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what are places to visit in Nainital

  Best places to visit in Nainital

The beautiful hill town of Nainital is located in Uttarakhand's Kumaon area and is renowned for its scenic beauty, serene lakes, and verdant surroundings. If you're planning a visit to Nainital, here are the top 10 places to explore and experience the charm of this enchanting destination.

1. Naini Lake: Serene Waterbody

Naini Lake

One of the main draws of the hill station is the Naini Lake, a sizable crescent-shaped expanse of emerald-blue water. It is a beautiful location surrounded by seven hills reflected in its azure waters, giving it a greenish tint. This freshwater lake is situated at the foot of the Great Himalayas and is surrounded by lush forests with tall oak trees. The northern and southern portions of Naini Lake are known as Mallital and Tallital, respectively. People come here to enjoy picnics or sit back and let the serene natural surroundings relieve their stress. The lake is a popular place for boating, and on most days, you can see colorful pedal boats, row boats, and yachts sprinkled over its surface. These are the perfect ways to experience the lake's natural beauty. 

Visitors can choose one of the many hotels and homestays that line the lake for an authentic experience. Watch the mist-covered lake echo with the calls of various birds that use it as a haven as you awake to a magnificent sunrise. The annual boat riding event is the ideal opportunity to explore the lake. The Naini Temple, situated on its banks, is another draw.

The focal point of Nainital, Naini Lake, offers a tranquil and gorgeous backdrop. Take a boat ride on the lake, surrounded by hills and lush forests, and enjoy the breathtaking views. You can also explore the Mall Road, which runs along the lake, offering a range of shops, restaurants, and hotels.

2. Naina Devi Temple: Sacred Shrine

Naina Devi Temple, situated on the northern shore of Naini Lake, is a revered Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Naina Devi. Seek blessings at the temple, known for its ancient architecture and spiritual significance. The temple provides a panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding landscape.

Lying on the northern part of Naini Lake, the Naina Devi Temple, dedicated to the local deity Naina Devi, is a popular spiritual stopover. The temple is one of the shaktipeethas (devotional shrines where severed body parts of Goddess Sati fell) and draws devotees from all over the region. The sanctum sanctorum houses three deities-- Goddess Kali on the left, Lord Ganesha on the right, and two eyes representing Naina Devi in the center. Legend has it that Goddess Sati's father once held a yajna (a holy fire ritual) and failed to invite his son-in-law, Lord Shiva. Angry at her father, Sati immolated herself in the yajna. After this, Lord Shiva carried her body and performed his dance of cosmic destruction, tandava. Lord Vishnu severed Sati's body with his chakra, fearing that this would destroy the world. It is believed that her eyes fell on where the temple now stands.

3. Tiffin Top: Panoramic Views

Tiffin Top

Lying on the outskirts of Nainital, at an approximate height of 2,292 m, Dorothy Seat offers an effortlessly breathtaking view of the entire area and the surrounding hills. It is also known as Tiffin Top, a popular picnic and photography spot. A beautiful location surrounded by oak, deodar, and cher trees; one can see the majestic Naina Devi peak from here. It is said that Tiffin Top got its name as locals used to trek to the top of the hill during the day to have lunch. Another local attraction is a memorial dedicated to an English artist, Dorothy Kellet, after whom the place has been named. Legend has it that Dorothy Kellet, the wife of an army officer, Col. JP Kellet, drowned while traveling and was buried in the Red Sea in 1936.

Tiffin Top, also known as Dorothy's Seat, is a popular viewpoint in Nainital. Trek to this vantage point and witness panoramic views of the Himalayas, Nainital town, and the surrounding valleys. The place is named after Dorothy Kellet, an English artist who used to come here for her morning tea.

4. Nainital Zoo: Wildlife Encounters

Nainital Zoo, or Sher-ka-Danda, is among the most attractive tourist spots in the region. A high-altitude zoo ( 2,100 m), it is home to many endangered species, besides several mammals like the Himalayan bear, Tibetan wolf, leopard, Royal Bengal tiger, sambar, barking deer, goral, etc. It is also rich in avifauna and houses the rose-ringed parakeet, blossom-headed parakeet, Lady Amherst pheasant, Steppe eagle, hill partridge, silver pheasant, etc. Sprawled over a lush green area of about 4,693 hectares, the zoo was established in 1984 and was opened for visitors on June 1, 1995. It has been named after Bharat Ratna recipient Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant and thus is officially called Pt Govind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo. The zoo remains closed every Thursday.

Nainital Zoo, also known as the Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo is home to various endangered Himalayan species. Explore the zoo and spot animals like snow leopards, Himalayan black bears, Tibetan wolves, and colorful birds. The zoo is renowned for its educational initiatives and conservation activities.

5. Snow View Point: Majestic Himalayas

Snow View Point

The cute little hill town of Pangot is about 13 km from Nainital.  Nestled in the Kumaon region amidst the dense forest of the Naina Peak range, it makes for an ideal off-beat travel stopover. Pangot provides shelter to a wide variety of birds, like the slaty-black forktail, lammergeyer, Himalayan griffon, and Khaleej pheasant. You can head to Snow View Point and Kilbury, which are ideal vantage points for spotting birds. The lush jungles of Pangot also shelter species like leopards, chorals, barking deer, and sambar. Those interested in adventure sports can visit the trek route from Pangot to Naina Peak. A challenging feat, it makes for an exhilarating trail. Pangot makes for a beautiful travel stop between the months of November and February when it is covered with a sheet of snow.

