February 03, 2020
When talking about hill stations and holiday getaways, one name that comes to everyone’s mind is Nainital. Tucked away in the foothills of Kumaon, this beautiful hill station is a popular tourist place for people from Delhi/NCR and other parts of the country. Besides the popular tourist attractions like the Naini Lake, from which the hill station takes its name, there are other places to visit in Nainital. In this article, we will look at the best tourist places in Nainital that you can add to your itinerary the next time you visit the hill station. So that you can, make the most of sightseeing in Nainital by soaking in all its glory of lush forested valleys.
Naini Lake lies at the heart of Nainital and was discovered first, after which the whole township of Nainital was developed around it. One of the most famous lakes of the Kumaon region, Naini Lake is surrounded by rich, green verdant hills with coniferous trees that give an added charm to its raw beauty, making it one of the best places to visit in Nainital. This crescent-shaped lake offers breathtaking sunrise and sunset. Tourists can spend their time boating, paddling, and sailing at leisure. Boaters will charge you around ₹ 210 to row you around the lake in their gondola-like boats, or you can hire pedal boats for ₹ 160 per hour too.
A great picnic spot in Nainital, this beautiful lake is surrounded by seven different mountain peaks and is divided into two distinct sections, with the Northern part, named Mallital, and the Southern part, namedTallital. Naini Lake is Nainital’s jewel and is said to be located at the same spot where Lord Shiva’s wife, Sati was self-immolated.
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
Entry Fee: Free
Naina Devi temple is one of the most revered Hindu temples of India and is located in Nainital near the Northern side of Naini Lake. Quietly located atop the Naina hillock, it draws thousands of devotees each year from all over the world to Nainital. According to mythology, the Naina Devi temple came into existence when the eyes of Goddess Sati fell to the ground while Lord Shiva was carrying her self-immolated corpse. The deity in Naina Devi temple is the famous Goddess Naina Devi. As one of the famous Hindu pilgrimage sites, it is built amidst beautiful surroundings. This temple has become one of the most iconic places for places to visit in Nainital and is considered one of the Shakti Peethas.
The temple attracts thousands of travellers and local devotees during the Nanda Ashtami, a grand Hindu festival, which is celebrated in Nainital for 5-8 days continuously in September with pomp and show. Holy occasions like Navratri and the Chaitra fair also witness massive gatherings at the temple. The temple is within walking distance from the Nainital main bus stand, around 35 km from the nearest railway station at Kathgodam, and around 55 km from Pantnagar Airport, which makes it easily accessible.
Timings: 6 am to 8 pm
Entry Fee: Free
Naina Peak or the Cheena/China Peak as it is commonly known by the locals is the highest hilltop in Nainital and a must-visit place for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This peak located around 6 km away from the Nainital town, at a height of 2615 m, makes for a challenging trek. So, if you are up for a challenge or like to push yourself to do newer things, this popular trek in Nainital would be an ideal activity for a fun morning or evening.
From the peak, you can enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the snow-capped Himalayas, the Tibet border, Nanda Devi Peak, and the entire city of Nainital. Due to its high altitude and lush green trails, Naina Peak is a favourite amongst trekkers and travellers who love nature and exploring. You can also enjoy horse rides up on the mountain peak and enjoy the serenity, tranquillity, and rustic verdant surrounding views while enjoying a laid-back day, lost in the beauty of the Nainital surroundings.
Timings: 8 am to 5.30 pm
Entry Fee: Free
Eco Cave Gardens is a newly developed place of attraction in Sukhatal and one of the popular places to visit in Nainital. Situated just 3.7 km from the Tallital Bus stand, it is easily reachable from Mall Road by taxi or other means of transport. The Eco Cave Gardens comprise several interconnected caves that offer a glimpse into the Himalayan wildlife. These caves also feature different species of animals including tigers, panthers, squirrels, flying foxes, and apes. As a main attraction for kids, it is the perfect destination to travel to for families.
This cave garden is maintained by the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), a government agency of Uttarakhand. There is also a children’s educational tour conducted here, which is a great way to explore these caves. The best time to visit the Eco Cave Gardens in Nainital is from March to June, and from September to December.
