Nestled in the picturesque Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Nainital is a breathtaking hill station that has captured the hearts of tourists from all over the world. Known for its enchanting lakes, majestic peaks, and pleasant climate, Nainital offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The town takes its name from the serene Naini Lake, which is one of its most iconic landmarks. Surrounded by lush green hills, this perennial lake mesmerizes visitors with its tranquil ambiance and stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains.
1. Snow View Point: Snow View Point is a popular tourist spot located about 3 km away from the town of Nainital. Visitors can reach the point either by taking the cable rope or by driving their own cars. For those who prefer a more leisurely approach, it is also possible to walk to Snow View Point or book a taxi for convenience.
Once you reach Snow View Point, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the city below. The sight is truly marvelous as you take in the scenic beauty of Nainital surrounded by lush greenery and majestic mountains. One interesting feature at the viewpoint is a marker that proudly proclaims it to be “The highest mountain in the British empire.” This historical hint adds an intriguing aspect to the experience, especially considering that before Sikkim became a part of India, Naina Devi was recognized as India’s highest peak. Whether you choose to enjoy the stunning vista by walking, taking a cable car ride, or driving up in your own vehicle, Snow View Point promises to offer an unforgettable and mesmerizing sight worthy of any visitor’s attention.
2. The High Altitude Zoo: The High Altitude Zoo is conveniently located just 2 KM from the Tallital bus stand, making it easily accessible to visitors. While some choose to take transportation, many adventurous tourists opt to climb up the hill to reach the zoo. This short trek adds excitement and anticipation to their visit.
Once inside, visitors are greeted with a wide variety of endangered animals native to the Himalayas. One of the highlights of the zoo is its collection of beautiful Royal Bengal Tigers, which have captivated visitors for years. Other notable animals include Tibetan wolves, sambars, leopard cats, and Himalayan bears. However, it’s worth mentioning that until 2011, the High Altitude Zoo was also home to India’s only Siberian tiger before he sadly passed away. Nonetheless, this zoo still boasts an impressive array of species that make for a memorable experience.
3. Nainital Lake: Nainital Lake is a picturesque waterbody located in the city of Nainital, Uttarakhand. It is a popular tourist destination and is easily accessible by road through Sukhatal and Tallital bus stands. The lake offers a serene and calming atmosphere, making it the perfect place to unwind and relax.
One of the highlights of the Nainital Lake is the famous Nainital Boat Club. Here, visitors can enjoy yachting facilities and take a boat ride on the lake. The boat club offers various options for boating, including being escorted around the lake at a cost of Rs. 350 or pedaling the boats themselves for Rs. 150 per hour. Boating on the Nainital Lake is an incredibly enjoyable experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in its natural beauty while enjoying a leisurely boat ride.
4. Eco Cave Gardens: Eco Cave Gardens is a popular tourist attraction located in the Sukhatal region of Nainital, India. Situated on the Kaladungi road, reaching here is convenient as it is easily accessible through various transportation options. The garden offers a unique experience with its interconnected rocky caves and hanging gardens. It takes advantage of the hilly terrain and creates a beautiful oasis in the midst of nature.
One of the highlights of Eco Cave Gardens is its natural beauty and well-maintained surroundings. The caves are interconnected through narrow passageways that give visitors an adventurous feel while exploring. The hanging gardens add to the charm of this place, with vibrant flowers and shrubs creating a picturesque ambiance. Whether you are an adult or a child, there are plenty of activities to enjoy here. From crawling through cave tunnels to climbing rocks, there’s something for everyone. It serves as an educational experience for children as they learn about different rock formations and plant species.
5. Tiffin Top: Tiffin Top, also known as Dorothy’s Seat, is a popular tourist spot located on the Ayarpatta hills in Nainital, India. Situated at a height of around 2300 meters, it offers breathtaking views of the scenic beauty that surrounds it. The place is just a short 4 km drive from the Nainital town, making it easily accessible for tourists.
