This year the summer was agonizingly hot and my vacation with my friends to the hills of Uttarakhand planned in May was a pleasant respite from the scorching heat of Maharashtra. Our first leg of the journey was experiencing the city of lakes, Nainital.
Though we started from our hotel in Mumbai with plenty of time in our hand, our cab just stood still in an immobile traffic situation created by a political party’s meeting and at one point of time, we feared we’d miss our train. But, thanks to our cab driver, an elderly Sardar who drove fast, we could finally reach the station with more than thirty minutes to spare.
Finally, our journey began with the overcrowded berths at the train. To add to our woes, the train was running late by few hours from the beginning. So after 2 nights and nearly forty hours of journey, when we finally reached Dehradun, we felt relieved.
Our car, which we had already booked, was waiting for us at the station to take us to Nainital, our first stop in Uttarakhand. The lake city of Nainital (1938 meters above the sea level) welcomed us with the gentle soothing breeze and soon we noticed the lake which is known as the Tallital part of the lake. After a brief drive through Mall Road, we reached Mallital the other part of the lake. Our hotel was further beside a dried up lake (Hence, the name Sukhtal) which feels up during the monsoon. On our way to the hotel, we went passed by the high court and the university. We decided to take a tour of the city after freshening up and taking our lunch at the hotel.
After lunch, as we commenced our sightseeing, our driver cum guide Puran drove us further up instead of down where the lake was. When inquired he told that he was taking us to a lake viewpoint wherefrom we can have a panoramic view of the lake. Indeed, it was magnificent to look at the lake in entirety and Puran pointed out that the lake had the shape of a mango. I also realized how big the lake was. There were some telescopes available on rent at the place for those who cared to have a closer look.
And then, we set off for the next point which Puran mentioned as “Himalay Darshan”, the place wherefrom we could see the ranges of the Himalayas and its snow-capped mountains. I also enjoyed myself posing as a cowboy on the top of a horse. The next place to visit was a viewpoint of Khurpatal. The panoramic view was breathtaking. The calm green water of the lake and the serene surroundings was alluring. Lover’s Point or Suicide Point was the next point that drove us to a frenzy and equally crazy. Suicide Point it definitely could be but calling it Lover’s Point is obscure enough unless the lovers are so engrossed in each others’ love that they become oblivious of surroundings.
The boat ride in Naini Lake during the sunset was just mesmerizing. The views of green lush mountains and the colourful houses atop the hill made our boat ride the most memorable one.
Then, we started walking on the Mall Road. Nainital is famous for designer candles and gift shops. We had shopped a variety of showpieces crafted out of wax and returned to the hotel.
Next day sightseeing included Cave Garden which was at walking distance from our hotel. You can say this is a new addition to the list of tourist spots of Nainital. It comprised of some natural caves like Tiger cave, Panther Cave etc. Then, we sited the Naina Devi Temple located just behind the lake. The temple is one of the Hindu Sati-Peeths or Shakti-Peeths; the eyes of Sati fell here hence the name. In the vicinity, there was a gurudwara, within the next kilometre there was an ancient church.
So, that place within a kilometre can be well described as multi-dimensional in terms of religions or an epitome of different beliefs with so many diverse places of worship within a radius of one km.
Now, we were almost done for the day. I relaxed on one of the many benches built along the side of the lake and looked on to the lake. The last boats were returning to the shore. The boatmen were busy piling up the life jackets that were scattered haphazardly. After spending two days in Nainital, our stay had come to an end and we were looking forward to the rest of the places to visit starting from Binsar.
So, this was the novelty of Nainital and it was the saddest part when we were supposed to leave this place. Nainital is and always will be on my mind!
Read more: Nainital is also one among 5 amazing weekend road trips from Delhi