Travel India : Nainital

Nestled in the Uttaranchal Himalayas, Nainital is one of northern India's oldest hill resorts- a pretty lake town and Kumaon's largest settlement. A convenient getaway from the plains of northern India, this is a picturesque little town, centred around a limpid blue lake and replete with enchanting colonial buildings, winding pathways and some of the most exquisite views you'll see of the Kumaon hills.The Naini Tal or lake, shaped like the eye (`nain') from which it draws its name, is the focal point of the town. Surrounded by seven hills known as the Saptshring, the lake is a hot favourite with boaters.

On the shores of the lake are many of Nainital's most interesting sights, like the Temple of Naina Devi, the presiding deity of the town; the colonial-era Church of St John in the Wilderness, and the nearby Secretariat building, designed by the same architect who planned the grand Mumbai Central and Victoria Terminus stations in Mumbai.
As in almost every other Raj-era hillstation, here too there's a Mall, where the town's many shops are concentrated. Visitors can take a ropeway from the Mall to the peak known asSnowview- a great place for a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. If you're in an adventurous mood, you could trudge along further, to Naina Peak, also known for its stunning views. The State Observatory and the Hanuman Garhi temple, off the road to Haldwani, also rank high up on the list of must-visit places, as does Dorothy's Seat, named for an unfortunate British lady who died at the spot in an accident; and Land's End, near the lake. Those wishing to wander further afield can make tracks for the gorgeous Sat Tal- the seven lakes which lie just about 21 km from Nainital; or for Bhimtal and Naukuchiyatal, both lovely and good for picnics or boating. 

Nainital awaits. Cool, pleasant, and with loads of opportunities for enjoying yourself, for unwinding and for cooling off.

Getting to Nainital
The nearest airport is at Pantnagar, 72 kms from Nainital, and with connecting bus services and private taxis to Nainital. The closest railhead is at Kathgodam, 40 km south, and with links to Agra, Bareilly, Lucknow and Delhi. From Kathgodam you can take a hired taxi or bus to Nainital. Two main highways come in to Nainital, one to the south at Tallital (which receives traffic from the plains) and the other to the head of the lake at Mallital (where traffic from Ramnagar and the Corbett National Park arrives). Buses ply regularly between Nainital and major northern cities, including Delhi.

Best time to visit Nainital
The best seasons to visit Nainital are from March till June and again in September-October; an Autumn Festival is organised at Nainital in October. In May and June the town usually gets very crowded due to the rush of tourists escaping the hot summer of the plains. 

Accommodation in Nainital
Nainital has a host of expensive hotels as well as middle rung and budget accommodation. Rates during the peak tourist season (May to July) are usually very high; at other times it is possible to get hefty discounts. Most of the upmarket hotels are situated around Mallital on the northern edge of the lake, while budget rooms are available around Tallital, towards the southern side. There are also touristrest houses run by the state tourist board.