One of the main highlights of Tiffin Top is its panoramic view of the Nainital town. From here, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the entire town and its picturesque surroundings. The sight is particularly enchanting during sunrise and sunset when the sky is painted with hues of orange and pink. Additionally, visitors can also enjoy a stunning view of the Kumaon hills from Dorothy’s Seat, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and photographers.
6. The Naina Devi Temple: The Naina Devi Temple is situated on the picturesque Naina hillock, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the serene Naini Lake. This temple holds immense importance, particularly among devotees of the Hindu religion. Believed to be a prominent Shakti Peeth, it attracts pilgrims from various parts of India who come to seek blessings and offer their prayers.
According to legends, the temple got its name from an ancient mythological story about Sati, Lord Shiva’s consort. After Sati sacrificed herself in a sacrificial fire due to her father’s disrespect towards Lord Shiva, her body was dismembered into various parts that fell across different locations in India known as Shakti Peeths. It is believed that at this very place where the Naina Devi Temple stands today, Sati’s eyes fell. Therefore, this site carries great religious significance for devotees seeking blessings related to vision and purity.
7. Naina Peak: Naina Peak, also known as China Peak, is a popular tourist destination located in Nainital, Uttarakhand, India. Situated at a distance of 6 KM from Mallital, the peak can be easily accessed via buses or other forms of public transportation. The journey to the top is filled with scenic beauty and lush greenery, making it a pleasant experience for visitors.
One of the highlights of Naina Peak is its breathtaking view of the snow-capped Himalayas. This mesmerizing sight attracts tourists from all around the world and leaves them in awe of nature’s beauty. Standing at the highest point in Nainital, visitors are able to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the entire city along with panoramic views of the majestic Himalayan range and the picturesque Kumaon hills. This viewpoint offers a sense of tranquility and peace that is unmatched, allowing visitors to escape from their busy lives and soak in the serenity of their surroundings.
8. The Mall Road: The Mall Road in Nainital serves as the heartbeat of the city. It is a bustling hub that offers a plethora of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you are looking for some retail therapy, delicious food, or simply want to soak in the vibrant atmosphere, the Mall Road has something for everyone. From trendy boutiques to souvenir shops, you can indulge in some shopping while immersing yourself in the local culture.
Apart from shopping, the Mall Road also boasts numerous restaurants where you can satisfy your taste buds with a variety of cuisines. Whether you crave local delicacies or international flavors, there are plenty of options available to suit every palate. Additionally, visitors can find various hotels along the Mall Road offering comfortable accommodations during their stay. With options ranging from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels, there is something for every traveler’s preference and budget.
9. Kilbury Bird Sanctuary: Kilbury Bird Sanctuary, located just 12 kilometers away from Nainital, is a paradise for bird lovers. Whether you choose to arrive by public transport or your own vehicle, reaching the sanctuary is convenient and hassle-free. Taxis and other affordable modes of transportation are readily available from Nainital.
The highlight of Kilbury Bird Sanctuary is its incredible variety of bird species. With over 580 different species to admire, this sanctuary offers a truly enchanting experience for bird enthusiasts. From majestic Brown wood owls to melodious white throated laughing thrushes, and from elusive forktails to many other birds, there is an abundance of unique avian life to discover here.
10. Bhotia Market: Located near the iconic Naina Devi Temple, Bhotia Market, also known as Tibet Market, is a bustling shopping destination in Nainital. This market is a must-visit for all shopaholics and offers a wide range of clothing options at affordable prices. Whether you are looking for trendy scarves, stylish bags, warm winter clothes like shawls or mufflers, or traditional ethnic items, Bhotia Market has it all.
What makes Bhotia Market even more special is the opportunity to bargain and get great deals on your purchases. The local shops here are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, creating a delightful shopping experience. The market is filled with colorful stalls and shops showcasing a variety of merchandise that caters to different tastes and preferences. From vibrant traditional wear to modern fashion statements, you can find something for everyone in this market.
