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25+ Things To Do In Naukuchiatal
By Akansha Borthakur
16 Sep, 2023
A lesser known but absolutely stunning slide of paradise is the hamlet of Naukuchiatal, located a short drive away from Delhi. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the first part of this blog that details everything you should know about Naukuchiatal before you plan a trip here . It includes everything from best time to visit, best seasons, all details about how to reach and even information about what exactly is so special here.
Sun setting beyond the mountains near Almora and Ranikhet (Source - GoIbibo)
And if you have read it, welcome to Part 2, which is all about everything you can do in Naukuchiatal once you are here.
THINGS TO DO IN NAUKUCHIATAL
A couple enjoying row boating on Naukuchiatal Lake (Source - Wikipedia)
The deepest lake of Uttarakhand, at 175 ft. is Naukuchiatal Lake or ‘Lake of Nine Corners’. It is the centerpiece of this cosy little town and is a placid and mostly clear lake, fed by an underground spring throughout the year. Surrounded by lush green views of the surrounding mountains and shrubbery, the lake is perfect for boating, picnicking, kayaking, leisurely walks and bird watching.
An aerial view of the interconnected Sattal Lakes in Uttarakhand (Source - AdoTrip)
A result of ancient tectonic disturbances, Sattal is a group of 7 mysteriously interconnected lakes. About an hour away from Naukuchiatal, this lake and its surroundings is one of the very few undisturbed freshwater biospheres in India; making it a home for many animals, plants and migratory birds. It is a relaxing destination with plenty to do around it.
Zorbing balls and boats on Bhimtal Lake (Source - Uttarakhand Tourism)
Built in 1883, Bhimtal is Nainital district’s largest lake complete with a masonry dam. It supports a plethora of aquaculture and provides drinking water to a large number of nearby districts. There is an island in the middle of the lake, which has now been converted into a tourist attraction and holds an aquarium inside it. Both the lake and the Bhimtal town are named after Bhim from the Mahabharata.
Outside seating at Cafe Verandah near Naukuchiatal (Source - VistaRooms)
Owing to the large lake, Naukuchiatal is replete with lakeside and lakeview eateries and cafes that serve up a variety of cuisine, ranging from traditional Kumaoni thalis to pizzas and pastas. Cafe Lakeside, Brittney’s Cafe, iHeart Cafe Himalayas, Cafe Verandah and Cafe Kumaon Local are some of the must go spots here.
There are plenty of walking trails around all the lakes in Uttarakhand (Source - Hotel Spring Birds)
Since it is surrounded by massive pine and oak forests, this town makes for a great location to take nature walks. You can walk around the Naukuchiatal Lake or explore many of the smaller and lesser known hiking trails and woods around. Make sure to keep a pair of binoculars at hand to make it easier to spot those rare migratory birds.
Shopping in Naukuchiatal
Traditional Garhwali yarn bangles made of different colours
Like any other Uttarakhandi town, Naukuchiatal also has a small shopping street near the lake which is filled with shops of all kinds. Not only can you get your daily necessities like groceries, fruits, clothes etc. but there are also a bunch of souvenir and handicraft shops that sell handmade goods, local wines, Garhwali paintings, traditional fabrics and more.
Jungle cat spotted in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary (Source - Travellers of India)
Although Naukuchiatal in itself does not have any safari options, it is really close to many other wildlife reserves like Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Pangot Reserve, Naina Devi Himalayan Bird Conservation Reserve, Ascot Deer Park and Jim Corbett National Park.
Sky awash with an orange glow during sunset in Uttarakhand (Source - Flickr)
Due to the hilly terrain, Naukuchiatal has many small hillocks and viewpoints from where you can view a to-die-for sunset. Jungliagaon is a small village about 8 kms away from the town and famous for its beautiful scenery and sunset views. Great for budding photographers.
