Places to visit in Nainital – Naini Lake, Naukuchiatal, Bhimtal

by admin on April 25, 2012

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Nainital lake view

Beautiful View Of Nainital Lake

Nainital has earned itself the sobriquet ‘Lake district of India.’ I took off on the Ranikhet Express at 10:45 pm and reached Kathgodam early morning.  I hired a car and checked into Chevron’s Fairhaven’s, some 35 km away. It had a beautiful view of Lake Naini, on the northern side of which was Naina Devi Temple. Legend has it that this was the place where the emerald green eyes of Goddess Sati, wife of Lord Shiva fell during his dance of destruction while carrying her corpse; this was thought to have given the lake its greenish hue. I strolled out to the Temple. Although the temple was an epitome of serenity, I got a morbid feeling as if I was watching a horror movie.  Serpentine queues to the various boats irritated me further.

Bah! I said to myself and headed off to Snow View by the ropeway called the Aerial Express. At 7,450 ft, a bountiful view of the pure snowy white peak called Nanda Devi which rose to 25646 ft calmed me a little. Just below the cable car station I indulged in stiff drink at the Snow View Bar along to lift my spirits further.

The Zoo, my mind buzzed. It was just two kilometers from the Talital bus stand. Paying an entry fee of thirty bucks I was so pleased to see roses, jasmines, and hibiscus flowering. Pheasants, jungle fowl, woodpeckers and owls widened my eyes. What took my breath away was the Siberian Tiger, a rare sight for anyone on earth. The other enclosures had the Bengal Tiger, the Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer, Civets and Tibetan Wolf among others. Quite a remarkable collection, I told myself.

The trip to Gurney House sitting atop Araypatta hill, where the famous hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett once lived, was also very enlightening. His house is now a museum and gave me an insight on his life and works through the memorabilia housed there.

Remembering that I had come to see the lakes, I hired a car to Naukuchiatal (meaning nine cornered lake) which was 28 kilometres from Nainital. An ancient myth says that if someone visits all the nine corners in one shot, he would either attain salvation or disappear into thin air.   It is also the deepest lake this side, being almost 40 metres deep. I took a boat in. Thankfully, only colourful butterflies filled the air while on the horizons I could see some blissful Paragliders almost in tandem with some migratory birds in their V –shaped formations. Salvation at last I thought happily.

Boating in Nainital

View of Boating in Nainital Lake

Bhimtal is a large lake with a beautiful island in between with a restaurant and spectacular view. I managed a boat across to the island. My heart warmed to it. I was getting into spirit of lakes.

Sattal was mesmeric too as a kingfisher darting in and out of the water held me spellbound. The Sattal Mission Estate and Methodist Ashram situated on the banks of this placid lake. The Sattal Christian Ashram is situated close by and was used to propagate Christianity in the Kumaon region. Another surprise!  History has it that Earl Denman, a daring Canadian mountaineer who attempted to climb Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay and another Sherpa in 1947, stayed at this ashram for many years. I never knew that!

What to eat I thought.  Back on the Mall, I tried some ‘Chainsoo’ a gravy dish prepared using black gram dal. I tried it with hot rice –it was delicious.  Most gravy dishes here are made with lentils. I tried Kafuli, a thick gravy dish made with vegetables and spinach which equally delectable! Time to move on my mind told me.

Next stop?  Corbett Park I roared.

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