Travel to Nainital
NAINITAL - HISTORY
The names of two Englishmen must always be linked with the discovery of the Lake at Nainital. One of them G. W. Traill, Commissioner of Kumaon and Garhwal, was the first European to set eyes on it in 1823. Nevertheless, the lake had been known for quite some time to herdsmen from villages nearby and held in great reverence as an abode of gods and spirits. Traill had great respect for the traditions and beliefs of the hill folk. To his way of thinking, crowds would violate the sanctity of the place, so he kept the discovery strictly to himself.
On the other hand, P. Barron, a trader in sugar from Shahjahanpur and an intrepid traveler, had no sooner caught a glimpse of the lake in its sylvan setting than he realized its potential as a hill resort and went full steam a colonizing it. The year was 1839. Barron first reached the lake through a trick, a fact mentioned in his book Wanderings in the Himmala. He knew there was a large lake in the heart of Kumaon. He also knew that local guides deliberately misled Europeans who wished to go there, in order to keep the location a secret. Sure enough, Barron's guide declared he had never heard of the lake, at which Barron placed on the guide's head a large stone and told him to carry it till they managed to find the lake. He said there were reputedly no stones near the lake and he needed come to build a house.
Desperate to be rid of the load, the guide soon confessed he knew the lake well enough and there was no scarcity of stones in the general area. Barron says that other Europeans also resorted to the same trick till such time that Nainital found a place on the map.
NAINITAL - TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
If you have a car at your disposal (for your sake we hope you don't, for that way you miss out on a lot that's very, very interesting), you can drive down the Mall from the entry point at Tallital (lower end) to Mallital (upper end of the lake). If you're lucky enough to be footing it, you take the side wall along the brim of the lake and pass under an extended canopy of the sun spangled leaves while images of poplar, cypress and willow gently ripple on the surface of the water to your left. To your right the hills take off again, rising from the edge of the Mall in one giant sweep of habitation. Nainital is studded with buildings-shops, restaurants, private homes, hotels and boarding houses. During the last decade or so, it has witnessed the emergence of mega hotels and the construction of houses by agencies as against private individuals. However, despite the commercialization, it's fun place, with so much to do there's never a dull moment.
Nevertheless, Nainital is an outdoor place, with a dozen or more picnic spots within easy reach. If you are not overfond of walking, you could hire a pony and clip-clop your way up. Seven hills surround the lake and provide excellent trekking. Ayarpatta, Deopatta, Handi Bandi, Cheena, Alma, Laria Kanta, and Sher-ka-Danda-goes the impressive roll of names. Cheena (Naina) Peak, at 8,568 feet-the tallest of all-commands a superb view of the Himalayas and an intriguing bird's-eye view of Nainital. Kilbury, the second highest, has a forest rest house that offers a quiet weekend. But snow view on the Sher-ka-Danda hill is the most easily accessible, if not on foot then via the cable car that skims its surface and whisks you away merrily to the top. Once there you can only gaze in wonder at the glittering panorama of Himalayan snows spanning the distant horizon. Tiffin Top (Dorothy's Seat) is every bit worth the climb. Land's End affords a charming view of the lake known as Khurpa Tal and the terraced hills surrounding it, while Hanuman Garhi, with its famous temple, is reputed for its glorious sunsets. Near the temple stands the Uttar Pradesh Government observatory and the Satellite Tracking Center.
NAINITAL - REACHING THERE
The nearest airport is at Pantnagar, 71 km away. It is connected by Vayudoot services with Delhi. A coach takes the tourists to Nainital. Taxis are also available.
The nearest railhead is at Kathgodam, 35 km away. Nainital is connected by rail to Delhi, Agra, Bareilly and Lucknow. Taxis and buses are available from Kathgodam to Nainital.
Nainital is connected by good, all-weather roads to Delhi (322 km), Bareilly (141 km), Almora (66 km) and Ranikhet (60 km).