Boating at Nainital

The biggest crowd puller in Nainital is the Naini Lake. The Naini Lake is the centralized feature in Nainital.  It is flanked by the mountains like it was being cosseted from the world. Families bring their children for a pleasant boat ride here. Scores of Honeymooning couples too can be spotted a mile away snuggling while attempting to control their row boats. Groups of youngsters too will be seen here enjoying the boat rides as they unsettle the others with their merry making. It’s all in good fun though. These row boats or pedal boats can be rented from several places along the Mall. A few yachts are also available for rent at the Nainital Boat Club.

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Other facilities at the Nainital Boat Club include a bar, a ballroom, a library and a restaurant. The club used to be very exclusive in the past. An amusing story is linked with this club. At one time, Jim Corbett was denied membership to the club as he wasn’t a pakka sahib since he was born in India.

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The main road running through the town parallel to the lake is called the Mall road. There are bazaars at both ends of the Mall. These are called the Tallital and the Mallital. The Tallital is in the southern end while the Mallital is at the northern end. Walking down the Mall in the evenings can be quite delightful because of the cool breeze blowing from the lake.

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A major landslide had occurred here on 16th September 1880 leading to a disaster. 151 people who were at the Assembly Halls at the time of the landslide got buried underneath. Since then the place has been turned to a recreation ground known as the Flats. Today several games are played and various activities take place at the Flats.

Religious importance of Badrinath

Of the four sites of the Char Dham pilgrimage Badrinath is considered the most important. Situated on the banks of the Alakananda River in the Garhwal hills, this holy town is in the Chamoli district of the Uttarakhand state of India. It is located as high up as 3416 meters above sea level.

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It was in the 9th century that Adi Shankara became aware of the importance of this place and established it as a major pilgrimage site. The Badrinath temple is particularly sacred to the Vaishnavs. Nevertheless Badrinath attracts multitudes of other pilgrims besides the Vaishnavs.

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The sacred scriptures and legends of India have had a special place for Badrinath over thousands of years. Lord Vishnu is said to have been incarnated as the sages Nara and Narayana, who have been performing penance for the benefit of mankind. This has been cited in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

This place supposedly derives its name from a berry called Badri that is indigenous to this region whereas nath is indicative of Lord Vishnu. The Indian Jujube tree is known as Badri in Sanskrit. There is mention of a wealth of Jujube trees in Badrinath according to some of the scriptures. Folklore has it that the berries are actually a form of Goddess Lakshmi. She materialized in this form so her spouse, Lord Vishnu could be sustained during his long penance in the austere Himalayan environment.

In the Hindu scriptures, Badri is mentioned as Badarikaashram. This place is predominantly sacrosanct to Lord Vishnu chiefly in his twin form of Nara-Narayana. When Shiva addressed Arjun in the Mahabharat, he informed him, “You were Nara in your previous birth, and you performed severe penance at Badri for countless years with Narayana for company”.

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The Padma Purana refers to the vicinity of Badrinath as reserve of spiritual wealth. As per the Skanda Purana, There is no shrine anywhere in heaven, earth or hell that comes close to Badrinath. It is believed that Badrinath is the earthly dwelling of Lord Vishnu. Several Brahmasuthras and Upanishads have been written here in Badrinath. Religious intellectuals like Madhawacharya, Ramanujacharya and Vedanta Desika composed these sacred texts. In keeping with another belief, Goddess Ganga was appealed to descend on earth. Since the earth wouldn’t be able to survive the strength of her descent, the mighty Ganga was divided into twelve holy conduits. Alakananda, which flows here, was one of them.

Traveling to Nainital

There are several ways to reach Nainital:

You can go by road. It is connected to National Highway 87. You could take a state run bus to Nainital from Lucknow, Delhi and other major cities in the state of Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand Roadways have daily buses leaving from ISBT Anand Vihar. You could also opt for a luxury bus run by private operators from Delhi. Delhi Roadways, Haryana Roadways and Rajasthan Roadways also operates direct buses to Nainital. Buses are run on a regular basis from cities like Kanpur, Haridwar, Agra, Bareilly, Dehradun and Lucknow on a daily basis.

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If you prefer to drive, it takes 7 to 8 hours from Delhi. Take the National Highway No 24 and drive down to Rampur via Hapur. From Rampur you can change to National Highway 87 which takes you directly to Nainital. If you’re not in a hurry, you can halt en route at Wonderland, Rwy crossing, Moradabad. “The Cottage, Jeliokot” also falls on the way.

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The nearest railway station to Nainital is Kathgodam at a distance of 34 kilometers on the North Eastern Railway. Trains ply in from Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata. From Kathogam you can catch a cab or “share a cab” if you’re on a budget. If you are traveling from Agra or Bareilly then you would have to get off at Lalkuan station, which is at a distance of 60 kilometers from Nainital.

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The closest international airport is Indira Gandhi International airport, which is in Delhi. The nearest domestic airport is Pant Nagar Airport which is only 2 hours drive to Nainital. However, it is only served by Jagson Airlines with 6 flights per week, as of writing this. The operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Within Nainital, you can either travel on foot or take the cycle rickshaws which shuttle from one end of the Mall to the other.

