Nature’s heart beats strong amid the hills and especially in the majestic Himalayas. The Indian state of Uttarakhand is truly blessed by nature’s bounty, decorated with various picturesque locations to rejuvenate, away from the hubbub of city culture. The scenic hill retreats of Uttarakhand is all what you need for a perfect getaway.
Set in the charming Kumaon Himalayas, Nainital is a hill retreat where the Kumaoni culture mingles with the colonial lifestyle in terms of food and architecture. Located at 6837 ft above sea level, Nainital is popularly known as the ‘Lake District of Uttarakhand’. This serene hill station is surrounded by lush green Kumaon hills, adorned with few ancient temples, beautiful lakes, and breathtaking vistas. The pleasant weather of Nainital makes it an ideal destination for travellers to escape the monotony.
With a motive to explore a new travel destination, me and my family visited Nainital after my final year examinations. Before entering into the corporate life, I really wanted to go somewhere with my beloved ones to relax and chill amidst peaceful surroundings. I booked bus tickets from Paytm and went through few online travel guides of Nainital. We boarded the bus from ISBT Anand Vihar in Delhi and reached Haldwani after an overnight journey. The route between Haldwani to lake city Nainital is full of captivating views, passing through lush green deodar trees.
Since we were travelling during the Monsoon season, it was amazing to see the beauty of clouds kissing the hilltops. At some points the mist was so dense that nothing was visible. After a journey of 2 hours from Haldwani we reached Nainital. It started drizzling the moment we deboarded at Gandhi Chowk. Our stay was located in the southern part of the hill station known as Tallital. Whereas the northern part of this hill retreat is called Mallital. Both the ends are connected through Mall Road and Thandi Sadak.
I was really excited to explore this picturesque hill station of Uttarakhand that too in such a pleasent weather. Although in the same Himalayan state, but still the Kumaoni culture differs from Garhwali in terms of language, dressing style, rituals and much more.
After getting freshen up, we headed towards the Mall Road located at walking distance. Since we visited in the off season, it wasn’t crowded. Numerous chic cafes, restaurants, and small eateries are situated on Mall Road and near Tallital bus stop. Also, there are various shops selling local handicrafts, aromatic candles and much more. Eating delectable food while overlooking at the scenic Naini Lake that feeling cannot be described in words. That’s the glamour of the city of lakes!
I was mesmerized by the serenity of Naini Lake, set in the arms of lush green hills, with clouds wandering above the lake periodically. Situated in the heart of this hill retreat, Naini lake is an eye-shaped natural pool of fresh water surrounded by three hills namely Naina or Cheena Peak, Tiffin Top and Snow View Peaks. The charm of this Himalayan lake is so high that even the Britishers fell in love with and stayed here away from the chaos of plain areas. You can easily see the impact of colonial period over the architecture, food and even education in Nainital.
The Mall Road is divided into two lanes, one for walking and rickshaws, and another for vehicles. Being in the heart of this picturesque hill retreat, the Mall Road is well maintained and I wish it remains the same forever!
There are numerous places to visit around Nainital which can be easily covered in a day. We hired a cab available near Mall Road that took us to some superb attractions with no discomfort. First, we visited the Eco Cave Gardens set in the beautiful surroundings. It is a perfect place to spend some leisure time amidst natural beauty. A musical fountain show is also held at Eco Cave Gardens every evening. But we missed that!
Next we headed towards Lovers Point and Suicide Point, two viewpoints in Nainital which offers scenic vistas of verdant Himalayan valley. As we visited during Monsoon season, the valley was covered with clouds. Though it wasn’t visible much but still the view from Suicide Point was breathtaking. You can enjoy horse riding at these viewpoints. Also, you will find few locals selling corn or other seasonal fruits here.
Also Visit: There are many places for sightseeing near Naini Lake like Tiffin Top, Snow View Point which can be reached via cable car (ropeway), St. Francis Church, Hanuman Temple, and High Altitude Nainital Zoo.
The beauty of Nainital town is adorned with 6 large and small lakes. We visited Sariyatal, a small man-made lake which receives freshwater from Saria Tal Waterfall. We even saw this pristine waterfall when coming towards this lake. Surrounded by thick deodar and pine trees, set in the lap of Kumaon hills, we spent some leisure time amidst nature’s beauty. You can enjoy boating in this lake, click some nice photographs and relish hot maggi at small Maggi Point in Sariyatal.