Timings: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Entry Fee: Kids- ₹ 10, Adults- ₹20, Camera Fee- ₹ 25
Raj Bhawan or the Governor’s House is a historical building and is one of the popular places to visit in Nainital. It is a Victorian-style edifice built in 1899 by designer F.W. Steven. It is the official residence of the Governor of Uttarakhand. It starkly resembles Windsor Castle with its British Raj architecture and consists of two stories with 113 rooms, stately gardens, a swimming pool, and an 18-hole golf course. It is located around 3 km South of Tallital, Nainital. During the British times, it used to serve as the summer residence of the Governor of North-East Province in Nainital.
You can visit this popular attraction in Nainital only when the Governor is not residing there.
Timings: 11 am, noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm & 4 pm (except in May)
Entry Fee: Adult- ₹ 50, Child- ₹ 20
Mall Road is one of the most common places to visit in Nainital. It’s a shopaholic and a food lover’s paradise. The mall road is lined up with street shops, shopping centres, banks, restaurants, hotels, jewellery and trinket shops, handicrafts, and much more. When shopping at Mall Road, you will need to be mindful of the quality of the products you buy to get better deals on products. You may be surprised what a little patience and a little time may fetch you at this local market. This is a great tourist hub and has something for everyone. Moreover, you can dig into some lip-smacking local food as well as Tibetan flavours like momos, thukpas etc., and make a great day of it.
Timings: 9 am to 10 pm
Entry Free: Free
Kilbury is one such famous bird sanctuary in Nainital and is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It houses a wide range of birds and animals in their natural habitat. Situated at a height of 2,528 Kilbury is known to have over 580 species of birds. You can enjoy the relaxing almost meditative sounds of the numerous birds chirping their sweet melody in the forests of oaks, rhododendrons, and pines. You can also witness birds like the Collard Grosbeaks, Forktails, White-throated Laughing Thrushes, Brown Wood owls, and much more easily seen with the naked eye.
The best time to travel to this popular tourist attraction in Nainital is from March to June and from September to December.
Timings: All days of the week before the sunsets.
Entry Fee: Free
This quaint village found just 15 km away from Nainital, is located in Kosya Kutoli Tehsil of the Nainital District of Uttarakhand. It is a must-visit Nainital tourist place. , The exotic bird life and other natural treasures are found in abundance here and are every bird watcher and photographer's delight. Nainital is home to many winter birds and the best time to visit this sanctuary would be from October to March.
Numerous bird species can be seen in Pangot, like the Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Himalayan Griffon, Khaleej Pheasant, etc. along with all kinds of wild animals such as the Sambhar, Himalayan Goral, Leopard Cat, Wild Boar, etc. View Point and Kilbury which teem with a variety of birds and animals. And the beautiful freshwater streams flowing nearby add a charming appeal to the place. Pangot is an ideal place for a short vacation either with your partner or your family while on your trip to Nainital.
This is one of the most popular places to visit in Nainital. The viewpoint offers a breathtaking, mesmerising, and majestic view of the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas. Motorable roads also connect the peak, so anyone who doesn’t have the luxury of time, while visiting Nainital, can drive up and enjoy the views of Nanda Kot and Nanda Devi along the way. There are plenty of shops once you reach the peak, from where you can buy souvenirs, clothes and other things. Or you can rejuvenate yourself at the food stalls with a quick snack and some tea while taking in the expanse of the beautiful surroundings of Nainital. There is also a kids' amusement park at this point. And if you want to enjoy a drink, make your way to Snowview Heritage Hotel which has a well-stocked bar.
You can take the cable car to Nainital atop the peak from Naini Lake, and the stay is chargeable for each extra hour that you spend there. The highlight of this trip would be hiking to viewpoints like Naina Peak/ Cheena Peak which is 4 km away.
