Nainital- The Lake District
Travelling is gratifying. Sometimes it results into a joy unspeakable that you sense while crossing off that dream city from the list of cities that you wanted to visit for years, once or twice it is about reaching out to a long lost friend that you thought you would never see ever again and sometimes it is simply about breaking out from the mundane monotony of life. Whatever the reason, travelling always fulfils a purpose. This makes it a serious job. It requires weeks and weeks of constant searching and researching. So, if the wise traveller in you has made his mission to visit places not to miss, then congratulations! This article is going to tell you about one such place which you finally need to cross off your list. Half of the research is already taken care of along with the mention of some useful insights from a localite. So let’s begin with it’s introduction, we are talking about the lake district of Uttarakhand (India), Nainital!
You must have definitely heard of this exquisite hill station situated in the hills of Uttarakhand. If not, then never mind. Sit still and read this article carefully.
Situated in the state of Uttarakhand, it was very famous among the Britishers during the colonial period, this hill station offers peaceful, tranquil and picturesque sceneries to gaze at. Nainital has been a favorite choice as a weekend getaway as much as it has been a haven for soul searching for travelers who wish to stay for a longer duration. It fits both the purposes just about right. This district happens to have a number of lakes of which this emerald colored lake is the most well known. If some mythological stories doing the rounds are to be believed about how this lake came into existence
- How to get here?
The quickest and the cheapest way would be to book and board a train to reach Kathgodam or Haldwani (the nearest towns) first. Book your train tickets through irctc.co.in and eliminate all the hassles of travelling through the road. A total of three trains are available from Delhi to Kathgodam, each leaving at morning, evening and night one by one. Choose according to your convenience. Once you reach here, Nainital is merely an hour away. One can book a taxi to Nainital for merely rs.400-500 or choose to travel through public buses that run almost every hour from the Haldwani bus station.
- Best time to visit
Although this place is beautiful to be at in all its moods and seasons. Still, April- mid July are considered best months to escape the burning summers of the North. October is the busiest month. Large number of people flock during these two seasons and hotel and resort rates shoot up and their availability shrink significantly. Also, late December and January is best for enjoying snowfall. Online booking might help you if you choose to visit during the peak seasons. February-March, the pleasant spring is also a good time to visit.
THINGS TO DO
- THE MALL ROAD a.k.a MALLI TAL
As soon as you reach this hill sation, directly head towards the Mall road/Malli tal. This road is offers you a plethora of local and otherwise stores, hotels and dinning options. Anyone who comes here for the first time is bound to get confused because of the mind boggling options. As a frequently visiting localite, I would suggest to to browse through your options while shopping. If looking for souvenirs, look for local stores selling candles and others handicrafts. Wooden handicrafts are also a good option if you happen to have heavy pockets.
The bustling mall road is perfect to take a relaxing stroll, as it offer you a perfect amalgamation of nature’s exquisite gift on your left i.e the Naini lake and on the right one can observe the untold story of people residing here and running their local shops and carrying the essence of this place for decades now. This road stretches for about three kilometers, one can also take a cycle-rikshaw ride from the rikshaw stand for just 10 bucks.
quick tip– if you get hungry of all the walking, look out for ‘Machan’, one of the finest eating joints at the mall road. Order anything and let them surprise you. click here for Machan reviews.
- SNOW VIEW
After the refreshing mall road walking experience, the best place to visit next would be to watch the snow capped Himalayan mountains at the snow view point via the rope-way. Ask anyone for the directions to the rope-way and navigating in the direction you reach a narrow acceding alley connected to the road after a 10 minutes climb, you reach the booking counter. Taking a two way ticket gives you an hour to explore once you reach the top. If you want to spend longer then purchase a one way ticket, which has no time limit to it but then be prepared to walk your way down till the main road.
sometimes, you have to wait for your turn up the rope-way. If travelling in a group, I recommend you to try skating for revisiting those sweet childhood days. They charge 50 bucks/person for 15 minutes or so.
once reaching the top, you have plenty of options. On the right you see temporarily built shacks for eating snacks and coffee/tea. On the right, you see a miniature amusement park, where Go-Karting is a must try. One can also find a Snow-view guest house and a bar on the top. The real attraction is the Snow view point from where you could see the mighty Himalayas on a fairly clear day. I would recommend you to talk to locals, asking for a suggestion or two about things you could do and places you can go from here.
quick tip – Generally an hour is enough to explore the top. If you wish to hike, there are other better options available. I would suggest you to give this one up and buy a two way rope-way ticket already.
One of the most obvious activity to do here is, Boating. You will get a boat rides very easily and from almost anywhere from the mall road. Take a full round boat ride from the counter for 290’ish bucks. You can also take a self-paddling boat for 180 bucks or so. Whichever you take, a boat ride in this lake would give an unforgettable experience.
- THE TIBETAN MARKET
Once you reach the end of the mall road, you reach a crossroad. Take a sharp left to reach this flea market. One can get a good bargain on goods here, it is very well known among the college going crowd as you may get thrifty clothes and accessories here. ‘Sonam’ – a dumpling selling shack, try their tasty mutton and chicken dumplings. from here you also happen to see the