Nestled in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Nainital is a picturesque hill station known for its captivating beauty and serene surroundings. Surrounded by lush green hills and a sparkling lake, Nainital has long been a favorite destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. While Nainital itself offers a plethora of attractions, there are also several breathtaking places to explore in its vicinity. In this article, we will take you on a virtual tour of the “25 Places to Visit Near Nainital,” each with its unique charm and appeal.
1. Bhimtal: A Tranquil Lake Town
Located just 22 kilometers from Nainital, Bhimtal is a serene lake town named after the legendary character Bhima from the epic Mahabharata. The main attraction of Bhimtal is its beautiful lake, which is larger than the Naini Lake in Nainital. Visitors can enjoy boating and fishing in the tranquil waters or simply relax by the lakeside, soaking in the peaceful ambiance.
2. Naukuchiatal: The Nine-Cornered Lake
Situated around 26 kilometers from Nainital, Naukuchiatal is another picturesque lake town known for its enchanting beauty. As the name suggests, Naukuchiatal boasts of a nine-cornered lake, making it a unique attraction in the region. The serene surroundings, lush greenery, and panoramic views make Naukuchiatal a perfect destination for nature lovers and birdwatchers.
3. Sattal: A Paradise for Birdwatchers
A short distance of approximately 23 kilometers from Nainital, Sattal is a cluster of seven freshwater lakes surrounded by dense forests. The calm and peaceful environment of Sattal attracts a wide variety of birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. The area is also known for its adventurous activities like trekking and rappelling, offering an adrenaline rush to thrill-seekers.
4. Mukteshwar: A Majestic Peak
Perched at an altitude of 2,285 meters, Mukteshwar is a small hill town located around 50 kilometers from Nainital. It offers breathtaking views of the snow-clad Himalayan ranges and is famous for its ancient Shiva temple. Mukteshwar is a popular destination for nature walks, camping, and experiencing the thrill of rock climbing.
5. Ranikhet: The Queen’s Meadow
Approximately 55 kilometers from Nainital, Ranikhet is a captivating hill station renowned for its scenic beauty. Surrounded by lush green forests and meadows, Ranikhet offers panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks. The town is dotted with historical temples, the Kumaon Regimental Centre Museum, and the picturesque Golf Course, making it a delightful retreat for nature and history enthusiasts.
6. Almora: Gateway to the Himalayas
Almora, situated around 65 kilometers from Nainital, is a cultural and historical hub of Uttarakhand. Known for its ancient temples, vibrant markets, and traditional handicrafts, Almora offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region. The Kasar Devi Temple, Bright End Corner, and Deer Park are some of the must-visit attractions in this charming hill town.
7. Kausani: The Switzerland of India
Located approximately 120 kilometers from Nainital, Kausani is often referred to as the “Switzerland of India” due to its stunning panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks, including Trishul and Nanda Devi. The town is famous for its tea gardens, and visitors can witness the mesmerizing sunset and sunrise views from the vantage points of View Point and Gandhi Ashram.
8. Binsar: A Sanctuary for Nature Lovers
Situated around 95 kilometers from Nainital, Binsar is a wildlife sanctuary and hill town known for its pristine natural beauty. The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including leopards, deer, langurs, and numerous bird species. The trek to Zero Point offers panoramic views of the Himalayas and is a must-visit for adventure enthusiasts.
9. Jim Corbett National Park: A Wildlife Haven
Located approximately 66 kilometers from Nainital, Jim Corbett National Park is one of the most renowned wildlife sanctuaries in India. Spread over a vast area, the park is home to the majestic Bengal tiger, along with various other wildlife species. Jeep safaris and elephant rides provide visitors with an opportunity to explore the park’s rich biodiversity up close.
10. Patal Bhuvaneshwar: An Underground Wonder
Patal Bhuvaneshwar, situated around 130 kilometers from Nainital, is a hidden gem known for its underground limestone cave temple. The cave complex is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva and houses several intricately carved rock formations and stalactite-stalagmite formations. A visit to Patal Bhuvaneshwar offers a unique spiritual and adventurous experience.
11. Jageshwar: A Sacred Pilgrimage Site
Jageshwar, located approximately 95 kilometers from Nainital, is a sacred pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Shiva. The town is home to a cluster of ancient temples dating back to the 9th to 13th centuries, showcasing remarkable architecture and intricate stone carvings. The peaceful ambiance and religious significance make Jageshwar a must-visit destination for devotees and history buffs alike.
12. Chaukori: A Serene Hill Station
Situated around 160 kilometers from Nainital, Chaukori is a tranquil hill station perched at an elevation of 2,010 meters. Known for its panoramic views of the Himalayas, including Nanda Devi and Panchachuli peaks, Chaukori offers a serene retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The tea gardens, ancient temples, and scenic trails add to the charm of this offbeat destination.
13. Munsiyari: Gateway to the Himalayan Treks
Approximately 290 kilometers from Nainital, Munsiyari is a hidden gem nestled in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. It serves as the base for various treks in the region, including the famous Milam Glacier Trek and Nanda Devi Trek. The breathtaking vistas of snow-covered peaks, gushing waterfalls, and lush valleys make Munsiyari a paradise for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
14. Kausani Tea Estate: A Gastronomic Delight
The Kausani Tea Estate, located around 120 kilometers from Nainital, is a treat for tea connoisseurs. Spread across vast acres of land, the tea estate produces some of the finest organic tea in the region. Visitors can take a guided tour of the tea gardens, learn about the tea-making process, and sample various flavors of freshly brewed tea.
