Nainital – The Lake District of Uttarakhand

 

Also known as the ‘Lake District of Uttarakhand’, Nainital is situated just a little over 300 kms. from Delhi. It is a very famous tourist destination in Uttarakhand, perhaps one of the most famous ones – even famous than the great Mussoorie!
I do not like Nainital. I mean ofcourse it is beautiful and all, but then again that hustle-bustle just kills all the charm of this place. I wanted to visit Nainital since quite some-time. You see, perhaps, I had this strange, different kind of a thought in my mind regarding Nainital. I had heard from many a souls that one should avoid Nainital as and when it’s possible, but I never quite agreed to the same. I visited Nainital eventually, and was well, disappointed!
Except the Naini lake, there is nothing really worthwhile in the place. It is an over-hyped, over-crowded mess of concrete, people, and everything else in between. It is beautiful, but only during the early mornings and late evenings as the light is beautiful for photographing the lake. Also, during the winters, the whole place is covered with snow, which ofcourse makes it one of the most attractive, accessible hill-stations this side of Manali/ Rohtang! 😀
Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (8,579 ft)on the north, Deopatha (7,999 ft) on the west, and Ayarpatha  (7,474 ft) on the south. From the tops of the higher peaks, magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bounded by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas.
However, I feel one should visit Nainital just to feel that hustle bustle of a regular hill-station. In every corner of the street you would find someone or the other trying to sell you something, or perhaps trying to lure you into their hotels mentioning something or the other as their ‘speciality’. Hence, my sinciere advice to anyone visiting the place would be to have a solid plan in your mind before you venture out in the open, that is, before you visit Nainital.
However, it’s not all bad really. If you just want to enjoy the views, if you do enjoy the sights and sounds that a commercialized hill-station like Nainital brings with it, then it would be your heaven! You can find some tasty street food in the market, boat your heart out on the Naini Lake, and take a cab ride (for Rs.700/- INR odd) for a ‘sight-seeing’ tour, which includes many a places in Nainital, and takes about a couple of hours. This, according to me is the best way to traverse the places of Nainital, if:
1. One, you do not know the places of interest here.
2. You do not have your own vehicle.
Ofcourse, spending Rs.700/- odd is not easy, considering the fact that not very many places are covered during this sight-seeing trip, but then again, you did come here in the first place, because, perhaps, you liked everything related to it, ain’t it?
The following are the places of interest that one can visit in and around Nainital:
The Jim Corbett National Park in the Nainital district is India’s oldest national park. The park, which is 63 km from Nainital, contains a wide variety of wild life including elephant, tiger, chital, Sambar Deer, nilgai, gharial, King Cobra, muntjac, wild boar, hedgehog, common musk shrew (White-toothed shrew), flying fox (pteropus, megabat), Indian Pangolin, and nearly 600 species of birds.Cable car from Mallital (North End) to Snow View in Nainital, which is pretty enjoyable.Mukteshwar (7,500 ft) is a picturesque town 52 from Nainital, is home to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute. It also offers an unhindered view of the high mountains of the western Himalaya, including Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Nanda Kot.Bhimtal Lake is named after the second Pandava brother Bhima in the Mahābhārata who was known for his prodigious strength. The lake, which is larger than Naini Lake, is approximately 22 km from Nainital at an altitude of (4,495 ft). There is an island in the lake with a popular restaurant on it. There is also a 17th century temple complex, the Bhimeshwar, alongside a 40 feet high dam at one end of the lake.Sattal, literally Seven Lakes, is at a distance of about 23 km from Nainital in the Lower Himalayan Range at an altitude of (4,495 ft). It is a cluster of small interconnected lakes in the midst of an old oak forest. On approaching Sattal, the first lake encountered is the Nal-Damyanti Lake; next it is the Panna or Garude lake; and finally there is a cluster of three lakes: Ram, Laxman, and Sita lakes.Khurpa Tal, literally Trowel Lake, is an attractive lake about 10 km by road (or a 5 km hike) from Nainital at an altitude of (5,364 ft). It is popular with anglers and is surrounded by terraced fields (or farms), from which it presumably gets its name.Naukuchia Tal, literally, Nine-Cornered Lake, is 26 km from Nainital and 4 km from Bhimtal at an altitude of about 4,000 feet. The lake is almost 1 km long, 0.5 km wide and approximately 40 m deep. It is the deepest of the lakes in the greater Naintal area. According to legend, if one takes in all nine corners in one glimpse, one can disappear in a cloud of smoke.Hanumangarhi, also known as Hanuman Garh, is located at an altitude 6,401 ft. The temple complex is about 3.5 km from the Tallital (South End) bus stop. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Hanuman, the vanara god of the Ramayana, and he is depicted tearing open his chest to reveal Rama and Sita in his heart. Hanuman Garhi is also known for its spectacular views of the setting sun.Hanuman Mandir, near NakuchiatalRanikhet is a hill station and cantonment town in Almora district.Bageshwar is a city and a municipal board in Bageshwar district.Almora is a cantonment town in Almora district.Kausani is a place situated in the Bageshwar district.Pithoragarh is a city and a municipal board in Pithoragarh district
