Nainital is a good run away option from Delhi to Celebrate a week end. But how can one make this trip more exciting. Many of you might have already seen the place, The pear shaped Naini lake or a closer look is it eye shaped? Well you guess! Have you wondered how this name Naina (which means eyes in Hindi language)
Well legend says that when Goddess Sati committed sati (threw herself into the burning flames of a yagna) when her father insulted her husband, Shiva began the Tandav dance which has the power to destroy the entire universe. Lord Vishnu quickly cut the corpse of Sati into 64 pieces and it is believed that her eyes landed in the lake and hence the name. The lake is located at 6,000ft above sea level and why people are attracted to this place is the typical climate apart from its beauty which never drops below 30 degrees even in peak summers..
How to reach
By Air - The nearest airport Pantnagar is 71 km away from Nainital.
By Rail - By train(Ranikhet Express) the nearest station is Katgodham and Nainital is 35 kms away from here.
By Road - By Road Delhi - Nainital is 317 kms and it takes 7-8 hours.
The Naini lake lies in the centre of the places Bhimtal, Sattal, Khupatal and Naukuchital. Well not to miss is the Nainital Zoo which is located to the east side of the lake. It has a sprawling area of 4.7 acres and is said to have leopards, also watch the Siberian tiger, Himalayan Black Bear, Various species of antelopes and deers, pheasants etc.
Boating in the Naini lake is a true experience but after dusk boating is not allowed. The lake is well maintained and could be so swimming is not allowed. The St John's church is very beautiful located on the north side of the lake. Built in 1844 this church has a tower which reaches a height of 50 feet. Giving you the antique look the stained glasses much require attention but as a whole it is an impressive structure. Lets move on to the cottage of of Jim Corbett seen on the west part of the lake. This small house is well preserved and is popularly called Gurney house.
Nainital is famous for some leading schools like St Joseph's and Sherwwod school and this is located on the south side of the Naini lake. School to some leading personalities like Amitabh Bachan and Sam Manekshaw the schools have also seen the shootings of many Bollywood movies. Nearby is the Raj Bhavan which is as old as 1899. It has a resemblance to the Windsor castle having 113 majestic rooms spread over in 220 acres of land. Raj Bhavan aslo has a 18 hole golf course where one can spend time for a minimum fare. The surroundings are beautiful and as the golf course covers the forest area too it will be a new experience.
Also situated in the Mallital, the Bara Bazaar is a colorful market where you can find all sorts of deals. Above the market is the Church of St John-in-the -wilderness, one of the earliest structures of Nainital.
What to see around
The best to do here to take a boat ride, the water is clear and much neat compares to as it had been earlier due to commercialization. Have a look at some beautiful fish and catch a glimse of the giant mahseer fish usually found in plentiful in the rivers of Himachal.
The boatsman will guide you the tourist spots like suicide point and lover's point. Take a pedal boat and pedal it across if you are looking for some privacy. Opt for a yacht ride at the highest sailing club in the world.Take a day membership at the Boat Club (Rs 350) for a couple and spend time leisurely here with a drink.
Take the cable car from the Mall to Snow View (Rs 100) and take a view of the snow clad Himalayas. The cable car services starts at 10.30 and one can see a adventure park on top having bumping cars, go carting etc. The highest point of the area is the China peak or the Naina Peak which is 2 kms from here. Horse rides are in plenty here if you are a enthusiast. You can start a ride at 7.30 am and see the main points like Kilbury Point, Snow View, Himalaya Darshan and Tiffin Top. In the end Dorothy's Seat is a small picnic spot built by the husband of Dorothy Kennet a painter.
Just 5 kms from here is the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences which provides entry from 2 to 4 pm. The Naina Devi temple and the Hanuman Garhi is 4 kms from here and a must visit. Driving around in your own car will be painful since the roads are narrow reversing and parking issues hence it is easier to hire a cab or a rikshaw but be sure to bargain the rates. Take a walk at Thandi Sadak with the delicious smell of the pines.
Try eating food at the Alka, their food is good. Sakley's is a good shop offering pastries in the Mall road.
Avoid July and August being monsoons landslides may occur. Skiing in Uttaranchal generally takes place in the winter seasons specifically December to March. The monsoon season continues from July till September. You will get good weather during the October months and in April-May-mid June when it is Yatra time and a lot of rush.
The best time to visit Uttrakhand if it is a religious tour esp to Sri Badrinath,Kedarnath,gangotri & Yamnotri is in the last week of May to mid July before arrival of monsoon. This time the weather remains pleasant and the roads are in good condition. You may also plan the trip in October post monsoon but then the weather gets quite cold but u get plenty accomodation at a cheaper price.