Uttarakhand, formerly known as Uttaranchal, a state in Northern India crossed by the Himalayas, is known for its Hindu pilgrimage sites. Rishikesh, a major centre for yoga study, was made famous by the Beatles’ 1968 visit. The city hosts the evening Ganga Aarti, a spiritual gathering on the sacred Ganges River. The state’s forested Jim Corbett National Park shelters Bengal tigers and other native wildlife.
Nainital is in the Kumaon region of India’s Uttarakhand state, at an elevation of roughly 2,000m. Formerly a British hill station, it’s set around Nainital Lake, a popular boating site with Naina Devi Hindu Temple on its north shore. A cable car runs to Snow View observation point (at 2,270m), with vistas over the town and mountains including Nanda Devi, Uttarakhand’s highest peak.
Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (2,615 m (8,579 ft)) on the north, Deopatha (2,438 m (7,999 ft)) on the west, and Ayarpatha (2,278 m (7,474 ft)) on the south. From the tops of the higher peaks, “magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bounded by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas.”
What To See And Do
Famous for: Lakes, Nature, Photography.Tickets: 100 INR each for both parking and entry.Opening Timings: Open all days.
Known commonly as the Naini Lake, it is situated in the middle of the town and is the lifeline of Nainital. Boating facilities are available for the visitors and alternatively a slow paced stroll around the lake will offer a serene relaxation like no other.
Famous for: Nature, Viewpoints.Tickets: No entry fee.Opening Timings: Open all days.
Known as the Cheena or China Peak by the locals, Naina Peak is the highest peak in Nainital. It is situated at an average elevation of 2,615 meters above sea level and is a popular trekking spot in Nainital. The spot is known to offer one of the most amazing panoramic views of the entire valley and Nainital situated near the Naini Lake.
Things to do: Hiking,View sunrise or sunset.Get a view of Naini Lake.
TIFFIN TOP (DOROTHY’S SEAT):
Famous for: Hiking, Sightseeing, Nature. Tickets: No entry fee. Charges for horse riding starting from 500 INR. Opening Timings: Open all days.
Located at the Aryapatta Hill at an average elevation of 2292 meters above sea level, Tiffin Top is a famous viewpoint that offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Himalayas and Nainital. The place is named after an English painter Dorothy Kellet who used to sit at this very spot and paint. This place is also known as Dorothy’s seat.
Things to Do at Tiffin Top: Hiking..Horse riding.Sunset and sunrise views.
ST JOHN IN THE WILDERNESS:
Famous for: Architecture, Nature, History.Tickets: No entry fee.Opening Timings: Open all days from 7 am – 6:30 pm. On Sundays from 9 am to 6:30 pm.
St. John in the Wilderness refers to a church which was established in 1844 and is located on the north end of the town. The church was named so after the Bishop of Calcutta was obliged to sleep in an unfinished house in the wilderness after falling ill. The church is located in a hidden and serene located amidst the deodar forests and was built to commemorate the victims of the landslide of 1880.
Things to Do near St. John in the Wilderness:
Visit the Cemetery. Explore by strolling around.
PT.G.B.PANT HIGH ALTITUDE ZOO
Famous for: Nature, Wildlife, Viewpoints.Tickets: 50 INR for adults and 20 INR for children.Opening Timings: Open daily except monday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Located at an average elevation of 2,100 meters above sea level, Pt. G.B. Pant High Altitude Zoo was established in 1984 and was opened to general public in 1995. The zoo contains several exotic and endangered species of animals and birds which are native to this region. Snow Leopard, Himalayan Bear, Tibetan wolf etc. are few of the endangered species found here.
Things to Do near Pt. G.B. Pant High Altitude Zoo:
Trekking.Visit the Astronomical Observatory.
Where To Stay
Many hotels are available in and around Nainital
How To Get Around
How to Reach Nainital by Air
Nainital does not have direct air connectivity. Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, is the nearest commercial airport to Nainital. As every flight of all domestic and international airlines connect Delhi with rest of the world, travellers can board a flight till Delhi if they are travelling to Nainital. Private taxis from Delhi can be hired to reach Nainital.
How to reach Nainital by Road
Nainital enjoys excellent road connectivity with several cities and small towns of north India. Daily bus service to Nainital is available from Delhi and Kathgodam. Coaches like Volvo, AC and non AC are available in this route. Boarding an overnight bus from Delhi is the most convenient way to reach Nainital.
How to Reach Nainital by Rail
Kathgodham Railway Station, located around 34 km away, is the nearest railhead to Nainital. Plenty of trains connect Nainital with Delhi and Dehradun. Passengers coming from Kolkata, Lucknow, Agra and Mathura, can even take a train till Kathgodam and then hire a private cab or shared taxi for Nainital.