“Nainital” – Glittering jewel in the Himalyan necklace

“Nainital” is a glittering jewel in the Himalyan necklace, blessed with scenic natural spledour and varied natural resources.

It was long awaited trip, almost for 2-3 years and finally this Holi Vacation I made it for a short trip to Nanaital and small temple Kainchi Dham situated in Bhuwali near Bhimtal.

We started our Journey from my hometown Bareilly in North western UP early in the morning as we wanted to be back by evening as Nanital is just 141 KM from my place.

Me, my wife, kid and my parents started at 7:30 and decided to have a breakfast on the way. My wife is from Rajasthan so she was enjoying the lush green outfields on the both sides of the road and my kid was sleeping as it is too early for him.

We reached Baheri a small town on the way (40 KM from Bareilly) by 8:15 and stopped at one road side shop(there were so many in a line) preparing fresh pakoras, jalebis and tea.

We had moong daal pakoras (famous in that area), Paneer bread pakora, garamagaram (hot) Jalebis bread butter and Tea. I was surprised to see that we had too much and bill was only Rs. 55. Now that is the advantage of small towns where you get everything fresh and at a lesser price than metros.

However we started our journey and crossed Pantnagar – town Famous for Agriculture university and now for TATA Nano and Lalkua famous for century paper mill and Katgodham – last railway station on the way to Nainital.

We reached Haldwani by 9:15 AM and stopped at one nice restaurant in market. My Father bought 5 KG black chick peas to donate in temple as this is the prasadam in that temple.

We guys entered into a restaurant to eat something. Though we all are tight but we had something as we will not get anything (except chips and cold drinks) near temple and also on the way to Nanital.

By the time my kid was full in mood and after finishing frooti had a good time with birds and parrots in a cage as one vendor was selling birds on the roads. We had poori-aloo, sandwich, and noodles there and started for the Nanital. Again the bill for only Rs. 101.

We reached the foothill in no time and after few minutes drive took a right turn to Bhimtal road.

Bhimtal Lake is one of the beautiful lake having a restaurant in between on a island. While driving alongside lake was reminding me off lockness in Scotland. We were amazed by the morning beauty and calmness surrounding the lake.

Well now the real fun started as we were now on hill drive and it is good to see valley from hill road. As this route has few hills to cross and it is not a uphill drive all the way.

My Kid had a terrible time as it was his first full fledged Hill journey and puked so many times. My mother and wife also had a tough time and my mother also puked once.

Changing Cloths of Kavvy

Changing Kavvy Cloths

My father was used to this route and also not a new journey for me so we were fine with this. However it is advisable not to have anything heavy or too much of drinks on hill drive.

Now I understand the meaning of dialogue in old movies that patient needs a change of atmosphere (hawa pani badalna). Bhuwali had a north India’s biggest TB hospital surrounding by trees so that a patient get natural environment.

Coming back to our journey, we stopped at Bhuwali on the road for ease and relax and started again towards Kainchi Dham.

Kainchi Dham is a small temple built by one learned Guru (sorry I forgot the name) and it is very famous in that area and have langars (Mass lunch) for lakhs of people during summer.

It was really a nice place having all the silence, cool breeze, water stream and nice black peas prasadam.
No photography allowed inside the temple and also we have to switch off our mobiles (though there are no signals). We stayed in a temple for almost an hour and left that place at 11:00 after having one nice soda drink.

In front of the Temple

In front of the Temple

We reached Nainital by 11:30 and I must say nothing has changed in Nainital (I visited this place 10 years back) except few more shops and Hotels on the Mall road and few more houses and guest houses on the hills.

Dotted with lakes (Naini Lake, Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal, Khurpatal, Sattal, Ram-Seeta Tal), Nainital has earned the epithet of‘Lake District’ of India’. The most prominent of the lakes is Naini lake ringed by hills.

Nainital Lake

Nainital Lake

Nainital’s unending expense of scenic beauty is nothing short of a romance with awe-inspiring and pristine Mother Nature. Known for its salubrious climate and scenic beauty, the town is a popular health resort (TB Hospital in Bhuwali) and attracts tourists around the year.

Coming back to travelogue, we reached the flat area (see below for details) and parked our vehicle there and been to Naini Mandir (temple). It’s on the one shore of Naini Lake.

I was shocked to see that temple authorities didn’t allow my wife to feed my kid inside the premises though they had a huge area. However we shifted to near by Gurdwara along side flat as there was no restriction there. In the mean time my mother discovered a Homeopathic doctor inside the gurudwara and taken the medicine for vomiting for all and for kid too.

Anyway, after my kid finished his meal we explored the local market and bought few toys for him and been to boat ride.

