I had been to Nainital so many times before my marriage. But this trip to Nainital was special as this was the first time I went there with my hubby and I was pretty much excited about it just like a child. Somehow this hill station never fails to enthrall me. Be it the beautiful lakes and soaring hillocks, the weather or the food, it just makes me visit this place again and again. No wonder, why Nainital is the most sought after vacation destinations in India.
Nainital is a popular hill station of Uttarakhand and is located at an altitude 2,084 m (6,837 ft) above the sea level and is frequented by tourists from all over India and abroad. Since, Nainital boasts of many pristine lakes, so it’s also called the Lake District of Uttrakhand.
Nainital is named after the goddess Naina Devi. The Naini Temple at the banks of the Naini Lake holds a lot of significance and the goddess Shakti is worshiped at the Naina Devi Temple. It is believed that the Naini Lake is one of the 64 religious sites/ Shakti Peeths, where parts of the charred body of Sati (Parvati) fell on earth while being carried by Lord Shiva. The spot where Sati’s eyes / Nain fell became Nainital or lake of the eye.
The Tallital and the Mallital
Nainital is set in two parts, Tallital and Mallital, with the lake in between them. Mallital is at the head of the lake in the north side while Tallital is at the foot of the lake in the southern side.
We reached Nainital at around 11 AM and then our search for a good hotel began since we hadn’t pre booked our hotel. Close to one hour was spent looking for a perfect place with a lake side view. But upon not getting a decent hotel, we finally decided to stay at a place little farther away from the lake. It was then we came across The Pavilion Hotel.
Our Stay at The Pavilion Hotel
The Pavilion is one the most famous Heritage Hotels of Nainital that has been serving tourists since 1918 and is located at the base of the China Peak in Mallital. This information impressed us and we finally decided to stay in this hotel. Since, only rooms at the ground floor were available and we were too tired to look out for any other hotel so we finally decided to stay at this place. Let me brief you a little about this hotel now. After doing the necessary formalities we checked in at this hotel.
The room we stayed in was garden facing and there was no good view at all since the garden was not in a good condition. The bedroom and living room were spacious, neat and clean and ceilings were made of wooden. All these things gave the rooms an old world charm to it. But there was nothing great about this Property. The room had only basic facilities. Also, since there are only two floors, so the hotel doesn’t have an elevator. There was a play area for children, an activity room, and a conference hall which we didn’t care to check. Dining Hall at the top of the hotel was designed tastefully and looked beautiful. Then there was also a Baker’s Hut café for morning and evening snacks.
That was a little bit about hotel. It was already 2 PM, so we ordered our food and then took a nap as we were damn tired. After relaxing for some couple of hours, we decided to explore the areas nearby only.
Since we were in Nainital, so the first place which we wanted to explore was obviously the Naini Lake. We walked down to the Lake as our hotel was only one and half km away. Naini lake is a crescent shaped emerald lake situated in the heart of Nainital. This lake is surrounded by seven high rise panoramic mountains which are covered in Coniferous forest trees. The lake view was simply spectacular and the Lake looks green in color as it reflects the color of coniferous forest trees that cover the surrounding hills. I was not in the mood of boating but the beauty of this place tempted me go for a boat ride. We went for a half an hour row boat ride which cost us Rs 150. You can also go for pedal boats ride priced at Rs 160.
The Mall Road
After boating, we took a stroll on the Mall Road. This is the main road in Nainital which is just parallel to the Naini Lake and connects Mallital and Tallital. There were so many shops, restaurants, cafes, dhabas, showrooms fully packed with people. With lake view, crowded street and cool breezes, taking a stroll on the mall road has its own charm.
Thandi Sadak is a cold road just opposite the mall road by the other side of Lake. Now you must be thinking why its called thandi sadak ? This entire road has thick pine, deodar, oak trees which restricts the sun beams from falling at this place keeping the temperature of this place way too lower than other places in Nainital. That’s why it’s called Thandi Sadak.
This hill station is bliss for people like me who love walking. We went for a long walk on Thandi Sadak which lies on the opposite side of Mall Road. I was totally mesmerized by the gentle breezes and scenic beauty around. What I loved about this 1 km road long Thandi Sadak was despite being in the middle of the town, it was peaceful, calm and serene. This Sadak is meant only for pedestrians and no vehicles are allowed on this road.
We then explored a well laid out Tibetan Market in Mallital. There were small cute shops selling all sorts of knick-knacks, souvenir, artifacts, antiques, woolen clothes, shawls, accessories, wax products. Of course I did lots of shopping and purchased wax candles, and products made of wood and pine from there for our family members.
After shopping it was the time to satisfy our hungry bellies. We gorged on some real spicy amazing momos. If you go to Nainital then, don’t forget to eat the spicy momos there.
It was 9 PM and the market was still bustling with crowd. This place becomes even more active during night.
We then had a coffee as it was getting really cold. Sitting by the banks of Naini Lake and having coffee and visualizing the twinkling stars in the sky and lightnings all around and reflection of lighting in the lake blew my mind and left an imprint on my mind forever. After our coffee, we had a spicy bhutta I mean corn on the cob. There were lots of Bhutta Sellers, peanut sellers, coffee/tea stalls,samosas, pakoras sellers all around the lake. Though I clicked lots and lots of photos but let me tell you that photographs really can’t do justice to the beauty of this place.
It just kept getting colder as we walked by the lake and the chilled breezes were hitting us on our face. It was already 10 PM and I was really in no mood to return to the hotel but we realized that it was the time to go back to the hotel and have dinner. On our way back to hotel, we passed through a cab stand and hired a cab for the next day. We then arrived back at the hotel and had our dinner and went to sleep as next day, we had to explore so much in Nainital.
What is the Best way to Explore Nainital ?
- On Foot : Trust me guys, take my words and explore this beautiful place on foot. If you are in Nainital, then you ought to cover the Naini Lake, the Temple and the surrounding market which consists of hotels, restaurants, eating joints. So, the true beauty of Nainital is best enjoyed with a stroll. Also, I bet your walking experience will be pleasant as the mall road pavements are smooth and clean.
- By Cycle Rickshaws : If you are with kids, or elderly people, then you can hire cycle rickshaws at a fixed rate of Rs 10 from Mallital to Tallital, basically that means from one end of the Mall road to another end.
- By Cab/Taxi : For far off areas, you need to hire a cab. Taxis are available in cab/taxi stand throughout the day for sightseeing tours.
Best Time to visit Nainital:
The weather in Nainital remains quite pleasant round the year. But the best time to visit Nainital is between the months of March to June.
March to June: March to June is the summer season in Nainital, and are mildly warm and temperature varies between 10° C and 25° C.
July-September: This is monsoon season in Nainital and the area experiences heavy rains in July and August followed by landslides. Better to avoid going there during this time.
October to February: October is neither too cold nor too hot during the day but a little chill in the air can be felt during night. November is the onset of winter season which goes on till February. The town receives snowfall during December and January. Temperature remains very cold and may even reach sub-zero.
How to reach:
- By Train: The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, which is around 35 km away.
- By Bus/car: There are daily bus services Ac and Volvo bus from Delhi.
- By plane: Nainital is served by Pant Nagar Airport, located about 2 hours away.
Some do’s and don’t while in Nainital
- Don’t take a lot of cash with you, there are many ATM’s of almost all major banks in Nainital.
- It is mandatory for visitors to wear life jackets while boating at the popular Naini Lake.
- Always keep your Identity Card with you.
- Don’t forget to carry light woolen clothes during summers and heavy woolens during winter. Also, if you are visiting during monsoons, then raincoat & umbrella are a must.
Much Love, Neha