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The word ‘Nainital’ comes from the two words ‘Naini’ which is the name of the eye-shaped lake in this hill station, and ‘Tal’ which means ‘Lake’ in the Garhwali dialect.

The word ‘Nainital’ comes from the two words ‘Naini’ which is the name of the eye-shaped lake in this hill station, and ‘Tal’ which means ‘Lake’ in the Garhwali dialect. In fact, this lake is the region’s enduring landmark. It is surrounded by high peaks on most sides. The mountains surrounding it are named Naina, Deopatha and Ayarpatha. They can be traversed on foot or on horseback.

The Naini Lake has an interesting legend associated with it. The story goes that the Goddess Sati, Shiva’s consort, was killed by Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu decimated her body with his Sudarshan chakra, and cut it up into 52 pieces. These pieces were scattered all over the country, and one of her eyes fell in the region that is now Nainital and got filled with Shiva’s tears. The name of the spot came to be ‘Nain’ which means ‘Eye’ in Hindi and the local dialects here. From here, came the name ‘Nainital’. The famous Naini Mata Temple here is dedicated to Goddess Sati, who is worshipped devoutly to this day.

The popular hill station occupies pride of place in Uttarakhand State’s culture. It is not the State capital, but it is the judicial capital for Uttarakhand, since the High Court of the State is here. It is also the HQ of the Kumaon Division. The Governor of Uttarakhand lives here, since the State’s Raj Bhavan is located here. In the pre-Independence era, Nainital was the summer capital for the British officers working with the United Provinces.

However, Nainital’s status as a hill station was cemented only after the year 1841, when the first British home came up here; it was owned by a wealthy sugar trader. Thereafter, many other houses started being built here rapidly, most of them overlooking the gorgeous mountains and the Naini Lake. The town also earned a fair reputation as a spot for recovering one’s health, apart from getting a church, a small hospital, and so on.

Set in the Kumaon Foothills, Nainital offers a salubrious climate and stunning views all around. It is a prime site for mountaineering and trekking. However, the region has traditionally been prone to landslides owing to heavy seismic and human intervention in the rock formations here.

Why Visit Nainital     

There are never any good reasons NOT to visit Nainital! The gorgeous spot is a magnet for every person looking for serenity and stunning beauty on their holiday. It calms your soul and lifts your spirits. Here are some reasons why you should plan a Nainital vacation this year:

* To breathe in the pure air. Several people suffering from the effects of sound and air pollution like to stop by at Nainital for a few weeks to recuperate – the fresh mountain air puts the roses back in their cheeks! Take a holiday here to feel rested and rejuvenated, ready for the challenges life throws at you.

* There is hardly any population. This should bring cheer to those travellers who don’t like crowded spots: the population of Nainital as per the 2011 Census is just about 42,000 people. This means that there are no widespread housing settlements, and hardly any crowds anywhere. However, you will find a lot of tourists at the start of the winter season here, in October and November. This is considered peak tourist season and the best time to visit in nainital. Be sure to book your resort in Nainital at least two months in advance when visiting during this time.

* There is a lot to eat: Apart from eating the fare that you would find in most Indian cities, from rolls to pizzas, you must certainly try out the local cuisines here. Nainital’s street food joints offer sumptuous local dishes like aloo ke gutke, ras dal, bhat ki churkani, baadi, and the sweets like gulgula and arsa. Some of the best restaurants in Nainital serve these dishes as well. Top rated resorts in Nainital also cook local fare for their guests.

* It is an exciting shopping hub: Nainital tourism’s best kept secret is that it has many locally sourced and produced items for sale that you would not find anywhere else. Chief among these are handmade candles – they are so unique and well made, that you will buy a lot of them at one go! They make for great gifts for your friends and relatives as well. Besides these, you can buy fresh fruit sourced locally, such as mulberries, blueberries, peaches and apples, among others. You will also find food items made from these local fruits, such as jams and squashes. Head to Bara Bazaar and Mall Road to shop.

* It takes you back in time: A visit to Nainital will reinforce your belief that is possible for one, even in our highly developed world, to lead a simple life. The local residents have a spiritual and religious bent of mind, and they are completely family-oriented. This reflects in their way of life – they dress simply in the Kumaoni way, and are not too interested in exploration outside their own town. In fact, they believe in bettering their own town and homes and making them self-sufficient. Seeing their simplicity and warm nature takes you back to a simpler time, when these attributes were commonplace in society.

The Best Time To Visit Nainital

Though most people insist on visiting this hill station in the summer months – the day time temperatures are higher and the nights are not so chilly – the ideal time to visit Nainital is at the start of the winter months. You should time your visit for October or November. The weather does turn cooler, and you can see the beginnings of frost and mist. It is a magical time to be here. However, if sightseeing and all-day exploration are important to you, then a summer time visit is better.