We hired a boat for full lake ride and it costed me Rs. 120 (fixed by government) and even in the month of March it was very cold in a lake as cool breeze was hitting our faces and sneaking into the shirts.

Naini Lake is within a perimeter of nearly 2 miles. Girdled by lofty hills studded with attractive villas and cottages, it is the most frequented tourist visitation of the hill station.

Talking while boating - full Airtel Signals

Talking while boating - full Airtel Signals

Nainital is situated at a height of 1939 metres from sea level & is surrounded by some outstanding peaks and hills.

The town has the famous lake to which it owes its name. The surface of this lake has an elevation of 1.935 m above sea level. Maximum length & breadth being 1,434 m & 463 m.respectively.

A long walk along the Thandi Sadak along with Lake is another added attraction in Nainital. Nainital is one of the most charismatic hill stations that India harbors.

Beauty of Naini Lake and hills
Beauty of Naini Lake and hills

The exquisiteness of this lake is doubly magnified during the night when its sparkling waters flirt with the numerous lights hanging on its edges.

The nucleus of Nainital’s exquisite beauty is beautiful lake. In the day, mirrored in its waters stand seven proud hills, dotted with pretty cottages and villas. This reflection alone holds one spell bound. More beautiful than this however is the lake at night when the myriads of bulbs from the hill sides and quite a large number hanging near the lake’s edge stab their magic light into its waters.

The exquisiteness of this lake is doubly magnified during the night when its sparkling waters flirt with the numerous lights hanging on its edges.

There are also opportunities for yachting, boating and paddling that makes it equally enticing during the day.

The depth of this lake is said to range between a maximum 28 metres and a minimum of 6 metres.

It took almost an hour to finish the boat ride and my kid lost his toys inside the lake. It is good to see that now government has installed a filter plant inside a lake which runs 24 hours and there are so concern about the lake’s cleanliness and beauty.

(I think Bangalore Government also learns something from it).

Some people say Nainital in Uttaranchal and Srinagar in Kashmir are comparable as both have lake and mountain scenery. The two towns are nevertheless different in morphological structure and setting. While Srinagar has urban core off the Dol lake, the Naini has the entire town around it.
The town developed as the summer seat of the U.P. Govt. It contains the Government House and residences for legislators and officials. There are office buildings including the Secretariat (Presently High Court of Uttarakhand). Upto 1947, the State Government Secretariat functioned here from April to October each year. Thereafter upto 1962 the shifting was only for 2 months. After 1963 the summer exodus of the U.P. Government was stopped. However back to travelogue we left the boat and proceeded again towards the flat.
The Flats are a vast level ground where visitors gather plainly in the evening. This place is a multi purpose place that has something to offer to everyone. There is a fountain, band stand, a statue of Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant and a sports ground that is used for sports and other cultural activities.

Earlier ponies were also available in good number for joy rides and excursions but now they have been shifted to another location. Boats play in the lake for the visitors and a boat ride is extremely enjoyable.

The Secretariat building is now the High Court of Uttaranchal. The main centre of the town is the lake and its surrounding area. On one side of the lake are situated well furnished an stylish shops, hotels and residential buildings. Prominent are The New Club, The Boat House Club, Nainital Club, the Flats and Naina TempIe.

So many small shops selling toys, local and seasonal fruits like strawberries and other red, blue and black berries in a special cone shaped leaf.

We were hungry by now and luckily Flat has got few good chat counters cum restaurants and we had dosa, paratha and pao bhaaji there and left with a cup of coffee.

There was no time to go snow Peak and have fun in the ropeway. However started our journey back from Nainital at 6:00 PM and reached Bareilly with no stoppage in between at 9:00 PM.

Nainital factfile
The first recorded discovery of this now popular hill station of Nainital, was in 1841 when a British, Mr. Barron, chanced upon the lake. Moved by the scenic beauty of the lake and thickly forested hills, he constructed a house named Pilgrim’s Cottage. It was the first of many residences, which were to transform Nainital into a popular resort. By 1858, Nainital became a well-known hill station, and within a few years the summer seat of the provincial government.

According to local belief the origin of Nainital harks back to mythological times. Sati, Lord Shiva’s consort, committed suicide at the yajna of Daksha Prajapati. When Lord Shiva roamed across the universe carrying her dead body, Sati’s eye fell near the lake, where the Naina Devi temple now stands. The waters of the lake are therefore considered sacred and the Naina Devi temple is the venue of an autumnal fair. In ancient times, the lake was known as the Tri-rishi Sarovar, the lake of three rishis-Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha.

