I had some work at Nainital so it was not really a pleasure trip but I did stroll on the Mall for quite a while and probably discovered things worth sharing. So first things first. Started early morning from Delhi on Oct 14 and took NH24-Moradabad-Bazpur-Kaladhungi-Haldwani-Naukuchiatal and had lunch at Lake View Resort. Good food, decent prices, no bar (trying to create the setting). Had some work, finished, reached Naini by 4.30 odd via Bhowali and checked-in in Classic Hotel (05942-235173), its right on the mall, fairly decent hotel, nice and clean. There wasn’t much competition and we took the bait for a double at Rs 2100 (which has a rack rate of Rs 3500) with complimentary breakfast. So far so good, some TV and we (me and wife Smita) were out on Mall.
The mall was not crowded. I have been to Naini before and Smita has been to this place umpteen times (when she was young their fav summer vacation joint was Naini Mall, the only other way their preference was different from other Delhites was that the other set goes to Mussorrie, that are THE two places Delhites go, summer-winter and in all other months), so coming back, it was really vacant. Very very few people.
Mall, just like most of the other hill spots, is a one long road with shops (eating, video games, cloths, general time-kill decorative stuff, more eating, book-shop, a post office, hotels and more hotels and so on) and folks just walk by. The other side of Mall is proudly occupied by the lake itself so it sort of gives you a wining setup.
There there is this hockey stadium (also used for cricket and almost all the other sports), a small bazaar and a tibetan market. Almost all hill things have at least one Tibetan market.
So we spent time around that. The bazaar was not there, off season, and tibetan market didn’t have too many people. Here are some pics
Some More Pics
So we bought some stuff and came back on Mall. It was not too late, around 7ish and we decide to get wet. It was a October evening with a little more chill then usual, a not so crowded mall, just a little beyond evening and we were without our 2 year old daughter (a quick business trip, half a day of driving on two consecutive days, we decided to leave Pihu at her Granny’s), an ideal setup for a couple of smooth drinks. So we started from the Pt. Pant Statue end looking for those three elusive words, B A R. After finishing half the mall (which is quite a few furlongs), the illusion of finding many bars started to come out in open, we didn’t see a single sign so far and we were really looking hard. There is this Gulshan restaurant, Nanak restaurant, Vikas or whatever, shar-e-punjab and shaan-e-punjab, jagati, alka and what not. By the time we finished another half, we were coming back to reality and had stopped wondering that why the h*** there is no bar. After being done with the other end, we got some soda and cola and came back to hotel. Seasoned readers by now would have guessed that this doesn’t mean the end of temptation, and rightly so since Captain Morgan was nicely standing on my hotel table (its a new grey rum, very smooth, priced like Bacardy, try it).
So what does one do if one has to get wet, well, we figured out and here are some options.
1. Manu Maharani. Its a little away but they seem to have a well stocked one.
2. There is this dingy thing called ‘Payal Bar’. Guess more from the name. Its towards the talli taal end.
3. Head to Club. Its near the Mosque end, on the lake side. If you are not a member (most likely you are’nt) then you would need to pay Rs 150 per person entry charge. The drinks are moderately priced so I dont think you lose too much there.
What else, well, the work was at Nainital’s DM office. It was almost evening by the time we were done. Took Nainital-Khurpatal-Kala Dhungi-Bazpur …. route and was back in Delhi in 6 hours with a not-so-long stop at A1-Plaza (between Gajraula and Garh). Here’s how the lake looks in the evening, beautiful.
And as I say at all times, a weekend well spent.