15. Chaukhamba Viewpoint: Spectacular Himalayan Views
Perched at an altitude of 2,820 meters, the Chaukhamba Viewpoint offers breathtaking panoramic views of the majestic Chaukhamba Peak and the surrounding Himalayan ranges. Located approximately 135 kilometers from Nainital, this viewpoint is a photographer’s paradise, especially during sunrise and sunset. It provides a serene and awe-inspiring experience for nature lovers.
16. Golu Devta Temple: Seeking Divine Blessings
The Golu Devta Temple, situated around 61 kilometers from Nainital, is a renowned temple dedicated to the deity Golu Devta, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple is known for its unique tradition of tying written petitions and bells to seek the blessings of the deity. The peaceful ambiance and religious significance attract devotees from far and wide.
17. Baijnath Temple: Ancient Architectural Marvel
Located approximately 92 kilometers from Nainital, the Baijnath Temple is an ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. Dating back to the 12th century, the temple showcases remarkable architecture and intricate stone carvings. The serene surroundings and religious significance make it a must-visit destination for devotees and history enthusiasts.
18. Nanda Devi Temple: Paying Homage to the Goddess
The Nanda Devi Temple, situated around 110 kilometers from Nainital, is a revered shrine dedicated to Goddess Nanda Devi, the presiding deity of the Kumaon region. The temple hosts a vibrant festival called Nanda Devi Raj Jat, celebrated once every 12 years, attracting thousands of devotees. The colorful festivities and religious fervor create a captivating atmosphere.
19. Kainchi Dham: Seeking Spiritual Solace
Kainchi Dham, located approximately 18 kilometers from Nainital, is a renowned ashram and spiritual retreat. Founded by the famous saint Neem Karoli Baba, the ashram attracts devotees seeking spiritual solace and enlightenment. The tranquil surroundings, meditation halls, and regular spiritual discourses make Kainchi Dham a peaceful haven for seekers of inner peace.
20. Ghorakhal Temple: The Horse’s Head Shrine
The Ghorakhal Temple, situated around 30 kilometers from Nainital, is a unique shrine dedicated to Lord Golu, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple gets its name, which translates to “horse’s head,” from the fascinating legend associated with it. The serene ambiance and panoramic views of the surroundings make it a popular tourist attraction.
21. Khurpatal: A Serene Lake Retreat
Approximately 12 kilometers from Nainital, Khurpatal is a serene lake known for its tranquil surroundings and scenic beauty. The emerald-green lake, encircled by dense forests, offers a peaceful retreat away from the bustling tourist crowds. Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, and picnicking by the lakeside, immersing themselves in the natural splendor.
22. Gwaldam: A Quaint Hill Station
Situated around 120 kilometers from Nainital, Gwaldam is a picturesque hill station tucked away in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Surrounded by dense forests and snow-clad peaks, Gwaldam offers breathtaking views of nature’s bounty. The serene environment, ancient temples, and opportunities for adventure activities like trekking and paragliding make it a popular destination.
23. Ramgarh: The Fruit Bowl of Kumaon
Approximately 35 kilometers from Nainital, Ramgarh is a scenic hill station known as the “Fruit Bowl of Kumaon.” The town is famous for its orchards, which are laden with apples, apricots, peaches, and plums during the fruiting season. The beautiful landscapes, pleasant weather, and fruit-laden trees make Ramgarh an idyllic getaway for nature enthusiasts.
24. Bhimtal Island Aquarium: A Marine Adventure
The Bhimtal Island Aquarium, located in Bhimtal, offers an enchanting marine adventure for visitors. Situated on an island in the middle of the Bhimtal Lake, the aquarium houses a diverse collection of colorful fish species and underwater flora. The transparent tunnel inside the aquarium provides a mesmerizing view of the underwater world, making it a fascinating attraction.
25. Kasar Devi Temple: A Spiritual Retreat
The Kasar Devi Temple, situated around 82 kilometers from Nainital, is a revered shrine known for its spiritual significance and panoramic views. The temple has been a popular destination for seekers of spirituality, including renowned personalities like Swami Vivekananda and Bob Dylan. The tranquil atmosphere and majestic vistas make it a must-visit destination for spiritual seekers.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What is the best time to visit Nainital and its nearby places?
The best time to visit Nainital and its nearby places is during the summer months of April to June when the weather is pleasant and ideal for outdoor activities. However, Nainital can be visited throughout the year, each season offering a unique experience.
2. How can I reach Nainital from major cities in India?
Nainital is well-connected to major cities in India by road and rail. The nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport, approximately 70 kilometers away. Regular bus services and taxis are available from nearby cities like Delhi and Dehradun.
3. Are there accommodation options available near these places?
Yes, there are various accommodation options available near these places, ranging from budget hotels to luxury resorts and homestays. It is advisable to book in advance, especially during the peak tourist season.
4. Are these places suitable for family vacations?
Yes, these places are suitable for family vacations as they offer a mix of natural beauty, historical sites, and religious attractions. There are activities and attractions that cater to all age groups, ensuring a memorable experience for the whole family.
5. Can I indulge in adventure activities near Nainital?
Yes, Nainital and its nearby places offer a range of adventure activities such as trekking, paragliding, boating, and wildlife safaris. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in these thrilling experiences while enjoying the stunning landscapes.
6. Is it safe to travel to these places?
Yes, these places are generally safe for travelers. However, it is always advisable to take necessary precautions, follow local guidelines, and maintain personal safety while traveling to any destination.
Nainital and its nearby places in Uttarakhand offer a perfect blend of natural beauty, spirituality, and adventure. From serene lakes and majestic peaks to ancient temples and wildlife sanctuaries, each destination has its own charm and allure. Whether you are seeking tranquility, adventure, or spiritual solace, these 25 places near Nainital have something to offer for everyone. So pack your bags, embark on a journey of exploration, and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of Uttarakhand.