Among the seven lakes that adorn Sattal town in Uttarakhand, one among them is the beautiful Nainital. Also known as the Lake district of India, it has got the perfect charm to mesmerize you. Choosing a period to visit Nainital was barely a task, as it has a favorable climate all year round. The major source of economy and livelihood here depends on the tourism industry, and so no guest who comes here goes back without a memory worth cherishing. Here are 10 places from this beautiful Lake-town that blew off my mind completely
Remember those landscapes we used to draw as kids? Painting every beautiful aspect that we could imagine of, tall flowering trees, chirpy birds, snow-capped mountains from which streams flow effortlessly and lush green lands. This is exactly the image Jeolikot presented to me. My childhood dreams.
Popularly known as “Gateway to Naini Lake” among the tourists, this place has the most pleasant climate of all! At a height of 1219m, I felt like I was taking the stairway to heaven while I was walking down the slope to the Lake. There’s a small stone path between the flower carpets, through which you can balance your way down. The nature walk was the first on my list while exploring Nainital.
Nainital gets its name from the eye-shaped Lake of Naini. There are two ends to the lake divided as Mallital and Tallital. I had visited the lake many times, solely for the peaceful view that I could get during the sunrise and sunset. At one end there’s always a row of boats docked up, eagerly waiting for tourists to board them. Boating and paddling are the main activities conducted around here. I took the paddling option and went across the lake with an assist. Waters here are so clean and clear, I had completely lost myself looking at the reflections from it! The effort that goes behind maintaining these water bodies while not interfering with the aquatic lives, fascinates me up to date.
Walking further north from Mallital, I could spot the highest peak of Nainital – Naini peak. Often fondly called as China Peak, it stands at an elevation of 2615m above sea level! This is one of the common trekking spots here. On the way up I got the spectacular view of the entire town. At dusk, it got even prettier as I got to see the entire town light up as the sun went down! The mobile network remotely goes down at this point, and this was the first time in so long that I felt more connected to nature! Sometimes all it takes is a hit of fresh breeze and a barefoot walk on the dewy grass to understand just how distant we have remained from everything.
The oldest snow viewpoint, you get the raw image of the snow sprinkled Himalayan range from here. There are several adventurous options here such as cable car and aerial ropeway. While entering this place I was suggested to put on some gumboots and a particular to have a protective layer from the snow.
I could see several people trek up to the point from where they could witness the hills of Nanda Koy and Nanda Devi. I instead chose the cable car option since I’d never been in one ever before. True to its commitment to the complete experience, I did not feel like looking away from the view for even a second!
There are trolley carriers until the viewpoint as well, and they charge a mere amount of 100 rs for an adult passenger. The snow-capped peaks looked way too different and exciting from that up close and it’s a must-go place according to me!
This is one of the oldest churches in Nainital and a fine example of Neo-gothic architecture. There’s an informative mosaic-like board placed at the church which read about the dedication to St. John the Baptist and the period around which the church was built. Almost hidden from plain sight in between majestic deodar trees, I found the Church to be an unavoidable and important part of the history of Nainital. The Church also holds close to its heart a brass memorial for the victims of the 1880 landslide. Being one of the oldest, the legends behind this place are numerous. It’s interesting to find this place amidst the wilderness, sit in the serenity of it, hear the stories, and walk past the famous stained glass windows
Almost built with the same gothic feel as that of St. John church, is yet another architectural spectacle – the Governor’s House or Raj Bhavan. At the time it was built, it served as the summer residence of the governor. To me, it resembled the Buckingham palace with all the strategical structuralization of it. Entering the place gave me a very unlikely royal feeling. With its two-storied and more than 100 rooms, it was more or less a maze I’d happily get lost in!
As I walked around for longer hours, there were people imparting bits and pieces of Indian culture and history revolving around the house. The golf course here is one of the oldest and has the 90’s vintage aspect to it. Earlier it was reserved for exclusive members, but was later on opened for the public and fell under the Indian Golf Union.
A stroll over here can go on for hours and hours! The number of shops, eateries, and emporiums here are endless. The path up to Mall road itself is a pretty sight as it is a stone laid stairway, with small scale shopkeepers on each side of it. Finding an ATM was a bit of a concern around Nainital, but here at mall road, all these essential services could be availed. There are few places where I could spot artists working in a sort of live performance for the people. I watched one among them engrave a souvenir with my initials skilfully before presenting it to me. At other stalls, women sat down and knit woolen caps and mufflers as protection against the cold. Even though I wasn’t hungry, the aroma that came from the several confectionaries and eateries were welcoming. I senses dragged me to try their delicious cuisine and love it!
Located 1 km away from the mall road are these interconnected networks of caves. Seven interesting looking caves designed in a way that could inhabit different animals. I was told that this was how they were named as well, based on nature there were tiger cave, bat cave, flying fox cave, and so on.
The tickets to entering these caves are at a feasible rate of 20 rs. I had visited the place around 5 pm. During this point of time, the cave remains lit up with petroleum lights that guided me through the cave. The majority of the crowd were families who had brought their kids to show them the hanging gardens and the caves. The musical fountain was what got me interested though! It is not one of the common sights you get to see around such a wilderness setting. It was something that stood aside, but the fact that it’s not functional every day is what pulls it back a bit.
This is one of the common and famous trekking spots around Nainital. The pine and deodar trees here tower up in the form of a protection arch. I’m fond of hiking and trekking, and this spot was an absolute favorite for me! The trails with the majestic Himalayas as the backdrop gave me just the right hit of adrenaline. At frequent points, we stopped by to sight the high altitude birds such as the Eagle and Kestrel. Being a high pass, the temperature might drop low and it might get a bit too windy than expected. The climb to the top gives a view that’d be worth it all though!
Keeping the best for the last, this is among one of the feelings of pride in our country. The founding stone for Project Tiger, the space that is dedicated to protecting our wildlife, endangered species, and the royal national animal. As it is located on the lowlands, I could see several freshwater streams flowing through the marshy and green lands. The vegetation growing around it was an even more refreshing sight. With beyond 500 species of flora and fauna, this is the colorful paradise of Nainital. It is also among the very few national parks that arrange a stay for you at the park. They had shown me several packages by the time I had arrived and took me through the tiger tracing hours at the park. Divided into five eco-tourism zones, I chose the Jhirna zone for my Jeep Safari, for the reason that it’s open on all days. That one safari was enough for me to know that all the fables regarding the tiger richness live up to its name! Don’t forget to explore it more
In its entirety, the Lake-town leaves you behind with memories to reflect upon those of serene lakes and snow-covered mountain ranges. If you are not convinced, do check out this article