Snow View Point offers majestic views of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. Reach the viewpoint by cable car or trek uphill and be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Nanda Kot peaks. Capture the beauty of the Himalayan range and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.

6. Eco Cave Gardens: Adventurous Exploration

Eco Cave Gardens is a natural park comprising interconnected caves and hanging gardens. Embark on an adventurous journey through the rocky caves, designed to resemble the habitats of various animals. It's an exciting experience for children and adults, providing insights into the region's biodiversity.

7. Mall Road: Shopping and Dining

Mall Road is the heart of Nainital and offers a lively atmosphere with many shops, restaurants, and cafes. Indulge in shopping for local handicrafts, woolens, and souvenirs. Enjoy the colorful street life of Nainital while spoiling your taste buds with delectable regional food.

8. Pangot and Kilbury Bird Sanctuary: Birdwatcher's Paradise

Pangot, Nainital

About 13 km from Nainital lies the quaint little hill town of Pangot. Nestled in the Kumaon region amidst the dense forest of the Naina Peak range, it makes for an ideal off-beat travel stopover. Pangot provides shelter to birds like the slaty-black forktail, lammergeyer, Himalayan griffon, and Khaleej pheasant. You can head to Snow View Point and Kilbury, ideal vantage points for spotting birds. The lush jungles of Pangot also shelter species like leopards, chorals, barking deer, and sambar. Those interested in adventure sports can visit the trek route from Pangot to Naina Peak. A challenging feat, it makes for an exhilarating trail. Pangot makes for a beautiful travel stop between November and February when it is covered with snow.

9. Hanuman Garhi: Scenic Sunset Views

Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the Hanuman Garhi temple is situated south of Tallital at 6,410 ft above sea level. It is believed to have been built by a famous local saint, Neem Karoli Baba, in 1950. A mammoth statue of the lord stands near the temple, while the sanctum sanctorum houses another idol, where the lord is seen tearing his chest to reveal the images of Lord Rama and Goddess Sita in his heart. The statue, about 22 ft high, stands against a backdrop of the panoramic Himalayas. Since the temple is a decent height, it is a great vantage point to catch picturesque sunrises and sunsets. Watch in awe as the sun's flaming orb descends toward the horizon, leaving an explosion of crimson hues in its wake.  The surrounding temples of Shitala Devi and Lila Sah Bapu make for a great pit stop.

A temple honoring Lord Hanuman called Hanuman Garhi is well-known for its beautiful sunset vistas. Climb the stairs to the temple and witness the golden hues of the setting sun painting the sky and the Nainital town below. The temple also holds religious significance for the locals.

10.
Sattal: Lake District Gem
Sattal, Lake District Gem

Sattal, a collection of seven interconnected lakes, is situated around 22 kilometers from Nainital at a height of roughly 1,370 meters above sea level.  The group of lakes, namely, Purna Tal, Ram Tal, Sita Tal, Laxman Tal, Nal Damyanti Tal, Sukh Tal, and Garud Tal, are nestled amidst dense forests of oak and pine trees. The Ram, Sita, and Laxman Tal collectively make up the Sattal main lake, whereas the Garud Tal is a lone lake. The surrounding area is home to more than 500 species of resident birds, 20 species of mammals, over 525 species of butterflies, and more than 11,000 species of moths. A freshwater spring named Subhash Dhara comes from the dense forests of Sattal. The area also offers boating facilities and water sports opportunities like rowing, kayaking, and paddling. There is an intriguing myth around Sattal. King Nala and his wife Damayanti, according to the epic Mahabharata, perished in one of the seven lakes after being banished by the king's brother. Thus, that lake was named as Nal Damyanti Tal.

FAQs about Nainital


Q1: How to reach Nainital?

A1: Nainital is well-connected by road and can be reached via a scenic drive from major cities like Delhi and Dehradun. The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, around 34 kilometers from Nainital. Pantnagar Airport is the nearest airport, situated approximately 70 kilometers away, with regular flights from Delhi.

 

Q2: What is the best time to visit Nainital?

A2: The best months to visit Nainital are March through June and September through November since the weather is pleasant and great for outdoor activities throughout these months. Avoid the monsoon season (July to August), as heavy rainfall can disrupt travel plans. Winter months (December to February) offer a chance to witness snowfall and enjoy the chilly weather.

 

Q3: Are there accommodation options available in Nainital?

A3: Nainital offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. From luxury resorts and hotels to budget guesthouses and homestays, there are plenty of choices available. It is advisable to book in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to ensure availability.

 

Q4: Is boating available on Naini Lake?

A4: Yes, boating is a popular activity on Naini Lake. You can rent paddleboats, rowboats, and yachts to explore the lake and enjoy the scenic surroundings. Boating timings are usually from morning till evening, and the charges vary depending on the type of boat and duration.


Q5: Are there adventure activities available in Nainital?

A5: Yes, Nainital offers a range of adventure activities such as paragliding, trekking, horse riding, and rappelling. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in these thrilling experiences and enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Many adventure tour operators and guides are available in Nainital to assist and ensure safety.

 

Conclusion

Nainital, with its beautiful lakes, breathtaking viewpoints, and serene surroundings, offers a perfect retreat for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and those seeking tranquility. Explore the scenic beauty, indulge in thrilling experiences, and immerse yourself in the charm of this hill station. Visit Nainital and create unforgettable memories amidst the lap of nature.