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Tourist Places To Visit In Nainital
Set amidst the alluring Kumaon Hills, Nainital (eye shaped lake) is one of the seven Tals or lakes which adorn this mountain region. The other lakes are Bhimtal, Khurpatal, Sattal, Sukhatal, Sariyatal and Naukuchia Tal. A charming lake surrounded by mountains, Nainital provides a lucrative getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Nainital, also popularly referred to as the Lake District of India offers you breathtaking views and enticing surroundings and becomes an ideal destination for honeymooners and nature lovers. Here are the best tourist places to visit in Nainital.
Naina Devi Temple
Nainital is named after Naina Devi. It is considered to be one of the 64 shaktipeeths where the eyes (Naina) of Goddess Sati are believed to have fallen when Lord Shiva carried her body. The Naina Devi temple is thus considered scared by Hindu devotees. The temple was reconstructed after the landslide of 1880 which had devastated it.
The peaks of seven mountains towering over the serene waters of the eye-shaped Lake Naini create an enchanting ambience and form the chief attraction for tourists visiting the Lake District. Located at the heart of the city, the city offers ample opportunities for boating and paddling. Taking a leisurely stroll along the lake, watching the sun setting over the mountains can become an unforgettable experience. The northern end of the lake is called Mallital and the southern end is known as Tallital.
Located north of Mallital is the highest peak of Nainital known as Naini Peak. It is located at an impressive altitude of 2615m above sea level. It is also referred to as China Peak. The peak offers a sweeping and majestic view of the enchanting surroundings, Lake Naina and of the whole district of Nainital. A 6km trek to the peak is worth the climb.
Tiffin Top (Dorothy’s Seat)
A 4km hike from the city centre will take you to this terraced hill top on Ayarpatta hill, one of the highest peaks of Nainital. Tiffin Top also offers a splendid view of the surrounding landscape. There is a picnic perch on Tiffin Top made of stone known as Dorothy’s Seat. This was built by British Army Officer Col J.P. Kellett DSO MC in memory of his wife Dorothy who died from septicaemia on board a ship and was buried at sea.
Set at an altitude of 2120m above sea level, Land’s End offers a staggering view of the neighbouring areas and of the fascinating Khurpatal Lake.
Govind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo is built at an elevation of 2100m above sea level. It is only the second of its kind, the other being at Darjeeling. It is home to a wide range of animals that thrive only at a high altitude including Siberian Tiger, Serao, Goat Antelope and Snow Leopard. The animals here are kept according to their habitat altitude. For instance the Snow Leopard is kept at the highest altitude since it is only at this level that it can thrive. The zoo remains closed on Mondays and an entry of Rs. 30 is charged.
Built in 1899 in Victorian Gothic style, the Governor’s House or Raj Bhavan previously served as the summer residence of the governor of the North West Province. Then it became the summer residence of the Lieutenant Governor of the United Provinces. Prior permission has to be obtained for visiting the building.
The Mall Road
The Mall road connects the two ends of Nainital, namely Mallital and Tallital. Now renamed Govind Ballabh Pant Marg, the Mall road is the busiest area of Nainital overflowing with shops, hotels, restaurants and street shops.
Nainital Cable Car And Ropeway
The ropeway connects Mallital with Snow View point which is situated at a breathtaking height of 2275m above sea level. There are two trolley carriers which carry passengers to the viewing point.
The trolley remains open from 10am to 5pm every day. An adult entry fee costs Rs. 100 and a child ticket costs Rs. 60.
Located on Ayarpatta Hill, Gurney House is the former residence of Jim Corbett. Before leaving for Kenya, Jim Corbett sold the house to a zamindar. Though a private residence, it is open to public for viewing Corbett memorabilia.
As the name suggests, Sattal means seven lakes. It is located in the lower range of Himalayas and has risen in popularity recently. The freshwater lakes drain as one, right from the orchards of a village named Mehragaon to here in Nainital. With a hem of pine and oak trees that rim the lake, to birds of local as well as migratory varieties flocking here, Sattal is beautiful in a very soulful natural way. Dawn and dusk are good times to visit.