Jim Corbett National Park – One of the most famous National Parks of the country, the Jim Corbett is located  in the Nainital district. It  is India’s oldest national park. The park, which is 63 km from Nainital, contains a wide variety of wild life including elephant, tiger, chital, Sambar Deer, nilgai, gharial, King Cobra, muntjac, wild boar, hedgehog, common musk shrew (White-toothed shrew), flying fox (pteropus, megabat), Indian Pangolin, and nearly 600 species of birds.
Cable car ride –  Fom Mallital (North End) to Snow View in Nainital you can take this cable car ride, which is pretty enjoyable.
Mukteshwar – Located at about  7,500 feet above sea level is a picturesque town 52 from Nainital, is home to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute. It also offers an unhindered view of the high mountains of the western Himalaya, including Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Nanda Kot.
Bhimtal Lake – It  is named after the second Pandava brother Bhima in the Mahābhārata who was known for his prodigious strength. The lake, which is larger than Naini Lake, is approximately 22 km from Nainital at an altitude of (4,495 ft). There is an island in the lake with a popular restaurant on it. There is also a 17th century temple complex, the Bhimeshwar, alongside a 40 feet high dam at one end of the lake.
Sattal – Yet another important lake located near-by is Sattal, literally Seven Lakes, is at a distance of about 23 km from Nainital in the Lower Himalayan Range at an altitude of (4,495 ft). It is a cluster of small interconnected lakes in the midst of an old oak forest. On approaching Sattal, the first lake encountered is the Nal-Damyanti Lake; next it is the Panna or Garude lake; and finally there is a cluster of three lakes: Ram, Laxman, and Sita lakes.
Khurpa Tal – MeaningTrowel Lake, is an attractive lake about 10 km by road (or a 5 km hike) from Nainital at an altitude of (5,364 ft). It is popular with anglers and is surrounded by terraced fields (or farms), from which it presumably gets its name.
Naukuchia Tal – Literally, Nine-Cornered Lake, is 26 km from Nainital and 4 km from Bhimtal at an altitude of about 4,000 feet. The lake is almost 1 km long, 0.5 km wide and approximately 40 m deep. It is the deepest of the lakes in the greater Naintal area. According to legend, if one takes in all nine corners in one glimpse, one can disappear in a cloud of smoke.
Hanumangarhi – Also known as Hanuman Garh, is located at an altitude 6,401 ft. The temple complex is about 3.5 km from the Tallital (South End) bus stop. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Hanuman, the vanara god of the Ramayana, and he is depicted tearing open his chest to reveal Rama and Sita in his heart. Hanuman Garhi is also known for its spectacular views of the setting sun.
Hanuman Mandir, located near Nakuchiatal.
Ranikhet is a hill station and cantonment town in Almora district.
Bageshwar is a city and a municipal board in Bageshwar district.
Almora is a cantonment town in Almora district.
Kausani is a place situated in the Bageshwar district.
Pithoragarh is a city and a municipal board in Pithoragarh district
There are many ways to reach Nainital, as it is one of the most accessible hill-stations in the state of Uttarkhand. If you take the road, the route would be the following:
Delhi – Ghaziabad – Hapur – Garhmukteshwar – Gajraula – Moradabad – Rampur – Bilaspur – Haldwani – Kathgodam – Nainital.
The roads are pretty good for the most part, although at some odd places, you might find it bad, while at others it might be really bad, especially at monsoons.
If, however, you want to go by train, then catch the Kathgodam express, which will deboard you at the Kathgodam station, from where you can take a taxi or a bus easily to reach Nainital. This, according to me is the best option of all the available options. Just for information, Kathgodam is also the last terminus of broad gauze line of North East Railways connecting Nainital with Delhi & Howarah.
If however, you want to travel by air, then, The nearest domestic Airport is Palam Airport at New Delhi, although Phool bagh being the nearest airport 72 kms from Nainital but after the termination of Vayudoot services it has become unoperational for general public. The nearest International/domestic airport is Indira Gandhi-International airport at New Delhi and Lucknow.
Nainital is a beautiful place to visit once. I have visited it once, and liked it but somehow I find it a little too commercialized to be visited again anytime in the near future, unlike some of the other destinations which I frequent. In recent years, academics, geologists, concerned citizens and the judiciary have become alarmed at the rate of new construction in Nainital and its effect on the Naini lake. As a result, efforts have been undertaken to check the deterioration of the lake and its surrounding ecosystem. De-silting of the lake and afforestation of the catchment area have been initiated; however these measures have not been sufficient to cope with the ever increasing pressure on its fragile ecosystem. The number of tourists, and with them the number of vehicles entering the town, is rapidly increasing and this, if not checked, could turn Nainital into a disfigured and despoiled town.

