Visit to Nainital - Feel The Nature's Tranquility

4th Jul 2009
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Naini Lake
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Original Chestnut plants in Chaubatia garden
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Chestnuts in Chaubatia garden
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Mom at Botanical garden, Ranikhet
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Way to Eco Cave Park
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Boating in Naini Lake
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Clouds touching the leaves and plants
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I have always been dreaming to visit those places, where I will have an opportunity to enjoy nature, breath fresh air, get bright sunshine and stay in a comfort zone for a couple of days with my parents. Once my father asked me, whether I wish to make a move to visit some places, where I can spend a good time. After a small discussion among us, we planned to visit Nainital and around places. I have always heard about Nainital and wishing to visit for a long time. Once my father affirmed, my dream came true and we decided to make a trip to Nainital.

My dad hired a cab along with the driver for our Nainital tour. It was in the first week of July; we departed from home at 0630 hours and took our journey towards Nainital. It was planned to stay for one day at Ramnagar, as it is also a very nice place to visit for tourists. After a couple of hours journey, we halted at a nice dhaba on the highway side to have breakfast and then after having the breakfast, we started for Ramnagar. At around1200 noon, we reached Ramnagar, where I was experiencing so calm quite and peaceful place as there was no traffic congestion and no loud sounds except the birds chirping.

This tour was so wonderful that I felt as heaven has always been placed on earth and we were searching at other place. It was one of the wonderful tour and amazing time of my life which I will never forget. J

The writer is a qualified professional in Tourism Management and has travelled extensively for the last couple of years in many places. :)

This is a small town under the municipal board in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. It is located approximately 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Nainital, the headquarters of the district. The ancient name of the place was Ahichhatra the capital of Northern Panchala of Mahabharata times. The town was re-established and settled by Commissioner H. Ramsay in 1856–1884. During the British Rule, tea gardens were developed in Ramnagar and nearby villages in Uttarakhand. But these tea gardens have been closed since a long time. We reached our govt. guest house as planned in advance and we all took rest for a short while and then we had our lunch. As programmed, we started for a trip to Jim Corbett National park, which is situated in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. It is the oldest national park and a famous tourist destination of India. At around 1500 hours, special vehicle reached our guest house and we moved for visiting Jim Corbett National Park. I was very excited as I came to know that as the trip will be in an open jeep. It was such a wonderful excitement to visit national park in an open vehicle. We started our journey towards the park and I was really enjoying the ride in the open jeep as I never rode it before in my life. We asked the driver regarding the safety in the deep forest, he advised us to remain calm & cool even an animal came out of jungle. After few minutes, we reached the park and I was in an exciting mood to enjoy the sights of different species of flora and fauna.

The famous park got established in 1936 as the Hailey National Park. After India’s independence, the park was named as Ramganga National Park but later in 1956, it was renamed after the famous hunter turned conservationist and author Jim Corbett, who played a major role in the establishment of national park. It is one of the most renowned Wildlife sanctuaries in India. The park contains 488 different species of plants and wide variety of wild life including elephant, tiger, chital, Sambar Deer, Nilgai, Gharial, King Cobra, Muntjac, wild bear, Hedgehog, common musk shrew, Flying fox, Indian Pangolin and around 600 species of birds. Jim Corbett National park covers an area of 521 square kilometres and acts as a protected area of critically endangered Royal Bengal Tiger of India. This national park is one of the well managed and protected areas in the country and attracts thousands of Indian and foreign visitors each year. Jim Corbett National park is in the foothills of Himalayan belt and has various geographical and ecological characteristics with splendid landscapes. There are four gates which lead people to Jim Corbett National park and these are Amanda gate, Dhangarhi gate, Khara gate and Durga Devi gate. We roamed the park for few hours and then we returned back to Ramnagar after visiting the park. This ride was really exciting and I was very happy and so was my parents. We have experienced that visit to the park is always nice either in the early morning or late afternoon as animals usually come out of deep forest in the evening and stay in the open place till sunshine gets bright. Colourful birds were also seen as they were moving to their homes. We have witnessed a few wild life creatures & birds in the late afternoon onwards. At around 1900 hours, we reached our guest house, we spent a little time leisurely and local officials advised us to leave early to reach Nainital to avoid any road block and it will be convenient to reach and we can make a small visit to the places around Nainital. Then we requested to serve our dinner and after having the dinner, we slept early as we have to wake up in the early morning. It is advised, visitor should take safeguard measures by inspecting the each & every corners before going to bed, if anyone stays in a guest house in the forest.Then next day, we all woke up early in the morning to leave as early as possible. We got fresh, had our breakfast and then at 0900 hours, we left the guest house for Nainital after having a pleasantry exchanges with the local officials. We board in our cab and proceeded towards Nainital; but I will never forget my safari ride in the national park; it was truly wonderful and amazing. While entering Nainital, we enjoyed the surroundings with greenery, breathing fresh air and soft feeling on our eyes. Here the clouds were moving across the mountains by touching the hill top and the trees. It was touching us so cool, one gets emotional. It was so beautiful scene and a wonderful feeling. The roads were so smooth that made the journey excellent. The driver was also an expert in driving in hilly areas and took all precautionary measures while driving in the den of hills.

