Set amidst the towering peaks of the Kumaon Hills, the lake resort of Nainital has a lot to offer. From boating to feeding animals at the zoo; from picnicking on the hills to exploring Jim Corbett's home, Nainital has all that you could hope for in a hill station.
Nainital is set in two parts, Tallital and Mallital, with the lake separating them. Tallital is the southern side of the lake, while Mallital consists of the northern upper reaches. The town was destroyed during the Landslip of 1880, and later rebuilt by the British. It is renowned for its lake, bird's-eye views, and prestigious educational institutions.
Nainital, also known as Lake District of Uttarakhand, is named after the goddess Naina Devi. It is located around Naini Lake in Uttarakhand. If you are planning to feel tourism of Nainital, the best time to visit there in between May to July, the summer time in India.
The weather in Nainital is quite pleasant. Summers are hot and temperatures may reach 32 °C. During winter, temperatures may be sub-zero. The town receives snowfall during December and January.
The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, 35 km away. Taxis charge ₹450-600 to Nainital, you can also board taxis on sharing basis which would cost 50 per person. Most hotels will arrange for a pick up on prior request, ₹600-900.
You can also walk out of Kathgodam station, the bus station is 100 m away, take a bus to Nainital, its only ₹34 per person.
Here are some useful trains to get to Nainital:
|Train Number||Train Name||You may board at||You may alight at|
|15035||Uttarakhand Sampark Kranti Express||Delhi||Kathgodam|
|13019||Bagh Express||Howrah (Kolkata), Gorakhpur, Lucknow||Kathgodam|
|14120||Dehradun-Kathgodam Express||Dehradun, Haridwar||Kathgodam|
|12040||New Delhi - Kathgodam Shatabdi Express||New Delhi, Ghaziabad||Kathgodam|
Also see Rail travel in India
- There are daily bus services from Delhi. The buses leave from ISBT Anand Vihar delhi and are run by Uttarakhand Roadways.
- Driving to Nainital takes 7 to 8 hours. From Delhi, it's highway driving throughout. NH 24 connects Delhi to Rampur via Hapur. At Rampur, turn and head north on NH 87 all the way up to Nainital. En route halts include the Wonderland, Rwy crossing, Moradabad and The Cottage, Jeliokot.
Taxis don't work on sharing basis and the whole taxi fare may cost ₹1500-2200.
Flying into Nainital is the fastest way to reach the hill station. Nainital is served by PantNagar Airport (PGH IATA), located about 2 hours away. It is one of the least busy airports in the country, handling only 6 scheduled flights a week.
Pantnagar is another airport located 70 km away from Nainital. Delhi is nearest international airport which is 280 km and well connected to major cities in India as well as abroad.
- Nainital is nicely connected with the different towns around the city with buses frequently running.
- There are a few cycle rickshaws in town. Rates are fixed at ₹20 from one end of the mall to the other. They can only pick and drop passengers at the ticket booths of either end.
- However, there is no better way to explore Nainital than on foot. The mall has smooth pavements, making it extremely pedestrian-friendly. During the summer season, entry is denied on the mall from 6 to 9PM, making the road a pedestrian's dream. The town is fairly small and there are some very interesting shops and emporiums in the mall, making the walk a pleasure.
- The months of March, April, May and June starting are best to see the lake’s flora in full bloom and also the perfect time to enjoy a boat ride. Months of November and December are also popular with tourists who want to enjoy fresh snowfall and chilly weather.
- Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, One and only Gurdwara Sahib situated at the heart of Nainital.
- Guano Hills, Pangot. These hills in the Pangot village are excellent for walks through forests of thick oak, bamboo and deodar. Some rare birds such as the grey woodpecker and black-chinned babbler are found in the forests.
- 1 Gurney House, Aryapatta Hill. This was the former home of Jim Corbett. It has been converted into a museum and houses Corbett memorabilia.
- 2 Naina Devi Temple. One story tells us that this temple was constructed in the 15th century during the Kushan reign but another version states that it was built by Moti Ram Shah.