General Information on Nainital

This Lake District of India ‘Nainital’ is in the State of Uttaranchal, India. Known for its salubrious climate and scenic beauty, the town is a popular health resort and attracts national as well as international tourists around the year. The town is rich in scenic setting, service infrastructure and landscape perspectives where people from other parts of the country and even outside go for stay and excursions around the year.

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Nainital is situated at a height of 1938 meters above sea level in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas of Uttarakhand. The temperature here is pretty cool with the maximum temperature in the summers being 27 degrees Celsius while the minimum is 10 degrees Celsius. In the winters the temperature could go up to 15 degrees Celsius and as far down as -3 degrees Celsius. Nainital receives snowfall between the months of December and February. The peak season here is from December to January and from March to June.

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The ancient name of this region was Khasdesh. Nainital has also been mentioned in the Puranas. Nainital has been dubbed Tri-Rishi-Sarovar. There is reference to three sages, Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha who excavated a massive hole as they could not find water at this locale. They then rerouted water from the holy lake Mansarover in Tibet to fill this hole. If the myth is to be believed then bathing in the Naini Lake is as good as bathing in the great Mansarovar. On the other hand, there is a credo that Lord Shiva’s wife Sati leapt into the flames of the sacred bonfire, and Shiva carried her remains back to Kailash Parvat. There were 64 places where appendages of her body dropped. It is believed that this is the spot where her emerald green eye fell. Thus it came to be called the Naini-tal. Nain means eye while tal means lake.

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The first European to be attracted to the landscape of Nainital was a merchant from Rosa near Shahjahanpur. Mr. P. Barron established Nainital in the year 1841. He was so moved by the beauty of the lake, he wrote that it was by far the best site he had witnessed in the course of a 1500 mile trek in the Himalayas. It had secured the soubriquet of Lake District of India. Soon, the British and colonial bureaucrats and their families who were trying to escape the heat of the plains became partial to this town as a health resort.

Map of Mussoorie

Below is the map of Mussoorie, in Uttarakhand. Use the scroller to zoom as per your preference.
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Videos of Mussoorie

Kempty Falls

A short video of Kempty Falls, Mussoorie.

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Kempty Falls

Another Kempty Falls video, with more closeup scenes..

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Paragliding:

A group of friends trying out paragliding for the first time in Mussoorie. The paragliding sport is followed by a visit to a Temple and boating in the lake.

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Mussoorie Town:

A video of Mussoorie, with its green hills. The snow capped mountain ranges to the north-east, and views of the Doon Valley & Shiwalik ranges in the south and cool climate, the town is a tourist attraction. Switch on your speakers and enjoy the music.

Around Mussoorie

This video features Kempty Falls, tibetian settlement, Santura Devi Temple and a holiday resort on the hill slope which has 1,2 or 3 room suites complete with a kitchen and cooking utensils, fridge etc.

Will add some more shortly… subscribe to be informed of updates!

Shopping and picnic spots in Mussoorie

Landour Bazaar is approximately 4 kilometers away from the Mall. The British had built a rejuvenation center here to enjoy the environmental surroundings as they believed the pure air could provide relief from stress and diseases rapidly.

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The best place to shop would be the Library Market. This Bazaar is also known as the Gandhi Chowk after the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, which is at one end of the bazaar. There are several shops here for you to shop till you drop.

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A Bazaar was named after the nuns who served here as nurses during the British Raj. This is called the Sisters Bazaar. Although there aren’t many shops here and it is more of a residential area, it is still a delightful place to visit. Some famous personalities such as Tom Alter, Victor Banerjee and Dev Anand own cottages in this area. A confectionery shop over here is worth visiting.

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There are several lakes in Mussoorie. An artificial lake has been created with a beautiful garden around it. This is a good picnic spot. Paddle boats can be rented here. One could commute to the Municipal garden by way of pony, motor vehicles and rickshaw cycles too. It is only 4 kilometers away. If you wish to take a walk you could get there through the Waverly Convent School, which would cut the distance by 2 kilometers. Yet another picnic spot has been developed recently. It falls on the route to Kempty Falls. Boating facilities are available over here too. A fascinating picnic spot has been developed by the Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority recently. This is at a distance of 6 kilometers on the Mussoorie Dehradun road. Here too one can avail of paddle boats. The bird’s eye view of the Doon Valley and villages from here is exceptional. The vista is even prettier in the night. It appears like an assortment of gems laid in a basket.

For the water babies, there are falls in Mussoorie that one could visit. There is the Mosey Falls, the Jharipani Falls and the Bhatta Falls. At a height of 4500 feet above sea level is Kempty Falls, which is on the Yamunotri Road, about 15 kilometers away from Mussoorie.

Places of interest in Mussoorie

There are a couple of temples one could visit in Mussoorie. One of these temples is dedicated to Lord Shiva. You will find this temple on Cart Mackenjee road which leads to Dehradun. It is an ancient temple called the Nag Devta Temple. Another temple sits on the peak of Benog Hill hemmed in by a dense forest. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga and it is situated at a height of 2104 meters above sea level. It is called the Jwalaji Temple. Besides these you could also visit Bhadraj Temple, which is dedicated to Sri Krishna’s brother, Lord Balbhadra. The first Tibetan temple built in India is at Happy Valley. It was constructed by Tibetan refugees in the year 1960.