It is one of the most charismatic hill stations that India harbours and it is tucked away in the Kumaon foothills of the Himalayas at an altitude of 1,938 meters. Its enchanting panorama, sprinkled with natural resplendence in the form of varicoloured coppices and dazzling almond-shaped lakes has earned it the well-merited moniker of “Lake Paradise”. The garlanded beauty of the place beckons day-trippers, nature-seekers, and travel enthusiasts all across India. Nainital holds an inimitable charm and forms the perfect retreat from cacophony and city blues especially for North Indian denizens. Nainital is a glittering jewel in the Himalayan necklace, blessed with scenic natural splendour and varied natural resources. Nainital is popularly known as the, “lake district of India” and is situated in Uttarakhand. The word Nainital means, “Naini” meaning “the eye” and “Tal” meaning “the Lake”. Nainital was earlier the summer headquarters of the British. The natural beauty and the Naini Lake make it the famous tourist destination. Nainital is also an ideal destination for families, honeymooners, poets and writers, nature lovers and adventure lovers as well.On the way to our concerned hotel, we came across the Naina Devi temple, Eco Cave Park, Kumaon vikas sadan marg, then we entered Sarovar nagar and we also had a glimpse of High Court of Uttarakhnad. While approaching towards the concerned hotel where we were to stay, we also had a glimpse of Naini Lake from the cab. It was surprisingly so beautiful and clean. A large no. of visitors were already boating in the lake. Oh God!! The lake was so large and beautiful.

It is said that the word Naini is derived from the Goddess Naina. Nainital is believed to be one of the 64 Shaktipeeths, where one of the body parts of Goddess Sati fell, when Lord Shiva carried her body. In Nainital, the eyes (naina) of the Goddess are assumed to have fallen. The temple is located on the northern shore of the Naini Lake. However; it got destroyed by the landside which took place in the year 1880 and it was later rebuilt because the temple was of great importance amongst the locals. The presiding deity of the temple is Maa Naina Devi which is represented by two ‘netras’ or eyes. The flanking Naina Devi is the deities of Mata Kali and Lord Ganesha.

Naini Lake is situated in the heart of the city. It is the eye – shaped lake which is the tourist hotspot and it acts as a magnet for all. It has earned respect since beginning and even the district is named after this enchanting lake. The heart of the place is a ravishing lake showering its beauty with pristine and stagnant water amidst seven mountains that are named as ‘Sukhatal’, ‘Narain Nagar’, ‘Charkhet’, ‘Saritatal’, ‘Khurpatal’, ‘Mangoli’ and ‘Ghatghar’ touching the sky. Naini lake is divided into two parts ‘Mallital’ and ‘Tallital’. The northern end of the lake is called ‘Mallital’ and the southern end is called ‘Tallital’. Both ends of the Naini lake have shopping centers with luxury and varied shops. The perimeter of the Naini Lake is 3.5 kilometers. People can explore the lake from one end to another watching the dynamic sun setting for the dusk providing peace and tranquility. During the night time, when the lights of the houses, cottages and hotels situated on the mountains covering Nainital reflects upon it, the lake makes the view invigorating on its majestical height. During night, it feels like there is a city underneath the stagnant water of Naini lake. The lake offers ample opportunities for yachting, boating and paddling facilities.

