location allows guests to explore Nainital’s attractions without incurring high costs.
  5. Economical Stays in Mallital: Mallital, a suburb of Nainital, boasts a cluster of budget-friendly hotels catering to the thrifty traveler. These accommodations offer a convenient base for exploring the city while keeping expenses in check.

Backpacker’s Delight – Hostels in Nainital

For the adventurous souls seeking a budget-friendly and communal atmosphere, Nainital offers a selection of hostels that provide not just a place to stay but an opportunity to connect with fellow travelers. These hostels, scattered across the city, cater to the backpacker’s spirit, fostering a sense of community and shared experiences.

  1. The Nomad Hostel: Address: Mall Road, Nainital
    Situated on the vibrant Mall Road, The Nomad Hostel is a favorite among backpackers. With its cozy dormitories and communal spaces, it encourages socializing among guests. The hostel is approximately 1.5 kilometers from the Nainital Bus Stand, making it a convenient choice for those arriving by bus.
  2. Wanderlust Backpackers Hostel: Address: Thandi Sadak, Nainital
    Tucked away on Thandi Sadak, Wanderlust Backpackers Hostel provides a laid-back atmosphere for budget-conscious travelers. The hostel is equipped with shared facilities, creating a sense of camaraderie. It is located approximately 2 kilometers from the Nainital Bus Stand, offering a moderate stroll through the scenic surroundings.
  3. Lake Breeze Hostel: Address: Zoo Road, Nainital.
    Overlooking the enchanting Naini Lake, Lake Breeze Hostel provides a breathtaking backdrop for backpackers. The hostel’s dormitory-style accommodations encourage interaction, and it is conveniently situated around 3 kilometers from the Nainital Bus Stand.
  4. Backpacker’s Haven: Address: Tallital, Nainital.
    Nestled in the Tallital area, Backpacker’s Haven offers a serene retreat for budget travelers. The hostel’s strategic location, approximately 1.8 kilometers from the Nainital Bus Stand, makes it accessible for those arriving by public transport.
  5. Mountain Nest Hostel: Address: Bhowali Road, Nainital.
    Located on Bhowali Road, Mountain Nest Hostel provides a cozy and economical stay. The hostel is around 4 kilometers from the Nainital Bus Stand, offering a peaceful escape from the bustling city center.

    In summary, Nainital’s hostels offer a vibrant and budget-friendly alternative for travelers seeking a communal and adventurous stay. Each hostel provides a unique experience, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the backpacker’s spirit while enjoying the beauty of the ‘City of Lakes.’

Useful Links

Nainital

History of Nainital

The Hills of Nainital was first discovered in year 1841.  The British Sugar Trader P.Barron from Shahjahanpur wrote “it is by far the best site I have witnessed in the course of a 1500 miles (2400km) trek in the Himalayas.”

In the primordial period (आदि काल) pilgrimage used this route to trek for Kailash mansarovar and return back through tanakpur.

But according to modern history, in the 1823 George William Trail, first saw Nainital and fell in love with this place.

haldwani to nainital road
nainital city of lakes
solo travel
boat house club
nainital city of lakes
solo travel

In the year 1891  Britishers constructed “Boat House Club” for boating.

nainital city of lakes
solo travel

In the year 1880, that fatal day when it was raining continuously for 2 days.  No one expected that this would happen with them.  Due to continuous raining, there was a sudden land slide in Nainital which lead to 108 Indians and 43 Britishers killed in this accident.  Due to the landslide Victoria Hotel, and Boat House Club was damaged due to landslide in Nainital.

 He was a religious person and was very much impressed with the Indian culture. But in the year 1841 P.Barron build the first British building Pilgrim Lodge.  It was very difficult trek for other Britisher to reach Nainital.  Hence in the year, 1848 Uppar Mall Raod and the Lower Mall road was build for easily reaching to Nainital.

The first road was build in 1899 from Bhowali to Nainital and the road from Haldawani to Nainital was first constructed in the year 1915.

The first Bus Stand was build in 1925 at Talli Tal.  Where most of the motor vehicles used to stop.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nainital: The City of Lakes

1. What is Nainital known for?

  • Nainital is renowned as the “City of Lakes” and is famous for its pristine lakes, lush landscapes, and panoramic views of the Himalayas.