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Mussoorie’s delightful nature walk is known as Camel’s Back Road. It gets its name because of the shape of a rock here, which reminds you of a sitting camel. It is a pleasant place for walking and horse-riding. An electric trolley will take you there.

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Close to Lal Tibba is the highest crest of Mussoorie. Horses can be hired to get here unless you prefer to take a walk. The mountains covered in snow are a sight to behold. A powerful telescope has been set up over here.

You could also opt to go on a picnic or a trek to Park Estate, where Sir George Everest built a laboratory. Mount Everest has been named after him. It is 6 kilometers from Gandhi Chowk from where one can go by car. This place provides one with a magical view of the Doon Valley.

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Taking a trip to Gun Hill is worth one’s time. Situated on the second highest peak in Mussoorie, it was built to store cannons for Mussoorie’s defense. A gun had been mounted here prior to independence, which was fired at noon. It is a 20 minute climb on the ropeway, which can be accessed from the Mall. You will enjoy an unforgettable ride here. Being at such a height one can catch a glimpse of the Doon Valley and Mussoorie town. The Himalayan ranges, Nanda Devi, Sri Kantha, Kedarnath, Badrinath and Bunder poonch stand proud and high for all to see.

The largest roller skating rink in India has been built in Mussoorie. Mussoorie is also credited with the construction of the first Christian church in the Himalayan region.

A British major constructed a bungalow deep in the heart of a dense deodar forest in the year 1938. This was one of the first four edifices, which has been transformed into a hotel. This place is called Cloud End.

A small place has been developed where one can catch sight of some exquisite animals and birds such as the Himalayan peacock, the Kakar, Ghurar, Monal and so on. This is a park on the Tehri bypass road that has been remodeled as a picnic spot. This place is called the Van Chetna Kendra.

The Mountain Quail had last been spotted in the year 1876 at an old sanctuary, which is sprawled out on an area of 339 hectares. It can be located at a distance of 11 kilometers from Library Point.

About Mussoorie

It is said that Mussoorie got its name from a plant called Mansoor, which is found in this region. Moreover, the locals cite it as Mansoori.  Mussoorie is at a distance of 34 kilometers from Dehradun in Uttarakhand. This hill station known as the queen of the hills is situated in the lap of the Himalayan Ranges. The townships of Jharipani, Barlowganj and Landour too are part of greater Mussorie. In fact one can still enjoy the old world charm in Landour. Based at a height of almost 2000 meters, it is a charming hill resort speckled with a variety of flora and fauna.  The hilltops covered in lush greenery sparkle like emeralds. In the winter the same stalwart emerald peaks are covered with a dazzling blanket of snow.

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To the south one can spot the Shiwalik and Doon Valley. The visitors here get the feeling of being transported to a fairyland. It is a haven for those who seek some relief from the sun in the summer months. The splendor of Doon Valley and Dehradun city is visible from Mussoorie. The languages spoken here are English, Hindi and Garhwali. The cool climate of Mussoorie attracts the honeymooning couples and holidaymakers. Mussoorie is a vibrant and cheerful place to visit. It is the first stop on the way to Gangotri and Yamunotri. The two rivers Ganga and Jamuna originate at these spots. They are regarded as sacred sites.

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Mussoorie was discovered by Captain Young in the year 1823 and it has been very popular ever since. While it can be extremely crowded in the peak season, it could be rather peaceful in the off season. Being fond of hunting, Captain Young built a shooting lodge here. Interestingly, even Colonel Everest constructed a home in Mussoorie in the year 1832. Initially Mussoorie was only accessible by road from a distance of 93 kilometers all the way from Saharanpur, but with the advent of the railways into Dehradun it is now  accessible by road from a mere distance of 34 kilometers. Mussoorie is well connected to the major cities of India. Taxis and buses to Mussoorie are available quite frequently. The peak season in Mussoorie is from March to June and from September to November.

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Loads of history is attached with Mussoorie. Mussoorie too has a main esplanade called the Mall just as the other hill stations do. On the one end of the Mall you will find the Public Library and at the other end is the Picture Palace. We are all aware of the expression ‘Indians and Dogs not allowed’ used during the British rule quite frequently. This expression was also found on a signboard at the Mall. Jawahar Lal Nehru’s father Mr. Motilal Nehru intentionally routinely broke this rule when he visited Mussoorie. Since he could get away with a mere fine, he got away with it by paying the fine for breaking the rule. Indira Gandhi too was a frequent visitor to Mussoorie in the early 1900s. Today the Dalai Lama and the headquarters of Government of Tibet in exile are based in Dharamsala, but originally the Dalai Lama fled the Chinese occupation and set up headquarters in Mussoorie in April of 1959. Some of the Tibetans still live in Mussoorie.

Map of Ranikhet

Below is the map of Ranikhet, in Uttarakhand. Move the scroller towards “+” to zoom in and “-” to zoom out.
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