The beautiful building with an excellent architectural work was formerly known as the 'Old Secretariat', when Nainital was the summer capital of United Provinces.While we were taking rounds only around it, as we were unable to locate our hotel for our stay and we were searching here and there and then we were stuck at one place. Then finally we got the hotel named ‘Naini Vision’. Our hotel was on the lake side on the hill top. One can spend a good time sitting on the balcony facing the lake. Cluster of clouds are moving around and falling on the lake. After keeping our belongings in the hotel, and having our lunch we planned to move out for local visit. The hotel manager helped us to make the visit comfortably. Then at 1300 hours, we board on a bus for lake tour in Nainital. I was thrilled for getting a window seat along with my parents and then after few minutes journey, we reached in Bhowali which is 10 kilometers from Nainital. At 1400 hours. we reached at Sattal lake; the tour guide gave us 45 minutes to roam and have a view at this place.

It literally means Seven Lakes which is at a distance of about 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Nainital in the Lower Himalayan Range at an altitude of 1,370 m (4,490 ft). It is a cluster of seven small interconnected lakes in the midst of an old oak forest. Nature has really provided this place such beauty in abundance. On approaching Sattal, the first lake which is encountered is the Nal-Damyanti Lake; next it is the Panna or Garude lake; and finally there is a cluster of three lakes: Ram, Laxman and Sita lakes. I spent some time here with my parents and we took some photographs. The view was very beautiful and so calm place and the weather was also cool. There were also few pines which fell off, the trees were lying on the ground around the lake. People sitting over there were collecting all these to carry them to their home. At 1500 hours, we took off from here for another place and the moment we started from here, it started raining heavily. So for this in the midway another lake also came but we could not stop here due to rain. We had seen it from the bus. At 1545 hours we reached Naukuchiatal lake and we were given half an hour to visit this lake.

It is 26 kilometres from Nainital which is at an altitude of 1,220 m (4,000 ft). This lake is built with nine corners hence it is known as the Naukuchia lake. The lake is full of lotus and is surrounded by forest with a backdrop of the mountains and all this creates an ideal condition to sit on the banks and feel the breeze coming from the lake. It is the deepest of the lakes in the greater Naintal area. According to legend, it is said that if one takes in all nine corners in one glimpse, one can disappear in a cloud of smoke. After that, we made our way to visit other lakes and then at 1645 hours, we halted at Hanuman Mandir which is also known as ‘Hanuman Garhi’.

This is a very well known Lord Hanuman’s Hindu temple, which is positioned to south of the Tallital. It is located at an altitude of 1951 meters (6401 feet) and it is 3.5 kilometers away from the bus stop of Nainital. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Hanuman, the vanara god of the Ramayana and he is depicted as tearing his chest open to reveal ‘Ram’ and ‘Sita’ in his heart. This temple is well known for its religious importance and also for its premeditated location. It is located at such a height and a site that offers the artistic scenery and spectacular views of sunrise and sunset. It is important to mention that Lord Hanuman Statue is one of the tallest I had ever seen. It is giant in size and shape.Then after few minutes, we started for the next lake view and it started raining heavily again. At that time I was feeling like moving in a different world, as the sprinkle of rain is showering on us. It was like the God’s blessings on us to have such a wonderful day. After a long time the rain stopped and at 1655 hours, we reached at Bhimtal lake.

This is the biggest lake of Nainital and it is situated at a distance of 22 kilometers from Nainital.It is named after the second Pandava brother Bhima in the Mahabharata who was known for his prodigious strength. The lake, which is larger than Naini Lake, is situated at an altitude of 1,370 m (4,490 ft). Bhim Tal has an island, to the north-east side, which is an exquisite gem in the middle of the lake. There is also a 17th-century temple complex named as the Bhimeshwar, alongside a 40 ft (12 m) high dam at one end of the lake. This is situated within the range of temple bells, which have been chiming for the last 300 years in the 17th century edifice, beneath the shadow of the towering mountain rushing precipitously down to the emerald green lake. The island is only 91.4 metres from the shore.

