Nainital is located in the state of Uttarakhand. It is one of the most popular hill stations in all of India. This is because of many reasons like ease of access, serene atmosphere and abundant activities. The city of Nainital is situated around a lake which unsurprisingly earns it the tag of ‘The Lake City’.It is named after Goddess Naina Devi, who is worshipped very highly in the region. Nainital is famous for its pear-shaped lake called Naini Lake. It has very high mountains some of which offer an excellent view of the great Himalayas. The town was completely destroyed in a landslide in 1880, after which it was completely rebuilt by the British during their rule. This is greatly resembled in the architecture of Nainital.
Nainital is a perfect blend of nature, adventure, cultures and traditions which make it a great holiday destination. People, not only from India but also from all over the world, flock to this place to have some leisurely time in the lap of nature.
How to Get There
Nainital is one of the most popular getaways for people leading a busy city life. Being so popular, it has great connectivity by road and railways. The nearest railway station is at Kathgodam which is 35 kilometers from Nainital. The most preferred way to reach Nainital is by a leisurely mountain drive with your family or friends. The city is well connected by roads to places like Delhi, from where it is 310 kilometers. The distance is covered in 6-7 hours as the national highway roads make it a smooth drive.
Best time to Enjoy Nainital
Nainital is a great place to have an amazing time all throughout the year. Be it the summer getaway from the heat or the thrills of a chilly winter, this hill station caters to everyone. However, the months of May to July and November to February are the best time to enjoy what Nainital has to offer. During these times, the hustle and bustle in the town adds to the holiday mood.
What to Do
As you would expect from a hill station, Nainital is rich in many kinds of scenic beauty. This natural beauty, in turn, is its main crowd-pulling attraction. From snow-covered mountains to a lake surrounded by hills, Nainital is a real visual treat. Where there is something in abundance, choosing the best of the best is not easy. However, here is a list of a few places that just cannot be missed.1. Naini Lake – The Naini Lake is by far the biggest highlight of Nainital. Situated in the heart of the city, it is a stagnant water body surrounded by seven mountains. The peaks of these mountains seem as though they touch the sky. The lake is said to have a great mythological history which makes it a great attraction for religious people. It also offers adventure activities like yachting, boating and paddling. As a result, it caters to all kinds of public. A visit here is compulsory for every tourist.2. Naina Devi Temple – This temple is located on the northern shore of the Naini Lake. Naina Devi is what gives Nainital its name. It is said that the eyes (known as naina in Hindi) of Goddess Parvati fell here when Lord Shiva was carrying her corpse. Hence it is no surprise that the idol of Naina Devi is represented by two eyes. This temple was destroyed in 1880 and was reconstructed because of its importance. It is a must-visit for every Hindu devotee.3. Tiffin Top – This spot is located at a height of 7,520 feet above mean sea level. It offers unimaginable views of the countryside as well as the Himalayan range. Tiffin Top can be reached after a short walk from Sherwood College. It is a very popular picnic spot among tourists.4. China Peak – It is the highest point of Nainital situated at a height of 8579 feet. Also known as Naina Peak, it offers a breathtaking view of the entire valley of Nainital and the entire range of mighty Himalayas. It is reached after a little hiking, which can be avoided by travelling on ponies easily available in the area. This place cannot be avoided because of the unparalleled views that it offers.5. Explore more – Nainital is a heavenly place to have a great holiday with family and friends. However, if one has time on their hand, then travelling to more locations near Nainital is bound to enhance the overall experience. Out of a plethora of destinations near Nainital, the ones that can be considered are – Ranikhet, Almora, Kasauni and Bhimtal. Also, a trip to the Jim Corbett National Park is a great idea too for all nature and wildlife lovers.
1. Shopping – Nainital is a great place to shop for woolen clothes as well as beautiful handicraft goods. The main places to shop in this town are The Mall and Bada Bazaar. The specialities of this area include shawls, cardigans and scarves. Wooden handicrafts offer a great option for souvenirs.2. Eating – Nainital has a wide range of cuisines to cater to the large amount of tourists that populate the place. However, like every place in India, Nainital too has its special food items. The local dishes that one should definitely try are – Raas, which is a combination of various lentils, Baal Mithai and Bhatt ki Churkani (mainly made during festivals). Flavoured Jams made naturally are also a must-try in Nainital.3. Festivals – Nainital celebrates all the festivals with great spirits and enthusiasm. The local people religiously worship Maa Nanda Devi. Evidently, the Maa Nanda Devi Mela is celebrated in the month of September. People pray for their prosperity and health during this festival. A visit during this time adds to the overall experience immensely.
