Nainital is one of the most beautiful hill stations in the state of Uttarakhand. Some hidden places in Nainital are the offbeat attractions that would give you an unusual experience. It is known as the ‘Lake District of India’. Nainital trip is awash with a serene environment, scenic landscape, snow-capped hills, and lakes.
The pleasant climate, elegant colonial structures, adventure sports, ropeway ride, boat ride, shopping, and cuisines are other compelling reasons to visit this picturesque paradise. Its hilly terrains are home to Snow View Point, Tiffin Top, and Naina Peak. Naini is a unique-shaped lake that flows through the center of the city. Hanumangarhi and Naina Devi Temple are the religious sites in Nainital.
Nainital Tourism is your opportunity to discover the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Its spectacular hilly terrain will spellbind you with adventure, snow, religious sites, aerial cable car, and British colonial heritage. If you are planning a vacation to Nainital. You can find some budget Nainital Tour Packages at Atlas Travel. These tour packages come with hotels, sightseeing, and ticketing. You can select from multiple Family Packages, Adventure Packages, and Honeymoon Packages of Nainital as per their tour requirements to experience all the hidden gems of Nainital.
Hidden Gems of Nainital
Apart from popular places, Nainital district has some of the hidden gem attractions to explore.
If you want to explore cave life, Eco Cave Garden is a hidden gem to experience out-of-the-ordinary things. Tiger Caves, Panther Caves, and Bat Caves are intertwined caves that educate you about life in the mountains. Hanging Gardens and Musical Fountains adorn the premise and give a glimpse of the Himalayan way of life.
Opening Hours: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Pangot and Kilbury Bird Sanctuary
Pangot is 15 kilometers from Nainital. It gives you the feel of a remote Himalayan village. Pangot and Kilbury Bird Sanctuary are offbeat attractions, which are birder’s paradise. Migratory birds and rare species of birds will impress you as these sites are home to 580 species of birds. You may spot White-Throated Laughingthrush, Forktails Brown Wood Owls, and Collared Grosbeaks amidst dense oak and pine jungles. Kilbury would be a perfect destination for bird lovers. Kilbury and Snow Viewpoint are famous places for birding in Pangot.
Rock Climbing and Zip Lining are the adventure activities at Pangot.
Opening Hours: 6 am to 5 pm
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It is a long rope bridge suspended at height in Pangot. You can take an adventurous walk across the bridge after wearing a safety harness. It is a thrilling activity.
Thandi Sadak is on the other side of the lake and runs opposite the Mall. You can take a quiet walk by the lake in pictorial and scenic surroundings. You will see fairy lights and twinkling on the hill when you face the lake from Thandi Sadak.
The church of St. John in the Wilderness was built in 1844. This ancient church exhibits typical Victorian architecture. You will see the names of the 1880 landslide victims on the altar inside the church. Gurudwara in the Tibetan market resounds with the Shabad Kirtan.
Ghorakhal Golu Devta Temple
Golu Devta Temple is on the Nainital-Mukteshwar route at Bhowali. Golu Devta is the presiding deity, who is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple is the main attraction of Ghorakhal. Devotees make petitions using stamp papers to get the desired verdict in litigations. After fulfillment of a wish, they sacrifice animals.
Folk Culture Museum at Bhimtal
Dr. Yashodhar Mathpal founded this private museum, Lok Sanskriti Sangrahalaya. The museum showcases valuable artifacts and photographs. It is situated near Bhimtal Lake. The entry fee is INR 50.
Kakrighat is famous for Kainchi Dham Baba Neem Karoli Ashram on the banks of the Kosi River. It is on the Nainital-Almora Road. Shri Neem Karoli Maharaj Ji was a devotee of Lord Hanuman and is known to have performed many miracles throughout his life. Every year a huge fair falls on 15th June.
Opening Hours: 07:00 am to 06:00 pm.
Naukuchia Lake is the main attraction of Naukuchiatal, which is 27 kilometers from Nainital. The lake has 9 corners.
Devguru Brihaspati is one of the few temples in the country. It is situated at Devguru village in Okhalkanda block 90 kilometers from Kathgodam. You can get a panoramic view of snow ranges from here.
Mythology, Discovery, and Naming of Nainital
This century-old town in Kumaon Hills came under British rule after the Anglo-Nepalese War. P Barron, a sugar merchant from Shahjahanpur established the first British Colony and the hill town of Nainital in 1841 for its resemblance to the Cumbrian Lake District.
Nainital means ‘The Lake of the Eye’. It is believed that the eye of Goddess Sati had fallen at this place, after which the name of this place came to be Nainital. Naini Lake is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths of India.
Lord Shiva cut the body of Goddess Sati into 52 parts using Sudarshan Chakra after her death. The place where Goddess Sati’s eyes fell was called an eye nain, tal, or lake. Since then Goddess Shakti has been worshiped as Naina Devi.