It is literally known as Trowel Lake, an attractive lake which is about 5 kilometers from Nainital. It is situated at an altitude of 1,635 m (5,364 ft). It is popular with anglers and is surrounded by terraced fields or farms from which it presumably gets its name.

This location is just 4 kilometers from Nainital and it is situated at an altitude of 2120 meters high above the sea level. This place offers splendid views of the neighbouring hills and the green valley with rural houses. The main attraction of Land’s end is the beautiful view of the stagnant water of the Khurpatal. As the name suggests, one feels on reaching the area that the end of the land has really come and people can reach this spot by drive to Barapathar and then walk about for 1 kilometer. On next day, we all woke up at 0700 hours, had our breakfast and then we started for the next visit. Today we planned to visit Ranikhet and Almora.

It is the charming hill station located in the Almora district of Uttarakhand at an elevation of 1829 meters above the sea level. Ranikhet pacifies the nerves of avid city dwellers. Ranikhet literally means ‘Queen’s Meadow’ or ‘Queen’s Land’ which is an all season tourist spot for the peoples and especially for the admirers of the natural beauty. It is believed that the Queen Padmini of Kumaon was in love with this tiny hill paradise. So King Sudhardev had to oblige her by building a palace here and named this place as Ranikhet, the queen’s field. Though today, there is no trace of such palace found, but the place remained the same bewitching, full of flowers and fruits, trees and green meadows in the midst of heavenly Himalayan surroundings. This beautiful place was rediscovered by the Britishers. In 1869, the British established the headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment here and used the station as a retreat from the heat of the Indian summer. At present, Ranikhet is a cantonment town and it is the home and headquarters for the Kumaon Regimental Centre and Naga Regiment and is maintained by the Indian Army. The main city of Ranikhet is fairly crowded but the military area offers serene environment. Ranikhet is the place that reflects the best of the great Himalayas. The charming and the majestic views of the pine trees, lush green forests, delicate plant life and attractive wildlife, the fresh and pure scented mountain breeze, sounds of flora and fauna, the singing of birds, the panoramic view of the Himalayas sight, all adds to the heavenly and pure feeling of Ranikhet and leaves an unforgettable impact on the visitors. The salubrious atmosphere, tall conifer trees, green meadows and placid surroundings, makes Ranikhet as the unique hill station. The magnetism of each season in Ranikhet is always capable of luring tourists, making it an all season travel destination.

This is a famous temple in Ranikhet for its special feature. One should visit the temple after reaching Ranikhet. It is a very big temple. The temple is full of special type of bells. It was stated by priest that any one ties a bells and with a red cloth & thread and wish to get God’s blessing, it would be fulfilled. However, we couldn’t get the bell to tie but offered puja before reaching the famous orchard and garden.