- 3 Naina Lake. Naini Lake is set amidst seven mountains that surround this stagnant water pool and high peaks that almost touch the sky.
- 4 Naina Devi Temple, Naini Lake. The temple was destroyed during the Landslip of 1880, and was rebuilt. It is on the lake's northern shore.
- Neem Karoli Baba Ashram & Temple, Kainchi (Kainchidham), Kainchi (18 km from Nainital on the road going to Almora). Neem Karoli Baba Ashram & Temple is a Hindu religious centre, and temple, dedicated to Shri Neem Karoli Baba, a Hindu saint and Guru in the Indian tradition. Many of his devotees visit this temple from all over the world.
- 5 St. John in the Wilderness (St. John Wilderness Church), Mallital. This charming church was named and founded by the Bishop of Calcutta.
- 6 Sariyatal Lake. Sariyatal is a lake in Nainital. The water can be extremely cold, but this is a nice area to spend some time. Close by is Sariyatal Park.
- 7 Snow View, Sher-Ka-Danda Ridge. Located at an altitude of 2270 m, Snow View offers spectacular views of the Naina Devi Peak. It can be reached by the Aerial Express Ropeway. Round trip: ₹300 for an adult and ₹200 for a child. One-way: ₹50. There is a place called Mountain Magic, which offers bumping cars and go-karting facilities.
- 8 Tiffin Top (Dorothy's Seat), Aryapatta Hill. Altitude: 2292 m. To get here you can drive up to Sherwood College and then continue on a short scenic walk.
- Boating in Naini Lake is a must. Paddle boats can be hired by the hour. You can also hire a yacht from the Nainital Boat Club. Boating charges:
- ₹160 for half round for row boat
- ₹210 for full round for Rrw boat
- ₹210 per hour for paddle boat, comes with a boatman, you can also have a self-paddle boat.
- Cave Garden, Sukhatal, Mallita, ☏ , . 9:30AM to 5:30PM. 2 km further up from Mallital (northern end of the lake) is a cave complex, developed and maintained by the local administration. This consists of a series of six caves (Tiger, Panther, Porcupine, Bats, Flying Fox and Apes) which get narrower as you progress. People with claustrophobia are advised not to explore the later ones and walk out from the exit available at the end of each cave.
- Feed the animals at the Nainital Zoo (Gobind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo), where you will find high-altitude species that are native to the region. Zoo entry fee: ₹30 and ₹10 for children ₹25 extra for a camera, closed on Mondays. The zoo also has an interesting sponsorship programme where you can sponsor the maintenance and food of the animal of your choice. The zoo is spread over a wide area and requires lot of walking, so visit only if you are comfortable with that.
- Shopping - There are two main shopping areas, The Mall and Barra Bazaar. Traditional things to buy include shawls, scarves, cardigans and local jams. You can also buy wooden handicrafts which are good and cheap option for souvenirs.
- Trek to Naina/China Peak, the highest point in the region (8,622 ft (2,628 m)). You can get scenic views of the whole region. Hiking there takes around 60 min and is not so strenuous. From September to November, you will be able to see a panoramic view of snow capped Himalayas further north. On the top of the mountain you can find a small tea shop serving bread omelet, some biscuits, tea and coffee for a reasonable price. Not many people go there making it a good option to escape from the buzz.
- Trek to Tiffin's Top. It's a slightly touristy place where you can feel the rush. You can get on a horse to go to the top (₹300-₹1000). The Horse ride is an extremely nice experience, but ensure that ladies travel in front of the male members of the party. Its not so tough to hike there. On the top of this hill, one can find all kinds of shops, flocking with people.
Nainital has a few good universities that offer short courses. Rock-climbing courses are another option.
- 5-Day Youth Camp at Van Niwas, Bara Patthar. Apr-Jun, May-Sep. The camp activities include a basic rock-climbing course, Yoga and meditation in the mornings, trekking around Nainital, star-gazing and various cultural programs. The camp is educational, interesting and reasonably priced. However, the food is vegetarian and no alcohol is allowed. ₹2200, only ₹400 is non-refundable. To apply, contact The Convenor - Camps, Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Delhi Branch, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi - 110016. For more information regarding the accommodation and activities, call 235737, the Van Niwas phone number in Nainital. If you pay by cheque, it should be payable to Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch Trust.