Next we headed towards the magnificent Khurpatal, a lake secluded from the hustle & bustle of Mall Road amidst utmost tranquility. The main highlight of Khurpatal is that the lake water keeps on changing its color from emerald to blue and vise-versa. With clouds wandering over the lake, it was a sight to behold. Khurpatal is a perfect place for nature and photography lovers. The beauty of this quaint lake cannot be described in the words. Just visit and feel!
Also Visit: Other lakes near Nainital are Bhimtal, Sattal and Naukuchiatal.
The day was coming to an end, and we moved towards our last destination. Located on the highest peak of Nainital i.e. Naina Peak or Cheena Peak, the Himalayan View Point offers the mesmerizing view of some great Himalayan peaks such as Nanda Devi and more. The road towards Himalayan Point passes through towering pine trees.
The magic of clouds continued here also, giving us some splendid views and moments to cherish for lifetime. This place is completely undisturbed and the surreal environment here is just perfect to rejuvenate. Himalayan View Point is also known as Himalaya Darshan.
The Naina peak also offers the panoramic view of Nainital town. From here the Naini Lake looks like an eye or mango-shaped water body. Located on the highest peak of Nainital, this road is called Kilbury Road.
It was our second day in Nainital and we planned to explore few local places today. We went to a sweet shop near our accommodation to have morning tea. There we tasted the popular sweet of Kumaon region i.e. Bal Mithai, made up of roasted khoya & coated with white sugar balls. It was great to see some school children carrying out a cleanliness drive on the streets of Nainital. Such drives are frequently organized by the schools, colleges and locals of this Lake district to spread awareness among the travellers.
We took a rickshaw to reach Tibetan (Bhutia) Market & Bada Bazaar situated in Mallital area via Mall Road. I recommend you to experience the rickshaw ride along Naini Lake. Both the markets offers great options for shopping and to enjoy local food. The famous Naina Devi Temple is also located here. According to Hindu Mythology, the eye of Goddess Sati fell at this spot while Lord Shiva was carrying her mortal remains. Hence, this temple is considered amongst the 64 Shakti Peethas of Goddess Durga. Nainital got its name from this holy temple situated on the banks of Naini Lake.
After seeking blessings we ate some delightful food at a nearby restaurant. We ordered Tibetan momos, noodles, sambar-dosa, parathas and chole bhature. Yes! we were starving from hunger that time. Just next to Bhutia or Tibetan Market, there is a large ground known as the Flats where various sports and cultural events are organized occasionally. You can also see Jama Masjid and a gurudwara situated near the Flats. New Capitol Cinema – Nainital’s only cinema hall lies in the Tibetan Market. The colonial influence can be seen here at Nainital due to the presence of few bakery shops. How can I forget that hot chocolate pastry and freshly baked cookies at one of the pastry shop?
When in Nainital, boating in Naini Lake is a must. Me and my cousins enjoyed paddling in the magnificent Naini Lake surrounded by beautiful Kumaon hills. While boating you can see the panoramic view of entire hill town. You can either choose to paddle your own boat or just relax in Gondola-like boat. It’s pleasure to sail in the boat that too in such an inviting weather. Boating in Naini Lake is one of the best activity to spend some quality time with your beloved ones in utmost solitude.
In evening I went for a small walk on Thandi Sadak near Tallital. This trail runs along Naini Lake and less visited by people thus peaceful. At night we went to Dominos located on Mall Road and later headed towards Jama Masjid (near Mallital) to relish non-vegetarian dishes. As it was Eid and the road towards the mosque was decorated with lights, therefore giving good festive vibes. If you want to eat some tasty butter chicken, kebabs, and biryanis then visit the restaurants situated near Jama Masjid in Nainital.
Nainital is all about clouds, lush greenery and majestic Kumaon Himalayas. The beauty of this vibrant hill retreat can only be experienced by planning a trip with your closed ones. It is a perfect place for adventure enthusiasts, honeymooners and peace seekers.
This charming lake district of Uttarakhand will not disappoint you in terms of quaint views, pleasant weather and serenity. Nainital is truly a heavenly beautiful destination in devbhoomi Uttarakhand.