Seven hills surround Nainital, a hill station, and a charming lakeside town in Uttarakhand. It is one of the most popular hill stations in Northern India and people commonly call it the “Lake District”. Nainital is located high up in the Kumaon Himalayas at around 2,000 m above sea level. The majestic mountains and crystal clear waters of the lake add a lot to the city’s beauty. Nainital derives its name from the emerald green mountain lake in the shape of an eye, Naini, in the heart of this beautiful hill station and dotted with colorful sailing boats.
The city had a robust colonial heritage with vibrant mansions and bungalows during the British era. Fun-loving British people used to flock to this picturesque town that stretches across a wooded valley. It is also known for the revered temple of Naina Devi, located on the lake’s shores. Nainital is a famous tourist destination known for its prestigious educational institutions and schools that have existed since the British era.
Nainital offers everything you need for a perfect vacation. Many hotels and resorts are located on the slope; Mall Road is a busy shopping mall; Cafes and restaurants serve local and international cuisine. Numerous forest paths offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. You can paddle on the lake or even go horse riding around town. Surrounded by quaint old houses and markets, it is a favorite of honeymooners and couples.
Here is the list of the most famous things to do in Nainital for a fantastic experience.
1. Naini Lake, The Lifeline of Nainital
A tour of the scenic lakes is one of the best ways to start your Nainital trip. Lake Naini, the heart of Nainital, is a stunning natural lake that resembles a crescent moon or a kidney. You can enjoy the amazing view of the lake at sunrise and sunset, or go for a relaxing boating ride on Lake Naini. You can also savor the tasty momos at popular eateries like the Boat House Club or Sonam’s near the lake.
Read More: History Of Naini Lake
2. Mall Road
The Mall Road of Nainital, which connects the two ends of the mountain towns of Mallital and Tallital, runs parallel to Lake Naini. Mall Road is the food, shopping, and cultural center of Nainital. A paradise for shopaholics, where you could walk for hours. Whether you want to try some delicious local food or shop for the cutest local wool dresses, Mall Road is the place to go.
3. Nainital Zoo
G B Pant High Altitude Zoo, locally known as Sher ka Danda, is the best place for tourists to learn about the wildlife in the Himalayas. The Nainital Zoo is located at an altitude of 2,100 m and is the first zoo in the Uttarakhand region. Opened in 1995, it extends over 4.6 hectares and is home to many endangered species. Different areas divide the zoo where animals such as Himalayan Civet, Himalayan Bear, Barking Dear, Tibetan Wolf, White Pea Fowl, Goral, and Cheer Pheasant, among others, live.
4. Raj Bhawan – Governor’s House
Raj Bhawan, also known as the governor’s house, stands in a beautiful landscape and extends over a wide area. It is one of the most luxurious places in Nainital as its Gothic architecture was inspired by Buckingham Palace. Known for its grand appearance and charming old architecture. Raj Bhawan in Nainital previously served as the summer residence of the British governors.
5. Tiffin Top
If you are looking for a scenic spot with some thrill, Tiffin Top is the place to go. This popular attraction, also known as Dorothy’s Seat, is surrounded by Oak and Deodar trees in the Kumaon region. You can try rappelling and rock climbing here, or just admire the stunning views of the city and the hills. On clear days, you can even see the majestic Nanda Devi peak.
6. Ropeway Journey
The ropeway offers a breathtaking view of Naini Lake and the entire wonderland of Nainital. Located at 2,270 meters above sea level, the Snow View Point offers spectacular views of the snow-capped Himalayas. The most exciting of the different ways to get there is by cable car that starts at Mallital. At this high altitude, there is also a small temple as well as huts for souvenirs, tea, and snacks.
7. Eco Cave Garden
Nainital’s Eco Cave Garden is a group of interconnected stone caves with six caves and a musical fountain. Although the entrance to these caves is relatively narrow, the interiors are surprisingly spacious. The level of difficulty increases which increases the fun and adventure of exploring these caves. In addition to this adventurous exploration, there is a music fountain on site, which shows an impressive show of light, water, and music.
8. Pangot And Kilbury Bird Sanctuary
For bird lovers, Pangot and Kilbury Bird Sanctuary is a must-visit destination in Nainital District. Located at a height of 2528 meters on Kilbury Road, this sanctuary boasts more than 580 bird species. You can spot them in the rich forest of oak, pine, and rhododendron that surrounds Kilbury, one of the most scenic and famous birding trails in India. If you want to spend more time with your feathered friends, you can stay at the tourist bungalow in Kilbury.
9. Tibetan Market / Bhotia Market
Tibetan Market, also known as Bhotia Market, is a shopping venue located on the banks of Nainital Lake. This market has grown in popularity as a result of the sale of one-of-a-kind ‘Tibet’ products that reflect the Tibetan people’s culture and traditions. Woolen clothing is the most popular among tourists because it is of high quality and comes in a variety of appealing designs. The market is teeming with restaurants that serve sumptuous Tibetan cuisine. Thupka and Momos are two regional delicacies that must be tried.
10. Hanuman Garhi Nainital
The Neem Karoli Baba built the Hanuman Garhi in the 1950s. It is a well-known temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman and it stands about 3 km from Nainital and at an elevation of 1950 meters. The best time to visit Hanuman Garhi is in the evening when the sun begins to set below the horizon, leaving behind orange hues that make the sky look picturesque. Shitala Devi Temple and the Ashram of Lila Sah Bapu are two other notable attractions close to the temple.
11. Kainchi Dham
A religious pilgrimage center in Nainital, one of the most famous temples and one of the top places to visit in Nainital. It’s a magnificent shrine known for the Hanuman mandir that draws thousands of devotees from all over the country each year.
12. St. John’s Wilderness Church
St. John’s Church stands on a hill and pine and deodar trees surround it. It was built in 1844 and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Nainital. The neo-Gothic style inspired its architecture, and stained glass covers its windows. The church bears the name of a Calcutta bishop who lived here for half of his life and followed John the Baptist devoutly. Today, many history buffs and backpackers visit it.
13. Astronomical Observatory to Gaze at Stars
Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) or Astronomical Observatory, located on the top of Manora Peak, is one of the best places to visit in Nainital. At night, one can see the stars, moon, and celestial bodies, but tourists must make a reservation before visiting this observatory. The public can visit it on working days only, and it sets up a few for night viewing during the full moon, but only those with prior permission can attend.
Read More: Bird Enthusiast? Here’s Where You Can Go Bird Watching In Nainital.
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