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 prestigious 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 hot and temperatures may reach 40 °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 250-300 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 only 100 meters 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|
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.
- 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.
Taxis don't work on sharing basis and the whole taxi fare may cost Rs. 1500-2200.
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 one of the least busy airports in the country, handling only 6 scheduled flights a week.
Pantnagar is another airport located 70 Km away from Nainital. Delhi is nearest international airport which is 280 Km and well connected to major cities in India as well as abroad.
- Nainital is nicely connected with the different towns around the city with buses frequently running.
- There are a few cycle rickshaws in town. Rates are fixed at 10 rupees from one end of the mall to the other. They can only pick and drop passengers at the ticket booths of either end.
- However, there is no better way to explore Nainital than on foot. The mall has smooth pavements, making it extremely pedestrian-friendly. During the summer season, entry is denied on the mall from 6 to 9 PM, making the road a pedestrian's dream. The town is fairly small and there are some very interesting shops and emporiums in the mall, making the walk a pleasure.
- 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.
- Gurney House, Aryapatta Hill. This was the former home of Jim Corbett. It has been converted into a museum and houses Corbett memorabilia.
- 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.
- Naina Lake. Naini Lake is set amidst seven mountains that surround this stagnant water pool and high peaks that almost touch the sky.
- 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.
- 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.
- St. John in the Wilderness, Mallital. This charming church was named and founded by the Bishop of Calcutta.
- 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.
- 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 100. One-way: Rs 50. There is a place called Mountain Magic, which offers Bumping cars and Go karting facilities.
- 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.
- 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 160 per hour and comes with a boatman, you can also have a self paddle boat.
- Explore the Caves, ☎ . 9.30AM to 5.30PM. 2 Kms further up from Mallital (northern end of the lake) is a cave complex, developed and maintained by the local administration. This consists of a series of six caves (Tiger, Panther, Porcupine, Bats, Flying Fox and Apes) which get narrower as you progress. People with claustrophobia are advised not to explore the later ones and walk out from the exit available at the end of each cave.
- Feed the animals at the Nainital Zoo (Gobind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo), where you will find high-altitude species that are native to the region. Zoo Entry Fee: Rs. 30 and Rs. 10 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.
- Shopping - There are two main shopping areas, The Mall and Barra Bazaar. Traditional thing to buy include shawls, scarves, cardigans and local jams. You can also buy wooden handicrafts which are good and cheap option for souvenirs.
- 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. From September to November, you will be able to see a panoramic view of snow capped Himalayas further north. 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 making it a good option to escape from the buzz.
- Trek to Tiffin's Top. It's a slightly touristy place where you can feel the rush. You can get on a horse 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.
Shopping in Nainital is awesome and it is truly enlightening experience to do so. Nainital is very famous for handicraft products such as handmade candles, ornamental pieces and Kumauni woolens for its excellent quality and warmness. Visitors come across range of choices with colorful cardigans, caps, sweaters and shawls available in different design.
Visitors can bring home different items such as -
- Apples and fresh Cherries
Don’t forget to get some eco–friendly candlesticks for home decor.
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.
- Embassy, The Mall..
- Kumaon, Manu Maharani, Grasmere Estate, Mallital., ☎ 37341/8.
- Machan, The Mall, ☎ 37672.
- Purohit, The Mall (Just besides the Embassy).
- Shiva, Barra Bazaar. Famous for sweets and veggie fare.
- Sher-e-Punjab, The Mall. Punjabi cuisine.
- Woods, Alka Hotel, The Mall., ☎ 235220.
Nightlife in Nainital almost doesn’t exist. Simply basking and dancing in front of bonfire is extremely enjoyable. There are hardly any pubs or bars in Mall and alcohol is served only in 5 star hotels which possess decent bars.
- Tea is served in the dhabas of The Mall. Try the local Herbal Chai.
- Chandni chowk, mall road, ☎ . North and South Indian food. Though it is a pure vegetarian restaurant, it is known for its excellent dishes.
- Courtyard Bar, Shervani Hill Top Nainital, Shervani Lodge, Mallital, ☎ , e-mail: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hotel Hill view Nainital, Zoo road, Upper Mall Road, Pin - 263001, ☎ .
- Spirit, Comfort Inn Saurabh Haldwani, Civil Lines, Nainital District, Haldwani, ☎ .
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. 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.
- Ayar Jungle Camp, Near Holy Angels School, Ayarpatta, Mallital, ☎ . Ayar Jungle camp gives off a relative sense of being untouched & serene. There are bamboo cottages, Log huts, Machaans and tents to choose from. This Eco camp serves a host of multicuisine dishes, and offers a range of adventurous activities.
