Nainital

Nainital

Placed around a picturesque lake, Nayana Tal, at a height of 1940 m above sea level, is one of the most sought after hill resorts in India, Nainital. Encircled by seven hills, this resort was the erstwhile summer capital of the Uttar Pradesh government. It was, only in 1839, that the lake and its surrounding area was discovered by an English traveller. Its quaint cottages, colourful markets, the sylvan landscape and the charming lake at the very heart of it, make Nainital a delightful haven to escape to, from the dreariness of everyday urban life.

Sightseeing

Nainital is divided into two segments, Tallital and Mallital, at the lower and upper ends of the lake, respectively. The North Mall running along one side of the lake, and the South Mall along the other, connect the two parts. On the shores of the lake, at Mallital stands the beautiful temple of Naina Devi, after whom the town has been named. August / September sees the whole area coming alive, when the festival held in honour of Nanda Devi, the patron goddess of Kumaon, comes around. Another popular landmark of the region, is the Bara Bazaar, a vibrant market, above which is the Church of St John - in - the - Wilderness, which is one of the earliest structures of Nainital. For wildlife - lovers, the Gurney House is of much significance, as it was the former residence of the great hunter - turned - conservator of man - eating tigers, Jim Corbett.

The Uttar Pradesh State Astronomical Observatory, perched on the 1950 m high Manora Peak, open to public at certain times, is also worth a visit. Nearby is the Hanumangarh temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the monkey god, which is also renowned for its fabulous sunsets. Snow View, 2270 m, located above the Mall, is an easily accessible peak, which offers a brilliant panaromic view of the regal Himalayas, and is an ideal picnic spot. Dorothy's Seat, 2292 m above sea level, is a perfect vantage point for a bird's eye view of the distant mountain ranges, and of Nainital itself. The Seat is a memorial to an English lady who is believed to have died, in an accident at the spot.

Three kms away from Bara Patthar, a group of twelve peculiarly formed rocks, is Land's End, which overlooks terraced fields and the Kurpa Tal lake ( 1635 m ). The highest summit in the area is the Naina Peak, 2610 m, looming over Mallital, which offers some breathtaking views of the entire area from Gangotri to Nepal. The road to Naina Peak leads to a pleasant forest of vibrant rhododendrons, soaring deodars and cypresses. 12 kms away from Nainital, on the Naina Peak road, at an altitude of 2195 m, is the idyllic wooded retreat of Kilbury, which houses an old resthouse. There are two other forest resthouses beyond Kilbury, at Binayak, 22 kms from Nainital and at an altitude of 2225 m, and at Kunjkharak, 38 kms from Nainital and an altitude of 2600 m. These resthouses can be booked by contacting the Divisional Forest Officer, Nainital ( Tel: 2725 ).

Access

By air: The nearest airport is at Pantnagar (71 kms).

By rail: The nearest railhead is Kathgodam, (35 kms) that has regular trains to Agra, Lucknow and Bareilly.

By road: Direct buses ply from Delhi (322 kms via Hapur and 336 kms via Meerut) and nearby areas.

Accomodation

Hotel Arif Castle, Grand, Royal, Metropole and Shervani Hilltop Inn, all located in Mallital, are some of the premier hotels in the area.

Uttar Pradesh