Nainital, Uttarakhand, India is one of the most popular hill stations of India. It is famous for its lake, after which it is named. The town has a population of 38,560 (2001 est.)
Set amidst the towering peaks of the Kumaon Hills, the lake resort of Nainital has a lot to offer. From boating to feeding animals at the zoo; from picnicking on the hills to exploring Jim Corbett’s home, Nainital has all that you could hope for in a hill station. Nainital is set in two parts, Tallital and Mallital, with the lake separating them. Tallital is the southern side of the lake, while Mallital consists of the northern upper reaches. The town was destroyed during the Landslip of 1880, and later rebuilt by the British. It is renowned for its lake, bird’s-eye views, and prestigous educational institutions.
Nainital, also known as Lake District of Uttarakhand, is named after the goddess Naina Devi. It is located around Naini Lake in Uttarakhand. If you are planning to feel tourism of Nainital, the best time to visit there in between May to July, the summer time in India.
The weather in Nainital is quite pleasant. Summers are mildly warm and temperatures may reach 22 °C. During winter, temperatures may be sub-zero. The town receives snowfall during December and January.
The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, 35 km away. Taxis charge Rs 650-900 to Nainital, you can also board taxis on sharing basis which would cost 75 per person. Most hotels will arrange for a pick up on prior request, Rs 600-900. You can also walk out of Kathgodam station, the bus station is 1.5 KM away, take a bus to Nainital, its only 34 rupees per person.
Here are some useful trains to get to Nainital:
|Train Number||Train Name||You may board at||You may alight at|
|15035||Uttarakhand Sampark Kranti Express||Delhi||Kathgodam|
|13019||Bagh Express||Howrah(Kolkata), Gorakhpur, Lucknow||Kathgodam|
|14120||Dehradun-Kathgodam Express||Dehradun, Haridwar||Kathgodam|
|12039||Kathgodam Anand Vihar Shatabdi||Delhi||Kathgodam|
Also see Rail travel in India
- There are daily bus services from Delhi. The buses leave from ISBT Anand Vihar Delhi
and are run by Uttarakhand Roadways. Ac and Volvo bus tickets can be booked on the government’s website- www.utconline.uk.gov.in
- Driving to Nainital takes 7 to 8 hours. From Delhi, it’s highway driving throughout. NH 24 connects Delhi to Rampur via Hapur. At Rampur, turn and head north on NH 87 all the way up to Nainital. En-route halts include the Wonderland, Rwy crossing, Moradabad and The Cottage, Jeliokot.
Taxi fare is around Rs 1500-2200
Motorcycle can also be hired on rent from kathgodam or haldwani bus stop or railway station. Bikersparadise is open 24*7.
Contrary to popular belief, flying into Nainital is the fastest way to reach the hill station. Nainital is served by PantNagar Airport, located about 2 hours away. It is served by Jagson airlines and Kingfisher airlines( wef 11/6/11). It is one of the least busy airports in the country, handling only 6 scheduled flights a week. 10.30AM–Kingfisher Airlines—-3360/- rs. only. As of April 2013, there are no flights to PantNagar as both Jagson Airlines and Kingfisher airlines has stopped operations.
- There are a few cycle rickshaws in town. Rates are fixed at 10 rupees from one end of the mall road to the other. Mall Road is the road along the Naini lake, which is also known as Upper Mall road and Lower Mall road.
- However, there is no better way to explore Nainital than on foot. The mall road has smooth pavements, making it extremely pedestrian-friendly. During the summer season, all traffic is denied entry on the upper mall road from 6 to 9PM, making the road a pedestrian’s dream. The town is not very large and there are some very interesting shops and emporiams on the mall, making the walk a pleasure.
- Snow View, Sher-Ka-Danda Ridge. Located at an altitude of 2270 m, Snow View offers spectacular views of the Naina Devi Peak. It can be reached by the Aerial Express Ropeway. Round trip:Rs 160. One-way: Rs 100. There is a place called Mountain Magic, which offers Bumping cars, Go karting facilities.
- Nanda Devi Temple, Naini Lake. The temple was destroyed during the Landslip of 1880, and was later rebuilt. It is on the lake’s northern shore.
- St. John in the Wilderness, Mallital. This charming church was named and founded by the Bishop of Calcutta.
- Tiffin Top, Aryapatta Hill. Altitude: 2292 m. To get here you can drive up to Sherwood College and then continue on a short scenic walk.
