Nainital is a Himalayan resort town in the Kumaon region of India’s Uttarakhand state. It is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 2,084 metres (6,837 ft) above sea level, Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (2,615 m (8,579 ft)) on the north, Deopatha (2,438 m (7,999 ft)) on the west, and Ayarpatha (2,278 m (7,474 ft)) on the south.
From the tops of the higher peaks, “magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bounded by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas.
Formerly a British hill station, its set around Nainital Lake, a popular boating site with Naina Devi Hindu Temple on its north shore. There’s shopping in Bara Bazaar, and hiking trails with mountain views crisscross the surrounding area’s wooded hills.
Places to visit in Nainital
Snow View- 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.
Nanda Devi Temple, Naini Lake- The temple was destroyed during the Landslip of 1880, and was later rebuilt. It is on the lake’s northern shore.
Tiffin Top- Altitude: 2292 m. To get here you can drive up to Sherwood College and then continue on a short scenic walk.
Naina Devi Temple – Represented by the ‘eyes’ of goddess, the deity Shakti is the venerated with emotions and rituals.
Naini Lake- is set amidst seven mountains that surround this stagnant water pool and high peaks that almost touch the sky.
Governor’s House (Raj Bhawan) & the Golf Course, Nainital. Governor’s House is a 220 acre early Gothic style complex having lush green gardens and areas of Deodar and Oak trees. A hidden treasure which also houses The Golf Course Nainital, makes it a perfect destination for golf enthusiasts, nature lovers and picnicking tourists. It remains open from 8 A.M. on all days except Sundays & Gazetted holidays.
Hanuman Garhi – Dedicated to the aide and devotee of King Ram- Hanuman, the temple is built on a hill by a local saint, 3 Km away from Nainital.
Lakes around – Sattal (Saat Tal), Khurpa Tal, Bhim Tal, Naukuchiatal, are some of the lakes that are never missed for various opportunities varying from boating to parasailing and not to mention photographing.
- Sattal Sattal is another excellent tourist and picnic spot with seven lakes, each in a different hue of green and blue.
- Bhimtal, 23 kilometres away, is a large lake with an island restaurant in the middle that’s accessible by boat.
- Naukutchiatal – While visiting Sattal you should also visit Naukutchiatal, a placid lake with nine corners, which is located about 26 kilometres away.
Things to do
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 Rs 250 per hour and comes with a boatman, you can also have a self paddle boat.
Shopping – There are two main shopping areas, The Mall and Barra Bazaar. Traditional buys have included shawls, scarves, cardigans and local jams. You can also buy wooden handicrafts which are good and cheap option for souvenirs.
Nainital Zoo (Gobind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo), where you will find some high-altitude species that are native to the region. . Zoo Entry Fee: Rs 30 and Rs.10 for children 25 rupees extra for a camera, closed on Mondays. The zoo also has an interesting sponsorship programme where you can sponsor the maintenance and food of the animal of your choice. The zoo is spread over a wide area and requires lot of walking, so visit only if you are comfortable with that.
Trek to Naina/China Peak, the highest point in the region (8622ft). You can get scenic views of the whole region. Hiking there takes around 60 mins and is not so strenuous. Also you can see a panoramic view of snow-capped himalayas further north. The beauty is as marvelous as majestic Himalayas could allow it to be. Trekking to the summit of the peak is worthy of all the efforts it requires of the tourist.
Trek to Tiffin’s Top. Its a slightly touristy place and you can feel the rush there. You can get on a horse also to go to the top (Rs. 300-1000). The Horse ride is an extremely nice experience, but ensure that ladies travel in front of the male members of the party. Its not so tough to hike there. On the top of this hill, one can find all kinds of shops, flocking with people.
And the best thing to do is relax and enjoy the beauty of awesome Nainital.
Best time to visit
Nainital is a year-round destination. According to personal choices for a break, the best time could vary. However, on a general note, Naintal tour is considered best during the months of March to October.
March to June: These months constitute the summer season in Nainital and are generally considered pleasant for a day sightseeing. This is also the best time to enjoy boat ride as the weather is favourable. Sometimes, especially during the months of May and June, the afternoon can be quite hot and hence it is advisable to go for boating after 4pm. The average temperature at this time varies between 10 degree Celsius and 25 degree Celsius.
July to September: Come July and heavy rain showers are expected, sometimes the rain can continue throughout the day. Rainfall between July and September can lead to some road blockages; however, it is timely cleared by the state government authorities. Being an off-season, hotels offer attractive discounts and deals for travellers during this season and a lot of budget travellers travel in monsoon time.
October to February: October can also be a good time to visit Nainital as it is neither too hot nor too cold during the day. However, a certain chill can be felt in the air at night. November marks the onset of winter season in Nainital and continues till February. This season has a beautiful misty charm with the coldest days seeing the temperature dipping to zero degree Celsius. If you like snow, then plan a trip between December-end and January.
How to reach there
Air: Nearest airport is Pantnagar, which is 71 Km. From there on, taxis take to the Nainital Hill station.
Rail: The place could be reached by Kathgodam connected with Delhi, Agra, Bareilly and Lucknow. It is the nearest railway station to Nanital, only 35 Km away.
Road : By road, reaching and enjoying Nainital is much more convenient being well connected to cities like Delhi, Almora, Ranikhet, Ramnagar, Haridwar, etc.