Nainital Trip :Credit:mytraveldiaryblogg
When you think of a hill and lake together, Nainital is probably the first name that comes to your mind. This heaven on earth located at an altitude of 2084 meters is nestled comfortably amidst a total of seven of the Kumaon hills in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
A little bit about the town’s history Nainital Trip
The Anglo-Nepalese war, also known as the Gurkha War (1814–16) led to the acquisition of the Kumaon hills by the Britishers. After this expansion, the cute li’l hill station of Nainital took its first breath in 1841. This happened with the construction of the first European house called Pilgrim Lodge by P. Barron, a sugar trader. The church of St. John which still stands strong, was one of the earliest buildings in this hilly town. There are other old structures like Belvedre, Alma Lodge and Ashdale Cottage that provides the church company. After its foundation, Nainital became more of a health resort and an escape for the British soldiers and officials to get some respite from the heat of the plains.
Naini Tal was also the summer residence of the governor of the United Provinces (one of the many provinces under British Raj).
Why should you visit?
You may say that it is like any other hill station in India- commercialized, bustling with hotels and sprawling concrete properties. That is not something you would encounter here. Sure, there are a lot of hotels and properties to satisfy the growing demands of tourism. But what makes it different from other hill stations is its stringent laws and practices to maintain the harmony between nature and humans.
- You won’t find even a single polythene bag on the streets or shops here. Instead, all your shopping will be nicely wrapped in disposable materials like newspapers and paper bags.
- Moreover, the local authorities here make sure that the town is well maintained and looked after in terms of cleanliness, repair and public services. The roads are extremely clean and you are sure to have a good time here taking long walks on the banks of Naini Lake.
- Nature lovers will be mesmerized by the variety of plants and trees here. Adding on to the variety, the quantity of the green land is also huge. I have never seen a hill station (except Nainital of course) with this much greenery around.
Places to Explore
Naini Lake: The main attraction of this town is the Naini Lake- the reason why tourists flock here in huge numbers. It is a perfect place to enjoy boating and fishing. If you are a nature lover and a photography enthusiast, this lake is just what you need to capture that perfect mesmerizing frame. The water, the boats, the ever-moving clouds, the mist and the greenery around would enthrall you with their beauty.
Apart from the panoramic beauty this lake offers, it also has a religious significance. In Hindu Mythology, the body of Parvati (wife of Lord Shiva) gets charred and her body parts fall at many places while she is being carried away by her husband. It is said that her eyes fell at this spot where the lake is- hence the name, Naini (eyes) Tal (lake).
Boat House Club: This place is situated right next to the boating counter near the Naini Lake at Bandstand. It is a really old club in Nainital for members-only, where one can experience fine dining, a plethora of exquisite wine and drinks, while enjoying the surreal view of the lake. Everything is made of refined and polished wood, the bar is well-stocked and the upper deck boosts one of the best views of the Naini Lake in the entire town.
If not a club member, you can enquire about the temporary membership options (usually available during the non-peak seasons). A lot of hotel owners are also the members of the club, so you can accompany them as guests.
Dorothy Seat: Also known as Tiffin Top, Dorothy’s Seat is a picnic spot at a height of 2290 meters in Ayarpatta Hills. The place is accessible only by foot or a horse ride. The total hike up and down is around 8-9 km long and is quite steep. But all the efforts and time taken to climb this spot seem worth when you experience the panoramic view of Nainital from here. The sprawling valley, blurbs of cotton-like clouds, rocky peaks and lush jungles together make an ethereal combination. Just sit here with a book or bring your partner or family for a cosy picnic.
Apart from providing a bird’s eye view of Nainital and the surrounding Kumaon hills, the place also has a historical significance. It was built by a British Army officer Colonel J.P Kellett in memory of his late wife, Dorothy. She was an English artist, who died of septicemia aboard a ship sailing to England to meet her children. This was built just to commemorate the late artist- she was actually buried at the Red Sea in 1936.
