Our first road trip to Nainital!

Located in the Uttarakhand state of India in the Kumaon foothills of  the outer Himalayas  Nainital is a famous hill station. It is at about 6000ft from the sea level. It is in a valley with a pear shaped lake. “Naina” is the highest of all the mountains surrounding the lake. “Tal” means lake and hence the name of the place became Nainital . Nainital lake is also called as Naini Lake.

Last year in the sweltering May month we planned a sudden road trip to Nainital from Delhi for 2 days. Needless to say it was heavenly. My husband had a compensation off and after a long dilemma whether to go or not we packed our bags and started to Nainital with only Google maps in the I phone being the path finder and me a navigator next to the driver’s seat .I couldn’t enjoy the journey much as I was keeping an eye on the maps. The combination of chilling AC in car and the burning sun outside the car gave me an immediate migraine.

I felt bad as I might not enjoy the trip. Getting mislead thrice due to google maps + Indian roads combo added to the frustration. After losing the blue line on google map on Moradabad route finally came back on the track at Rampur. By then time was 9O’clock in the night and we reached the ghat road of Nainital at around 10 O’clock. After two tea and snack breaks we entered the ghat road and Imran who was driving got totally tired. I was exhausted too. Google maps showed a journey of 5 hrs but it took nearly 8-9 hrs to reach Nainital from Delhi.

Every one drives crazy in hill stations. They must be used to it but my heart beat fast when ever I came across rash drivers on the ghat road. I literally closed my eyes at some points. The drive was adventurous as it was pitch black and we even missed the road and went in opposite direction to Nainital. We reversed the car on that narrow ghat road with deep valleys. As soon as we entered the check post I saw the gorgeous lake at the center. The view looked straight out of the poster. I was not in a position to click it but the cool breeze soothed every nerve and my migraine miraculously was gone by that time. We rushed in to a near by hotel. There were up hills or down hills and after reversing for 15minutes and then parking our car we crashed in the room once we gobbled some fried rice.

Next day we first visited the Cave Garden where there were caves of different shapes. We enjoyed entering in to the cave and finding the exits with the help of a  bleak of light.

The Cave Garden

We went on a horse ride which was thrilling and undoubtedly it was the best part of the trip. At first the horse rider assisted us and then we were on our own . It was adventurous to ride on the extreme narrow passages of the hill where there was a path way made for horses. We traveled for 1 hour to reach the Tiffin top or Dorothy’s seat . You can have majestic view of Himalayas from there. Dorothy seat is a stone work picnic perch on tiffin top built in memory of an English lady painter Dorothy Keller by her husband and admirers after her death in a plain crash.

From the tiffin top. Koi milgaya was shot in a school
some where down the valley (The red bricked building is the school)
Horse ride. This was before getting tired.
our horses “Sultan” and “Rustum” (L-R)

By the time the horse ride was over our backs almost got paralyzed  There are many lakes around nainital. “Naini” is the center of attraction. There are other lakes like Bhimtal , Sattal  and Naukichiatal. Naukichiatal is the largest lake with nine corners where we did our boating. There are other places like Ranikhet but we did not have time to visit.

Himalaya View point

The view was awesome and you can actually see the snow caps during winter but as it was summer we could not see any snow ! It was all foggy.

At the Bhimtal lake. 

I liked Bhimtal more than Nainital as it was vacant.

Solitude can be bliss at times

Our next stop was Naukichiatal – the largest lake with nine corners where we did  boating for long. By the time we went to Nainital in the evening boating was closed but the view was heavenly. Below are my most favorite shots.
My most favorite click

Water in the middle surrounded by a calm peaceful town, away from the noise and pollution of the city with cool breeze saying “hi” every moment. Serenity at its best and I for sure felt that nature and people are equally happy with each other in that place!