The unique orchard is located a mere 10 kilometers away from the city of Ranikhet at an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level. This garden is known for its extensive orchards of delicious peaches, plums, apricots and apples. As the name suggests, Chaubatia is the junction of four (‘chau’) paths (‘batia’), interlinking the cities of Ranikhet, Bhargaon, Pilkholi and Dehrti. It is said that Chaubatia captivated the heart of Lord Mayo, the then British Viceroy of India in such a manner that he ordered the establishment of the cantonment for the British Cavalry during his stay in 1868. Thus the cantonment of Chaubatia came into existence. Chaubatia is also famous for its fruit garden, which is run by the Government Fruit Research Centre and amongst these, there are apple orchards and a botanical garden. The serene environment and its natural beauty made it as an excellent place for rest and relaxation for the people. The step farming used for growing fruits is a sight to behold and this place also becomes a vantage point for viewing the surrounding mountain ranges for its location. People can also see the distant snow capped Himalayan Mountains and the heights of the Nilkanth, Trishul, Nanda Devi and Nandaghunti and also go for a walk in the botanical garden. The place covers an area of around 600 acres and is filled with flora of different species. The vegetation here mainly consists of silver oak, rhododendron, cypress, cedar and pine trees.This place is so beautiful and it has such a wonderful atmosphere that my mom said that she wish if she could have stayed at this place forever as it is so calm and quite environment. All the apples in the orchard were covered with blue coloured nets as there were chances of rain so that they will be protected and also for the other fruits. There were varieties of medicinal and herbal plants which are used for different purposes like joint pains, massage oils, etc. There were several plants which I have neither seen nor heard about it; like Satavar plants are used for making chawanprash; Maharaja Bhringraj leaves are used for massage oils; Chestnuts plants are used for making chocolates; Harjora plants are used for joining bones; Pilmora plants are used for eye-drops; Banhaldi are used for joint pains; Scorpio grass (bichhoo ghaas); almond plantations were also there; Poplar trees are used for making match sticks, papers; there were other plants also like Morpankhi, Eucalyptus, Apricot plants, Red heartphokar; etc. Then after taking rounds of the garden, we came to shop where some products were sold which are made for the plants and trees from this garden. My mom bought some juices, pickles, honey and some ayurvedic scrubs from this shop and they were of good quality. One may make it plan to purchase such small items to memorize the visit. It was really a nice trip for me in the garden and was really amazing. One should hire a guide while visiting the garden and orchard.

The Almora town is located at a distance of 63 kilometres from Nainital and 380 kilometer from Delhi. It is the headquarter of Almora district. Almora district is located in the beautiful Kumaun region of Uttarakhand state in India. For its easy accessibility, Almora promises the tourists a pleasant visit. Almora is known a 'town of temples'. At the centre of the town, is the temple of Goddess Nanda Devi. Almora, unlike Shimla, Nainital and Ranikhet, which were developed by the English, is a hill station totally developed by the Indians. Almora has many fruit orchards like peaches, apricots, apples, plums, etc. It is situated at an elevation of 1638 meters high above the sea level and is spread across a 5 kilometers ridge atop the Kashaya Hill. Almora district is surrounded by Pithoragarh to the east, Garhwal region top the west, Bageshwar to the north and Nainital to the south. It is situated on a horse –shoe shaped ridge of a mountain, of which the eastern portion is called the Talifat and the western one is known as Selifat. This place is famous for its magnificent beauty, panoramic view of the Himalayas along with lovely pine and deodar trees rich cultural heritage, unique handicrafts and delicious cuisine. This place was developed by the Chand Rajas and it was maintained and further developed by the British. The renowned Swami Vivekananda also meditated in this region. The picturesque landscape of Almora attracts hundreds of peoples as it is one of the business hubs Kumaon region. Almora is known for various famous local markets like Lala Bazar, Malli Bazar Karkhana bazaar and Thana Bazar etc. where ethnic style products are available. It is the commercial town of Uttarakhand. We stayed in a hotel for a rest for a small time. The sunset scene is most attractive in Almora. We have experienced a nice moment enjoying the sun set from the hotel terrace. The deer park is another important attraction in Almora. One can witness a wide range of deers. The journey to Almora is little bit tough as one had to move up & down in the valley of the hills. There is hardly any locality along with roadside or any establishment. Only a good number of temples were seen on the way to Almora. We felt very bad as we had to leave Almora spending a short time. We had not planned it earlier. In fact, we planned it after visiting Ranikhet, as it is at a short distance. One should plan to visit for one full day to enjoy the sunrise & sunset.Then after getting back from Almora in the late evening, we got tired and reaching our hotel, we got fresh and then in the evening, we all again went to Nainital market to for shopping and roaming around the markets. It is usually remains busy for the entire evening and vehicles movement are totally restricted. The market is open usually up-to 9.00 p.m. in the evening Tourists usually roam around the lake or take rest sitting on benches.On next day, my parents said that today we will go for local sight seeing like cave parks, zoo, the famous Mall road, where the two famous films ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ and ‘Vivah’ were shot; church, etc.