- Gurney House, Aryapatta Hill. This was the former home of Jim Corbett. It has been converted into a museum and houses Corbett memorabilia.
- Guano Hills, Pangot. These hills in the Pangot village are excellent for walks through forests of thick oak, bamboo and deodar. Some rare birds such as the grey woodpecker and black-chinned babbler are found in the forests.
- Naina Devi Temple, This temple was constructed in the 15th Century during the Kushan reign but on other hand, an another version states that it was built by Moti Ram Shah.
- Naini Lake, is set amidst seven mountains that surround this stagnant water pool and high peaks that almost touch the sky.
- Governor’s House (Raj Bhawan) & the Golf Course, Nainital. Governor’s House is a 220 acre early Gothic style complex having lush green gardens and areas of Deodar and Oak trees. A hidden treasure which also houses The Golf Course Nainital, makes it a perfect destination for golf enthusiasts, nature lovers and picnicking tourists. It remains open from 8 A.M. on all days except Sundays & Gazetted holidays.
- Sariyatal, Sariyatal is a stream on Kaladhungi Road. The water in the stream is extremely cold but is a nice place to spend some time.
- Boating in Naini Lake is a must. Paddle boats can be hired by the hour. You can also hire a yacht from the Nainital Boat Club, which costs Rs 250 per hour and comes with a boatman, you can also have a self paddle boat.
- Shopping – There are two main shopping areas, The Mall and Barra Bazaar. Traditional buys have included shawls, scarves, cardigans and local jams. You can also buy wooden handicrafts which are good and cheap option for souvenirs.
- Feed the animals at the Nainital Zoo(Gobind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo), where you will find some high-altitude species that are native to the region. . Zoo Entry Fee: Rs 50 and Rs.30 for children 25 rupees extra for a camera, closed on Mondays. The zoo also has an interesting sponsorship programme where you can sponsor the maintenance and food of the animal of your choice. The zoo is spread over a wide area and requires lot of walking, so visit only if you are comfortable with that.
- Explore Cave Gardens. : 2 Kms further up from Mallital (northern end of the lake) is a cave complex(6 caves i.e.Tiger,Panther,Porcupine,Bats,Flying Fox and apes). This consists of a series of caves which get narrower as you progress. People who are claustrophobic should not explore the later ones and there is a facility to get out after every cave. Ensure to wear clothes which would enable you to crawl etc.
- Trek to Naina/China Peak, the highest point in the region(8622ft). You can get scenic views of the whole region. Hiking there takes around 60 mins and is not so strenuous. Also you can see a panoramic view of snow capped himalayas further north (in sep, oct and nov only). On the top of the mountain you can find a small tea shop serving bread omelet, some biscuits, tea and coffee for a reasonable price. Not many people go there and so its a good option to escape from this busy, greedy world
- Trek to Tiffin’s Top. Its a slightly touristy place and you can feel the rush there. You can get on a horse also to go to the top(Rs. 300-1000). The Horse ride is an extremely nice experience, but ensure that ladies travel in front of the male members of the party. Its not so tough to hike there. On the top of this hill, one can find all kinds of shops, flocking with people
- Neem Karoli Baba Ashram & Temple, Kainchi (Kainchidham), Kainchi (18 Km from Nainital on the road going to Almora). Neem Karoli Baba Ashram & Temple is a Hindu religious centre, and temple, dedicated to Shri Neem Karoli Baba, a Hindu saint and Guru in the Indian tradition. Many of his devotees visit this temple from all over the world.
- Himalaya Mini Golf, Himalaya Hotel, Tallital, Nainital (Near Nainital Bus stand, opposite the lake), ☎ 05942 235258.10.00. Himalaya Mini Golf is a fun game where people of all age grouos can come together and enjoy putting. 100.
- Watch events at the D.S.A stadium , The Flats– Nainital has year round Cricket, Football(soccer), Basketball, Field Hockey, Boxing tournaments upto National level. Occasionally music concerts and cultural events also take place on the premises.
Specially recommended for sport lovers.
- Water zorbing in Bhimtal lake
- Paragliding in Naukuchiatal
- Camping in Sattal
- Short drive to Khurpatal and Sariatal falls
- Nainital, being close to Delhi, becomes the natural holiday destination for a lot of the capital’s folks in the sweltering summer months. The eateries in Nainital reflect that with Punjabi staples being standard fare – most of the better eateries are in the Mall.
- Woods, Alka Hotel, The Mall.
- Sher-e-Punjab, The Mall. Punjabi cuisine.
- Embassy, The Mall.
