Uttarakhand is a hidden treasure for the number of places that travellers can explore. Each destination is nothing less than a Pandora’s box considering the activities to indulge in and places to explore. From lush green mountain ranges to mesmerising water bodies, it’s nothing less than a paradise. One of the most famous tourist destinations of the state is Nainital, also known as the Lake District of India.
Legend has it that when Lord Vishnu cut, Goddess Sati’s body into 52 parts using his Sudarshan Chakra, Lord Shiva couldn’t contain his grief and took to traversing the corners of the universe with her body. Each region where the parts dropped were converted into religious sites and the place where her Nain(eyes) fell became the Nain- tal, also known as the Lake of the eye. From the top view, the lake also resembles that of mango or rather an eye. Even today, matters of religion and custom seem as important as entertainment choices. To go into the depths of these matters, a regular trip to the hotel and conversing with a few guides isn’t going to do justice.
If you’re seeking for an authentic trip replete with basic enlightening on the local language, Kumaoni, culture, and customs, a homestay is what will serve you best. Learn about the rich history behind the Nanda Devi Temple and the historical stories. Nanda Devi Temple is situated right next to the Nainital Lake and to seek blessings of the Goddess. Right adjacent, there is a lane; Thandi Sadak (Cold Road) that stretches along the lake on the opposite side of the Mall Road. This famous road is known to stay chilly all through the year, even during the summers, given that it stays sheltered by the hill
Another fascinating ritual that most tourists remain oblivious, is the traditions enjoyed and taken forward by women here. Occasionally, a group of women come together and prepare a delicious recipe; Nimbus Saana. More than the delicacy itself, it is the very custom and time spent by these women together, spending countless hours sharing casual banter and enjoying the preparation of this dish.
If you are a traveller who is enthused about exploring the culture, homestay in Nainital can surely provide you a stay replete along with the modern amenities akin to a hotel and at rates that don’t pinch your pockets. Since each house has its own story to tell, you get a more informative stay. Bond with your host and you’re bound to get access to the history behind the city that will leave you bedazzled, not to mention the palatable food to leave you licking your fingers till the end.
It’s not in any hotel or resorts that you will get find the authentic delicacies like Bhatt Ki Churkaani and Kaapa Bhaat that aren’t just mouth-watering but also carry loads of health benefits.
With World Laughter Day just gone by, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a look back to see if we have forgotten how to laugh it out. Laughter has unintentionally tied itself to travel in the millennial’s dictionary. There is no doubt that in the midst of stress and hectic routines, we’ve forgotten to rejoice the simple things in life. When we leave our ordinary lives and step into another city, we exit the mundaneness of our everyday existence. Travelling gives the respite to breathe better air and time to bond with our fellow travellers, be it friends, family or acquaintances, to evoke laughter and make memories that will last a lifetime. Travel. Laugh. Live.
Things To Know While Travelling To Nainital
1. Getting there
Road- There are many ways of reaching Nainital. The valley is well-connected to the rest of the towns and cities of Uttarakhand. You can travel by car, bus, train. From Delhi, a distance of 320 km can be covered with a 9 to 10-hour drive. Along the way, at places like Do Gaon and Jeolikote, don’t miss out on the amazing tiny dhabas, that serve amazing snacks like Chana Raita and Bread Pakoda. We’ve heard that the ones available at Jeena are worth the hype.
Bus: Regular buses ply from Delhi to Nainital. You can board either from Anand Vihar ISBT or Kashmere Gate to Haldwani. The journey from Kathgodam to Nainital takes an hour by road. You can choose between a taxi to cover this distance.
Train: The nearest railway station is Kathgodam Railway Station at a distance of 41km from the city. Grab a local taxi from here that charge Rs.150 per seat or approx. Rs.1000 for the entire cab.
May is one of the best times to visit Nainital given the warm and pleasant weather conditions at this time. For people who don’t like snowfall, the maximum temperature usually doesn’t go beyond 25 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature doesn’t dip below 13 degrees Celsius.
3. Clothes and Accessories:
It’s safer to travel light, irrespective of your mode of travel. The temperature will be pleasant, so it’s best that you carry a couple of extra layers that you might require post-sunset and with the drop in temperature. Sunscreen and hats will ensure that you don’t get tanned during your sightseeing tours. Carry water bottles along with you to avoid dehydration, we suggest avoiding plastic bottles.
4. What to do in Nainital:
- While in the city, there are plenty of activities to keep you on your toes. You could opt for boating or even yachting in the famous Nainital Lake or seek blessings from the Goddess Shakti at the Naina Devi Temple.There are 6 popular lakes in Nainital to check out- Naini Lake, Sattal, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal, Sariyatal, and Khurpatal. For a bit more thrill, there are several hiking trails around Nainital like Snow View Trek. China Peak Trek, which is more of a hike, is popular among families who aren’t looking for too much strain. Travelers can also look for the hidden water streams towards Kilbury.
