Nainital is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 2,084 metres (6,837 ft) above sea level, Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (2,615 m (8,579 ft)) on the north, Deopatha (2,438 m (7,999 ft)) on the west, and Ayarpatha (2,278 m (7,474 ft)) on the south. From the tops of the higher peaks, "magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bounded by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas
The fact that Nainital is named after the Naini Lake speaks highly of its significance. This beautiful, stagnant pool of water in the heart of the city, is surrounded by seven majestic mountains and is a popular tourist attraction. You can enjoy row boating as well as paddle boating at the lake, while the stunning scenic surroundings please your senses.
An excellent place to click the Naini Lake in all its glory is at the Band Stand in Mallital.
Situated alongside the northern shore of the Naini Lake, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Sati and is counted amongst the 64 Shakti Peethas devoted to Her. According to mythological legends, the eye of Goddess Sati fell at this spot while Lord Shiva was carrying Her mortal remains to Mount Kailash. This is how She began to be worshipped as 'Naina', which means eye on translation.
The Nanda Devi Temple (also known as Naina devi Temple) is one of the most important places of religious significance in Nainital. It is also the venue of the Nanda Devi Mahotsav, which is a grand religious celebration organised to honour Ma Nanda and Sunanda – two local goddesses.
One of the main highlights of Nainital, the vibrant Mall Road, was built during the British rule in India and is the centre of all activities in town. There are a number of shops, restaurants, hotels and cafés at the Mall Road and no trip to Nainital is complete without taking a walk around here.
Mall Road has been the shooting location for many Bollywood films including Kati Patang and Koi Mil Gaya.
Sattal is another excellent tourist and picnic spot with seven lakes, each in a different hue of green and blue. Bhimtal, 23 kilometres away, is a large lake with an island restaurant in the middle that’s accessible by boat. While visiting Sattal you should also visit Naukutchiatal, a placid lake with nine corners, which is located about 26 kilometres away.
Capture a full view of the Garud Tal from the hair-pin bend at Mehragaon, where the roads to Nainital, Sattal and Bhimtal conjoin.
Situated at an altitude of 2,270 metres, Snow View Point offers spectacular views of the snow-clad Himalayas. Located about 3 km away from the main township of Nainital, this spot can be reached by an adventurous hilly trek or a comfortable taxi drive. Out of the different ways to reach this place, the most exciting one is by cable car, which commences at Mallital.
In order to provide a perfect view to visitors, a pair of huge binoculars is installed at this spot. A small temple is also present at this high-altitude point, along with shacks for souvenirs, tea and snacks.
Being a hill station, Nainital does not have direct air connectivity. The nearest airport is located at Pantnagar, which lies at a distance of 65 kilometres from Nainital. Most of the air traffic to Pantnagar airport includes private chartered flights. There are no commercial flights operational to and from here.
The nearest railway station is located at a distance of 34 kilometres at Kathgodham, at the foothills of the Kumaon hills. Kathgodam railway station enjoys good connectivity to important places such as Delhi, Lucknow and Howrah, with daily trains running to New Delhi.
Nainital enjoys excellent bus connectivity to important destinations in North India. Several tour operators operate daily bus service from New Delhi to Nainital, which includes options like air-conditioned, non-air-conditioned, sleeper and Volvo buses. Boarding an overnight bus is the most convenient way to head to Nainital, although some buses operate during the daytime as well.
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