At 1938 metres in the Kumaon Hill, this attractive hill station was once the summer capital of Uttaranchal. The hotels and villas of this popular resort are set around the peaceful Naini Lake or Tal, hence the name.
Nainital is very much pleasant and a green hill station, that immediately attracted to the homesick Brits, who were prompted of the Cumbria Lake District. It was ascertained by a Mr Barron and he had his yacht contained here in 1840. The Naini Tal Boat Club, whose wooden clubhouse still adorns the edge of the lake, became the stylish focus of the community. Disaster struck on 16 September 1880 when a major landslip occurred, burying 151 people in the Assembly Halls area and creating the recreation ground now known as the Flats.
This is surely one of the most pleasant hill stations to visit and there are many interesting walks and trekking areas through the forests to points with awesome views of the Himalaya.
Orientation & Information
In Nainital there are two main markets (bazaars), Tallital and Mallital, are at either end of the lake, connected by the Mall Road. A toll keeps most motorised traffic of this road during the high season.
The attractive lake is said to be one of the emerald green eyes of Siva’s wife, Sati. She had jumped into a sacrificial bonfire and as her mourning husband drugged her charred remains across the country, various appendages dropped off. India is now cluttered with places ‘organized’ by parts of her body. Her eye falling here makes this a holy spot and the popular Naina Devi Temple is by the northern end of the lake. Nearby is a small Tibetan market.
You can rent rowing boats and pedal boats for around 125 Rs. Per hour from a number of places along the Mall. The Nainital Boat Club has a few yachts for Rs 250per hour and you may be able to perusable them to waive the temporary membership Rs. 1500 for 3 day with taking any facility of club hose (bar, restaurant, ball room and library).
St John’s Church
Built in 1847, soon after the British arrived this church contains a brass memorial to the victims of the famous landslip. The few bodies that could be uncovered form the rubble were buried in the graveyard here.
Snow View Nainital
A ropeway takes up to this popular viewpoint at 2270 metres. The lift is open from 10am to 4 pm and costs Rs. 60-/ one way. It’s a pleasant walk down past the Tibetan gompa. The Rs. 30 return ticket gives you only one hour at the top and a set time for your return. A sign says ‘don’t be panicy in case of power failure’.
At the top there are powerful binoculars (Rs.10) for a close-up view of Nanda Devi (7817metres)
There are several good trekking spots, with views of the snow capped mountains to the north. China Peak, also known as Naini Peak is the highest point in the area (2610 meters) and can be reached either from Snow View or from Mallital (six km.). Climb up early in the morning when the views are clearer.
A four km walk to the west of the lake brings you to Dorothy’s Seat (2292meters) where a Mr Kellet built a seat in memory of his wife, killed in plane crash. Laria Kanta is a peak at 2480 metres on the opposite side of the lake and Deopatta (2435 metres) is west of Mallital.
There are awesome views and outstanding sunsets over the plains from this Hanuman temple, three km south of Tallital. Just over on km further on is the state observatory, which is sometimes open at weekends.
Places to Stay at Nainital
There are over 200 places to stay. Off season rates are given here but you may be able to get a further discount. Its worth paying a bit more for a room with a view over the lake and you often get a better deal for a more expensive room in a cheaper hotel, then for a cheap room in an upmarket place.