The Hill Stations of the Himalaya Region (Uttarakhand)
Nainital is a hill station situated around the beautiful lake Naini in the Kumaon foothills of the Himalayas. The Naini Lake is believed to be one of the 64 Shakti Peeths, or religious sites, where parts of the charred body of Sati (Parvati) was dropped to earth by Lord Shiva. The spot where Sati’s eyes (or Nain) fell, came to be called Nain-tal or ‘lake of the eye’. It is a great base from which to visit Ranikjet, Kausani, Mukteshwar, Almora and Jim Corbett National Park. Jim Corbett, legendary hunter turned conservationist, lived in Nainital with his family, and it is from here that he first ventured on hunting trips into the surrounding forests.
Nainital is renowned for its handloom products, and Kumaon woollens for their high quality and warmth.
Places to visit in Nainital:
NAINA DEVI TEMPLE: On the northern shore of Naini Lake, Naina Devi is one of the most sacred Hindu temples in India. In Hindu mythology, the temple marks the spot where the Goddess Sati’s eye fell to earth. Every year a grand statue-immersion ceremony takes place here.
NAINI LAKE: The lake is a natural freshwater lake. Lunar-shaped and surrounded by seven hills, its reflection is quite spectacular. The lake offers ample opportunity for yachting, boating or paddling.
HANUMAN GARHI: A famous Hindu temple of Lord Hanuman, it is 6,000 feet above sea level and offers remarkable sunrises and sunsets because of its location.
ALSO OF INTEREST: Naina Peak; Dorothy’s Seat; St John’s Church; Astronomical Observatory; Tiffin Top and Lover’s Point.
Nestled in the Himalayan ranges and surrounded by lakes, the small hill station of Bhowali is one of the most beautiful mountain resorts and a popular destination for nature lovers. An inspiring location for contemplative retreats, it is well known for its breath-taking vistas.
It is also a major export centre for fruit, with its market supplying apples, apricots, plums, strawberries, peaches and pears to the surrounding areas.
Naukuchiya Tal, is a spotless cavernous lake 20 km from Bhowli and is perfect for anyone wanting to row, paddle or yacht.
Just 11km from Nainital, Bhowli is strategically located on the main Haldwani-Almora-Ranikhet road, which makes it the perfect gateway to the Kumaon division.
Meaning in Hindi ‘Seven Lakes’, Sat Tal is just that; seven freshwater lakes at approximately 4000 feet surrounded by dense forests just 23 km from Nainital. Rich in flora and fauna, the virtually untouched pools of clear blue water provide the perfect place to retreat from the bustle of the world for quiet contemplation in paradise on earth.
Bhimtal is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Uttarakhand, although it’s only a small town, its popularity is due to its position and proximity to countless attractions of historical and natural interest. The most prominent tourist attraction is the lake which is well-known for its ancient Bhimeshwara Temple on the banks, and the island in the middle which can be reached by boat.
45 kms from Bhwali and at an altitude of 7, 500 feet it is the 180-degree panorama of the snow-capped mountain range that makes Mukteshwar such a much-sought tourist destination. Enveloped in fruit orchards and thick coniferous forests, the small town is also a good springboard for activities such as rock climbing and rappelling at nearby Chauli-ki-Jali.
Set amongst dense forest, the beautiful scenic town of Ranikhet has a military history, and is still the headquarters of Kumaon Regimental of the Indian Army. Under British reign the town was used as a retreat from the heat of summer because of its perennially salubrious climate, and today you can still spot British influence on the architecture.
A small hill station known as the ‘fruit bowl’ of Kumaon, Ramgarh is covered in orchards and offers unobstructed views of the snow-capped Himalayas.
OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST
JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK – Covering over 520 km, the park was the first national park in India to be designated a tiger reserve. As well as tigers you can hope to see leopard, elephant, wild boar, rhesus monkey, jackal, crocodile, vulture, cobra and python amongst others.
Fairs and Festivals:
AUTUMN FESTIVAL: This annual festival takes place in honour of the Goddess Naina Devi each September.
KUMAON FESTIVAL: Also in Autumn, the Kumaon Festival gives a good insight into the local cultures and traditions.
REGATTA: A yacht race takes place on the Naini Lake annually in the third week of June, hire a yacht from the Boat Club and join in!