TEMPLES IN NAUKUCHIATAL
Hanuman Statue standing tall in Naukuchiatal (Source - The Lake Hill)
Standing tall amidst the crowd with a 52 feet statue of Lord Hanuman, this temple is the most visited temple of the region. The entrance to the temple is cave like and takes you to the inner praying sanctum. The premises of this temple also holds the Mata Vaishno Devi temple which is a replica of the one in Jammu and the Ram Darbar Temple dedicated to Lord Rama.
Naina Devi Temple
Devotees praying at the Naina Devi Temple in Nainital (Source - Times of India)
Located on a hillock at the northern end of the Nainital Lake, the Naina Devi temple is considered to be one of the most powerful Shakti Peeth in the country. Dedicated to the goddess, this temple is thronged by devotees from around the world. It is about an hour and a half away from Naukuchiatal.
Entrance to the Bhimeshwar Temple in Bhimtal (Source - Gosahin)
Touted to have been constructed by King Baaz Bahadur of the Chand Kumaoni Dynasty, this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located about 30 mins from Naukuchiatal. Legend says that Bhim came to rest in this place during this tour of the Himalayas and hence the temple is named after him.
Garjiya Devi Temple
Steps leading upto the Garjiya Devi Temple in Ramnagar (Source - Media India)
Situated atop a large rock on the Kosi River, the Garjiya Devi Temple is a sacred Shakti shrine that is considered to brim with power during moon nights. Hundreds of devotees celebrate the Kartik Poornima festival here by worshiping the goddess and bathing in the river. Garjiya Devi is located in the Ramnagar district, about 3 hours away from Naukuchiatal.
Entrance to the ancient Mukteshwar Dham (Source - Times of India)
45 km from Naukuchiatal, perched atop a hill stands the ancient Shiva temple in Mukteshwar Dham, with a rich history spanning 350 years. Legend holds that Lord Shiva vanquished a demon at this site, bestowing upon him salvation, or 'Mukti', thus giving the place its name. The temple's serene surroundings make it a haven for meditation. The drive from Naukuchiatal takes about 2 hours.
The orange and yellow Kainchi Dham Temple in Bhowali (Source - Times Now News)
Located in Bhowali, Kainchi Dham is a serene Hanuman temple and ashram founded by the revered Shri Neem Karoli Baba in the 1960s. Nestled amidst hills with a river meandering nearby, the temple is enveloped in natural tranquility. Many attest to the palpable spiritual energy and the enduring presence of Hanuman Ji within its confines.
Ghorakhal Golu Devta Temple
Thousands of bells tied to the Golu Devta Temple in Bhimtal (Source - Shoma Abhyankar)
Perched atop Ghorakhal Hill, overlooking Bhimtal lake, stands the temple of Ghorakhal Golu Devta, an esteemed incarnation of Lord Shiva. Fondly referred to as Golu Baba by the locals of the Nainital district, he holds the title of the god of justice. A unique feature of this temple is its vast collection of bells, ranging from thousands to possibly millions. Devotees, upon the fulfillment of their prayers, return to offer brass bells. The magnitude of the granted wish dictates the size of the bell.
Kasar Devi Temple
The Kasar Devi temple overlooking the Almora Valley (Source - E Uttaranchal)
Nestled on a hillock with a panoramic view of the quaint town of Almora, Kasar Devi Temple stands as an iconic Hindu shrine. Dating back to the 2nd century, it's enveloped by towering deodar and pine trees. The Skanda Purana attributes the construction of this cave temple to Yakshas and Gandhars, celestial beings and nature spirits.
ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES IN NAUKUCHIATAL
Early morning angling in Uttarakhand (Source - Conde Nast Traveller)
Naukuchiatal and Bhimtal Lake offer fishing opportunities. These waters house an array of fish species, including the common carp, rohu, and catfish. The best season to cast a line is from March to June when the weather is pleasant, and the fish are active. Some ideal spots include the shallow banks and near aquatic plant beds. Local guides can be hired to assist you with this. Fishing rods usually cost between INR 50-100 and no permits are needed.
