Unsummer is not a word to be found in the English Dictionary. Yet, it captures in its entirety the emotion that drives thousands of tourists away from the Hot Indian Summers into the respite that Hill Stations provide. Darjeeling, Mussoorie, Shimla, and Kullu-Manali, are all popular destinations from the months of April to June. With tourism based around a high-altitude lake, in the Kumaon foothills of Uttarakhand, Nainital in Summer is perhaps the most unique of them all.
Perched at an altitude of over 2000 mt above sea level, Nainital is situated 285 km from the state Capital, Dehradun, and 345 km from the Indian capital, New Delhi. This beautiful town is surrounded by seven hills, popularly known as ‘Sapta-Shring’. Nainital, also known as the Lake District of Uttarakhand, holds immense religious significance for Hindus as the Naini Lake is one of the 51 Shaktipeeth.
This hill station is centered around the emerald mountain lake called Naini. According to Hindu mythology, the lake was formed when the eyes of goddess “Sati” fell at the spot while her body was being carried by Lord Shiva during the Tandav. Dotted with colorful sailboats and paddleboats for tourists, the lake is popular for insta-worthy photographs. Boating in the famous Naini Lake, taking a ride on a rickshaw along the banks of the lake, and shopping in the flea market – Nainital in Summer offers a wide variety of experiences to the visitors.
Attractions of Nainital
The Naini Lake
Naini Lake is a pear-shaped freshwater lake in the middle of the town. The lake is bounded by the Naina Peak and the Tiffin Top peak on the North-west and South-west sides. Boating in the Naini Lake is a unique experience, as it offers postcard-perfect landscapes of the Himalayan peaks as background. A picturesque place while exploring Nainital in summer.
Boating Charges for up to four people in a boat are, Rs. 210 for a full round of the Lake & Rs. 160 for half a round.
Shri Naina Devi Temple
Situated at the upper end of the Naini Lake, this is one of the 51 revered Shaktipeeth. The inner sanctum hosts a pair of eyes in the center representing Naina Devi. Idols of Goddess Kali and Lord Ganesh are present on two sides of the reigning deity. The temple is guarded by two statues of lions at the entrance. Within the temple compound, there is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, and a Shiva Linga is also worshipped on a raised platform beside the lake. There are few shops at the entrance that sell items of puja for devotees.
The Other places of worship
Nainital exhibits communal harmony as a temple, a church, a gurdwara, and a mosque are all located at the Mallital end. Gurudwara Shri Singh Sabha, adjacent to the revered Hindu temple, fills the serene environment with a spiritual aura. Located in the Mallital, the Jama Masjid is a mosque that was built in 1882 for Muslim soldiers under British rule, stationed at camps around Nainital. There are a few famous churches too of which, ‘St John In The Wilderness’ is possibly the finest in any Indian Hill station. This church in Mallital was named by the bishop of Calcutta who visited Nainital in 1844. These beautiful monuments stand as a tall testament to religious integrity and unity.
The Mall Road
Like all popular hill stations of India, Nainital boasts of a Mall Road that runs alongside the lake. It is presently known as the Govind Ballabh Pant Marg which connects Mallital to Tallital. Rickshaws ply on this road. The ride is an enjoyable experience in itself. Besides, there are countless eateries and shops to keep the tourists engaged for hours. Tourists may buy decorative and aromatic candles, winter-wear and fancy clothes, perfumes, etc. A Tibetan market on the way to the temple is a particularly famous shopping destination for tourists. Tourists queue in front of stalls selling Golgappa, paneer chilla, and buns.
Other Lakes of Nainital
The word “Tal” in Hindi means a lake. And ‘Naini’ is just one of the many ‘Tal’ that the place is famous for. Sattal (literally meaning seven lakes), Bhimtal, Khurpatal, Sariyatal, Kamaltal, and Naukuchiatal are the other popular lakes in the lake district of Uttarakhand. While all these lakes provide spectacular views of the sunset; they are uniquely beautiful and an explorer may decide to spend lazy afternoons at these spots while venturing into Nainital in summer.
It requires a day to explore the various tourist spots around Nainital in summer. A Local cab may be hired for the day trip. This would ideally include the following:
- The Himalayan View Point, perched about 2000 mt above sea level, offers a panoramic view of the town of Nainital along with the surrounding hills and valleys. Tourists may be able to view snow-capped Himalayan ranges with clear skies during the months of October, November, and December. In fact, this is the area where tourists encounter fresh snow on days of snowfall.
- The Naina (or Cheena) Peak offers an adventurous trek beyond the Himalayan View Point. Naina Peak is the highest peak in Nainital that offers a bird’s eye view of the Kumaon region.
- The Eco Cave Garden is a network of interconnected caves. Managed by the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam, this offers tourists a glimpse of wildlife through six animal caves.
- The Snow Viewpoint offers mesmerizing views of the Himalayan ranges like Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Nanda Kot peaks. Although well connected by road, tourists may avail of Cable Car service. Besides tea and snack shops, there is also a temple housing image of Lord Rama and other deities. There is also a Tibetan monastery near the viewpoint.
- The Raj Bhawan is a building of the British era that serves as the house of the Governor of the state of Uttarakhand. This double-storied building with 113 rooms, used to be the summer residence of the British Governor. It has a marvelous golf course and swimming pool on the premises.
- Kainchi Dham is an ashram founded by Shri Neeb Karori Baba. Situated along the banks of River Kosi, on the Nainital – Almora Road, the shrine is around 20 km from Nainital. Kainchi Dham has a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman and Vindhyabasini Durga. There is a cave where the sage himself prayed and meditated. This place has become particularly famous owing to the visit by Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
Nainital offers a variety that is seldom found in Hill Stations of India. While tourists majorly throng Nainital in summers, it is an all-season destination. A trip to Nainital is rewarded with mesmerizing views, spiritual fervor, shopping extravaganza, and delight for foodies – Nainital gratifies every tourist and fills them with such enthusiasm that they keep coming back to Nainital.
An honest SCORPIO who is crazy about movies, and overly passionate about travel.
Believes in immortalizing the moment, either by way of the photograph or literal documentation of the journey.