The wonderful spot is located just one kilometer above the Mallital near Kumaon University campus. This place offers the views of the caves of different kinds of animals which are explored by people by going through it. But there are no real animals for sure. It is the famous tourist place for tourists and visiting the Cave garden has been a thrilling experience as going through the caves and the interesting history also fantasies people. When we entered the cave garden, we saw different and beautiful leaves and flowers everywhere. We also saw the ‘Tiger Cave’ which was totally like a den. The moment I entered the cave with my family, we saw that this cave was so big and downturned that we used to ‘mind our heads’; it was also very narrow and rugged, but it was very nice experience and I was very happy. We covered the cave garden in almost 30 to 40 minutes.

The famous is situated at around 2 kilometers from the bus station. The zoo is located at an elevation of 2100 meters above sea level providing the sufficient and herbal like environment to the high altitude animals. Perhaps this is one of rarest zoo located at such a height in the world. A wide varieties of animals like Leopards, Hill Fox, Siberian Tiger (Snow Tiger), Palm Civet Cat, Wolf, Silver Pheasants, Barking Deer, Sambhar, Monkeys, Rose ringed Prakeet, Himalayan Black Bear, Ghoral, White Peacocks, etc; are placed in the zoo and there is a beautiful garden in the zoo side and a wide variety of flowers and plants including ‘Thuja Compacto’ a medicinal plant. Tourists can spend a good time to take rest.

This is also known as Dorothy’s Seat is situated at an altitude of 2292 meters (7520 ft) above the sea level which gives the splendor views of the neighbouring country side and the majestic Himalayan range. Tiffin top and Land’s end are covered at a stretch as both the places are located side by side. Dorothy’s seat is a stonework picnic perch on Tiffin top which is built in the memory of an English lady painter Dorothy Kellet by her husband who was a British Army Officer named Col J.P. Kellett DSO MC, City of London Regiment and her admirers after her death in a plane crash.

The heart line of Nanital connects Mallital with Tallital and thus is busiest road of the town. During the peak season, (mostly in May and June) even the vehicles are not allowed to enter the mall road so that the trade keeps on strolling as this place is very famous amongst the tourists. This road is now named as ‘Govind Ballabh Pant Marg’. This road is flocked with hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, small game shops, jewellery shops, banks, travel agencies and street shops as well. After having a round around the mall road, we moved towards the Naini lake as I told my dad that I wish for boating in the lake. My mom first didn’t agree as she said that she does not want to go; but I managed to convince her and we all went for boating in the lake. We all wore the lifebelts and jackets for our safety and the boatman started roaring the paddles. Soon we were in the middle of the lake and from here we were able to see the whole town; the view was so beautiful and amazing that for a once I was lost and I felt like I am in heaven. It was such an awesome feeling that I can’t imagine; it was so wonderful that the clouds were moving through the mountains, trees, lakes and they were just touching us for a while. The lake is quite deep and water is clean. It just looks like a mirror as one can see their clear image.

The specially designed Church was established in 1844 and it is located on the north end of town that is Mallital. It is about half a mile in the north-west of the Naina Devi temple. The church was named by Daniel Wilson who was the Bishop of Calcutta and fell ill during a visit to Nainital in 1844 to lay the foundation of the church, but he was obliged to sleep in an unfinished house on the edge of the forest. A brass plaque on the altar is inscribed with names of the victims of the Landslip of 1880.

The specially designed with beautiful architecture building was built in 1899 and it was designed in the Victorian Gothic domestic style by the architect F.W. Stevens as the summer residence of the governor of North West Province. It consists of a two- storied mansion with 113 rooms, a large garden, a swimming pool and a golf court as well. Presently, Raj Bhawan is the official guest house for the Governor of Uttarakhand and for the guests stay. But people can explore this place in a nice way and they can also look for the atmosphere here.

The Flats were situated on the northern side of the lake where the statue of Govind Ballabh Pant is erected. The Flats covers a large area touching the lake. The flatts has a cemented playing ground which is generally used for cultural activities during the festivals. This place gets the large number the people in the evening because of the chat bazaar and the famous ‘Bhotia Market’ selling their varied and unique products. This place is really amazing.

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