Family kayaking in Naukuchiatal Lake on a cloudy day (Source - Wikipedia)
The main Naukuchiatal Lake area is the preferred spot for this activity, ensuring both safety and picturesque views. Single and tandem kayaks are available, catering to both solo adventurers and pairs. While kayaking can be enjoyed year-round, the best season is from March to June, offering the best weather and calm waters to glide on. Costs can vary, but a standard session usually falls between INR 300 to INR 800. This activity is ideal for beginners as well.
Colourful zorbs on the water (Source - Thrillophilia)
Zorbing in Naukuchiatal presents an exhilarating experience as you roll with gentle currents or on the water's surface. The primary zorbing spot is near the Naukuchiatal Lake, offering participants both water and land options. Depending on the duration and type, charges usually range from INR 250 to INR 650. The suggested time to indulge in this thrill is between September and November, when the landscape is lush and the climate is neither too cold nor too hot.
Ziplining over the length of the Naukuchiatal Lake (Source - Hitesh Joshi)
Another great option for thrill seekers is Naukuchiatal ziplining. Set up over the lake, the zip line spans approximately 300 to 500 meters, giving participants a brilliant bird's-eye view of the area. A typical zip lining experience might set you back anywhere from INR 400 to INR 1,000. While this activity is suitable for most age groups, operators ensure safety standards are strictly adhered to. The clear skies and waters from April-June make the best ziplining season for Naukuchiatal.
Paragliding over the Kumaon Hills (Source - TripAdvisor)
When skies permit, paragliding in Naukuchiatal is a fantastic activity to enjoy. The primary take-off point is situated at a heightened location close to the lake, ensuring a clear launch and magnificent visuals. With an average flight duration of 10-15 minutes, it's a brief yet unforgettable experience. The activity, priced roughly between INR 1,500 to INR 3,000, caters to both beginners and seasoned fliers, with tandem flights available for novices. Season-wise, October to March is the most conducive for paragliding.
Dense forest trekking trail near Naukuchiatal (Source - E Papr)
Jungliagaad trek, Mukteshwar trek, Bhimtal trek, Tiffin Top trail and Killbury Bird Sanctuary treks are some of the popular treks around Naukuchiatal. These routes treat trekkers to captivating views of the Himalayan foothills, verdant forests, and panoramic vistas of the shimmering lakes below. The ideal trekking season in this region stretches from September to May when the pathways are neither too slippery nor too dry, making sure trekkers are safe. However, apart from these there are numerous hiking trails in the vicinity of the town for shorter walks and overnight camping.
Family enjoying leisurely boating on Bhimtal Lake (Source - Mahindra Holidays)
Rowboats, paddle boats or motorboats can be rented for an idyllic escape on the water. Paddling remains the top choice for travellers as it offers a more intimate encounter with the lake. Local boatmen and some tourism agencies operate these vessels, ensuring safety while providing insights about the area. The best climate for boating is between March and June or between September and November.
Cycling is an adventurous sport that can be enjoyed all over Uttarakhand (Source - Majestic Journey)
Cycling around Naukuchiatal offers a refreshing way to experience its picturesque surroundings. Several trails, ranging from easy lakeside paths to more challenging terrains are available to explore. Rental outlets near the lake provide a range of bicycles and rental costs vary based on the cycle type and duration, but most rates are reasonable. The months between October to March are most favorable for cycling, avoiding the monsoon's slush and summer's heat.
PLACES TO VISIT NEAR NAUKUCHIATAL
Aerial view of Bhowali Uttarakhand (Source - Another Global Eater)
Just about 15 kms away from Naukuchiatal is Bhowali, famous as the fruit market of the region. Renowned for its expansive orchards of apples, peaches, and strawberries, Bhowali serves as a perfect little getaway for nature lovers. The T.B. Sanatorium, established in 1912, stands as an architectural relic from the colonial era. The panoramic vistas from Kainchi Dham and the serene ambiance of Golu Devta Temple are amongst Bhowali's must visit attractions.
