Nainital – Lake District of Uttarakhand
Best time to Visit: March to June
Languages: Kumaoni, Garhwali, Hindi
STD Code : (91) – 5942
Like most of the other hill stations in India, Nainital is also the brainchild of the British in India during the colonial rule. For years, Nainital served as a pleasant getaway for the British who would come here during the summers and left the place during winters. In subsequent years, the place became a major tourist haunt and today Nainital is visited by thousands of tourists throughout the year. Situated at an altitude of 6350 feet above sea level, Nainital is the ideal summer hideout with its salubrious climate and a plethora of tourist attractions.
Climate & Best time to Visit
Nainital is blessed with pleasant weather round the year, though the upper reaches experience heavy snowfall during the winter months from November to February when things can get really chilly. The monsoon season from June to August is best avoided for a visit as heavy rains somewhat take away the charm and make the things too slippery for comfort. The best time to visit Nainital, therefore, are the months from March to June or September and October.
Tourist Attractions in Nainital
Nainital is the city of lakes, of which probably the most famous is the shimmering Naini Lake or Naini Taal, which is also the center point of the city. Hindu mythology states the lake as the very place where the eye of Goddess Parvati (Lord Siva’s wife) fell, thus turning the place into a lake, as pretty as the Goddess herself. The Naina Devi temple near the lakeside is a popular Hindu pilgrimage.
Situated at an altitude of 2270 mt above the sea level, this peak affords majestic views of the snow-covered Himalayan peaks. The place can be accessed via the ropeway or ponies available at the mall. The place is also a good picnic spot with a few restaurants and refreshment shops situated nearby.
St. John Church
Nainital was developed as a summer resort by the British. The ‘raj’ may have ended long ago but the legacy still lives on in the form of colonial structures that have beautifully encountered the harshness of time. St. John church is one such structure that reminds of the glorious erstwhile days. A graveyard situated nearby houses the years old graves of people who once called the place home.
The wildlife enthusiasts can look forward to a real treat at the Corbett National Park, located just 115 km from Nainital. Situated in an area of 524 sq. km, the park has the distinction of being the first national park in India established in the year 1935. Besides the major attraction, the Tiger, Corbett houses numerous species of other animals and over 500 species of birds.
The curious nine cornered shape of this lake has bestowed it with the name naukuchia. Situated at a distance of just 26 km from Nainital, the lake, and the surrounding areas make a safe haven for birds which also include migratory birds arriving at the scene from across the seas.
A less hyped yet equally enchanting locale in Ranikhet. Situated just 60 km from Nainital, this quaint hill town is replete with sprawls of pine and deodar trees which amidst them house some of the most enchanting walking trails found anywhere in the country.
Things to Do
Nainital in recent years has become the most favored destination for adventure sports lovers. With its varied terrain and topography, the place offers tremendous opportunities for wide-ranging adventure sports. An interesting way to move around the place is on horseback. Horses are available from the Mall which take you to prominent tourist destinations such as the snow view point, Tiffin Top, and kilburi. Other adventure sports options in Nainital include camping, angling & fishing, rock climbing, trekking, scrambling, rappelling, etc.
The Mall is the major shopping hub that is lined with a number of small shops and big showrooms which sell every brand from D & G or Versace to the local brands. Woolen garments and handmade wooden items are a must buy.
Nainital being an important tourist destination boasts of quality accommodation that makes the place a haven of comfort and tranquility. We suggest here some of the best hotels and resorts according to our research based on different criteria such as the quality of rooms, food, services, etc. Naini Retreat (situated 35 km from the Kathgodam railway station, the hotel boasts of luxury facilities), Manu Maharani (situated near the Mall), Shervani Hilltop Inn, and Hotel Alka.
By Air: Pantnagar airport, situated around 70 km from Nainital is the nearest airport, though not very well connected to other major Indian cities. Buses and private taxis are easily available from Pantnagar to reach Nainital. It is advisable, however, to travel to Delhi (nearest international airport) by air and take a train or better still, travel by taxi to Nainital from there.
By Rail: Kathgodam is the nearest and most convenient railhead to access Nainital. Situated just 34 km away, the place is connected by direct trains to most of the major Indian cities including Delhi, Calcutta, and Lucknow. From Kathgodam, you can hire a taxi or board a local bus to reach Nainital. A daily train between Delhi and Kathgodam is the Ranikhet Exp which leaves Delhi station at 22:40 and arrives Kathgodam at 5:45.
By Road: Travelling by road is the most interesting option as the enchanting views on offer can best be observed and admired this way. State transport corporation operates regular buses between Nainital and other major neighboring cities. The journey from Delhi to Nainital takes around 8 hours by bus.
Distance from Major Cities
Almora: 32 Km
Agra: 283 Km
Delhi: 206 Km
Ranikhet: 60 Km