- Kumaon University is headquartered in Nainital, with a smaller branch in Almora. It offers numerous temporary courses. 
- Vipassana Meditation Course by Dr. Ravindra Deo. Aug 4-20. The courses are held in Hindi and English. There is no fixed centre, venues change every day, and the lessons are usually out in the open. The course focuses on relaxing the mind, body and soul through introspection and interaction with the outside environment. Contact Dr. Ravindra Reo at B.D. Pande Hospital, Tel: 2012/22.
Shopping in Nainital is awesome and it is truly enlightening experience to do so. Nainital is very famous for handicraft products such as handmade candles, ornamental pieces and Kumauni woolens for its excellent quality and warmness. Visitors come across range of choices with colorful cardigans, caps, sweaters and shawls available in different design.
Visitors can bring back different kinds of fruits such as blueberries, peaches, mulberries, strawberries, apples and fresh cherries. Nainital is also famous for its eco-friendly candlesticks for home decor.
Nainital, being close to Delhi, becomes the natural holiday destination for a lot of the capital's folks in the sweltering summer months. The eateries in Nainital reflect that with Punjabi staples being standard fare - most of the better eateries are in the Mall.
- Embassy, The Mall.
- Kumaon, Manu Maharani, Grasmere Estate, Mallital, ☏ .
- Machan, The Mall, ☏ .
- Purohit, The Mall (just beside the Embassy).
- Shiva, Barra Bazaar. Famous for sweets and veggie fare.
- Sher-e-Punjab, The Mall. Punjabi cuisine.
- Woods, Alka Hotel, The Mall, ☏ .
- 1 Janardan Resort Pangot (Janardan Rasoi), Pangot Village (Nainital to Bada Patthar, right turn, Kilburry Road, go ahead for 3 km to Pangot village.), ☏ , , toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. 24/7. Nice restaurant overlooking a beautiful valley. Food is simple & tasty, veg as well as non-veg is available. ₹200 for two person.
Nightlife in Nainital almost doesn't exist. Simply basking and dancing in front of bonfire is extremely enjoyable. There are hardly any pubs or bars in Mall and alcohol is served only in 5 star hotels which possess decent bars.
- Tea is served in the dhabas of The Mall. Try the local Herbal Chai.
- Chandni chowk, mall road, ☏ . North and South Indian food. Though it is a pure vegetarian restaurant, it is known for its excellent dishes.
- Courtyard Bar, Shervani Hill Top Nainital, Shervani Lodge, Mallital, ☏ , , email@example.com.
- Hotel Hill view Nainital, Zoo road, Upper Mall Road, Pin - 263001, ☏ .
- Spirit, Comfort Inn Saurabh Haldwani, Civil Lines, Nainital District, Haldwani, ☏ .
There are plenty of hotels in Nainital. Visitors are spoiled for choice in the top end category. Mountain Quail and Jungle Lore offer tents. There are hotels on the mall road. There are hotels that are cheaper but reaching there by foot is a challenge.
- Ayar Jungle Camp, Near Holy Angels School, Ayarpatta, Mallital, ☏ . Ayar Jungle camp gives off a relative sense of being untouched & serene. There are bamboo cottages, Log huts, Machaans and tents to choose from. This Eco camp serves a host of multicuisine dishes, and offers a range of adventurous activities.
- Emerald Trail, Emerald Trail, Jungaliagaon, Bhimtal 263136, ☏ . Eco-friendly and pet-friendly homestay.
- 1 The Royal Homestay, Bijroli Village, Naukuchiatal Road, Bhimtal, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. The interior of this homestay is modern and can accommodate more than 6 guests, with 3 bedrooms, dining table for 6 and kitchen with balcony facing the mountains. Guests can see people doing adventure activities from the bedrooms, terrace and the kitchen balcony.