Lush terraced hills of Almora, Kumaon Hills in Uttarakhand (Source - Times of India)
On a ridgeline in the Kumaon region, about 6 kms from Naukuchiatal, Almora offers a mesmerizing view of the lower. Himalayas. It is celebrated for its rich cultural heritage, handicrafts, and delectable cuisine. The ancient Kasar Devi Temple, attracting spiritual seekers, and the bustling Lala Bazaar, with its unique cobbled streets, traditional Kumaoni houses, and traditional sweets like Bal Mithai and Singoda are some of its USPs.
Stunning view of the opposite mountains from Crank's Ridge, Kasar Devi (Source - Tushar Garg)
If you are looking for the bohemian vibe, then Kasar Devi, 65 km from Naukuchiatal is the perfect choice. This serene locale is renowned for the ancient Kasar Devi Temple, which has attracted spiritual luminaries like Swami Vivekananda, Bob Dylan and Terrence Mckenna. Often dubbed the "Hippie Hill", this town has a distinct cosmic energy that draws meditation enthusiasts. Moreover, the Crank's Ridge area, located nearby, offers panoramic Himalayan views and has a lively vibe with its array of cafes and music spaces.
Snowfall all over Mukteshwar during January (Source - Indus Valley)
Mukteshwar or ‘Peak Watcher’s Paradise’ as it is fondly called is 20 km from Naukuchiatal and an excellent treat if you want to spot some of the most grand peaks in the Kumaon Himalayas, like Nanda Kot, Nanda Devi, Panchachuli, Trishul and more. It houses the iconic Mukteshwar Dham, a 350-year-old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Chauli Ki Jali, a cliff renowned for the mystical legends surrounding it. The pristine orchards and the colonial-era Indian Veterinary Research Institute further polish the character of this town.
Long aerial view of Nainital and the surroundings hills and valleys (Source - Wikipedia)
Dubbed as the "Lake District of India", Nainital is enveloped around the emerald Naini Lake and is only about an hour away from Naukuchiatal. This hill station boasts the bustling Mall Road for shopping aficionados and the serene Naina Devi Temple atop a hill. A boat ride on the lake, panoramic views from Snow View Point, and a visit to the Nainital Zoo are must do’s when in town. Its rich colonial history adds as a cherry on the travel cake.
Verdant expanses of Ranikhet near Naukuchiatal (Source - Holidify)
This picturesque hill station provides an uninterrupted view of the Himalayas from the Chaubatia Gardens, houses the legendary The Jhula Devi Temple and showcases the valor of the Indian Army at the Kumaon Regimental Centre Museum . Only about 60 km from Naukuchiatal is Ranikhet or ‘Queen’s Meadow’. Lofty pine trees, rolling hills, wide meadows and meandering streams define its terrain and provide a stunning backdrop to any photo.
Green rolling hills and orchards of Ramgarh Uttarakhand (Source - Soulitude)
25 km from Naukuchiatal, and close to Jim Corbett is the ‘Fruit Bowl of Kumaon’ or Ramgarh. The famed poet Rabindranath Tagore penned parts of 'Gitanjali' here at the viewpoint known as ‘Tagore Top’. This hamlet is renowned for its lush orchards bearing apples, apricots, and peaches and the panoramic views of the snow-clad Himalayan peaks from its verdant terraced farms.
Breathtaking drone shot of Pangot, a bird watcher's paradise (Source - UV Bisht on Facebook)
About 45 kms from Naukuchiatal and 12 kms from Nainital lies every birdwatcher’s dream destination, Pangot. With over 300 species of birds recorded in the area, Pangot is a hot destination to spot unique birds like the Himalayan Griffon Vulture, Stay-backed Forktail, Spot-winged Grosbeak, Blue-winged Manila amongst many more. Kilbury Bird Sanctuary here is a must-visit for avifauna philliacs, ensuring an intimate rendezvous with nature and its winged inhabitants.
Whew! That was quite the read. Well, more information is always good information when it comes to planning a trip. We hope that with this blog and the Part 1 before it, you guys are now well established to create your perfect Naukuchiatal itinerary. And remember, The Hosteller Naukuchiatal, situated only a kilometer away from the famous lake, is ready to host you whenever you have plans.
Happy travels :)