Finding the Zen in Nainital ! (Part-2)

15th Dec 2017
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A 2 kilometers drive uphill from Naini-lake is the Snow view point which offers the charismatic view of snow-capped mountain ranges of the Himalayas. Cars are limited to a certain range, beyond that you need to take an arduous steep walk to reach the point. Or you can trolley down using an aerial ropeway from Mallital. Binoculars installed at this spot gives squint-eye view of the Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Nanda Kot peaks. A small temple harboring idols of Ram, Sita, Laxman, Hanuman with Durga and Shiva is nested on the peak. The mesmerizing view of the majestic Himalayas juice ups the vitality. I had to maze out my camera lens from a dense thicket to capture the scene. On our way down to the car, an old man sitting by the tree offered us "Chana Chaat". "Chana Chaat" is a delicious concoction of black chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, and green Serrano pepper with some added spices. Gulping the tangy "Chana Chaat" in the arctic cold of Nainital is heaven. We were now en-route to the highest peak in Nainital, the China Peak.

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Located around 9 kilometers from the snow view-point, China Peak has become the chalk horse for the trekkers. China peak was renamed to Naina Peak after the 1962 Indo-China war. From an altitude of 2,619 meters, the Naini-Lake resembles the shape of a mango, and so also christened as the "Mango Lake". The riveting vista of the Himalayas in the backdrop of the Mango Lake, with the surrounding Terai regions of Kumaon won't let you leave the spot till the sun turns west. Pedaloes sailing in the blue water formed an abstract art of black dots. The milieu around the place is splendid for the people who love to take long walks. We took quick detours to Sukhatal, Suicide point, and lover's point before heading to Khurpatal.

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The sun was almost primed to hide behind the mountains by the time we reached the viewpoint of Khurpatal. Cuddled at an altitude of 1,635 meters, the emerald blue-green Lake of Khurpatal is a den for the anglers. The fresh water of Khurpatal has a galore of fishes which makes it perfect for fishing and angling. The lake is enveloped by the lanky pine trees and cedar trees, and their reflection in the crystal clear water looks akin to a gemstone from the zenith point. Sun rays spearing through the leaves, and falling directly on the lake, with the murky mountains in the ochre-colored sky enameled a perfect fairy-tale picture. We drove down to the city with the glorious setting sun following us and somewhere every one of us found a raw essence of the soul.

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Sariyatal and the waterfall along the way can be added to the list of places to visit in Nainital.

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The Mall Road adjacent to the Naini Lake is a popular place for shopping. The Tibetian Market, also known as Bhotia Market is famous for its varied collection of winter apparel and souvenirs. The night-time is ideal to shop around and when you get tired, you can dine at variegated themed restaurants around the road to satisfy your hunger.

The next morning, we visited the Naina Devi Temple and Gurudwara on the banks of the Naini Lake and took a tranquil boat ride before cruising to Ranikhet, the Queen's meadow.

"To find the Zen, you need to travel."