Kilbury and Pangot: Both these places are at a distance of about 3 km from each other and about 13 km from Nainital. It will take you approx 30-40 minutes to reach here. Now what’s special about these small mountain villages? They are known for their lush forests, scenic trekking routes and bird sanctuary. There are provisions to camp here as well (you can enquire about it at the roadside cafe in Pangot, the sanctuary itself or the locals). Bird watching is not everyone’s cup of tea. But if it is something you really enjoy, give this place a try. It is far away from the hustle and bustle of the Indian cities and offers a relaxing time to nature enthusiasts and travellers.
Snow View Point: This is a vantage point on the way to Kilbury from Nainital. Although I’ll suggest you to take the road, you can also go by the cable car. The former option is better as you can avoid crowd and also enjoy the many views of the hills. This point gives a gorgeous view of Kumaon mountains and Nainital. It is the prettiest when it snows.
Sattal: It is an interconnected group of seven lakes situated near Bhimtal, just 15 km from Nainital. If you like boating, but want to get away from the huge throngs of tourists, you should visit this place. Apart from boating, camping can also be done here (provided by the locals- you can make an enquiry at the food stalls near the lake).
The drive here is really pleasant and there are less vehicles on the road. So the ones looking for some alone therapy or a long drive should choose this route.
Gorakhal Tea Plantation: Instead of doing all the touristy stuff, you can go see what roaming through a tea plantation feels like. On the way to Nainital from Kathgodam, you can take a detour to the Bhowali village where the Gorakhal Tea Plantation and Factory is located. The tea produced here is a combination of cloning (60%) and seed germination (rest). Owned by the Uttarakhand government, this Chai Bagaan or the Tea Garden produces many varieties of tea including the Darjeeling. These aromatic fields offer such a view that you can just sit here all day and not get bored.
Places to stay
There are many places in Nainital to suit every pocket. But if you are someone who wants impeccable quality with a stunning view of the lake outside your window, I would recommend choosing The Manu Maharani. Located at the Grassmere Estate, this property boosts its status of one of the best hotels in town. There are a plethora of rooms to satiate different tastes. Let me take you through it, so that you can make an informed choice.
Standard Rooms are suitable for the ones under a budget, yet are looking for a good quality experience. You will get a view of the Kumaon Hills from these rooms.
Premium Rooms are the perfect choice when you are looking for a lakeside view. Whether it is a solo trip, where you just want to relax and read books, or a trip with your special someone. This room is just perfect to provide you with that necessary recluse from the outside world. Since the room service is on point, you can relax while eating your favourite meal from their Gardenia Coffee Shop and Restaurant.
The lush category of rooms include club, terrace, duplex and suite. While the club offers a small balcony, with cute vintage table and chairs overlooking the garden, the terrace rooms provide a secluded view of the lake with comfortable and quintessential furniture.
Duplex is for the ones requiring more space in one unit and the suite is perfect who are looking to host guests and work, while exploring Nainital.
The fact that I have explained about the room options at this hotel in detail, shows how much I loved my stay here. The genuine critic inside me thinks of this place as a fabulous piece of art- the property is beautiful and comfortable, and the staff is really cosy and hospitable.
Do make use of the concierge services provided by the hotel. The staff provides comfortable cars and a dozen of suggestions as to where you should go and experience the best of Nainital. If you are not in a position to make any bookings, the hotel would be more than willing to help you out with that and any other service you require.
How to Reach:
By Train: Nearest railway station is Kathgodam (approx 35 km from Nainital). You can take a taxi for Nainital from here for around 1400 bucks. More people the better- this will save you a lot of money.
By Road: Nainital is well connected to major cities like Delhi, Dehradun and Haridwar. Take the National Highway 87 from Delhi (around 320 km away), which will take you around 8-9 hours. Buses and Taxis are available from Delhi, Kathgodam and a lot of towns and cities in Uttarakhand.
By Air: Pant Nagar Airport is the nearest airport. You can take a taxi till Nainital from here, which will take you around 2 hours (62 Km).
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