- Purohit, The Mall. Just besides the Embassy
- Machan, The Mall. Tel: 37672
- Laxmi, The Mall. Tel: 37476
- Shiva, Barra Bazaar. Famous for sweets and veggie fare.
- Anupam’s , Bara Bazaar.
- Aab-O-Dana, Arif Castles, Mallital.
- Kumaon, Manu Maharani, Grasmere Estate, Mallital. Tel: 37341/8
- Sakley’s Restaurant & Pastry Shop, off the Mall, Mallital, Nainital, India, ☎ (05942) 235086.
- ritu (Baker’s Hut), The Pavilion, Mallital, Nainital (opposite the high court), ☎ 9927041727. Baker’s Hut goes beyond the boundaries of a conventional bakery. Freshly baked goodies, plus dynamic menu which keeps on changing from day to day
- Chandni Chowk, mall road, ☎ 231141. North & South indian food. Pure veg, excellent food.
- Alcohol is served in the top-end hotels. There are no good bars outside the hotels, even in the Mall.
- Tea is served in the dhabas of The Mall. Try the local Herbal Chai.
- Verandah, Arif Castles, Mallital. This 24-hr cafe serves excellent coffee and pastries.
There are plenty of hotels in Nainital. Visitors are spoiled for choice in the top end category. Mountain Quail and Jungle Lore offer tents. However go for hotels that are on the mall road, there are hotels that are cheap but reaching there by foot is a challenge .
- An adventure camp retreat in the wilderness of Nainital. This retreat is set on sprawling grass lawns bordered by the jungles from where one can occasionally hear a roar or catch a glimpse of a deer. There are two cottages with two rooms each and an individual cottage apart from three mud huts. This place is ideal not just for families but also for groups of school children for a summer camp. There is a friendly pet elephant too on the premises who can take you for a joy ride around the property.
- A colonial heritage villa, Nainital. checkin: 12:00 pm (noon); checkout: 11:00 am. The property is a 169 year old colonial bungalow which has been restored. The Nainital mall road is just ten minutes drive from the cottage and popular attractions like Sattal, Bhimtal, Naukuchiyatal are within a 25 km radius. The host is an astrologer and musician and his wife is a ballet dancer and chef. Facilities include DTH TV, Room service, Heating and Internet. Suitable for hosting events. 139 USD.
- A heritage house in Nainital with a rich past, it has as many stories as its large number of rooms. This heritage stay dates back to the 19th century when it was a tea parlour for English ladies with a tennis court at the back for recreation.Slowly it developed into a place that hosted Europeans in pre-independence days during which a new wing was added specifically as the summer residence for Indian Nawabs. Much of the quaint building speaks of the rich history of this heritage property,in which no two rooms are the same.Well-maintained gardens and deodar covered paths surround the place which has been in the Sah family for four generations.The large place can accommodate over a hundred guests and hence is ideal for large groups.This stay is conveniently located and is a short walk from the town area.
- A quiet Lodge to enjoy wildlife especially birds. This jungle lodge in Pangot is truly what its name means- Tales of the forest. Each cottage is tastefully constructed and the decor inside matches the wood and glass finish used for the structure.The main cottage also has a library with huge glass windows for all to enjoy the view while reading. The common dining area is a snug wooden cottage with a fire place and balcony outside. This lodge is situated at a prime location in the mountainous village of Pangot. This place has cottages scattered across its beauteous property.
- A colonial styled wooden cottage in Bhimtal, Nainital. This lodge is the home of Mr. Sumith Dutta who on his vacation to Uttaranchal in 2005 fell in love with the beauty and vastness of the Kumaon Hills. Following his dream Mr. Dutta decided to build a magnificent lodge which will give the finest essence of an eco lodge and eco stay in India. This homestay is one of the rare self-sustained habitats which is pet friendly and provides all amenities of comfort, warmth and special attention. The property is made entirely of wood, surrounded by exotic trees and colourful flower bed. This self-sustained habitat gets its daily stock of eggs from its poultry, milk from the cows and vegetables or fruits from the farms.
- Located in the midst of the Sat Tal Jungles, apt for spotting rare species. This camp is in “Sat Tal”, a cluster of seven lakes. This accommodation is a camp that consists of a group of tents that are comfortable and border on luxury as well. This site was chosen after careful consideration and the jungle patch was selected after scouting by experienced birders who spotted rare species in the area that was not found elsewhere.
