Nainital is a town in the indian state of Uttarakhand and headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. Set amidst the towering peaks of the Kumaon Hills, the lake resort of Nainital has a lot to offer. From boating to feeding animals at the zoo; from picnicking on the hills to exploring Jim Corbett’s home, Nainital has all that you could hope for in a hill station.
Nainital is set in two parts, Tallital and Mallital, with the lake separating them. Tallital is the southern side of the lake, while Mallital consists of the northern upper reaches. The town was destroyed during the Landslip of 1880, and later rebuilt by the British. It is renowned for its lake, bird’s-eye views, and prestigous educational institutions.
The weather in Nainital is quite pleasant. Summers are mildly warm and temperatures may reach 22 C. During winters, temperatures are generally sub-zero. The town receives snowfall during December and January.
It is believed that Nainital figures in some ancient myths of India. In the Manas Khand of the Skand Puranas, Nainital Lake is called Tri-Rishi-Sarovar, hinting at the story of three sages (or rishis), Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha, who, upon finding no water in Nainital, dug a large hole at the location of the present day lake (sarovar = lake) and filled it with water from the holy lake Manasarovar in Tibet. According to lore, a dip in Naini Lake, “the lesser Manasarovar,” earns merit equal to a dip in the great lake.
The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, 35 km away.
There are daily bus services from Delhi. The buses leave from ISBT Anand Vihar and are run by Uttarakhand Roadways.
Driving to Nainital takes 7 to 8 hours. From Delhi, it’s highway driving throughout. NH 24 connects Delhi to Rampur via Hapur. At Rampur, turn and head north on NH 87 all the way upto Nainital. En-route halts include the Wonderland, Rwy crossing, Moradabad and The Cottage, Jeliokot.
Contrary to popular belief, flying into Nainital is the fastest way to reach the hill station. Nainital is served by PantNagar Airport, located about 2 hours away. It is served only by Jagson airlines. It is one of the least busy airports in the country, handling only 6 scheduled flights a week.
There are a few cycle rickshaws in town. Rates are fixed.However, there is no better way to explore Nainital than on foot. The mall has smooth pavements, making it extremely pedestrian-friendly. During the summer season, all traffic is denied entry on the mall from 6 to 9 pm, making the road a pedestrian’s dream. The town is not very large and there are some very interesting shops and emporiams on the mall, making the walk a pleasure.
- Snow View, Sher-Ka-Danda Ridge. 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. Round trip:Rs 50. One-way: Rs 30.
- Nanda Devi Temple, Naini Lake. The temple was destroyed during the Landslip of 1880, and was later rebuilt. It is located on the lake’s northern shore.
- St. John in the Wilderness, Mallital. This charming church was named and founded by the Bishop of Calcutta.
- Tiffin Top, Aryapatta Hill. Altitude: 2292 m. To get here you can drive up to Sherwood College and then continue on a short scenic walk.
- Gurney House, Aryapatta Hill. This was the former home of Jim Corbett. It has been converted into a museum and houses Corbett memorabilia.
- Guano Hills, Pangot. These hills in the Pangot village are excellent for walks through forests of thick oak, bamboo and deodar. Some rare birds such as the grey woodpecker and black-chinned babbler are found in the forests.
- 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.
- Shopping – There are two main shopping areas, The Mall and Barra Bazaar. Traditional buys have included shawls, scarves, cardigans and local jams.
- Feed the animals at the Nainital Zoo, where you will find some high-altitude species that are native to the region. The zoo has an interesting sponsorship programme where you can sponsor the maintenance and food of the animal of your choice.
- Explore the caves: 2 Kms further up from Mallital (northern end of the lake) is a cave complex. This consists of a series of caves which get narrower as you progress. People who are claustrophobic should not explore the later ones and there is a facility to get out after every cave.
- 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 (in sep, oct and nov only). On the top of the mountain u can find a small tea shop serving bread omelet, some biscuits, tea and coffee for a reasonable price. Not many people go there and so its a good option to escape from this busy, greedy world
- 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. But its not so tough to hike there. On the top of this hill, one can find all kinds of shops.
- Mountain Rovers. If you have a time and want to do some adventure activity.Mountain Rovers can arrange for you camping,Treeking,Rock climbing and lots more.