11. Kainchi Dham: Kainchi Dham is a prominent spiritual destination located in the serene hills of Uttarakhand, India. Situated just 9 km away from Bhowali and 17 km away from Nainital, this place is known for its tranquil atmosphere and spiritual significance. One of the highlights of Kainchi Dham is its association with tech legend Steve Jobs. During his early days, Jobs visited this place and found solace in its divine surroundings. He was so impressed by the peace and serenity that he even advised Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, to visit Kainchi Dham.
Believed to enhance spiritual enlightenment, Kainchi Dham attracts numerous people seeking inner peace and solitude. The ashram at Kainchi Dham offers a haven for spiritual seekers, allowing them to practice meditation and connect with their inner selves. The annual Bhandara held on June 15th is another noteworthy event at Kainchi Dham, where more than 1 lakh people are fed as part of the religious ceremony.
12. Lands End: Lands End is a popular tourist destination located about 4 kilometers outside of town. One of the best things about this spot is that it is easily accessible, so transportation and reaching there is not a hassle. Visitors have the option to either walk up to the top or take a scenic horseback ride to reach Lands End. This makes it convenient for people of all fitness levels and preferences.
The highlight of Lands End is undoubtedly the breathtaking view it offers. From the top of the mountain, visitors are treated to an exhilarating vista that includes the plains and Khurpa Tal (lake). The sight from up there is truly magnificent and worth every effort made to reach this place. Moreover, Lands End is surrounded by picturesque villages and lush pine forests, adding to its overall charm. Nature enthusiasts will particularly enjoy exploring these beautiful surroundings while taking in the fresh mountain air.
13. Bhimtal Lake: Bhimtal Lake, located in the beautiful town of Bhimtal in Nainital, is a popular tourist attraction. Situated more than 22 km away from Nainital, it offers a serene and peaceful environment to visitors. For those looking to reach a railway station from Bhimtal Lake, the nearest one is Kathgodam which is approximately 20 km away.
One of the main highlights of Bhimtal Lake is its size. It is the largest lake in the Kumaon region and often referred to as the lake district of India due to the abundance of lakes in this area. This picturesque lake not only provides drinking water for the surrounding areas but also serves as a habitat for various species of fish. The clear blue waters of Bhimtal Lake create a mesmerizing view that attracts nature lovers and photography enthusiasts alike. Boating facilities are available for visitors who want to further explore and enjoy the beauty of this enchanting lake.
14. Sattal: Sattal, as the name suggests, is a picturesque cluster of seven freshwater lakes nestled in the lower Himalayan range. Located near Bhimtal in the district of Nainital, Sattal offers a serene and tranquil environment that attracts nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. Each lake in Sattal has its unique charm and is surrounded by dense oak and pine forests, making it a haven for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.
The clear and calm waters of Sattal provide an excellent opportunity for various water activities such as boating, kayaking, and fishing. Adventure seekers can also indulge in trekking or hiking to explore the surrounding hills and enjoy breathtaking views of the Nainital valley below. The lush green surroundings make it an ideal spot for picnics or camping, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature while enjoying some peaceful moments away from the bustling city life.
15. Pangot: Pangot, a small colony near Nainital, is renowned for its breathtaking panoramic views and natural beauty. This charming destination is a haven for nature lovers and bird enthusiasts. The lush green jungles surrounding Pangot are home to a diverse range of bird species, making it an ideal place for birdwatching.
The enchanting beauty of Pangot lies in its serene atmosphere and untouched forests. As you wander through the dense foliage, you will be greeted by the melodious songs and vibrant colors of various birds. Pangot is often referred to as a paradise for birdwatchers as it offers sightings of around 200 species of birds including Himalayan griffons, lammergeiers, whistling thrushes, and koklass pheasants. Nature walks in this area allow visitors to connect with the peaceful surroundings and appreciate the incredible diversity of avian life.
16. Naukuchiatal: Naukuchiatal, situated in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, is a picturesque hill station that derives its name from the stunning Naukuchiatal Lake. This enchanting destination offers a serene and tranquil atmosphere, making it an ideal getaway for those seeking solace amidst nature. The lake itself is believed to have nine corners, adding to its mystical charm.
