The place was tucked away from human intervention until the 18th century. The town of Nainital was founded in the foothills of Himalayas in 1841 by the British colonial rulers. The church of St. John in the Wilderness was one of the first buildings in the region. Within a few decades, the town developed into a health resort for the Europeans who were disgruntled by the heat in the Indian subcontinent. By the time colonizers left the country in 1947, Nainital became a busy tourist destination.
There are many exciting places that you can visit on your Nainital tour. Naini lake is the first in the list. The captivating beauty of the placid water body attracts tourists to it. A thrilling boat ride is the best way to enjoy the unique beauty of Nainital lake. Eco cave garden is where you get to know the uniqueness of the caves of different animals. The majestic view of the distant mountain ranges is best enjoyed from the Tiffin top and Snow Viewpoint. You have the opportunity to see rare varieties of animals living in the Himalayas in the G. B Pant High Altitude Zoo. Naini Devi Temple cannot be missed because of the myths associated with it. The quaint village of Peora, fondly called the hidden gem of Nainital, is an epitome of overflowing natural beauty.
Top attractions in Nainital
Commonly known as Naini, the lake is a great tourist attraction in Nainital. The shape of the water body resembles that of an eye. The freshwater lake is surrounded by mountains. The mystic charm of the blue lake and the surrounding snow-capped mountains attract travelers to it. The serene atmosphere makes you want to spend a family picnic here. Ayarpata, Deopata, Handi Bandi, Alma, Laria Kanta, Cheena peak, and Sher Ka Danda are the seven peaks that stand guard around the placid lake. The coniferous forest on the hillside and the Naini temple on the shore add to the beauty of the place. A great way to spend time is to go for a boat ride in the Nainital lake. It surely will be a thrilling experience.
Snow View Point
With the view of three majestic Himalayan peaks, Snow viewpoint may be the most captivating tourist location in all of Nainital. The spot, at a height of 2270 meters, is also the highest scalable point in Nainital. The three snow blanketed summits – Nanda Kot, Nanda Devi, and Trishul – touching the sky is an exquisite sight. The huge pair of binoculars installed in the Snow View Point will help you to imbibe the views better. A cable car is available from Mallital in the valley that will take you directly to the spot. The ride is also exciting as it gives a panoramic view of the town and the valley. So do not miss this unique location on your visit to Nainital.
Naina Devi Temple
One of the 51 Shakthi Peeths located across India, Naina Devi Temple is a Hindu holy site. There are several myths associated with the place. The prominent one says that Goddess Sati’s eyes fell here when Lord Shiva carried her charred body after her death. Hence the temple is dedicated to Sati Devi’s eyes. Decorated with golden dooms the pristine white-colored structure creates a tranquil aura. The steep steps lead the pilgrims to the top of the hill where the temple is located. The view of the Gobind Sagar lake and the green valley from this point is enthralling.
If you love a stroll imbibing the natural beauty of Nainital, Mall road is the destination to go to. Connecting Mallital and Tallital, the two ends of the town, the road runs parallel to the famous Naini lake. Officially named Govind Ballabh Pant Marg, the path is lined with shops, restaurants, and cafés. You may taste the native food and beverages enjoying the beautiful sight of the hill town. It is the best place to try out the luscious native cuisines. If you are looking for a place for shopping in Nainital, there are many small stores in the Mall road. They sell quality wool and souvenirs at an affordable price. You can collect all the items you want without making your wallet lighter.
Eco Cave Gardens
Located very close to the heart of the Nainital city is a cluster of natural cave formation that is modeled into a garden. Six different caves resemble the natural habitat of the animals. Hence they are named Panther Cave, Tiger Cave, Ape Cave, Flying Fox Cave, and Bat Cave. The beauty of the caves is accentuated by illuminating with petroleum lamps. The place also has an intriguing hanging garden that adds to the beauty. Tourists love to spend some time near the musical fountain. The water dancing in tune with the rhythm of the music is a wonderful sight. Hence the place is considered one of the best tourist locations in Nainital.
G. B. Pant High Altitude Zoo
Spreading over an area of 11 acres Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant High Altitude zoo is a place that offers the opportunity to see the rare animals of Himalayas. It is one of the three high altitude zoos in North India and is located at a height of 2100 meters. Established in 1984, the zoo is home to many varieties of endangered species like Royal Bengal Tiger, Tibetan Wolves, Leopard Cat, Himalayan Bear, and Sambar. It also has a vast collection of high altitude birds like Rose Ringed Parakeet, Golden Pheasant, Kalij Pheasant, Lady Amherst Pheasant, Red Junglefowl, and so on. This makes it one of the favorite locations for tourists visiting Nainital. Hence do not miss this place on your Nainital tour.
St John Wilderness Church
The religious center is one of the oldest buildings in Nainital. Captain Young constructed the structure with the approval of Bishop Daniel Wilson and was inaugurated in April 1848. Built-in the Gothic style of architecture, the shrine stands as a reminder of the colonial past of the land. There is a small memorial in the church for those killed in the landslip of 1880. The Anglican church stands at the top of a small hill which is filled with pine and deodar trees. The serene environment creates a calmness that attracts those who are tired of the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Also known as Dorothy’s Seat, Tiffin Top is a gorgeous viewpoint in the Ayarpatta hill. The spot offers a wonderful view of the Nainital town and the nearby peaks. The enthralling view and the peaceful atmosphere make the place a most preferred picnic spot. Many rare types of vegetation like the Cher, Oak, and Deodar trees make the trip to the top an exciting experience. Adventure lovers can involve in some exciting activities like rappelling and rock climbing. The viewpoint was named after Dorothy Kellet the late wife of army officer J. P Kellet.
Best Time To Visit Nainital
The captivating beauty of the hill station remains untainted throughout the year. Hence the place is considered a year-round tourist destination. Nevertheless, the best time to visit the charming hill station of Nainital is summer. The season which falls between March and June witnesses an in-rush of tourists from different parts of India. The scorching heat in the subcontinent may be the reason for the spike. The temperature in Nainital during this time falls between 14 to 25 degrees Celcius.
November to February is the time to visit the hill station if you love the cool climate. The temperature during this time is 5 to 15 degrees Celcius. The sight of snowfall, which is rare in Nainital, is a bonus for those who prefer this time of the year.
It is better to avoid the Monsoon season as the rains can be quite heavy. You may find yourself stranded in your room because of the harsh weather.
How To Reach Nainital
Nainital is the judicial capital of Uttarakhand state. The residence of the Governor is also located here. Hence the hill station enjoys high connectivity to all nearby towns and cities. Tourists will find no difficulty whatsoever to reach the place. Maybe that is one of the reasons for the high popularity of this hill station.
- By Rail: Kathgodam is the nearest railway station to Nainital town. There is regular train service to this Kathgodam from Delhi, Kolkata, and Dehradun. Though the station is located at a distance of 35 kilometers from the tourist destination, you can hire a taxi at an affordable rate. You can opt for a shared taxi as it will bring the rate further down.
- By Road: There are daily bus services operated by Uttarakhand roadways to Nainital. You can board one from ISBT Anand Vihar in Delhi. A drive to the destination from the capital will take almost 7 to 8 hours. The National Highways NH 24 and NH 87 are in good condition and will take you through some enthralling sights.
- By Air: The nearest international airport is Delhi. But there is a domestic airport in Pantnagar which is located at a distance of 70 kilometers from Nainital. Taxi service is available from the airport. It will take you directly to the hill station within a couple of hours.