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Overview

Like Shimla and Darjeeling, Nainital was founded by the British as a place to escape the heat of the Indian plains. Ringed by rugged hills rising to the snowpeaks of the Himalaya, this outpost reminded the homesick colonials of the English lake district, and accordingly, they filled the town with churches and colonial bungalows, giving Nainital an unmistakably British air. Today, this is a major holiday resort for travelers from across India, who come here to ride horses along forested ridges, row boats around emerald-green Naini lake, and enjoy the cool mountain breezes. A zoo and amusement park provide more fun for kids, while travelers ...

Like Shimla and Darjeeling, Nainital was founded by the British as a place to escape the heat of the Indian plains. Ringed by rugged hills rising to the snowpeaks of the Himalaya, this outpost reminded the homesick colonials of the English lake district, and accordingly, they filled the town with churches and colonial bungalows, giving Nainital an unmistakably British air. Today, this is a major holiday resort for travelers from across India, who come here to ride horses along forested ridges, row boats around emerald-green Naini lake, and enjoy the cool mountain breezes. A zoo and amusement park provide more fun for kids, while travelers with energy to burn can hike through pristine forests, climb on rocky outcrops or trek high into the mountains to remote passes and glaciers. Although Nainital is undeniably a resort, it feels more like part of India than many other hill stations, with bustling markets, temples, mosques and monasteries. Another big draw is the proximity of Corbett National Park, one of India's most famous tiger reserves, easily accessible by bus or on tours from Nainital.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A town in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas.
  • Language: Kumaoni, Hindi, English
  • Currency: Indian Rupee
  • Research: Wikitravel | Uttarakhand
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April to June and September to December; temperatures plummet from January to March.