In the month of September, when people were digging for uncommon and exotic destinations (like Kerala, Goa or Rajasthan), we decided to go “the usual way” this time because of three simple reasons –
- I was well acquainted with the place.
- It hardly needs any planning and can be covered over a weekend.
- It is easier to convince girls for the nearby locations than the far ones for obvious reasons *wink*
And, the travel bug bit me again and this time it was “The City of Lakes – Nainital“.
A Whatsapp group was created for planning and misplanning exactly a month before to follow the old tradition. After a lot of discussions, we booked a train until Kathgodam for Friday (9th Sep 2016) with around >40 waiting and return on Sunday (11th Sep 2016) with >15 waiting. Unfortunately, we got no confirmation by Wednesday night. On Thursday, without any luck with the reservations :(, quick decisions were taken and Volvo tickets were booked for Friday night (9th Sep 2016).
We all assembled near Anand Vihar way before the Volvo’s timing. I tell you something, these private Volvos never run on time or maybe someone somewhere was testing our patience. As the clock struck midnight and the bus started moving, everyone got super excited about the most awaited girls only trip (of the year). I was finally en-route for Nainital with all my bffs. Yipee!!!
Delhi to Nainital
We were 5, so one of us had to sit alone and Archana decided to volunteer. In a blink of an eye, a handsome guy boarded the bus and sat next to Archana. This obviously gave us an opportunity to do leg pulling. Amidst that fun, here is the snippet of conversation –
Archana : Where are you going ?
Guy : Nainital, my home town.
Archana : Ohh !! that’s amazing. We are also going to Nainital for sightseeing. So, you can tell us about the best places to visit in the town.
Guy : Why not ? (then he told us about the same). What do you guys do ?
Archana : We are software engineers and what about you ?
Guy : I am an editor and writes blogs as well .
Swati : I can’t belive you. You don’t look like an editor.
To be Continued …
Archana and I spent time talking to him and reading his blog while the other members of the gang were almost sleepy or would have slept already 😀
After knowing that the guy was younger to me, I got turned off but the Archana was still in no mood to rest. Jokes apart, I made a note of all places mentioned by the guy we met. I woke up (6:00 am) when the bus halted somewhere and to my surprise, Archana was sleeping alone on 2 seats and the guy was nowhere to be found (which gave me a sense of relief). Nainital was hardly 25 km from there but again the odds unfavoured, “‘buses couldn’t go further due to some local festivities in the town’, exclaimed the conductor” 😦
There were around 30-40 people on the road now, waiting for the cab to get them to the Nainital. It was a tough fight, strategies have been laid to get the very next cab and it worked with just one flaw, we got 4 instead of 5 seats. “‘No worries! I can sit on Archana’s lap’, I said this immediately” and Archana frowned for a sec then agreed.
Nainital, the city of lakes
The green colored lake “Naini” has a magical lure of its own that strikes you as soon as you enter the city. Walking down the streets of Nainital with a beautiful lake on one side and a mall road market on the other in search of accommodation was fun! Right from the budget hotel to luxurious 5-star hotel, one can get all in here. Our search ended up at Elphinstone Hotel, with our rooms facing the lake
A drawing room with sofas and a study table near a window and of course a bedroom with a beautiful painting on the wall with an attached life-size washroom and a dressing “What else a girl needs”? It was way more than the expectations!
Everyone dressed up for the mission “Explore Nainital”. A lot on my mind but hunger took it all and we went straight to the Chandni Chowk restaurant. The decor at this swanky restaurant deserves a special attention because of its resemblance with the buzzing streets of Delhi’s original CC. We ordered a special thali, some chaat item, and our favorite Jalebi. The food was delicious and lip smirking or maybe we were hungry enough 😛
Shortly later, we started looking for the cable car or ropeway entry point which was quite confusing due to the absence of proper signal board. We asked locals but on inquiry, we were offered with other services like a sightseeing tour, horse ride and a taxi drive to the entry point. Ultimately, the place was located at a little height near the Sakley’s bakery (I’ll come to it in the second post on Nainital). Tickets costed us 150 per head and while waiting for our turn, we thought “why to waste time?” and started posing for selfies and groupfies.
While going up by cable car, we got the panoramic view of Naini Lake and the surroundings albeit through the haze but it was still stupendous to look at.
