Nainital, at an altitude of 6840 feet, is one of those places in India where people want to visit in the winters for snowfall. Well, even though I visited the cute hill town in Uttarakhand last October, definitely there are more exciting things to do in Nainital in the winter season. Nainital is the headquarters of Nainital District of Kumaon Division of the State of Uttarakhand in India. The city houses the Raj Bhavan (Governor House) and the High Court. Crescent-shaped Naini Lake and the Himalayan peaks surrounding the city, are the chief attractions of Nainital. A famous personality associated with Nainital has to be mentioned. He is Jim Corbett (25 July, 1875 – 19 April, 1955), a renowned British hunter, naturalist and author.
Don’t Miss the Boat Ride on Naini Lake:
Boat Ride on Naini Lake tops the list of all the things to do in Nainital. Naini Lake is pivotal to the city of Nailital. The panoramic lake, surrounded by hills, is a pear shaped natural fresh water lake. Boat ride on this lake is extremely romantic. There are numerous fish in the lake. A part of the lake is called Talli Tal and another is called Malli Tal.
Visit Naina Devi Temple & Enjoy Roaming around Mall Road:
As already told above, most of the attractions of Nainital are around the Lake. The road surrounding the lake is called Mall Road and most of the things to do in Nainital are at this place. Naina Devi Temple is situated near Mallital. It is one of the 52 Sati Peethas. The temple complex, situated just beside the lake, is beautiful and also houses a Hanuman Temple and a Shiva Temple. There is a Gurdwara beside the temple and also a mosque on the flats near Mallital. On the Mall road there is also a cute little Church. This area is a perfect example of religious harmony. Walking around the buzzing Mall road or a rickshaw ride is a happy experience. Besides lots to shop and lots to eat, one can stand by and keep gazing at the ripples of the emerald lake and watch the clouds kissing the hilltops.
Indulge in Shopping and Eating:
Mall Road is ideal for shopping. The Tibetan Market is pretty popular for woollens and for Tibetan dishes. We had some lip smacking steamed chicken momos. Shopping candles is one of the unique things to do in Nainital. We wondered at the variety of candles which were mostly handmade. Of course they are amazing souvenirs to bring for yourself and also as gifts. There are other souvenir shops too, selling handicrafts, mostly made of wood and paper pulp. Woollens are amazing and pocket friendly. Besides numerous street food stalls, there are numerous restaurants, patisseries and cafes by the lake and on the Mall road. Food and ambiance of some of them will remain in my heart for a very long time. View from ‘Brittney’s’ roof top and their food were amazing and ‘Sakley’s’ pastries were out of the world.
Take Cable Car to Snow View Point:
The cable car ride provides bird’s eye view of the full Naini Lake. After reaching the top, you can have breath taking views of the snow-capped peaks from the snow view point. Trishul, Nanda Devi and Panchachulli can be seen on clear days. We unfortunately missed one of the major things to do in Nainital, i.e., the cable card ride, due to heavy rainfall.
Trek to Cheena Peak:
Cheena Peak or Naina Peak gives a 360 degree view of the city of Nainital. If one can trek uphill and downhill for an hour each, views from this hill top can make one spellbound. However, one has to take advantage of a clear day. Avoid the trek during rain and snowfall.
Visit the Cave Garden and Nainital Zoo:
Cave Garden is for those who need some adventure in this otherwise peaceful hill station. There are 6 caves named after different animals and entering some of the caves is really hard and adventurous. Lights and sounds enhance the experience. Nainital Zoo, situated on Sher Ka Danda Hill is called ‘Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo’ and is also a centre for conservation. Visiting both of these places could be on your list of things to do in Nainital. It is a great experience at the sprawling lush zoo on the Shivalik Himalaya. It is one of the few high altitude zoos India has. The highest is at Darjeeling. You may refer to the following link: https://monkatforty.com/things-to-see-at-darjeeling-zoo/
Places around Nainital:
For some more wild life experiences visit Jim Corbett National Park and/or Pangot and Kilbury Bird Sanctuary. Pangot is just 15kms from Tallital. The bird sanctuary is 3kms from Pangot town. It is a bird lovers’ paradise and on the way there is a Himalayan view point which provides mind blowing views of the glistening Panchachulli. Jim Corbett National Park which has reported the highest tiger density among the Indian Tiger Reserves is just 64kms from Nainital. Gurney House, built by Jim Corbett’s mother, now a private property, was once home to him. You can visit the bungalow from outside. Bhimtal is another serene place, 23kms from Nainital.
Nainital has My Heart:
We travelled to Nainital by road from Kathgodam. It is a distance of 35kms, taking a little more than 1 hour. On the way there are two popular eateries of which we went to a cafe called, ‘Mud House Cafe’. It was a café nestled in the hills, cute enough to steal our hearts. The other one is a street side eatery near Haldwani where an old person cooks and serves only mutton and rice and extremely popular. Starting from Kathgodam station, I enjoyed every bit of my stay at Nainital. We stayed at Pinewood Bungalows and I loved watching the clouds float by from the rooms. The journey, food, stay and all the other things to do in Nainital stole my heart. I wish to visit Nainital again sometimes during the winters and enjoy a warm stay watching the snowfall from those windows.