Saturday, 31 October 2015

Nainital, land of Lakes Part-1

This year it was North calling.
After a lot of planning we finally decided on Kumaon. So tickets were booked, hotels were reserved and all research was done in advance.And finally the day arrived.

We boarded our flights from Bangalore and reached New Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Airport in the evening.Since we did not want to spend any extra day in New Delhi we booked Ranikhet Express for the same day from Delhi Cantonment till Kathgodam.

Us at Delhi airport
 From the  airport, Delhi Cantonment Railway station is not too far, so we took a prepaid taxi and we reached railway station in 30 minutes. If you are travelling by Ranikhet Express you must keep one thing in mind.This train does not have any pantry so either you should have your dinner and then board the train or buy your dinner once the train reaches Old Delhi Junction where it halts for almost 1.5 hours from local vendors or hawkers.

Another great way to reach Kathgodam is by Shatabdi Express, but that was not an option for us since we did not want to stay in New Delhi one extra night.

There is no direct train till Nainital, the nearest station is Kathgodam. Nainital is some 36 kilometers.If any one is travelling by train then one has to come till Kathgodam and from there take taxis till Nainital.

We reached Nainital the next day at 5 am.It was still dark.As we got down from the train we were approached by some 5-6 taxi drivers.We took a reserved taxi for 400 bucks, although shared taxis are also available.

The 36 km stretch is beautiful and the road is lined with deodar trees on either side. The Sun was slowing rising once we were half way towards Nainital and our driver stopped the car to show us the beautiful sunrise.It was one of those beautiful sunrise we had seen, but unfortunately our dslr's were packed in packed in bags inside the car diky and we we took some consolation shots with our mobile cameras.

Some road in Nainital

One another very important thing for bird photographers is that this road has lots of birds so be watchful. We saw plenty of red-billed blue magpie on trees,3 monals and some Himalayan blackbirds.

We checked in Alka Hotel, which gives a splendid view of the Nainital lake from the rooms.Its on Mall Road and a little expensive, but its worth the extra bucks. From our room we had a beautiful view of Nainital lake. We spend some time marvelling at the clear emerald water,the reflection of the deep blue azure sky ,the serpentile lake surrounding the lake and the numerous colourful boats happily floating on the water.

Nainital Lake

Nainital Lake

After checking in we got refreshed, ordered for breakfast and also requested for a car reservation for sight seeing. The mixed paratha made with mashed potatos and onions is superb. You must try this in any shop in Nainital and they make it awesome.

 There are several one day packages-Himalaya Darshan, Lake Tour and 11 points tour.

In 11 points tour Himalaya Darshan is included along with some extras. We kept the Lake tour for our last day in Nainital. The 11 point tour takes around 3-4 hours and costs 900 bucks.

Boating in Nainital

We were taken to Hanuman Temple,Manasa Temple,Botanical Gadens,Eco Cave Park,Khurpatal,some artificial waterfall,Dorothy's seat among some others.

Since we are not much of temple going people so we gave the temples a miss. Botanical Gardens and Eco Cave Park are nothing much. Kilsbury requires a special mention. On a clear day one can see the Nandagunti,,Trisul,Nrigthuni,Nanda Devi,Nanda Devi East,Nandakhat,Chhanguch, Nandakot, Laspadhura,Rajrambha,Nangalaphu,Panchchulli peaks from here. And we were luck, we saw them all :) There are people renting telescopes for a better view.

This is Trishul because of the 3 peaks 

Photographer got immersed in taking photos
Panchchulli from Kilbury

People renting out telescopes for a better view of the ranges

While coming back we went to a view point from where one side of the Nainital lake looks perfectly like a green mango.Amazing view it was!

Doesn't the lake look like a mango?

We kept the zoo and the snow view point( cable car) for the last day since we will come back to Nainital to catch our train back.

Eco cave Park

Manmade waterfalls

Beautiful Nainital at night

The evening was spent strolling on the Mall Road. From 6 PM onwards the entry of cars in the Mall Road is curtained so that tourists can have leisure strolls. The Mall Road is so quintessential. It has the lake lined up with trees on one side and dazzling hotels and shops on the other side. The evening here is so mesmerizing. There are shops selling curios, toys,spicy chats,spices and local honey and wax candles.A few street artists making making nameplates to be taken home as souvenirs. There are places in Nainital where one can rent a bike or scooter.

We already had our driver finalized.His name is Jivan and is an extremely good and knowledgeable driver. He will be taking us to all places in Kumaon in his Santro from the next day for the remaining 11 days.

We will again come back to Nainital towards the end of the tour and plan to do the zoo and the Lake Tour then. You may read that part by following the below link

<Link to be inserted :) :)  >

A day very well spent. Tomorrow morning we will head for Binsar.

Tired but happy feet :)

Information Chunks:
There are several hotels in Nainital.
Alka is one of the very best.

In many of the other places in Kumaon we stayed in KMVN Government guesthouses.They are also very good. Based on that experience I can infer that KMVN Nainital should also be good.And it is located at a very nice place

Our driver Jivan was extremely good,knowledgeable and we highly recommend him.
You can contact him at 9411198443/969068194

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