At a height of 2270m, one can enjoy the view of snow-capped mountains like Nanda Devi (Second highest mountains in India after Kangchenjunga), Trishul and Nanda Kot. Due to cloudy weather, we could hardly spot any peak from there 😦 but who can stop us from having fun? In an instant, we found one deserted amusement park with non-functional swings. “‘Let’s give it a try’, we all said” at the same time and afterward selfies with one armed Uncle Scrooge and acting real on non-functional swings added to what we call Impromptu Fun.
We trekked downhill to explore the unknown and got lost in the beauty of deodar trees. I almost felt like singing a song while hopping from tree to tree like typical Bollywood movie scene. Does someone remember a song “Yeh haseen vaadiyan” from the movie Roja? Well, exactly the same feeling.
There were some food stalls and traditional costume shops for getting a picture clicked dressing in traditional. Archana gave it a try and we supported her well! She looked adorable in the outfit and innocent too which was unimaginable 😀
Unwind on a boat ride
Naini lake is the heart and soul of the city with everything centering around it. There were different types of boat to sail in like Yachts, Rowing Boats, and Shikara Boats. We enjoyed by having a boat ride in a self-driven paddle boat. Boat ride stole the show with the magnificent view of lake enveloped in tall mountains. Besides, the balmy air took away all worries and left us with our best versions.
Some fair was going on during the time near the lake, we opted to take a ride on “Break Dance”. It looked something like this in the picture. The tingly sense of excitement made us laugh in fear- a definite adrenaline rush. We came back lotting potting in laughter 😛
Look What I Spotted…
The Tibetan market located very close to the Naina Devi temple was a place for shopping enthusiasts. Wait, wait, wait !! look what I spotted – a puppy. It was soft like a soft toy and its eyes could speak to you about all the innocence of this world. “Isn’t it cute ?” that seemed like an irrelevant question in the context.
Moving ahead, we found that the place is full of small shops offering warm clothes, jewelry, candles, cosmetics, souvenirs, etc at reasonable rates. My lady gang got mesmerized and geared up by the variety available there. And let me tell you the trick to get these stuff cheap B-A-R-G-A-I-N!
By the time our shopping spree was over, here we found this shop “Sonam Fast Food” (mentioned by the guy we met on the Volvo) known for its mouth-watering vegetarian and mutton momos and thukpa. We had veg Momos and Chowmien and we just loved it.
We thought of spending more time at the lakeside after whole day fun and clicked some pictures with Bagwati, a gorgeous lady with a pair of sunglasses (wink*).
If you are lucky enough to be at Lake, you are lucky enough !!
We walked the mall road market to our Hotel. We kept the “candles” right at the top of our shopping list (Yeah, again !!). Scented candles are the special souvenir of Nainital. One can get them in various colors, shapes, and sizes. We got plenty of them as gifts for friends back home. Suddenly I felt an urge to have coffee and encountered this place “Café de Mall“. I sipped my coffee while sitting outdoors enjoying the cool breeze and view of Naini lake. And I really wished if I could sip my every subsequent coffee with the same feel.
At night the hills go silent and only the lights shimmer on the lake. The Lake which had become more expressive in dark and looked amazing from the hotel’s balcony. With this, the day ended over some casual chit chat and a small round of truth & dare.
FACTS AND TIPS ABOUT THE PLACE
Best time: Nainital is a year-round destination but March to June and September to November is considered as the best time for sightseeing otherwise it will be rainy or too cold to roam around.
Shopping Tips: Markets constitute of good and affordable stuff here. Yet, you can get it cheaper by the art of bargaining.
Side Trips: Some recommended side trips include Ranikhet, Almora, Kausani, and Mukteshwar (my personal favorite). A half day tour of the enchanting local lakes, including Sat Tal, Bhimtal, and Naukuchiatal, is also fun. One can even plan for Corbett National Park (150 km).
Ropeway: This is the most popular destination in the town. So, try to reach there at earliest as possible to avoid the rush.
The first day in the city of Lakes with my lady gang was mind-blowing. This is a kind of place where one can enjoy by doing simple things like a walk by the lakeside or just sitting and taking in the beauty of nature. The fresh crisp air of the place had cleaned up the farthest alveoli of my lungs and I desired if they had an option for Nainital air takeaways. Everything was so unplanned and on the spur. Yet, amazing! Right from the hotel location to the time spent at the lakeside. I swear by all the pictures we clicked in the town, the place is worth visiting!
Read more at “the Second day in Nainital” 🙂
Life is too short to spend weekends at home. A well spent weekend can make your coming Mondays better if not the best.
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