In the evening we went to Mall road which was very vibrant ,happening and above all extremely clean. I did loads of shopping there and had the bestest jalebi in the world , hot chocolate coffee and wonderful samosa chat. It was a magical evening when compared to the power cuts and sweaty night outs at Gurgaon. The cool breeze lifted our moods instantly.
I saw some thing like this for the first time

The colors !

Candle making is the flourishing business in Nainital. I was so amazed to see candles of various sizes and designs that I ended up buying few.

The center brown one is my fav

Two more things which you should taste for sure in Nainital are Apricots and plums. They are yum!

Colorful Apricots and plum we bought!

Our 2 day pleasant trip ended and we came back to hot and sultry Delhi where we could sit only under AC’s . Nainital is definitely the best summer hang out. A stroll on Mall road in the evening and the horse ride should not be missed.

Nainital looks like below when lit up in the night.I had no good camera then hence could not capture it

Nainital Night view. Image courtesy :Google
This post is written for Indiblogger’s “The Perfect Road Trip” contest in association with “Ambipur“.
When you are here do visit Ambipur’s face book page- “AmiPurIndia”

45 thoughts on “Our first road trip to Nainital!

  1. Our Nanital trip had all these ingredients too! A nice place to unwind and relax. Did you shop at the Tibetan market? And I loved the colourful berries that they used to sell in small leafy cups.

  2. Wowie, the first part read like a geography lesson – so detailed and informative:-) Loved the pics, loved the 'lil miss sunshine' signature and ofcourse, love your posts always 🙂 Cheers, L

  3. I went to Nainital on my honeymoon 😀 😀 😀 This place will always remain special to my heart… I guess I need to do a post on that …its been 13 years now.. !

    Above all the pics the one with you eating that Jalebi has to be the most devilish… how I am craving for a Jalebi all of a sudden !!!! 😛 😛 😛

    I plan to retire somewhere around Nainital or Manali… that is one fantasy I have had… lets hope I can do something about it sometime !

  4. @nd60 : Tell me abt it
    I got the similar idea when I went to Nainital. Its neither extremely cool nor hot
    just very pleasant
    Would love to read ur honey moon post..
    hahha that was heavenly expression actlly relishing the best jalebi 🙂

  5. Really !!
    It was not that crowded wehn I went 🙂 Mall road ofcourse was crowded but lakes were serene and didnt have many crowds. specially Bhimtal and naukuchiatal were better than naini

  6. Thanks for reminding me berries. We bought many on the way !!
    Not sure abt Tibetian market . It was roughly a one and half day visit so didnt explore a lot

  7. Yaar tum sab kinna ghummi ghummi jaate ho. I feel so unfortunate. 😦

    But i loved your travelogue. Virtual sair hi karadi tumne to Afshu.

    And and unlike last time, this post has so many pics of you. Liked it. ❤

  8. Hi Afsan.You write beautifully. I visited Nainital several years ago. Now it musy have changed drastically. The photographs are fantastic Every photo is a treat for the eyes.

  9. Yep We were very exhausted. By the time we came back to Delhi we had stiff backs. None was in mood to cook or eat . We slept as if we were drugged 🙂
    Thanks for the comment

  10. Afshaan your jalebi bai look rocks 🙂 Lovely pics. Quite liked the narrative.

    If its of any consolation, I get a migraine if there is hot sun outside and cool AC blowing into my face 🙂


  11. Sometimes I think I travel a lot, then I meet people like you who have been to places I haven't! Where is the to-do list..


  12. Such an honest take, enjoyed reading it.

    All the lake pics are absolutely stunning, especially the last night. And also your cute Cave pic, but you should not have posted that Jalebi pic Afshan :'( Before Haleem and now this, not done , not done!

  13. Lovely post, liked all the pictures posted, have not been to this place, thanks for motivating me to make this as part of my dream to visit. I loved the horse riding photos, beautiful !

  14. Beautiful post, loved the pictures and the write-up bound all of them wonderfully well. All the best Afshan, enjoyed reading your idea of a perfect road trip. 🙂

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