Lakes of Nainital
Nainital is a quaint and serene hill station that is at an altitude of 2000m / 6500 ft. It also happens to be a district where the town acts as the district headquarters. Due to the sheer presence of numerous lakes in the district of Nainital, it is fondly called as the ‘Lake District of India’ . The town of Nainital is surrounded by seven hills popularly known as ‘Sapta-Shring’. This post introduces the various lakes that are present in and around Nainital.
Naini Lake is perhaps the most popular of all the lakes in the district. The popularity is due to its location, as the beautiful lake is located right in the heart of Nainital. The clear water becomes more attractive when the reflection of the sunlight sparkles during the day time.
Boating facility is available at Naini Lake. Visitors can choose motor boats or row boats and take a ride over the beautiful lake. It is a mesmerizing experience to take a boat ride at Naini Lake as you can see the sparkling water of the lake is surrounded by huge hills on all sides!
The area surrounding the lake is the main part of the town of Nainital. Visitors can take a gentle stroll around the lake in well paved foot-path at the Mall Road built exclusively for this purpose. You can enjoy the cool breeze with tiny water droplets from the lake as you take a 3.5 km long walk around the lake. After taking one full round of the lake, you can visit Naina Devi Temple that is located on the banks of the lake. If you want to spend some more time, you can take a look at the Tibetan Market next to the temple and is a nice place to shop the Tibetan Handicrafts and apparels.
Bhimtal is a small village that is located at 20 km from Nainital, and is popular for Bhimtal Lake. The lake is prestine and looks picturesque when the surrounding green hills are seen in the background. It is amazing to watch the green color that is reflected on the water from the surrounding green hills.
Like all other lakes in the region, Bhimtal too has boating options. Bhimtal, being less crowded then Nainital, the boating here is a much pleasant experience as there is no noise of the crowd in the vicinity. You can easily get lost in the beauty of the place listening to the sounds of water that result when you row your boat!
Bhimtal Lake also has a small island at one end of the lake. Earlier, this island had a restaurant, but now it has been converted into a beautiful and large aquarium.
Naukuchiatal is a small lake town located at a distance of 25 km from Nainital. Naukuchiatal literally translates to lake with nine corners. This huge lake is about 1 km long and 0.7 km wide and is surrounded by lush green mountains on all the sides.
Boating facility is available for visitors and row boats can be hired from the boat house. It is an absolute bliss going through the boat ride in Naukuchiatal. Naukuchiatal is the least crowded of all the lakes in the region that offers boating facility. Visitors can go for boating for longer duration at Naukuchiatal as the lake is very huge and the surroundings present a different view from different locations within the lake.
Apart from boating, visitors can also try paragliding here. In fact, when you go around the lake on a boat, you can spot many paragliders flying at different heights at different locations. It is really thrilling to watch some flyers gliding at a height almost equal to one of the surrounding mountains. The boat guide suggested that if you tell the guide of paragliding, he would let you to glide from such a height. The cost of paragliding depends on the duration and height of the glide! Hence if you decide to go for paragliding, be sure to ask all the options instead of just negotiating the cheapest price and going for it 🙂
Kamaltal is yet another lake in the region that is located just opposite of Naukuchiatal. The lake has a different name as this lake is abundant with lotus and hence is named Kamaltal (Lotus Lake).
Sattal translates to Seven Lakes. As the name suggests, this is a cluster of seven lakes that are interconnected. The lakes are spread over lush greenery of thick and dense pine and oak trees. Of the seven lakes, three of them are easily accessible, two of them can be visited by hiking through the dense forests and the other two are located in the interiors of the forests and are very difficult to reach. If you want to visit all the lakes, it is advisable to hire a guide and take his help.
There are several activities that can be performed at Sattal. Just like most other lakes in the region, visitor can hire a row boat and go around the lake. Visitors can also opt for zip lining over the lake.
Ram Bridge that separates two lakes!
Sattal is located at an elevation of 1370 meters, and is home to several migratory birds. Many birds are found here during winter time when they try to escape the extreme cold in the nearby higher regions. The fresh water in the lakes and dense forests that surround the lake attracts birds of all types to this region.
The seven lakes that form Sattal have individual names too. They are Purna Tal, Ram Tal, Sita Tal, Laxman Tal, Nal Damayanti Tal, Sukh Tal and Garud Tal. There are also few legends that talk about the names behind these lakes. Nal Damayanti Lake is named as King Nala along with his wife Damayanti are believed to be drowned in the water of this lake during their fourteen year exile! Ram Tal, Sita Tal, Laxman Tal are named after the characters in Ramayana. Garud Tal is named after the Lord Vishnu’s vehicle (Garud).
Sariyatal is a small artificial lake that you can visit on the way to Nainital. The lake is located 10 km before Nainital when you drive from Corbett/Delhi. The water to this lake comes from small stream from the surrounding mountains. The lake is located amidst thick green forest and is a good spot for a refreshing break. A small refreshment stall is also available which provides few fast food options.
Khurpatal Lake is located 12 km before Nainital when you drive from Corbett/Delhi. The surrounding lush greenery reflects on the water of this lake thus presenting emerald colored lake! The fresh water of Khurpatal lake is home to good variety of fish.
While you can go up and close near the lake, the best view of the lake can be seen from the main road near Mansa Devi Temple. From the road, you can get a fantastic view of the lake surrounded by lush greenery and a few buildings and resorts around the lake.
Where to stay?
|From||Distance to Nainital (in km)|
|Jim Corbett National Park||100-150 (depending on which entry gate)|
|Delhi / Dehradun||285|