Man has always believed that Gods exist on the very top of hills that can’t be reached. For those who subscribe to Hinduism, the Himalayas house Lord Shiva, a central figure of the religion. The Himalayas represent something unreachable: divinity, immortality. Although we cannot promise the secret to existence, we can promise visitors the most glorious sites that can challenge most postcards. The best place for you to do this is at Nainital, a town in a valley formed by the Himalayan Mountains.
Best Places to Visit in Nainital: Experience Nature
1. Himalaya Viewpoint
Stand by the Himalayan Point in Nainital and watch a stretch of nature’s greatest achievements spread out before you. The view-point is a famous place in Nainital, which you will find on the way to Kilbury.
Here you can stand and watch the clouds resting on the top of the mountain ranges, the expanse of their white peaks, against the green of the valley. People call it the Darshan (a Hindu term: vision of a deity) of the Himalayas.
2. Nainital Lake
With the lake forming its focal point, Nainital is an important religious place and one of the 64 Shakti Peethas of Hinduism. Legend has it that Sati, the wife of Shiva, who immolated herself in a fit of rage and was carried away by her husband.
Her charred corpse, however, fell away in bits and pieces, and formed centres of religious significance. Nainital Lake is said to be Sati’s eye, and the water is meant to absolve one of all sins.
3. Tiffin Top
There cannot be a holiday without a picnic, where you can sit with a warm cup of tea from a thermos and your loved ones. Nainital offers this beautiful picnic spot, known as Tiffin Top or Dorothy’s Seat on Ayarpatta Hill.
It is a perfect place to take photographs, for the view is spectacularly beautiful. With some sandwiches and good company, you are sure to enjoy every minute of the trek and the picnic.
4. Cave Garden
The six caves in Nainital offer you adventure, with a mechanical bull-ride and rights to explore the entire place. The Eco-Cave Garden is a famous tourist spot in Nainital, which can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Lure out your inner explorer and visit the caves and hanging gardens. The caves offer you an insight into the lives of our primitive, human counterparts: the prehistoric cavemen and women who called those caves their home.
5. Sat Tal
Formed by seven lakes in the Lower Ranges of the Himalayas, a visitor to Nainital will enjoy the site of Sat Tal (Seven Lakes). Once a tea-plantation during the British Raj, the Sat Tal Lakes are now the centre for curious visitors and migratory birds, lined with pine trees and waters free of pollution.
Come visit and enjoy the beauty of undisturbed nature. Here you can catch spectacular views of butterflies and fish.
6. Snow View
For those who fall on the wrong side of the equator, snow will always remain a strange phenomenon. Standing at Nainital’s Snow View Point, a tourist can see the mountain ranges of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Kot, where the tall peaks are buried under a blanket of snow.
With a temple for Ram and Sita, and a Tibetan monastery, visit Snow View Point for a glimpse of paradise in an Indian summer.
7. Himalayan Botanical Garden
Depending on the date of your visit, the Himalayan Botanical Gardens offer a variety of flowers and plants, tipped with butterflies and speckles of snow.
If you are fond of nature, and were mesmerised by the sights of the mountains, and the clear water, the Himalayan Botanical Garden is one of the best places in Nainital for you to complete your trip.
8. Naini Peak
One has to trek up the highest mountain in Nainital to reach Naini Peak, a famous sightseeing spot in Nainital. Standing at the very top, you may see the lights from the village and the white mists and tops of the Himalayan mountains.
Situated at an altitude of 2615 miles, the road, with its rhododendrons and cypresses, leads to the very tip of the mountain range. Stand at the top to enjoy a view of the Himalayas.
Best Places to Visit in Nainital: Cultural Significance
9. Jim Corbett’s Gurney House
The Gurney House, located near Nainital Lake, was where the famous hunter-conservationist Jim Corbett lived. For those interested in historic locations or who grew up reading of Corbett’s exploits in saving the people of Kumaon from man-eating tigers, this is one of the best places to visit.
The house was sold by Corbett’s sister, Margaret, when they were to leave the country, and has remained a mark of respect for Corbett, a man revered by every local.
10. Mathpal’s Museum
Founded by Yashodhar Mathpal, who is an archaeologist and curator, the Mathpal Museum is also known as the Folk Culture Museum and is in Bhimtal in Nainital.
One of the famous tourist places in Nainital, the museum is visited by many to enjoy its study of culture and society.
Best Places to Visit in Nainital: See Animals and Birds
11. Pandit GB Pant High Altitude Zoo
This high-altitude zoo houses several endangered species of the Himalayas. A Siberian Tiger, the only one India could boast of, died in 2011, but there are a number of leopard cats, Tibetan wolves, and Himalayan bears in the zoo.
A tourist attraction, not merely for the beauty of its location, but for these rare, imperiled creatures that it cares for, the zoo must find a place on any animal lover’s list.
12. Kilbury Bird Sanctuary
A paradise for nature-lovers and ornithologists, the Kilbury Bird Sanctuary is perfect for an afternoon spent in the spaces between oaks and pines, with nothing to do but nature to admire and species of bird to discover.
One of the best places to visit in Nainital, people come here, if not for the birds, for the nature, for the mist in the mornings and the droplets of dew.
Best Places to Visit in Nainital: Spiritual Places
13. Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Shri Aurobindo was an Indian ascetic, and people might recognise him from the Ashram dedicated to him in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu.
Nainital, however, has a second Shri Aurobindo Ashram, where people can come and stay, seeking peace of the mind and the restoration of the spirit. The tranquillity of the location and the spirituality of what is practiced here draw a host of visitors in need of such an experience.
14. Gufa Mahadev Mandir
A Shiva Temple within a cave, the Gufa Mahadev Temple is an excellent place for both, visit and worship. The Shiv Linga is an important part of Hinduism, and in the Gufa Mahadev Mandir the Shiv Linga is constantly inundated in a natural stream of water.
This makes this religious location of incredible importance for practicing Hindus, and will also make for a good visit for those fascinated by religion and mythology.
15. Pashan Devi Mandir
On the rim of Nainital Lake, the Pashan Devi Temple is an important cultural location in the entirety of Nainital. The Temple has a monolithic sculpture of Durga Devi in her nine forms, and the temple itself is constructed from stone.
A place of beauty, and Pashan Devi Temple is adorned with bright lights and is said to cure its visitors of disease and bring salvation. If planning a trip with this location in mind, schedule your stay for the Navratri.
16. Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid in the Mallital half of Nainital was built during the British Raj for the Muslim soldiers based there. It overlooks the lake, and the call for prayer rings through the peace and serenity.
Visit for a picture of culture and beauty. The Jama Masjid here is inscribed with Arabic and points towards Mecca. It is one of the best places to visit in Nainital.
17. Church of St. John in the Wilderness
This church is a beautiful and famous tourist location in Nainital, meant for both lovers of history and believers in the Christian faith. The church was established in the 1800s, and promises visitors serenity, reflection, and a beautiful view.
The beauty of Nainital is extensive, and incredible. Standing before the Himalayas, where Mother Nature has created a throne for herself, is an experience that is not likely to fade in one’s memory. If you’ve been to Nainital and have anything to add, do let us know in the comments.