Apart from its natural beauty, Naukuchiatal also boasts a plethora of adventure activities that attract thrill-seekers from all over. From paragliding and kayaking to trekking and camping, there is something for everyone here. The panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks make these activities even more exhilarating. For those looking for some relaxation, the lakeside cafes and resorts offer breathtaking views of the emerald green waters and provide a perfect spot to unwind.
17. Sariyatal: Sariyatal is a picturesque lake located just 5 kilometers away from the bustling town of Nainital. Situated on the route to Kaladhungi, this small yet charming lake is a favorite among tourists. Despite its size, Sariyatal offers breathtaking views and a serene atmosphere that leaves visitors feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
One of the highlights of Sariyatal is its tranquil ambiance. The calm waters of the lake, coupled with the surrounding trees and greenery, create a peaceful setting that instantly soothes the mind and soul. Whether you are seeking solace or looking for a quiet spot to unwind, Sariyatal provides the perfect escape from city life.
18. Khurpatal Lake: Khurpatal Lake is a beautiful and serene lake located in the town of Khurpatal, near Nainital. It is just a short distance of 10 km away from the popular hill station of Nainital, making it an easily accessible destination for tourists. The lake is known for its abundant fish population, providing a natural habitat for various species of fish. Fishing activities are also carried out here, ensuring a steady supply of fresh fish to meet the dietary needs of the region’s residents.
One striking feature of Khurpatal Lake is its vibrant emerald color, which adds to its charm and allure. This unique aspect fascinates tourists and attracts them to take pictures of this picturesque natural beauty. The calm and tranquility that can be experienced while admiring the lake make it an ideal spot for relaxation and rejuvenation amidst nature’s splendor.
19. Gurney House: Gurney House in Nainital is a remarkable glimpse into the life of renowned British naturalist, Jim Corbett. This historic building serves as a testament to his legacy and contributions to wildlife preservation in India. Built in the 18th century, the house showcases stunning architecture that attracts architecture enthusiasts from all around. Its location just a short walk away from the popular Mall Road makes it easily accessible, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the charm of this heritage site.
Surrounded by beautifully maintained gardens, Gurney House offers visitors a unique experience of stepping back in time and experiencing life as Jim Corbett did during the 1800s. From exploring its well-preserved rooms and artifacts to enjoying the tranquil surroundings, a visit to the former summer house is truly an enriching experience. The house allows enthusiasts and history buffs alike to gain exceptional insights into Jim Corbett’s life and work, offering a deeper understanding of his passion for nature and wildlife conservation.
20. St. John in the Wilderness Church: Located in Forsyth Gunj, St. John in the Wilderness Church is a famous Anglican church dedicated to John the Baptist. With a history dating back to 1852, the church stands as a testament to the rich heritage of Dharamshala and its surrounding areas. What sets this church apart is its neo-Gothic architectural style, which adds a unique appeal to the structure. The majestic presence of deodar trees in the vicinity further enhances the beauty of this location.
To reach St. John in the Wilderness Church, one can take a 20-minute downhill walk from the Bus Station at Nainital. As visitors approach the church, their attention is immediately drawn to two remarkable features. On one side stands a haunting reminder of past tragedies – the ruins of a graveyard holding those who lost their lives in the devastating earthquake of 1905. Meanwhile, on another side rests a restored bell tower that captures the imagination and curiosity of all who lay eyes on it.
Nainital, nestled amidst the emerald embrace of the Kumaon Hills, is a magical tapestry of shimmering lakes, majestic mountains, and quaint charm. But its allure extends far beyond its own borders, weaving a web of enchanting destinations that beckon with their unique beauty and experiences. As we conclude our exploration of the top 20 places to visit near Nainital, it’s not just a list of locations that lingers, but a feeling of wonder, a yearning to lose oneself in this breathtaking tapestry of nature, culture, and adventure.