- 2 Hidden Valey Camp & Resort Pangot (Hidden Valey Camp & Resort Pangot), Pangot, Nainital, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: noon, check-out: 10AM. Jungle camp and cottages in Pangot, Nainital. 360 degrees of lush green mountain view from all cottages and tents with attached washrooms. Enjoy waterfall trek, Kilbury jungle trek, Cheena/Nainia Peak, adventure activities and more. Pangot is famous for lush green dense forest where there are more than 200 species of birds alone and also wildlife, that can be spotted easily while travelling on road from Nainital-Pangot Road.
- 3 HimView Camp Mukteshwar, Shashbani, Mukteshwar, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 12:00 PM, check-out: 10:00 AM. Campsite built inside a fruit orchid with an open view of snow peaked Himalayas in front. Offering Swiss tents with attached washrooms, cot beds and open restaurant in the orchid. ₹999.
- Ashok Hotel, Tallital, ☏ , . ₹800 single, ₹230-280 double.
- Hotel City Heart (near the Nainital Mountaineering Club of Nainital).
- Hotel Krishna, The Mall.
- Hotel New Bharat, Zoo Road, The Mall, Tallital, ☏ . Reservations required.
- Hotel Vikrant. ₹700.
- Mountain Quail, Buldakote, Pangot, ☏ , .
- Sarovar TRH, Tallital, ☏ .
- Savoy Hotel. ₹150.
- Hotel Atithi, Near Tallital Rickshaw stand, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 24 hours, check-out: 10AM.
- 4 Stay in Tents (Janardan Resort Churaini), Churaini Village, Pangot, Nainital (Nainital to Bada Patthar, right turn, Kilburry Road, go ahead for 3 km to Pangot village, 2 km hiking to Churaini Village.), ☏ , , toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: Before 4PM, check-out: 9AM. It’s a tented site at a hiking trip of 2 km from Pangot Resort. One has to reach Pangot & then proceed on a hiking trail to Churaini. The trail has a waterfall as well as a small temple on the way & is perfect for adventure seekers and youth backpackers. The resort has 10 dome tents along with a common toilet. ₹700 per tent.
- Alka Hotel, The Mall, ☏ , . The upper floor has direct views of the lake.
- Channi Raja, The Mall, ☏ .
- Classic The Mall, Mall Road, ☏ , CRS@Classichotelsindia.com.
- Fair light trails resort. A heritage bungalow located atop Nainital.
- Grand Hotel, The Mall, ☏ , .
- Jungle Lore Birding Lodge, Pangot.
- Palace Belvedere, Awagarh Estate.
- Vikram Vintage Inn, Pangot, ☏ .
- 5 Janardan Resort Pangot (Janardan Resort Nainital), Pangot Village, Nainital (Nainital to Bada Patthar, right turn, Kilburry Road, go ahead for 3 km to Pangot village.), ☏ , , toll-free: , email@example.com. Check-in: 24/7, check-out: 24/7. Economy rooms have 8 large airy rooms with French windows, 24x7 hot & cold water, attached toilets, room service on call, Queen sized beds & fireplace, Deluxe rooms have all the facilities of the economy rooms but with better bedding, extra toiletries & LCD TV. It has space for free parking also. ₹1500 per room.
- Abbotsford- Prasada Bhawan, ☏ . Mallital.
- Arif Castles (Mallital), ☏ . Has a 24-hour cafe named Verandah that serves excellent coffee and pastries.
- Manu Maharani, Grasmere Estate, Mallital, ☏ .
- The Naini Retreat, Aryapatta Slopes, ☏ , .
- Woodside Retreat, ☏ . Pangot.
There are also a number of private villas offering accommodation in and around Nainital.
- The Hermitage, Kailash, Chunkuwa, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Shervani Hill Top, ☏ . Hotel has been in existence since 1960 and operating as holidays resort since 1981. Shervani Hilltop, Nainital spread out over the lush green and peaceful mountain side a boutique resort having 4 star facilities.