- If retail therapy is your thing, Mall Road is lined up with plenty of apparel and souvenir stores to provide you with a plethora of choices. Remember to bargain well if you have a lot of items on your shopping list. Famous souvenirs from the area include candles available in bundle throughout the city as well as those carved from pine fruit.
- Looking for a bit more chill? Take the ropeway to Snow view to enjoy a cozy picnic offering a chance to gaze at the endless range of the magnanimous Himalayas in its entirety and glory with a plate of Maggi and a steaming cup of tea. Half day trip to Bhimtal, one hour from Nainital is another option to explore Paragliding.
- If sightseeing is your main goal, then some of the places to visit in Nainital include Gurney House, Himalaya Darshan and Echo Zone, Kilbury, Pt. G B Pant High Altitude Zoo, Gurudwara Singh Sabha, St John’s Church, Tibetan Market among others.
- You could also plan a visit to the Corbett National Park, which is located at a distance of 127 km from Nainital. Pangot located roughly 15 kms is another popular tourist destination for looking to indulge in bird watching. It hasn’t been extremely commercialised yet as compared to Nainital. You can also spot an extensive range of pine as well as Deodhar trees along this range.
Top 6 Homestays In Nainital
1. OYO 9730 Home 2 BHK Lake View Mall Road
This property is conveniently located on the Mall Road making it easily accessible for travellers to explore the city on foot and enjoy the lake view as the name suggests. The well-equipped kitchen is suitable for preparing your favourite meals. The absence of Wi-Fi at this property makes it suitable for a peaceful retreat without any disturbances from the virtual world.
2. OYO Home 18758 Spacious Cottage
Heading to Nainital with a large group? This property is just what you need. Located close to Naini Lake, enjoy a calm and comforting stay in this wooden furnished cottage. Aesthetically designed walls and carpeted floors bring in the much-needed warmth and homeliness to your vacation. Amenities like geyser, TV, parking and in-house restaurant are offered here.
3. OYO Home 18299 Lake View Stay
This holiday home in Nainital is suited for those looking for a rejuvenating stay away from the hustle and bustle of the main city. Simple and semi-furnished rooms are available to make your stay as pleasant as possible. The presence of the usual facilities like geyser, TV, refrigerator, parking and in-house restaurant is perfect for a stress-free vacation.
4. OYO Home 18798 Peaceful Stay
Looking for some much-needed peaceful time? As the name of the property suggests, this stay will provide you nothing less than solitude and serenity given its unique location in the middle of thick greenery and narrow lanes. Read a book or meditate away, you’re on your own here with minimal interference not found in hotels.
5. OYO Home 18537 Elegant Stay
Choosing a homestay doesn’t imply doing away with the comforts of a hotel and this stay will prove just the same to you. The well-furnished rooms with wooden furnishings at this holiday home in Nainital are aimed at providing a comfortable stay. Walk into the well-manicured garden and do a bit of yoga to give your lungs a refreshing time
6. OYO Home 37695 Luxurious Stay Bhimtal
For those who link vacations with luxury, this property in Bhimtal is nothing less than hitting the jackpot. Simplistically styled rooms with minimal decor but sufficient ventilation and scintillating views are what perfect vacations are made of.
Stay at these homestays in Nainital to get a taste of the best, both literally and figuratively. From strategic locations to digging into authentic local delicacies, staying here will open up a whole box of events to explore Nainital, not like an outsider but from up close and personal. Talk to your caretaker or hosts and you might be lucky enough to hear tales from the past unknown to even the most nuanced traveller. Food gourmands shouldn’t miss the opportunity to dig into yummy Kumaon delights from Aloo ke Gutke to Bhang ki Chutney and Gahat Dal to Bal Mithai and Kumaoni Raita to wash it down with.
While in Nainital, a visit to Sakley’s for deserts and tea and snacks at The Boat House Club is a must other momos at Sonam Fast Food and coffee at Cafe du Mall.
It is no secret that hill stations in North India have gradually reached the tipping point when it comes to hosting tourists. The rapid commercialisation of these cities has irked natives to no extent. The erstwhile images of Nainital are enough to leave you gaping at the drastic change that overcame this city. The lush green and gigantic Kumaon Himalayas were at one point of time a much-needed respite for the city-bred to refresh their lungs. There were days when horses and pedestrians would be found leisurely strolling on a narrow lane adjoining the Nainital Lake.
Today, things are different. There are separate roads for incoming and outgoing traffic to avoid minimal congestion. As travelers, it is our job that we treat our travel destination with the same respect as our home destinations. Small initiatives like carpool, waste dumping management, hiking across the city over driving, can make a lot of difference in retaining the glory of these pristine areas. If we wish to continue travelling to these destinations as retreats, we must give them the special treatment and care of one by looking at sustainable methods while on vacation. Ultimately, with each trip, we should learn to live and let live!
P.s. You might like these related resources:
- Summer, Monsoon or Winter Tour in Nainital?
- Don’t Miss out on these Exotic Tourist Places in Nainital
- 12 Surreal Weekend Getaways from Nainital
- Exploring Nainital: A Comprehensive Travel Guide