Nainital is also referred to as the “Lake of the Three Rishis” in the Manas Khand. According to the Puranas, three sages i.e. Atri, Pulastaya, and Pulaha stopped at Nainital to quench their thirst. Here he was unable to find water and he dug a pit that was filled with water brought from Lake Mansarovar. Thus Naini Lake came into existence. Another legend also states that the left eye of the Hindu Goddess Sati, daughter of King Daksha, fell at this place and the eye-shaped Naini jheel was created.
Best Time to Visit Nainital
Although Nainital is a year-round destination for pleasant weather throughout the year, the best time to visit Nainital is between April and June due to the moderate average temperature of 23 °C. January is the best month for snow lovers. Monsoon season is fraught with landslides.
How to Reach Nainital
Train: Regular trains arrive at Kathgodam from Delhi, Dehradun, Lucknow, Agra, Mathura, etc. Board a bus or taxi from outside Kathgodam station to Nainital.
Road: Nainital is approachable by road from Delhi, Dehradun, Almora, Haldwani, and other cities in North India. Regular buses and private taxis are available to get here. The road is the most convenient option to reach Nainital.
Air: Pantnagar is the nearest airport around 70 kilometers from Nainital. At the airport, you can hire a cab or taxi to reach the hill town.
Popular Places in Nainital
Besides hidden gems, Nainital is home to many famous places to visit.
Nainital Lake is a hot spot for boating, breathtaking views during sunrise and sunset, picnics, and evening walks. Coniferous trees, Nainital Mall Road add to the beauty of this natural freshwater body.
Opening Hours: 06:00 am to 06:00 pm.
Tiffin Top or Dorothy’s Seat
Tiffin Top is famous for its views of Nainital city, Naini Lake, the hills of Kumaon, and Nanda Devi. Cher, Oak, and Deodar trees surround Dorothy’s Seat. The spectacular landscape of Nainital and the peaks of Aryapatta hills make it a good picnic spot.
Timings: 08:00 am to 11:00 pm
Snow View Point
The Snow Viewpoint is famous for arresting views of the snowy Himalayas and magical peaks. You can get a view through binoculars installed at the site. You can reach this point in Mallital by aerial cable car to see prominent peaks like Nanda Kot, Trishul, and Nanda Devi.
Timings: 10:30 am to 05:00 pm, Closed on Saturdays.
Mall Road connects Mallital and Tallital and runs parallel to the lake. It is a famous shopping place with many hotels, showrooms, shops, cafes, and restaurants. A night walk around the mall would give you a soothing experience. The British built the Mall Road. Many famous Bollywood movies have been shot at the site.
Timings: 09:00 am to 10:30 pm.
Naina Devi Temple
Nainital is named after the Naina Devi Temple. This Shakti Peeth is one of the most revered Hindu Temples in North India. Two eyes on the ceiling inside the temple depict Goddess Naina Devi. Chaitra Mela (March-April), Shravani Mela (July-August), and Navratri (September to October) are the best times to visit the temple.
Timings: 06:00 am to 10:00 pm
This highest peak of Nainital attracts tourists for the snow-covered summit and the panoramic view. The mountains of the Tibet border and the Nanda Devi peak are visible from the top. You can take a 6 km trek from Mallital to the summit of Naina Peak or take the help of a pony.
Timings: 08:00 am to 08:00 pm.
St. John’s Wilderness Church
St. John’s Wilderness Church is famous for its Neo-Gothic style of architecture, stained glass windows, and serene landscape. It is named after a bishop from Kolkata. It is located at Mallital near the high court of Uttarakhand.
Timings: 07:00 am to 06:30 pm.
Bhimtal is one of the most famous lakes in India in the Kumaon region. After the Anglo-Nepal War, Bhimtal Lake Dam was constructed in 1883 under British rule. King Baz Bahadur Chand of Kumaon built here a temple in the 17th century. Bhimtal Lake Aquarium is home to a wide variety of fish in 12 large tanks.
A panoramic view of lake water, dense forests, and blue sky is a breathtaking sight. Boating is another popular activity.
Opening Hours/Boating Time: 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM.
Things to Do in Nainital
Your Nainital Trip would be incomplete without partaking in unique activities. Here is a snapshot of some fantastic things to do in the hill town:
- Undertake a ropeway ride or cable car to have arresting views of Naini Lake. Two cable cars run between Mallital to Snow View.
- Trekking, paragliding, and zorbing are experiences for adventure lovers.
- Sample authentic Punjabi and North Indian food at restaurants and cafes on the promenade near Naini Lake. Visit Chandni Chowk for lip-smacking snacks, such as masala milk, gulab jamun, jalebis, gol gappa, lassi, etc.
- Go shopping for jewelry, handicrafts, stylish scarves, shawls, candles, and other small trinkets from markets in Nainital. Tibetan market is famous for buying souvenirs.
- Boating at the lake provides you with a splendid view of Naini Lake. Rowing boats, paddle boats, and yachting are the available boating options.
- View the sunrise at Tiffin Top or Dorothy’s Seat.
- Go camping and trekking at Cheena Peak (Naina Peak).