- A Camp. 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.
- A colonial styled wooden cottage in Bhimtal. 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.
- Emerald Trail, Emerald Trail, Jungaliagaon, Bhimtal 263136, ☎ . Eco-friendly and pet-friendly homestay.
- 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 lodge in a peaceful location (near the Corbett National Park). 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 favorable. 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.
- A quiet lodge. 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 Resort. 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.
- Ashok Hotel Rs.800 -Single Room, Rs.230-280 - Double Room, Tallital. Tel: 0091-5942-235721, 0091-9412906833
- Hotel City Heart, near the Nainital Mountaineering Club of Nainital
- Hotel Krishna, The Mall.
- Hotel New Bharat, ☎ . Zoo road,The mall,Reservation.
- Hotel Vikrant Rs.700
- Mountain Quail, Buldakote, Pangot. Tel: 9837177537, 9837068400.
- Sarovar TRH, Tallital. Tel: 35570.
- Savoy Hotel Rs.150
- Alka Hotel. The Mall. Tel: 235220,236216
- Channi Raja, The Mall. Tel: 232859
- Classic The Mall. Mall Road.
- Fair light trails resort, A Heritage Bungalow located atop Nainital.
- Grand Hotel, The Mall. Tel: 235406,235008
- Jungle Lore Birding Lodge. Pangot.
- Palace Belvedere. Awagarh Estate.
- Vikram Vintage Inn, Mallital. Tel: 36177/9
- Abbotsford- Prasada Bhawan, ☎ . Mallital.
- Arif Castles (Mallital), ☎ 35801/3. Has a 24-hour cafe named Verandah that serves excellent coffee and pastries.
- Manu Maharani, Grasmere Estate, Mallital. Tel: 37341/8.
- The Naini Retreat, Aryapatta Slopes. Tel: 05942 235105, 011 4652 0000
- Woodside Retreat, ☎ . Pangot.
There are also a number of private villas offering accommodation in and around Nainital.
- The Hermitage, Kailash, Chunkuwa, ☎ .
- Shervani Hill Top, ☎ . Hotel has been in existence since 1960 and operating as holidays resort since 1981. Shervani Hilltop, Nainital spread out over the lush green and peaceful mountain side a boutique resort having 4 star facilities.
While driving your car on uphill, don’t hit brakes very hard as the risk of jamming them may arise. Most of the petrol pumps close by 7PM, so keep an eye on your fuel meter and get tank of your car filled in time.
Nainital is a safe place but during high season a surge of visitors keep visiting this beautiful place and some people exploit this opportunity for their own benefit. So a note of caution is given while roaming around the city.
- Cyberia, Mallital. The fastest connections in town.
- Cyber Zone (near Bank of Baroda Mallital, Nainital). It is a good place for your internet activities (like booking flight or train tickets or whatever for that matter).
- Flattis, The Mall. This is Nainital's most popular cyber cafe and it houses a small restaurant as well.
- 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)
- KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam), Oak Park House, Mallital. Tel: 36356.
- Tourist Office, The Mall. Tel: 35337.
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.
- G.B. Pant Hospital, Ramsay Hospital Road, Tallital. Tel: 235388.
- Vaccine Research Institute, Patwadangar. Tel: 241129.
- Veterinary Hospital, Haldwani. Tel: 221014, 235636.
- Tiwari Forest Hospital, Haldwani. Tel: 234423/30.
- Sitapur Eye Hospital, Haldwani. Tel: 220209.
Nainital has a few good universities which offer 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.
- Kumaon University is headquartered in Nainital, with a smaller branch in Almora. It offers numerous temporary courses. 
- 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.
- Bareilly - It is center of the furniture manufacturing and trading in sugar, cereal and cotton. Bareilly has got high recognition when its name was added into Counter Magnets of National Capital Region.
- Hill stations - Almora, Ranikhet, Kausani - These hill stations are situated well above 6,000 feet on semi-circular shaped mountains. It is believed that these hill stations have a very long history and have existed since the Vedic age.
- Jim Corbett National Park - It is first national park of India and is placed at foothills of Himalayas with height ranging from 1300 feet to nearly 4000 feet. The key attraction for wild life enthusiasts and tourists is the view of Tiger with its wilderness.
- Nanakmatta - It is one of the ancient towns named after Gurdwaara Nanak Mata Sahib, which is a Sikh pilgrimage site. Nanakmatta is associated with Guru Hargobind and Guru Nanak.
- Pilibhit - There are various religious places located in Pilibhit and most famous among them are Ardhanarishwar temple, Jaisantri Devi temple, Dargah e Shahji Miyan, Gauri Shankar temple and Jama Masjid.