 

Also known as the ‘Lake District of Uttarakhand’, Nainital is situated just a little over 300 kms. from Delhi. It is a very famous tourist destination in Uttarakhand, perhaps one of the most famous ones – even famous than the great Mussoorie!

I do not like Nainital. I mean ofcourse it is beautiful and all, but then again that hustle-bustle just kills all the charm of this place. I wanted to visit Nainital since quite some-time. You see, perhaps, I had this strange, different kind of a thought in my mind regarding Nainital. I had heard from many a souls that one should avoid Nainital as and when it’s possible, but I never quite agreed to the same. I visited Nainital eventually, and was well, disappointed!

Except the Naini lake, there is nothing really worthwhile in the place. It is an over-hyped, over-crowded mess of concrete, people, and everything else in between. It is beautiful, but only during the early mornings and late evenings as the light is beautiful for photographing the lake. Also, during the winters, the whole place is covered with snow, which ofcourse makes it one of the most attractive, accessible hill-stations this side of Manali/ Rohtang! 😀

Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (8,579 ft)on the north, Deopatha (7,999 ft) on the west, and Ayarpatha  (7,474 ft) on the south. From the tops of the higher peaks, magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bounded by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas.

However, I feel one should visit Nainital just to feel that hustle bustle of a regular hill-station. In every corner of the street you would find someone or the other trying to sell you something, or perhaps trying to lure you into their hotels mentioning something or the other as their ‘speciality’. Hence, my sinciere advice to anyone visiting the place would be to have a solid plan in your mind before you venture out in the open, that is, before you visit Nainital.

However, it’s not all bad really. If you just want to enjoy the views, if you do enjoy the sights and sounds that a commercialized hill-station like Nainital brings with it, then it would be your heaven! You can find some tasty street food in the market, boat your heart out on the Naini Lake, and take a cab ride (for Rs.700/- INR odd) for a ‘sight-seeing’ tour, which includes many a places in Nainital, and takes about a couple of hours. This, according to me is the best way to traverse the places of Nainital, if:

1. One, you do not know the places of interest here.

2. You do not have your own vehicle.

Ofcourse, spending Rs.700/- odd is not easy, considering the fact that not very many places are covered during this sight-seeing trip, but then again, you did come here in the first place, because, perhaps, you liked everything related to it, ain’t it?

