Nainital, which lies in the Kumaon region of the state of Uttarakhand, is among the top hill stations of India. Located in the Shivalik mountain range of the Himalayas, this hill resort is quite popular among tourists for its natural beauty and salubrious climate. Once a summer resort of the British today this town is a hotspot for leisure tourists. It receives high footfall in the summer months when the weather here remains pleasant and favourable, unlike the rest of the country.
In terms of sightseeing, there is much to see in this town, especially its picturesque lakes, namely Naini Lake, Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal and Sattal; the last three being located in its outskirts. Another must-visit attraction in this place is the Naina Devi Temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Sati. Nearby to the temple are located a church and a gurudwara, which are also worth visiting. Those interested in adventure and excitement can head to places like the Eco Cave Garden, Snow View Point, Tiffin Top, Naina Peak and Pt Gobind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo. In addition to sightseeing, one can enjoy a ropeway ride from Mallital to the Snow View Point, and thereby, getting a panoramic view of the entire valley. Besides this, adventure sports like trekking, rock climbing, horse riding and hiking can also be enjoyed here.
Those looking to spend some peaceful time can go on a paddle boat or shikara ride on Naini Lake. The experience of boating in the lake with high mountains in the backdrop is truly a blissful experience. Evenings in Nainital are best spent on Mall Road, which is lined with a number of shops dealing in clothes, home decor items, jewellery and handicrafts. The road also houses some famous restaurant chains, where one is most likely to find a multi-cuisine affair. However, tasting the local delicacies can be a wonderful experience, especially Baadi, Aloo Ke Gutke, Arsa, Bhatt ki Churkani and Ras. Another shopping spot to visit in the town is the Tibetan Market, which is set up alongside the Naina Devi Temple. Here, the most popular items to purchase are scented candles and winter clothes.
The hill town of Nainital was founded by P Barron, who was a sugarcane trader, in 1841. One of the earliest buildings to have been constructed in the town was that of the St John Church, followed by Alma lodge, Belvedere and Ashdale Cottage. As years went by, it became a summer resort for the British soldiers and their families. Later on, it served as the summer residence of the governor of the United Provinces.
How to reach
Reaching the popular hill resort of Nainital is never a difficult task, with it being connected to the rest of India through airways, railways and roadways.
By Air – The nearest airport to Nainital is Pant Nagar Airport, which lies about 72 km away. Direct taxis to Kathgodam and Nainital are easily available from the airport. Those coming from other parts of the country can choose to fly till Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, and then, either avail a train/bus/private vehicle to reach this town.
By Rail – The closest railhead to Nainital is Kathgodam Railway Station, which is located around 41 km away. This railway station receives regular trains from major stations like Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata. Daily two trains run from Delhi to Kathgodam and vice-versa. These are Uttarakhand Sampark Kranti Express and Ranikhet Express. Buses and taxis are easily available for Nainital from outside the Kathgodam station premises.
By Road – The hill station of Nainital is well connected to major cities of North India by road. Most tourists coming from other parts of the country usually start their road journey from Delhi. The road distance between Delhi and Nainital is about 300-320 km, and this distance is covered in about 8 to 9 hours by bus and taxi. Buses to Nainital from Delhi are easily available from Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) Anand Vihar.
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