- Rosefinch Sarovar Portico
- Balarampur House Nanital . Sherwani, Mallital, near Uttrakhand High Court, Nainital. 05942 236 236
While driving your car on uphill, don't hit brakes very hard as the risk of jamming them may arise. Most of the petrol pumps close by 7PM, so keep an eye on your fuel meter and get tank of your car filled in time.
Nainital is a safe place but during high season a surge of visitors keep visiting this beautiful place and some people exploit this opportunity for their own benefit. So a note of caution is given while roaming around the city.
- Cyberia, Mallital. The fastest connections in town.
- Cyber Zone (near Bank of Baroda Mallital, Nainital). It is a good place for your internet activities (like booking flight or train tickets or whatever for that matter).
- Flattis, The Mall. This is Nainital's most popular cyber cafe and it houses a small restaurant as well.
- STD/ISD booths are scattered throughout the city. The fare is calculated using a digital meter.
- MTNL phonecards are not used.
- Cell-phone coverage is fairly good. BSNL, Airtel vodafone; and idea! Cellular are the main operators.
- The STD code for the Nainital region is 05942. If you are calling from a cell-phone or another town in the country, dial 05942-xxxxxx(x)
- For international calls to Nainital, the calling code is +91 5942-xxxxxx(x)
- KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam), Oak Park House, Mallital. Tel: 36356.
- Tourist Office, The Mall. Tel: 35337.
Banks and post officeEdit
- SBI, Mallital. Tel: 235645, 235087.
- SBI, Tallital. Tel: 235579.
- Punjab National Bank, Barra Bazaar. Tel: 235714.
- National Bank Ltd, Tallital. Tel: 235414.
- Kurmanchal Bank, Tallital. Tel: 235440, 236037.
- Kurmanchal Bank, Barra Bazaar. Tel: 235427.
- Post Office, Tallital. Tel: 235704.
- G.B. Pant Hospital, Ramsay Hospital Road, Tallital. Tel: 235388.
- Vaccine Research Institute, Patwadangar. Tel: 241129.
- Veterinary Hospital, Haldwani. Tel: 221014, 235636.
- Tiwari Forest Hospital, Haldwani. Tel: 234423/30.
- Sitapur Eye Hospital, Haldwani. Tel: 220209.
- Bareilly - It is center of the furniture manufacturing and trading in sugar, cereal and cotton. Bareilly has got high recognition when its name was added into Counter Magnets of National Capital Region.
- Hill stations - Almora, Ranikhet, Kausani - These hill stations are situated well above 6,000 feet on semi-circular shaped mountains. It is believed that these hill stations have a very long history and have existed since the Vedic age.
- Jim Corbett National Park - It is first national park of India and is placed at foothills of Himalayas with height ranging from 1300 feet to nearly 4000 feet. The key attraction for wild life enthusiasts and tourists is the view of Tiger with its wilderness.
- Lakes - Bhimtal, Sattal, Kamal Tal
- Nanakmatta - It is one of the ancient towns named after Gurdwaara Nanak Mata Sahib, which is a Sikh pilgrimage site. Nanakmatta is associated with Guru Hargobind and Guru Nanak.
- Pilibhit - There are various religious places located in Pilibhit and most famous among them are Ardhanarishwar temple, Jaisantri Devi temple, Dargah e Shahji Miyan, Gauri Shankar temple and Jama Masjid.
- Pangot - Tiny hamlet 15 kms from Nainital and a favorite spot for tourists looking for offbeat place near Nainital. Offers a lot of Jungle cottages and camps as accommodation. Sorrounded with dense Forrest of upper reaches of Corbett, place is famous for easy spotting of wildlife and birds. With more than 200 species of birds recorded here, Pangot attracts a lot of birders.
- Mukteshwar - Located at around 1.5 hour drive from Nainital. The place offers fruit orchids and the famous Himalayan View, Muktehwar is famous for. Lot of local shops out here for handmade stuff and organic food. Place offers a peaceful stay and lush green surrounding. Visit Mukteshwar Temple, Chauli ki Jaali, Bhimtal and more. Tourists also opt to trek to Bhalugaad waterfall, it's a 30min trek through the jungle and the famous waterfall with a big pond is the reward for same.