The following are the places of interest that one can visit in and around Nainital:

Cable car – From Mallital (North End) to Snow View in Nainital, which is pretty enjoyable.Mukteshwar (7,500 ft) is a picturesque town 52 from Nainital, is home to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute. It also offers an unhindered view of the high mountains of the western Himalaya, including Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Nanda Kot.Bhimtal Lake is named after the second Pandava brother Bhima in the Mahābhārata who was known for his prodigious strength. The lake, which is larger than Naini Lake, is approximately 22 km from Nainital at an altitude of (4,495 ft). There is an island in the lake with a popular restaurant on it. There is also a 17th century temple complex, the Bhimeshwar, alongside a 40 feet high dam at one end of the lake.Sattal, literally Seven Lakes, is at a distance of about 23 km from Nainital in the Lower Himalayan Range at an altitude of (4,495 ft). It is a cluster of small interconnected lakes in the midst of an old oak forest. On approaching Sattal, the first lake encountered is the Nal-Damyanti Lake; next it is the Panna or Garude lake; and finally there is a cluster of three lakes: Ram, Laxman, and Sita lakes.Khurpa Tal, literally Trowel Lake, is an attractive lake about 10 km by road (or a 5 km hike) from Nainital at an altitude of (5,364 ft). It is popular with anglers and is surrounded by terraced fields (or farms), from which it presumably gets its name.Naukuchia Tal, literally, Nine-Cornered Lake, is 26 km from Nainital and 4 km from Bhimtal at an altitude of about 4,000 feet. The lake is almost 1 km long, 0.5 km wide and approximately 40 m deep. It is the deepest of the lakes in the greater Naintal area. According to legend, if one takes in all nine corners in one glimpse, one can disappear in a cloud of smoke.Hanumangarhi, also known as Hanuman Garh, is located at an altitude 6,401 ft. The temple complex is about 3.5 km from the Tallital (South End) bus stop. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Hanuman, the vanara god of the Ramayana, and he is depicted tearing open his chest to reveal Rama and Sita in his heart. Hanuman Garhi is also known for its spectacular views of the setting sun.Hanuman Mandir, near NakuchiatalRanikhet is a hill station and cantonment town in Almora district.Bageshwar is a city and a municipal board in Bageshwar district.Almora is a cantonment town in Almora district.Kausani is a place situated in the Bageshwar district.Pithoragarh is a city and a municipal board in Pithoragarh district

Jim Corbett National Park – One of the most famous National Parks of the country, the Jim Corbett is located  in the Nainital district. It  is India’s oldest national park. The park, which is 63 km from Nainital, contains a wide variety of wild life including elephant, tiger, chital, Sambar Deer, nilgai, gharial, King Cobra, muntjac, wild boar, hedgehog, common musk shrew (White-toothed shrew), flying fox (pteropus, megabat), Indian Pangolin, and nearly 600 species of birds.

Mukteshwar – Located at about  7,500 feet above sea level is a picturesque town 52 from Nainital, is home to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute. It also offers an unhindered view of the high mountains of the western Himalaya, including Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Nanda Kot.

Bhimtal Lake – It  is named after the second Pandava brother Bhima in the Mahābhārata who was known for his prodigious strength. The lake, which is larger than Naini Lake, is approximately 22 km from Nainital at an altitude of (4,495 ft). There is an island in the lake with a popular restaurant on it. There is also a 17th century temple complex, the Bhimeshwar, alongside a 40 feet high dam at one end of the lake.

