Chilling winds touching the face and playing with the loose stands of hair. Drowning temperature freezing the hands. Snow awaiting its fall again. Hills guarding you from every corner, letting you have a distant peak at The Himalayas and the serene lake in the heart of the city calming down your senses. Who wouldn’t want to witness such a place if it’s just a few hours drive away.
The place I just described is Nainital. I had been in my hometown a few days ago and jumped at the first opportunity to visit Nainital. It would have been a decision regretted otherwise. Can’t say, fortunately or unfortunately, but Weather God favoured us and there was sunshine since the start of the day, weather being pleasant most of the times. It was only at higher parts of the city we experienced some chills.
The day started pretty early for a winter morning and added to my Monday Memories which is always the least favourite day of the week.
Wake up call- 7am.
Getting ready on a winter morning is always the hardest part of the day. Avoiding heavy breakfast because of the road journey ahead, we just had something light and hopped into the car. Daddy dearest obviously taking the lead. We left around 8.30. Chit-chatting and re-adjusting the local FM channels for good music every once in while (read escaping the melodious election campaigns), in no time we have reached half-way. The day being Monday when majority of people have their offices to attend to, we struggled through the traffic while passing through any city on our way. This traffic surely slowed us down but not our spirits.
Around noon, we had already reached the outskirts of Nainital and could see beautiful scenery beckoning us towards itself. Once getting the parking done, we walked through the different parts of the city.
Naina Devi Temple: Also known as Nanda Devi Temple, it is built on the shore of the Naini Lake. It is dedicated to Goddess Sati and it is also amongst the 64 Shakti Peethas that are devoted to her. It is believed that when Lord Shiva was carrying her mortal remains to the Mount Kailash, the eye of the Goddess Sati had fallen here.
Tibetan market: Around the temple, you can find many small shops and set-ups selling various traveler souvenirs, funky jewelry, woolen clothes, etc. Special mention should be made for the candles that Nainital is famous for. Available in various shapes, sizes and designs, these candles are made of either wax or jelly. The simple ones are available for prices as low as ₹ 10/piece ( subject to your bargaining skills ofcourse). The designer ones are fancier and more delicate also being priced higher.
Before continuing our exploration of the city and going gaga about the place, we decided to fuel ourselves and fill our tummies with some delicious street food. Forget the fancy delicacies in this part of the city and you will find spicy street food at dirt cheap prices to tantalize your taste buds. Let famous Momos of Nainital be not forgotten ofcourse.
We walked to the Naini Lake, which is the main attraction of the city drawing tourists from all over the state and country alike. Due to the shortage of time at our hands, we took the boat with the minimum time available. As the boatman took the shorter route of the lake, we enjoyed the scenery of being surrounded by the hills on either side. Small houses set up on the hills felt like white dots a painter might have painted on the the picture. We could spot the ropeway trolley going down the hill way proudly glancing over the city below.
₹120 per boat for two person
₹150 per boat for four person (1 hour)
Half an hour later of relaxing in the boat, we were back on the road asking our way to walk to the ropeway station. It was then when we stumbled upon a tourist guy who offered us to show around a few places in time span of 2 hours. After quickly discussing the pros and cons, we grabbed the offer and hopped into the vehicle. The vehicle zooped through the various hair pin bends and we visited many places one by one.
Snow Point: We were taken to a point that was at a bit higher altitude and where remnants of the snow were still visible. Though the snow was not enough to play with but it was good enough to pose for pictures atleast. We clicked a few pictures before the winds scared to freeze us.
Naina Peak Point: This is also called China Peak or Cheena Peak. At a comparatively higher altitude, from here you can catch a glimpse of the Himalayan Range at the distance along with bird’s eye view of the vast Kumaun Region. There were also telescopes installed at the junction which helps you to get a closer view of these snow capped beauty of nature.
Later we stopped at another place which gave us the aerial view of the city of Nainital below. One can spot tiny boats sailing in the Naini Lake while the hills bravely guard the city. Houses of various colors with tiny cars moving here and there form a sight just out of wallpaper.
Sukha Taal: This is a lake of its own kind which is dry for six months of the year and filled for the rest of year. Strange part of the story is that there are houses built in that area and people live there for the time when the lake is dry and shift to some other place once the monsoon strikes.
Tiffin Top: The guy dropped us at the Tiffin Top and we took the Aerial Ropeway down to our next destination on the list. As we moved downwards, we could see the beautiful city all below us. As we neared it, the houses grew bigger, lake grew calmer and the city welcomed us in its arms like a warm embrace. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
₹150 per person Adults both way
₹100 per person Children both way
Mall Road: This is the most popular destination in Nainital and a walk down this lane is strongly recommended. It gets all the more better if you are lucky enough to catch the sunset behind the lake. One side of the road is the beautiful scenery of the lake and on the other side there is a row of shops selling handmade handbags, candles, shoes, jewelry, wooden nameplates etc. Also, here one can also find fancy restaurants to savour different flavors of India and best of hotel for the stay (with the lake view in front). But beware of the cars that zoom past you quite fast.
As we now hopped back in our car on this road, it was already getting colder and local people were rushing back to the warmth of their houses. So, this was Nainital in a day. The beauty of the place truly amazed me. It surely a treat for the nature lovers.
P.s. You get Maggi at every view point 😉