2. How do I reach Nainital?

  • Nainital is well-connected by road, and the nearest railway station is Kathgodam. The Pantnagar Airport is the closest airport. From these points, taxis and buses are available to reach Nainital.

3. What are the must-visit attractions in Nainital?

  • Key attractions include Naini Lake, Naina Devi Temple, Snow View Point, The Mall Road, and Tiffin Top. Each offers a unique experience of the city’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

4. When is the best time to visit Nainital?

  • The best time to visit is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant. However, Nainital is a year-round destination with each season offering a distinct charm.

5. What activities can I enjoy in Nainital?

  • Visitors can indulge in boating on Naini Lake, explore the vibrant markets on The Mall Road, take a cable car to Snow View Point, and enjoy trekking in the nearby hills. Nainital also offers opportunities for shopping, horse riding, and nature walks.

6. Are there adventure activities available in Nainital?

  • Yes, Nainital offers adventure activities such as paragliding, trekking, and horse riding. Adventure enthusiasts can find various options to explore the hills and enjoy thrilling experiences.

7. How is the weather in Nainital?

  • The weather varies with each season. Summers are mild, monsoons bring lush greenery, and winters can be cold with a chance of snowfall. It’s advisable to check the weather forecast before planning a trip.

8. What is the significance of Naina Devi Temple?

  • Naina Devi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Naina, and it holds significant religious and cultural importance in Nainital. Legend has it that the temple is built on the spot where the eyes of Goddess Sati fell.

9. Is Nainital suitable for a family vacation?

  • Yes, Nainital is an excellent destination for a family vacation. The serene lakes, pleasant weather, and a variety of activities cater to both adults and children.

10. Can I find accommodation options with a view of the lakes in Nainital?

  • Yes, there are numerous hotels, resorts, and guesthouses in Nainital that offer rooms with stunning views of the lakes and the surrounding mountains. It’s advisable to book accommodations in advance for the best options.

1. How far are these offbeat destinations from Nainital?

  • The distances vary: Sattal is approximately 22 km (14 miles), Pangot is about 15 km (9 miles), Khurpatal is around 12 km (7.5 miles), and Mukteshwar is roughly 50 km (31 miles) from Nainital.

2. What types of accommodations are available in these offbeat locations?

  • Accommodations range from cozy cottages and eco-friendly resorts to rustic homestays and boutique guesthouses, providing a diverse range of options to suit different preferences and budgets.

3. Are these destinations suitable for families with children?

  • Yes, these offbeat locations offer a peaceful environment and scenic landscapes, making them suitable for families. However, it’s recommended to check with specific accommodations regarding child-friendly facilities.

4. What activities can one engage in at these offbeat stays?

  • Activities include nature walks, birdwatching, boat rides (where applicable), trekking, and simply enjoying the serene surroundings. Each destination offers unique experiences based on its natural features.

5. Is transportation readily available to and from these offbeat locations?

  • Transportation options vary, but private cabs, shared taxis, and local buses are common means of reaching these destinations from Nainital. It’s advisable to check with accommodations for assistance in arranging transportation.

6. Are there medical facilities available in these offbeat areas?

  • While basic medical facilities may be available, it’s recommended to carry any necessary medications and consult with accommodations about nearby medical facilities. Nainital generally has better medical infrastructure.

7. What is the best time to visit these offbeat destinations?

  • The best time to visit is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant. However, each destination may have its unique seasonal charm, so it’s advisable to check individual preferences.

8. Can I find restaurants and shops in these offbeat locations?

  • While these destinations may have local eateries and shops, they are not as commercialized as Nainital. It’s recommended to check with accommodations for information on nearby dining options and shopping facilities.

9. Are these offbeat stays pet-friendly?

  • Some accommodations may be pet-friendly, but it’s essential to confirm with each individual stay regarding their pet policy before planning your trip with pets.

10. How can I book accommodations in these offbeat destinations?

  • Accommodations can be booked online through various travel platforms or by directly contacting the stays. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure the desired stay.

Sanjay Rai Sharma is a Facilitator and a writer. He writes blogs, mostly on travelling while exploring the natural mystic capturing scenic beauty of nature into words, exploring unknown places and capturing memories in the form of photography. On a mission to inspire and share valuable insights to fellow explorers.

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