Sattal – Yet another important lake located near-by is Sattal, literally Seven Lakes, is at a distance of about 23 km from Nainital in the Lower Himalayan Range at an altitude of (4,495 ft). It is a cluster of small interconnected lakes in the midst of an old oak forest. On approaching Sattal, the first lake encountered is the Nal-Damyanti Lake; next it is the Panna or Garude lake; and finally there is a cluster of three lakes: Ram, Laxman, and Sita lakes.

Khurpa Tal – MeaningTrowel Lake, is an attractive lake about 10 km by road (or a 5 km hike) from Nainital at an altitude of (5,364 ft). It is popular with anglers and is surrounded by terraced fields (or farms), from which it presumably gets its name.

Naukuchia Tal – Literally, Nine-Cornered Lake, is 26 km from Nainital and 4 km from Bhimtal at an altitude of about 4,000 feet. The lake is almost 1 km long, 0.5 km wide and approximately 40 m deep. It is the deepest of the lakes in the greater Naintal area. According to legend, if one takes in all nine corners in one glimpse, one can disappear in a cloud of smoke.

Hanumangarhi – Also known as Hanuman Garh, is located at an altitude 6,401 ft. The temple complex is about 3.5 km from the Tallital (South End) bus stop. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Hanuman, the vanara god of the Ramayana, and he is depicted tearing open his chest to reveal Rama and Sita in his heart. Hanuman Garhi is also known for its spectacular views of the setting sun.

Hanuman Mandir, located near Nakuchiatal.

Ranikhet is a hill station and cantonment town in Almora district.

Bageshwar is a city and a municipal board in Bageshwar district.

Almora is a cantonment town in Almora district.

Kausani is a place situated in the Bageshwar district.

Pithoragarh is a city and a municipal board in Pithoragarh district

There are many ways to reach Nainital, as it is one of the most accessible hill-stations in the state of Uttarkhand. If you take the road, the route would be the following:

Delhi – Ghaziabad – Hapur – Garhmukteshwar – Gajraula – Moradabad – Rampur – Bilaspur – Haldwani – Kathgodam – Nainital.

The roads are pretty good for the most part, although at some odd places, you might find it bad, while at others it might be really bad, especially at monsoons.

If, however, you want to go by train, then catch the Kathgodam express, which will deboard you at the Kathgodam station, from where you can take a taxi or a bus easily to reach Nainital. This, according to me is the best option of all the available options. Just for information, Kathgodam is also the last terminus of broad gauze line of North East Railways connecting Nainital with Delhi & Howarah.

If however, you want to travel by air, then, The nearest domestic Airport is Palam Airport at New Delhi, although Phool bagh being the nearest airport 72 kms from Nainital but after the termination of Vayudoot services it has become unoperational for general public. The nearest International/domestic airport is Indira Gandhi-International airport at New Delhi and Lucknow.

Nainital is a beautiful place to visit once. I have visited it once, and liked it but somehow I find it a little too commercialized to be visited again anytime in the near future, unlike some of the other destinations which I frequent. In recent years, academics, geologists, concerned citizens and the judiciary have become alarmed at the rate of new construction in Nainital and its effect on the Naini lake. As a result, efforts have been undertaken to check the deterioration of the lake and its surrounding ecosystem. De-silting of the lake and afforestation of the catchment area have been initiated; however these measures have not been sufficient to cope with the ever increasing pressure on its fragile ecosystem. The number of tourists, and with them the number of vehicles entering the town, is rapidly increasing and this, if not checked, could turn Nainital into a disfigured and despoiled town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Comments

  • Dipika Varkey  On November 1, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Spent alot of time in the Nainital area during my childhood in the forties .My father drowned in the Panna lake on June 21st1951. Loved these places. So thank you for your pictures and information.

    Like

  • Nature  On November 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    what is required right now- afforestaion of bhimtal. Govt shold think seriously about the vegetation in Bhimtal. Local people should be invlved must pay compensation. Even school childen should be involved. It is easy to make place commercialise. But it is very very difficult to maintain the ecology balance. Basically we need good people to come out. No politicians, bureucrats they are the parasite class of this society.

    Like

  • kk  On December 13, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    hi

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: