Your feet will lead you to where your love is, and this time mine led me to the towering peaks of the Kumaon Hills to the Lake District of Uttarakhand. You must have guessed it by now; yes I am talking about Nainital Uttarakhand. As this beautiful place welcomed me with a sunshine smile and soothing breeze, my heart got lost in the lake.
Nainital Uttarakhand city view
You know that’s the thing about India, beauty works here in different ways. It’s not just that you’ll find beauty in face or buildings; sometimes you find beauty in the reflection of lights on the lake, in a child who is selling key-chains on the street, or in the crowd where everyone is unfamiliar and yet you feel like déjà vu. This feeling is both universal and unique at the same time.
Peaceful streets of Nainital Uttarakhand
Situated at an altitude of 2084 meters above the sea level, Nainital is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Every year lakhs of tourists visits the lake city to experience its beauty. The view of the sparkling water of the Naini Lake with huge mountains in the backdrop will leave you spellbound.
Beautiful Naini Lake at Nainital Uttarakhand
How to reach Nainital Uttarakhand
The cheapest and the most convenient way to reach Nainital is via railways. The nearest railway station is the Kathgodam railway station located around 35 kms from the town. From Kathgodam, one can opt for a shared taxi/ bus to reach Nainital. Also, one can take a train up to Haldwani which is just around 40 kms from the lake city. The frequency of shared taxi/buses plying between Haldwani and Nainital is much higher when compared to Kathgodam. For train bookings visit IRCTC.
If you prefer bus journey over railways, you can opt for a direct bus for Nainital from major Indian cities like Delhi, Dehradun, Lucknow, Kanpur, and Agra.
My journey to Nainital Uttarakhand
After exploring the beautiful state of Uttarakhand for around 15 days, the last destination on my list was the famous touristy town of Nainital. From my childhood days, I had heard a lot about the town; mostly from the people who were planning it as their honeymoon destination.😃I was always curious to know the exact reason behind the same.
Jama Masjid at Nainital Uttarakhand
With the beautiful memories of Khaliya top trek in Munsiyari, I left for Nainital. The distance between the two towns is around 260 kms and it generally takes around 10 hours to cover the distance. Owing to the beautiful landscapes all along the route, I didn’t even realize how quickly the time had passed and I was already there in Nainital.
Views from Khaliya top trek
It had already gone dark by the time I reached the lake city “Nainital”. The first thing I noticed was the reflection of lights on the Naini Lake and the houses/hotels in the backdrop shining to their brightest. Though being aware of the fact that it was already very late and I still had to search a stay option, I couldn’t resist myself from taking out the camera. I sat by the side of the lake just glaring at its beauty and putting it into photographic memories.
Being an off season time (February), most of the hotels were running empty and almost all of them were giving 50% or more discounts on their rates. It was easy to find a good accommodation at a budget rate. That’s the perk of traveling during an offseason. And of course, the most obvious benefit of traveling during the off-season is that the place is less crowded. This means less possibility of someone wandering into that perfect photo you were taking.😃
As I had planned just a day to explore the lake city, I decided to put an end to the day early keeping in mind that I had to wake up early.
Must see places in Nainital on a day trip
To be honest, there is so much to see in and around Nainital that it cannot be covered in a day’s time. But if you are short of time, as I was, what you can do is cover at least the must-see places in Nainital. You can follow up my itinerary if you are too tired to make one for you.
Start your day with Naina Peak Trek:
Located around 10 kms from Tallital bus stand and also commonly known as China Peak, Naina peak is the highest peak and one of the major attractions of Nainital. The peak offers breathtaking bird’s eye view of the Nainital town and the vast expanses of the Kumaon region. A morning walk amidst the dense forest of Rhododendrons, cypresses, and deodars to reach the top will leave you spellbound. It would take somewhere around 2-3 hours to reach the top and come back to the main town.
Take blessings at the Naina Devi Temple:
After a tiring trek, Nanda Devi temple is the perfect place to be at. The temple is situated just at the edge of the famous Naini Lake. After taking blessings at the temple, just sit back, relax and enjoy the views of the beautiful Naina Lake from the temple.
Naina Devi temple in Nainital Uttarakhand
Take a boat ride at Naini Lake
Located at the heart of the city, Naini Lake is a natural freshwater body and one of the prime attractions of the town. To experience the real beauty of the lake, one must take a boat ride here. The charges for the same is around INR 200/person. The lake looks more beautiful and mesmerizing at night due to the reflections of light falling from the nearby hotels and houses.
Boating in Naini lake Nainital Uttarakhand
Visiting the Nainital Zoo
It is one of the best attractions for wildlife lovers. Situated at a top of the hill, one needs to take a compulsory shuttle service (INR 40/person) to reach the entry gate. One can see Tiger, Leopard. Wolf, Deers, and a few birds over here.
Strolling on the Mall Road
Running side by side to the Naini Lake, it is one of the busiest roads of Nainital. Most of the hotels, restaurants, Cafes, and shops are located on the Mall road. With the cool breeze blowing across the lake through the road, an evening stroll on the Mall road is a unique experience in itself.
If you still have time left in the day, you may visit the Kainchi Dham, Eco cave Garden, Tiffin Top, and the Snow View Point.
Mall Road Nainital Uttarakhand
Stay option in Nainital Uttarakhand
I would recommend staying at the HOTs hostel. The charge for a bed in dormitory room is INR 400/night. You may also try out the Youth Hostel.
Best time to visit Nainital Uttarakhand
I would recommend visiting Nainital between the months of December to February. It’s an off-season time and you can avoid the huge crowd which is generally there for the most part of the year. Also, almost all the hotels run at a discounted rate which is an added benefit.
As I bid my farewell to this place, memories rebound; its peaceful environment and the surrounding will leave its mark in my heart. Now when I lie on my couch in a vacant mood, I close my eyes only to feel that air again. You see it’s magic.
“Like all great travelers I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen”-Benjamin Disraeli
Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my post on What’s in my Backpack.
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