Named after the beautiful lotuses that bloom here, Kamal Tal or the lake of lotus is a photographer’s paradise. The surroundings are quiet and pretty, inviting you to spread a blanket and lounge back. The sweet smell of weeds and lotuses penetrates your nostrils, taking you back in time. The lake is quite small, just about 200 m and becomes populated to the brim with pink and white lotuses in the season. Yachting, paddling, rowing etc are permitted in the lake.
Bhimtal Lake is one of the most famous lakes of Nainital. Why is it so famous? Because of the masonry dam on this lake that is as old as 1883. The area is used for catchment and is unusually large compared to others nearby. Bhimtal is 22 km from Nainital city centre and can be called the biggest in the Kumaon region. As for other utilities, Bhimtal provides potable drinking water for the local population and also nurtures a variety of fish.
Snow View Point
Nainital’s Snow Point View is a lovely spot to see the Himalayan peaks rise and fall. Like a postcard, the peaks are frosted in white snow and descend into brown or green plains. There is a temple at the top that the locals go to. You can too. The cable rope car is another thrill you can indulge in. A car will also take you to the point but a cable car is more fun. Trivia goes that this Naina Devi mountain was the tallest in all of British Empire before Sikkim became a part of the empire.
Kilbury Bird Sanctuary
Bird watchers, here’s your treat: Kilbury Bird Sanctuary.
When in Nainital, do visit Kilbury to enjoy the cacophony of birds in the quiet woodlands of Nainital forest reserve. Located 12 km from the town, Kilbury Bird Sanctuary has 580 bird species living in harmony. Many more migrate from time to time. If you are into exotic species then you will be glad to note that Kilbury is home to forktails, Brown wood owls and white throated laughing thrushes among others.
ARIES — Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences is a great place to enjoy the cosmos on your holiday to Nainital. Due to the elevation of the town, it is a given that some kind of observatory must stand here. This Astronomical Observatory is one of the foremost research centres of the country in areas of Atmospheric Science, Astrophysics and Astronomy. It is perched atop the Manora Peak and should not be missed, especially if you have children in your group. From some of the best telescopes to charts and dynamic graphics of the solar sky, there is much to see here.
A sacred site in Nainital, Kainchi Dham dates back to the year 1963, when Neem Karoli Baba built it. Perched in the middle of lush green environs and beautiful hills, it is also an ashram where devotees of Hanumanji perform chants and meditate. The river gurgling beside imparts a nice background noise to restore peace, as the life and stories of Lord Hanuman mesmerise you. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple visited Kainchi Dham back in the 70s. Later Mark Zuckerberg followed his footsteps too.
St John's Church
St John's Church records high footfalls, local and as well as tourists. The church is also called St John’s the Wilderness as it is surrounded by forests. The church is almost 200 years old. The architecture of this church is a major throwback, and the prayers and mass conducted inside add to the charm. There is also a cemetery inside which was built to honour the people who died in a landslide here.
Pangot, a little colony is best known for lush panoramic views of jungles and mountains. You need to hike through Cheena Park Range forest and Kilbury to reach here. And hence the birds of Kilbury also bleed into the sky of Pangot, making it another good place to bird-watch. Adventure enthusiasts enjoy trekking, mountain biking and rock climbing here. Pangot is 15 km away from Nainital.
Also called Tibet Market, Bhotia Market is popular for shopping local. You get street side vendors selling everything from jewellery to clothing to artefacts to wood-ware. Bargaining is an art form here and you need to ace it in order to haggle the best price. The metropolitan fashion of trendy bags, scarves, shoes and accessories is also reflected in here. Add to that locally made shawls, jackets, sweaters and hats (very chic), and you winter shopping is done.
Then when you have spent enough of your money and are hungry, a long line of Indian, Continental and Tibetan cafes serve you delicious food!