Timings: 10.30 am to 5 pm (closed on Saturdays)
Cable car tickets: For a two-way cable car ride for Adults- INR 150, for kids- INR 75
Dorothy’s Seat or Tiffin Top as it is locally known is located in Ayarpatta Hill of Himachal Pradesh and should also be added to your list of places to visit in Nainital. One of the most popular places to visit in Nainital, the viewpoint offers mesmerising views of the town and the Himalayan range. Located at a height of 2,290 m, Dorothy Seat is a stonework perch on the Tiffin Top which was built in memory of the famous artist Dorothy Kellet by her husband and serves as a famous picnic spot in Nainital. It got its name as the Tiffin Top after people started having their lunches atop the hill on Dorothy’s Seat. There are plenty of adventure activities happening here such as rappelling and rock climbing, and its tranquil and peaceful surroundings make this a great place for photographers to visit.
You can have a beautiful view of Naini Lake, Kumaon Hills, and popular tourist attractions in Nainital from up there and on clearer days if you get lucky, you can also witness the majestic view of Nanda Devi.
Timings: 8 am to 11 pm
Entry Fee: Free
Located in Mallital, Nainital, adjacent to the High Court of Uttarakhand, St. John Wilderness Church is one of the oldest churches, built in the 1800s. Its architecture is inspired by the Neo-Gothic style, with beautiful stained-glass windows reminiscent of European Churches. This church is the pride and joy of Nainital.
The entry to the church is free for all and gives you a sense of calm and a great time to reflect on your inner being. This helps awaken your spiritual self and relieves you from the daily stresses of life beautifully.
Timings: 8 am to 6.30 pm and on Sunday- 7 am to 6.30 pm
Entry Fee: Free
The Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) is an autonomous institute located around 4.5 km from Nainital. It is devoted to research and development in Astrophysics, Astronomy, and Atmospheric Sciences. Situated at an altitude of 1,951 m, this Nainital observatory can be either visited by taxi or by foot and has one of the most advanced telescopes in India. The clear skies over Nainital prompted the government to set up an observatory here which was established in 1955 and later shifted in 1961 to this present location on Manora Peak, Nainital.
You can get access to the observatory with prior permission and experience the pleasure of viewing celestial objects in the sky through their telescope.
Timings: 2 pm to 4 pm (Saturday & Sunday closed)
Entry Fee: Free
Established in Nainital in 1984, Pt. G.B. Pant High Altitude Zoo or the Nainital Zoo as it is commonly known, is situated on the Sher ka Danda Hill in Tallital, Nainital. This zoo is spread across an area of 4.6 hectares and hosts many endangered species which makes it one of the best places to visit in Nainital by nature lovers and photographers.
There are many exotic species native to the Nainital region like the White Peacock, Snow Leopard, Hill Fox, Siberian Tiger, Palm Civet Cat, Wolf, Himalayan Black Bear, etc. and some of them come under the endangered list. This is one activity you can do with kids and groups alike in Nainital.
Timings: 10 am to 4:30 pm
Entry Fee: For Adults - ₹ 50, for Kids (5 to 12 years) - ₹ 20, Camera - ₹ 25, and Video recorders - ₹ 200
Nainital has many quaint villages that have great hiking trails, and Binayak is one such small village in the Pithoragarh District of Uttarakhand. This village offers one of the best trekking trails in the Himalayan range for tourists and adventure seekers. Moreover, Binayak is well connected to different cities making it accessible to all adventure junkies. , where The trail is lined up with Oak trees and lush green plants and bushes with blooming seasonal flowers making hiking rejuvenating and a stress buster. Enjoy this moment with nature, which will be hard to find once you go back home. So soak in as much of Nainital as you can.
Summers (March to June) and Autumn (September and October) are ideal for hiking in Nainital as it gives travellers much-needed respite from the heat.
Around 20 Km from Nainital, this glittering Lake City known as Bhimtal was named after Bhima, one of the charismatic brothers of Pandavas in the mythological story of Mahabharata. The lake is a scenic spot with a small island at its centre and is revered for its aesthetic beauty and appeal. Located proudly at an altitude of 1,370 m above sea level, this lake offers splendid views and visual vistas of nature’s beauty and makes for a more idyllic place than the bustling city of Nainital.
