The word ‘naini’ means eye and ‘tal’ means lake and Nainital has derived its name because of the beautiful Naini Lake situated in the heart of this hilly city. It is popularly known as the Lake City or the Lake District.
In the British era, Nainital served at the summer headquarters.
It is also sometimes said that Nainital has derived its name from the Goddess Naini, and the temple dedicated to this goddess was built at the upper edge of the lake but was later destroyed in a landslide.
How to reach
Nainital is situated about 322 kms from Delhi and is well-connected by roads. A lot of tourists travel to Nainital by road from Delhi and also from other cities such as Bareilly, Lucknow, Hardwar, and Mussoorie.
Kathgodam is the closest major railhead to Nainital and is situated just 34 kms from the city. There are direct trains to places such as Delhi and Kolkata. The overnight Ranikhet Express and the more luxurious Satabdi Express are good options for reaching Nainital from Delhi.
The Pantnagar airport is the closest airport from Nainital and is about 71 kms away. There are almost daily flights from Delhi to Pantnagar.
Places to see
The Naini Lake is the most popular attraction among tourists. The Flatts with its frequent cultural activities, the boat club, the thriving street food market, bhutias selling fancy items and winter clothes at reasonable prices is a place to be in the evenings. The Rope Way connecting Mallital to the Snow View Point, the Naini Peak also called the China Peak, Hanuman Garhi, a temple dedicated to Hanumanji just 3.5 kms from the town, Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Science established in 1955 are some other attractions. There are a host of other picturesque lakes surrounding Nainital that are equally popular and are almost always included in the Nainital trip namely Bhimtal, Saattal, Khurpatal, and Naukuchiatal. Kainchi, Bhowali, Jagshwar, and Kaushani are some other beautiful getaways from Nainital in case you are looking for an extended trip.
Tourists love to go around the city and enjoy horse riding or pony riding. They also have the option of playing Himalayan mini golf on this mountainous terrain. Nainital yatch club is quite famous for being one of the premier yatch clubs in India. So watch out for the yatching options. You can also go for the more exotic experience of canoeing and kayaking. Hot ballooning, trekking, mountain or rock climbing are major attractions for tourist who love and seek adventures. There are several good training camps providing the necessary guidance and training for such activities.
The Tibetan market and the Bhutia Market sell all kinds of stuff right from fanciful winter clothes to the warmer shawls, jackets, and sweaters. You can also buy the locally crafted wood carvings, decorative items, wall hangings, rugs and the very famous Nainital candles that come in all colors, shapes, and sizes.
Places to stay
Manu Maharani Nainital, Vikram Vintage Inn, Naini Retreat, The Earls Court, The Hive Nainital, Dynasty Resort, Himalayan View Retreat, Elphinstone Hotel, Le Perle Monal Resort, Hotel Himalaya, Country Inn, Chevron Fairheaven, Hotel Monal, Cedar Lodge, Hotel Arif Castles are some fabulous places to have a pleasant stay while you are at Nainital enjoying its splendor and mountain glory.
Best time to visit
Nainital is to be visited during the summers to escape from the scorching heat of the plains. Tourists keep on pouring from all corners throughout the year. Winter months are good if you would like to enjoy the chilling winters and snowfall. Monsoon months are best avoided on account of landslides.
Nainital, being a hill station, has pleasant and cool summers and very cold winters. It also gets plenty of rainfall and road connectivity gets badly affected during the monsoons due to landslides from heavy showers.