Prior to 1839, the valley was covered by thick forests and inhabited by hill tribesmen. A major landslide in 1880 led to the formation of the flats, the level ground by the lake. Nainital’s attractions range from quiet walks in meadows and forests of pine and deciduous trees, adventure sports as well as popular entertainment. This hill resort can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Area : 11.7 Sq. km.
Population : 30,951 (1991 census)
Altitude : 1938 meters above sea level
Season : March – June, mid September – October
Clothing: Summer – Light Woollens; Winters – Heavy Woollens
Language : Hindi, English & Kumaoni.
Local Transport : Rickshaws, Dandies, Ropeway, Ponies, Taxis.
STD Code : 05942

Nearest railway station is at Kathgodam – 35 km, which is connected by metre guage to Agra, Bareilly and Lucknow. Some of the important train connections from Kathgodam are: Shatabadi Express, Howrah Express (3019/3020), Ranikhet Express (5013/5014), Rampur Passenger (1/2 R.K. Passenger and
R.K. Passenger), Nainital Express (5308/5307)

Nainital is 34 Km from Kathgodam, the gateway of Kumaon and the terminus of North Eastern Railway. It is 304 km from Delhi, capital of India, and 388 km from Lucknow. According to the District Gazetteer Nainital is situated at 29 degree 24′ north latitude and 79 degree 28′ east longitude, in a valley of the Gagar range running east and west, which is bounded on the north by the peak of China, which rises to a height of 8.568 feet, continued by the Alma peak (presently known as Snow-View) and the Sher-Ka-Danda to the eastern extremity, where the ridge descends almost to the level of the lake. On the west the rugged hill of Deopatha rises to a height of 7,987 feet, and on the south Ayarpatha attains an elevation of 7,461 feet diminishing gradually towards the east.

Nainital is connected by road to major centres of northern India, some of the major road distances are:
Almora – 62 km.
Agra – 379 km.
Delhi – 277 km.
Kausani – 117 km
Ranikhet – 60 km.
Corbett (Dhikala) – 128 km.
Bareilly – 141 km.

Snow View
Situated at 2270 meters this popular vantage point is accessible by rope way. It offers an excellent view of the northern Himalayan ranges.

Naina Peak
At 2611 meters this is the highest peak bordering the lake. A popular picnic spot which offers a panoramic view of the resort.

Dorothy’s Seat
Named in memory of an English woman who was killed in an air crash. This pleasant spot offers a partial view of Nainital.

Land’s End
Situated at 2,881 meters on the southern border of the lake, this hill affords a view of another lake, Khurpa Tal.

Hanuman Garhi
A place of religious interest, also good for viewing the setting sun.

State Observatory
Located on the top of a ridge, the observatory is open to the public in the evening.

The Mall
Nainital’s popular promenade offers a variety of entertainment

Kavvy having fun on the steps of Kainchi Dham

Kavvy having fun on the steps of Kainchi Dham


  • nandanjha says:

    good day trip to beat the summer of bareily.

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    A good travelogue with real details.

  • vishal says:

    hi mate

    Thanks for all the details. i am going to barielly from uk and would like a similar trip with the family.



  • tripti says:

    Hi Vivek, I m frm Haldwani & m very much attached to Nainital. For more than 3 years, I m in Mumbai, out of my hometown. So, I miss Naini’s beauty so much.
    And u know what “Athato Ghummakkar Jigyasa” is one of my favourite essay I read in my school time. I was searching this essay in google & I just found ur article.
    Ur article is so impressive & its a very gud feeling to knw that some1 who has seen so many foreign countries, is also liking & is impressed with Naini’s beauty. Really, I love Uttarakhand.
    And yeah, Kainchi Dham is built by Neem Karoli Baba who was a siddhguru. And it is belived that he was the avatar of the God Sri Hanuman ji.

    So, u keep writing. Ur articles r very impressive & very good. Nice work. Keep it up.


  • pb says:

    In February 2012 Im planning to visit Nainital, Ranikhet, Kausani, Binsar & Almora. The proposed plan is like this:
    Day 1: Moradabad to Nainital. Night stay at Nainital.
    Day 2: Nainital Sight seeing. Night stay at Nainital.
    Day 3: Bhimtal, Sattal, Naukuchiatal & other Lake tour. Night stay at Nainital
    Day 4: Kausani via Ranikhet. Night stay at Kausani.
    Day 5: Kausani Baijnath- Bageswar- Binsar- Almora- Nainital. Night stay at Nainital.
    Day 6: Nainital to Kathgodam.
    Please tell me whether this tour plan is O.K or not. Please tell me whether the Day 5? trip is possible or not.
    Thanks in advance

  • Aritra Ray says:

    Can anyone tell me the approx car fare(indica/santro) from Barielly to Nainital for 4 passengers?

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