Besides Bhimtal Lake, there are other tourist attractions like the 17th-century Bhimeshwar Temple around Bhimtal that you can experience when visiting this popular Nainital tourist place.
Sattal or Saat Tal is an interconnected group of seven freshwater lakes tucked away in the lower Himalayan Range and is one of the best places to visit in Nainital. It is located near the town of Bhimtal. These lakes are surrounded by numerous Himalayan peaks, making your visit to this popular Nainital tourist place memorable.
Sattal comprises of seven lakes, namely Purna Tal, Sita Tal, Ram Tal, Laxman Tal, Sukh Tal, Nal Damyanti Tal, and Garud Tal, and is considered to be one of the few unspoiled and unpolluted freshwater biomes in the country. These lakes in Nainital are a seasonal home for migratory birds who escape the harsh cold of the Himalayan range and migrate to the lower areas for some time. Sattal is a paradise for bird watching in Nainital, and if you are an avid bird lover and photographer, then this is an ideal location for your vacation.
Located close to Nainital, Sariya Tal is a man-made lake with a stepped waterfall in the corner and lies on the main road on the way from Kaladhungi to Nainital and has numerous activities like paddle boating and water sports. So, if you are an avid adventure enthusiast or want to explore this place, you can make a pit stop here and enjoy the activities and the lakeside snacks and tea.
This Nainital Lake becomes full in September and is clean and is popular for its Himalayan Botanical Garden which is not only a research centre but also a Herbarium and a butterfly park.
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm
Entry Fee: ₹ 20
Sitabani, as the name suggests, has a great historical significance in Nainital and is believed to be named after Goddess Sita who supposedly had spent her days in exile here and had given birth to her twin sons, Luv and Kush, in this place. It houses many temples and is covered with a huge number of Oak and Sal trees, with myriads of flora and fauna, making it one of the main places to visit in Nainital. A perfect weekend getaway in Nainital, this place is a great place to unwind and find some solace from the hustle and bustle of city life. You can also enjoy wildlife safaris here and enjoy some birds and animals at leisure. You can find animals like the Bengal Tigers, Sambhar, Spotted Deer, Nilgai, etc., and birds like the Emerald Dove, White Bush Chant, Red Wattled Lapwing, etc. You can also find numerous trees filled with juicy and ripe fruits like Jamuns, Jackfruits, Wild Mangoes, etc.
Timings: 7 am to 6 pm
Located in the Nainital District, Gurney House is a historic building and is considered as one of the best places to visit in Nainital due to its sheer magnificence. There is no entry fee to visit this place, but a prior appointment is a must as this former Nainital residence of the popular figure, Jim Corbett. This popular tourist attraction is located right next to the Naini Lake and has a tiny museum showcasing the life story and achievements of Jim Corbett.
Located in the verdant hills of Nainital in the Kumaon Valley, away from the cacophony of the city, the Himalayan Center of Sri Aurobindo Ashram aims to share the benefits of yoga and meditation with its visitors to help them attain spirituality, peace, good health and relaxation through practice. This ashram in Nainital conducts regular workshops, talks, and training programs to manage stress and lifestyle. You can plan your stay with prior permission from the ashram’s administration The best months to visit the ashram are from March to June and September to December and there is no entry fee required to visit the ashram.
The Ashram is situated at Kilbury Road in Ayarpatta, Nainital and the location is resplendent with breathtaking views of the mountains, flora, and fauna. Aurobindo Ashram Nainital is at a distance of 23.3 km from Kathgodam and around 30.7 km from Haldwani, with Kathgodam lying en route from Nainital to Haldwani. Being well connected, you can opt for a local or state-run bus from Kathgodam to Nainital and taxis are also available on a shared or individual rental basis from Haldwani to Kathgodam. Tourists from all over the world love to come to this Ashram in Nainital and be a part of the tranquillity and peace that this place offers. Have a look at this Uttarakhand tourism guide to experience the best of Nainital with family like never before!
Nainital has everything a traveler could desire from a hill station– delightful weather, delectable food, cozy accommodations, breathtaking natural landscapes, and captivating tourist attractions, making it an ideal destination for creating beautiful memories with your loved ones.
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