With so much to offer, it is no surprise why Nainital is the location of choice for people looking for a nice getaway. The beauty on offer, makes it a prime spot for honeymoon couples also. So, without further ado, plan a trip to this Lake City and experience pure bliss.
Activities in Nainital
There are a number of places that one can pay a visit to while holidaying in Nainital. However, if one has less time, one can surely go for a place which interests him/her the most. Since Nainital offers a number of experiences which ranges from trekking, boating, shopping, picnic, sightseeing, Rope-way, spiritual one and others through a number of places which have these things to offer to the inquisitive and zealous traveler.
Boating: The majestic Naini Lake is the centerpiece of Nainital and boating is one the most popular activity among tourists and honeymoon couples. Yachting is another form of boating that is gaining popularity in Nainital.
Shopping: Tourists can find few local markets in Nainital like Bara Bazar, Tibetan market and Mall Road market from where one can shop for apparels, handicrafts, artifacts and souvenirs. The markets in Nainital are known for scented candles, key chains, books and artificial jewelry.
Picnic Spots and Ropeway: Nainital has an aerial ropeway that connects the town with Snow View Point which offers breathtaking view of the lake as well as the surrounding places like China Peak, Tiffin Top and Snow View point.
Trekking / Hiking: There are several hiking trails in and around Nainital where adventure lovers can hike and explore the nature. Nainital-Betalghat Trek, Nainital-Binayak Trek, Nainital-Kainchi Trek, Nainital-Kilbury Trek and Snow View Trek are popular hiking trails in Nainital.
Staying in Nainital
Nainital is the crown jewel of tourism in Uttarakhand and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Finding an accommodation is not an issue at Nainital, as there are multitudes of star-studded hotels and resorts as well as budget guesthouses peppered all over the Nainital. The luxurious hotels offer many perks to its guests while budget guesthouses have basic facilities and limited amenities.
Nainital have plenty of staying options right from the luxury 5 start hotels, to budget low cost lodges, home stays and bungalows. Nainital have accommodation for every class of tourists for every budget. You can also select your hotel based on its location from main markets, to secluded places or lake side hotels.
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Nainital Food Guide
Due to its popularity all over the country, many restaurants and eateries have mushroomed all over the lake town of Nainital. Tourists can try various international cuisines including Italian, Thai, Continental and Chinese along with the scrumptious Indian cuisine. Many luxury hotels and resorts have their own in-house restaurants and bar for their guests.The Mall Road of Nainital is full of eating joints and fine dining restaurants with the beautiful view of Naini Lake.
History of Nainital
After the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-16, the Kumaon hills came under the British rule and the hill station Nainital was founded in 1841 when the first European house was constructed by P. Baron, a sugar trader from Shahjahanpur. The oldest buildings of Nainital includes the St. John's church snuggled in the wilderness of Nainital, followed by Belvedere, Alma, Asdale Cottage built in 1860.
Soon the lesser known town of Nainital became the hotspot of the British soldiers and colonial officials who came with their families to escape the scorching heat of the plain areas. Around 1880, Nainital came to be known as the exclusive British summer getaway in India. In the 19th century, some of the prestigious English schools were established in Nainital that only enrolled British children.
Mythology of Nainital
Nainital finds mention in various ancient myths and legends. The Naini temple at the banks of Naini Lake holds a lot of significance especially among the Hindus as it is believed to be one of the 64 Shakti Peeths in India.
According to the Hindu mythology, the Naini Lake one of the popular tourist attractions of Nainital is the place where the eyes or 'nain' of Sati fell, when Lord Shiva was carrying her charred body to Kailash. Therefore, the place came to be known as 'Nain-tal' or the lake of the eye. In the memory of this event, a Naina Devi Temple was built where Goddess Shakti is worshipped by the devotees. The temple is idyllically situated on the north shore of the aesthetic Naini Lake.