- An adventurous stay with supreme luxury at Ramnagar, Nainital. This resort was established with the thought of providing luxury with an edge to nature lovers. Each room is built in a cottage style with a sitting area apart from its bedroom. Different rooms have different bathrooms which have stylish shower cubicles and luxurious bath tubs. The superior rooms also come with an additional green room and locker facilities. All cottages have a porch. The various cottages and dining area are connected by paths flanked by trees and there is also a beautiful stretch canopied by bamboo trees. This resort is also inter-connected to another resort, guests can walk in to this place and make use of its ayurvedic centre and spa facilities. Here you can unwind in the prime of luxury after a tiring wildlife expedition in the Corbett park near by.
- A lodge in a peaceful location near the Corbett National Park (jimcorbet), shivpur.varanasi, ☎ 9415811717. checkin: 15/6/2013; checkout: 16/6/2013. This lodge is spread across a vast area on the banks of the river Kosi near the Corbett National Park. The accommodation is a mix of gardens, riverside area and luxurious rooms built to resemble huts. Each hut has a different name and is replete of all facilities. The riverside rooms command the best view, though all have their own sitting areas. The dining room is outdoor however there is also one in the lodge for times when the weather is not favourable. This lodge has of its own swimming pool, health spa and in-house yoga instructors that teach and promote holistic health to guests. The spa offers foot reflexology that comforts and strengthens the feet for those who go for safaris or long nature walks.
- Modern Swiss Camps accomodation around Nainital (Camping in nainital), Camps in and around Nainital, ☎ +91-9716243388. Some of the best camping options available, in and nearby, Nainital. The campsites are scattered in the proximity of 100km radius in and around Nainital. The few options available are: Mehi Adventure Camps, Pangot Exile Camps, Naukuchiatal Camp purple, Mukteshwara Ayar Jungle Camps, Mallital Dolmaar Riverside Camps, Dolmaar Camp Dhanuli, Dhanuli Binsar Eco Camps, Binsar 1800-4000.
- Aamari Resorts (The Himalayan Heights), Main Bhowali-Mukteshwar Road Malla Ramgarh, Nainital, ☎ 9810068858. checkin: 12.00 Noon; checkout: 10.00 AM. Aamari Resorts, the boutique resort in Ramgarh near Nainital offers luxury stay in Nainital.The resort has 22 well appointed rooms and a 03 Bed room Sky Villa with all the modern amenities, wood floors, State-of-the-Art furniture and an inviting ambience 7999.
Specialty Lodging in Nainital
- Ayar Jungle Camp ,Near Holy Angels School,Ayarpatta,Mallital,Nainital
Contact No: 05942-235189. Often, overshadowed by the presence of a far more well known resorts in the vicinity, Ayar Jungle camp’s relative sense of being untouched & serene suits both high adventure and peaceful relaxation. It makes for a compelling getaway.There are bamboo cottages,Log huts,Machaans and even Tents to choose from. This Eco camp serves a host of multicuisine dishes,Also a whole range of adventure activities would keep you busy the whole day.One of the best specialty lodging in Nainital and only minutes away from the heart of the city.
- Sarovar TRH, Tallital. Tel: 35570.
- Mountain Quail, Buldakote, Pangot. Tel: 9837177537, 9837068400.
- Hotel Krishna, The Mall.
- Hotel New Bharat,Zoo road,The mall,Reservation 0091-9411107549.
- Ashok HotelRs.800 -Single Room, Rs.230-280 – Double Room, Tallital. Tel: 0091-5942-235721, 0091-9412906833
- Savoy HotelRs.150
- Hotel VikrantRs.700
- Hotel City Heart, near the Nainital Mountaineering Club of Nainital,
- Hotel Rose valley , near the TalliTal Police station Tel : 231224 . Cost us Rs 700 for a Six bed room .
- Grand Hotel,The Mall. Tel: 235406,235008
- Alka Hotel, The Mall Tel: 235220,236216
- Palace Belvedere, Awagarh Estate.
- Jungle Lore Birding Lodge, Pangot.
- Vikram Vintage Inn, Mallital. Tel: 36177/9
- Channi Raja, The Mall. Tel: 232859
- Fair light trails resort, A Heritage Bungalow located atop Nainital.
- Classic The Mall, Mall Road.
- Himalaya Hotel, Tallital. Tel: 05942 237258.
- The Pavilion, Mallital. Tel: 05942 236178.
- Abbotsford- Prasada Bhawan, Mallital. Tel: +91-9811040335.
- Arif Castles, Mallital Tel: 35801/3.