Do not visit Nainital during the monsoon season – the months of July and August are particularly wet and most parts of the town are forced shut. The possibility of landslides is also much higher during this time.

Places To Visit In Nainital

Now that you have planned your vacation and booked your resort in Nainital, let’s get you acquainted with the top places to visit in Nainital hill station. Be sure to add these to your itinerary:

* Naini Lake: As mentioned earlier, this lake is the hill station’s most famous landmark. The town is set around this lake, and you can take a leisurely stroll around it with your partner. It is also possible to go boating on this lake, which your family will love and cherish. The boat ride takes about two hours, so carry water and snacks if there are youngsters in the group.

* Cheena or China Peak: The Cheena or China Peak is traditionally referred to as the Naina Peak by the locals. It is the highest peak in Nainital, and it offers the most spectacular views of the region. You can walk up the peak, though it takes half a day and it might be a tiring climb for the young ones. Or you can hire a horse with a guide and go up – the ride is quite safe, but do ask the guide not to make the horse go too fast if you have not done horseback riding before.

* St John in the Wilderness Church: Set in a dense forest full of deodar trees, this remarkable church was the site of a disused and unfinished house in the 1800s. The story goes that St John, who was a bishop in Calcutta, was forced to move away from the city to care for his health and respiratory issues. He used this house in Nainital to recuperate from his illness – thus the house got the name ‘St John in the Wilderness’. The house was later torn down and church was built there in the year 1880, in honour of the over 150 victims who died in the region’s most horrific landslide a year previously.

* Tiffin Top: Also known as ‘Dorothy’s Seat’, Tiffin Top is a viewing point that overlooks the Himalayan range. You get the best photo ops at this spot. The place is known as ‘Dorothy’s Seat’ after a former British artist Dorothy Kellet, who would sit here and paint the landscapes. Ask your resort in Nainital to pack you a picnic hamper and have a sit-down meal at this spot.

* GB Pant High Altitude Zoo: This is literally one of the highest zoos in India, at an altitude of 2100 metres above sea level. It is a breathtaking property, full of hushed silence and the sounds of animals and birds. There are many endangered species of animals here, as well as those native to Nainital. Expect to see some real beauties, like Tibetan Wolf, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Bear, etc.

Where to Stay In Nainital

Your holiday in Nainital will be made even more special when you book yourself and your family into a luxury resort. Let the resort in Nainital pamper you and attend to your every need. We recommend the Club Mahindra Naukuchiatal Resort.

Located in Uttarakhand, this exclusive Club Mahindra Nainital resort is the stuff of dreams. Check out the well-appointed rooms, gorgeous views from all around, spa and other relaxing activity zones, children’s recreation area, and the restful vibe that the property has. Besides this, you can go walking to the nearest market (just 5 km from the resort) and indulge in some retail therapy. And you will love the amazing food on offer at this Nainital resort’s restaurant as well!


Q: What resorts in Nainital have nice views?

The resorts with the best views are those located facing, or in the mountains. In our opinion, the Club Mahindra Naukuchiatal Resort has the best views in the area. Call them and inquire about their plans/tariffs, how to reach Nainital from your hometown, and what kind of experiences are on offer.

Q: Which resorts in Nainital are good for families?

Though most resorts in Nainital claim to be good for families, only a few 3-star hotels and high end resorts like Club Mahindra Naukuchiatal Resort are able to keep the entire family happy and satisfied. It is not enough, especially when youngsters are part of the group, to provide generic rooms and restaurant services. The Club Mahindra property, for instance, has a designated games zone for children, where they can run as well as play indoor games. Plus, the restaurant prepares special food for children upon request.

Q: What is the price range of resorts in Nainital?

Tariffs depend upon whether you are booking in the tourist season or not, how many days you plan to stay, the kind of room and experiences you book, and so on. The overall price range, from lowest to highest, goes from Rs 3,500 per night to Rs 7,000 per night.

Q: What are the popular places or landmarks to book resorts in Nainital?

The most popular areas for resorts are Mallital and Mall road for resorts in Nainital.

About Mahindra Holidays

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading player in the leisure hospitality industry, offers quality family holidays as also stated by Club Mahindra Membership Reviews, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. While Club Mahindra is the flagship brand offering Club Mahindra Membership, the other brands offered by the company are –Club Mahindra Resorts Fundays and Svaastha Spa. As on Mar 31, 2019, MHRIL has 61+ resorts across India and abroad and its subsidiary, Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland, a leading vacation ownership company in Europe has 33 resorts across Finland, Sweden and Spain. Visit us at

Indulge in several activities and experiences on your next stay at our Nainital resort, any of the other Club Mahindra resorts in Uttarakhand. With several things to do at our resorts, and nearby places to visit in Nainital, and other destinations in Uttarakhand, a magical family holiday is assured.

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