A quaint hill station, Nainital is the “lake district of India”. Surrounded by green hills, embellished with old cottages, and connected by a web of rambling streets — Nainital offers a heartwarming stay for all its visitors. Add to it the favorable year-round climate and diversity of places to visit in Nainital, it’s an absolute traveler’s delight.
The small town has a picturesque setting for adventures (meaning, selfies galore!). Nainital’s charm comes from its many adventures — from boating and sailing to ancient temples and heritage buildings, and of course, spectacular views at every turn. Nainital is a crown jewel of Uttarakhand with stunning locales and diverse flora and fauna.
Nestled at 6,837 feet above sea level, Nainital’s height of location is impressive. The name Nainital comes from a mango-shaped lake, “Naini”, located right in the town’s heart. Nainital district is home to seven lakes, earning it the moniker “India’s lake district”. Need we say that Nainital is a sought-after hill station keeping a steady stream of visitors all year round?
With so many attractions readily available, it boils down to choosing the right places to visit in Nainital. Whether you are a solo traveler, a family vacationer, or prefer traveling with friends, these popular attractions cater to every wanderlust, almost all year around.
Best Places to Visit for a Quintessential Nainital Experience
Nainital tourism is flourishing, thanks to the presence of some awe-inspiring places that deserve a visit. We have compiled a list of attractions within a 100-km range of the town to help make the most of your trip in line with your expectations and sightseeing needs.
1. Mall Road
Wish to get accustomed to Nainital? Why not take a stroll across Mall Road. It is one of the town’s attractions to visit in Uttarakhand. Lined by charming shops and cafes, the Mall Road has a unique and hard to resist touristy appeal that draws a deluge of visitors from the world over.
You can spend your time shopping for wooden handiworks, handcrafted candles, and countless other novelties and keepsakes. However, Mall Road isn’t just about shopping. The lake glistening beside the street and the panoramic views of majestic mountains looming over you offer a special experience to cherish forever.
2. Tibetan Market
A couple of minutes walk from the Mall Road, Tibetan Market is a shopaholic’s paradise. From Tibetan souvenirs to fashion accessories and clothing, the Tibetan Market proffers it all and more. Expect great deals on each purchase provided you know how to negotiate.
Once you have shopped your heart out, it’s time to replenish and treat your taste buds. The authentic Tibetan delicacies available locally can leave you clamoring for more. Just try a bowl of Thukpa at ChinaTown, you will tell tales of the flavor for years to come.
3. Naina Devi Temple
Now that the Tibetan market sojourn is over, it’s time to explore the Naina Devi Temple. Located at a stone’s throw from the Tibetan Market, the temple houses the two netras. For the uninitiated, netra refers to eyes and so does Naina. That speaks for the name, Naina Devi.
As per a popular legend, the beleaguered Lord Shiva ran around with the remains of Goddess Sati. But, somehow, he dropped her eyes in Nainital. Revered as one of the 51 Shakti Peeths, Naina Devi Temple is a key site for some plenary indulgence.
Even if you are not religious or spiritual, this temple offers an extraordinary sight of the mountains and the expanse of Malli Tal encompassing it. Naina Devi Temple, one of the hill station’s famous places, is an attraction that can not be missed.
4. Naina Peak
When you yearn to witness Nainital at its most authentic and purest, you choose to visit Naina Peak. From this point, you can get a glimpse of the entire Nainital and the Nainital Lake, which, from here, does resemble a mango. If you wish, you can hire a cab from Mall Road to get to Naina Peak, or you can go on a trek — it is a feast for the eyes either way. Although it is one of Nainital’s famous spots, Naina Peak isn’t very crowded. You can relax here for a while, savoring the cool breeze and the soft sounds of nature.
5. Gurney House
Nainital isn’t merely about lakes, hills, and nature’s beauty. The place carries its historical significance that is worth exploring. The Gurney House is one such place of historical interest for people who want to delve deeper into India’s past as a British colony. Every corner offers relics of this era for the history buffs. One of the most exciting sights in Nainital, Gurney House, is open to tourists, and it was the residence of Jim Corbett, hunter-conservationist and writer. Built in 1881, the house is located close to Nainital Lake. The cottage is well-maintained and radiates an old-world grace that is perfect for those who seek all things historic.
6. Snow View Point
One of the best tourist attractions in Nainital offer a glimpse of the snow-capped Himalayas. A haven for trekkers and trotters, the uphill walk to Snow View Point delivers a rewarding experience and astonishing views of the snow-clad summit of the Himalayas. You can get to Snow View Point via cable car for tourists who are not up for trekking. That, too, is an exhilarating experience in itself. Ordinarily, a cable car or ropeway is the way to get there, but a trek to this site can be much more gratifying for adventure-seekers.
7. High-altitude Zoo
Zoos are and will always be the best places to hang out during a family outing. The high-altitude Zoo can offer the perfect spot for safe yet fun-filled adventures when you have children with you. This place can be an entertaining experience for kids as they look closely at tigers, bears, a red panda, and various species of birds outside of their picture books. The diversity of animals here ensures that the high-altitude Zoo is one of the best places to visit in Nainital. The zoo has numerous animal enclosures uphill, so it may not be a suitable option for elderly people. Kids, for sure, will have a grand time here!
8. Malli Tal
It can offer a perfect escape for those who are looking to spend some peaceful time during vacation. One of the most underrated spots near Nainital Lake, the Malli Tal, is the place where you can merely sit by the lake and let the fresh, crisp air make you forget everything urban chaos. Nothing could be more therapeutic than merely sitting here quietly, observing the beauty of the vast surrounding lake as you enjoy the tranquility all around. For many, Malli Tal remains one of the best places to visit in Nainital. Get here early in the morning or in the late evenings, long after the touristy bustle has died down, to experience stillness like never before. You’ll fall in love with the tranquility!
9. Raj Bhavan or Governor’s House
One of the top places to visit in Nainital, Raj Bhavan, is also known as the Governor’s House. It is currently the summer residence for the Governor of Uttarakhand. Best identified for its English-inspired architecture, the Raj Bhavan is prominently situated amid a vast blanket of lush greenery. It can be one of the excellent places to visit in the hill station for couples looking to create picture-perfect moments. The gardens of Raj Bhavan with their Deodar and Oak trees turn the garden into an ideal backdrop for honeymoon snaps. Many guides are available at the entrance and will tell you everything about the history of Raj Bhavan, something that many enthusiasts are sure to find engaging.
Straight out of a Ruskin Bond book, Kilbury is among the most famous tourist spots close to Nainital. Although it is a famed picnic spot, the lightly isolated Kilbury is the perfect refuge for trekkers and peace seekers. The majestic deodars coupled with the misty atmosphere make Kilbury a magical location! Even the air here feels more restful, and the surroundings more serene.
As a hill station and a holiday destination, Nainital has something for everyone. There are a lot of places to visit in Nainital that are marked by narrow uphill alleyways. Walk around to your heart’s content and explore as much as your wanderlust desires.
The best time to plan a trip to Nainital would be from March to June every year, as the weather is pleasant and cool. It would be the ideal getaway from the city traffic and heat. However, most people visit here to witness the beauty of snow-capped mountains and cold weather, and if you desire to do the same, November to February are the ideal months to plan a trip. During summer, the average temperature of this city stays around 28 degree celsius, which is quite pleasant when compared to other parts of the country.
A short trip spanning two to three days is satisfactory to take advantage of all the offerings this city has in place. For the adrenaline junkies, a day or two can be added to the trip to this charming city, to experience the thrill of trekking here and exploring the city of Nainital on foot.
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