- The Naini Retreat, Aryapatta Slopes. Tel: 05942 235105, 011 4652 0000
- Manu Maharani, Grasmere Estate, Mallital. Tel: 37341/8.
- Woodside Retreat, Pangot Tel: 4524878/4.
There are also a number of private villas offering accommodation in and around Nainital.
- The Hermitage, Kailash, Chunkuwa, ☎ 00 91 124 4074947.
- Cyberia, Mallital. The fastest connections in town.
- Flattis, The Mall. This is Nainital’s most popular cyber cafe and houses a small restaurant as well.
- Cyber Zone – Perfect place for using the internet. You can book your flight as well as train ticket from this cafe. Cyber Zone is located near Bank of Baroda, Mallital, Nainital.
- STD/ISD booths are scattered throughout the city. The fare is calculated using a digital meter.
- MTNL phonecards are not used.
- Cell-phone coverage is fairly good. BSNL,Airtel vodafone; and idea! Cellular are the main operators.
- The STD code for the Nainital region is 05942. If you are calling from a cell-phone or another town in the country, dial 05942-xxxxxx(x)
- For international calls to Nainital, the calling code is +91-5942-xxxxxx(x)
- The STD code for the nearest Railway junction and largest town (Kathgodam and Haldwani) is 05946
- KMVN, Oak Park House, Mallital. Tel: 05942- 236356.
- Tourist Office, The Mall. Tel: 235337.
Banks and Post Office
- SBI, Mallital. Tel: 235645, 235087.
- SBI, Tallital. Tel: 235579.
- Punjab National Bank, Barra Bazaar. Tel: 235714.
- National Bank Ltd, Tallital. Tel: 235414.
- Kurmanchal Bank, Tallital. Tel: 235440, 236037.
- Kurmanchal Bank, Barra Bazaar. Tel: 235427.
- Post Office, Tallital. Tel: 235704.
- Nainital Bank Ltd
- B.D.Pandey Male Hospital, Mallital. Tel: 05942-235012/235022
- B.D.Pandey Female Hospital, Mallital. Tel: 05942-235686/235022
- G.B. Pant Hospital (Ramsay Hospital), Ramsay Road, Tallital. Tel: 05942-235388.
- Sushila Tiwari Forest Hospital, Haldwani. Tel: 05946-234423/30.
- Vaccine Research Institute, Patwadangar. Tel: 241129.
- Veterinary Hospital, Haldwani. Tel: 05946-221014, 235636.
- Sitapur Eye Hospital, Haldwani. Tel: 05946-220209.
Nainital has a few good universities which offer long term and short courses. Rock-climbing courses is an another option.
- 5 Day Youth Camp at Van Niwas, Bara Patthar. Apr-Jun, May-Sep. The camp activities include a basic rock-climbing course, Yoga and meditaion in the mornings, trekking around Nainital, star-gazing and various cultural programs. The camp is educational, interesting and reasonably priced. However, the food is vegetarian and no alcohol is allowed. Rs 2200, only Rs 400 is non-refundable. To apply, contact The Convenor – Camps, Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Delhi Branch, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi – 110016. For more information regarding the accommodation and activities, call 235737, the Van Niwas phone number in Nainital. If you pay by cheque, it should be payable to Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch Trust.
- Vipassana Meditation Course by Dr. Ravindra Deo. Aug 4-20. The courses are held in both Hindi and English. There is no fixed centre, venues change every day, and the lessons are usually out in the open. The course focuses on relaxing the mind, body and soul through introspection and interaction with the outside environment. Contact Dr. Ravindra Reo at B.D. Pande Hospital, Tel: 2012/22.
- Kumaon University is headquartered in Nainital, with a smaller branch in Almora. It offers numerous full-time and temporary courses.
- Astronomical observatory-Aries is a research institute which is open to tourists on working days. Night viewings are also conducted by permissions. Specially recommended for people on educational trips and those having interest in astronomy and star gazing.
Timings : 7 pm to 9 pm Contact : 05942-233734/35
- Prestigious boarding schools like St. Joseph’s College, Sherwood College, St. Mary’s Convent, All Saint’s Convent and Birla Vidya Mandir attract pupils from all parts of the world.
The former four are affiliated to ICSE board while BVM is affiliated to CBSE board, respectively.
- Birla Institute of Applied Sciences, Bhimtal
- Graphic Era Hill University, Sattal
- Pant Nagar University, Udham Singh Nagar is also a prestigious university in the region especially in agricultural studies.