Friday, 30 March 2012

Nainital & Mukteshwar

Trip to unwind

“What a wonderful world “I said to myself while I stared out of the small balcony at one of the hotel in Nainital.....I was amazed at the beauty of nature at this place. For all the three days that I stayed at this place, I admired Mother Nature for being so beautiful and thanked god for creating such places on earth where one could visit and unwind! I also thought of my Sangeeta bhabhi from whom I'd heard a lot about this place while growing up. Yeah! she is from Nainital and today I thank her for introducing me to this lake:)
Although we had started from Delhi (on road) with the idea of visiting ‘Mukteshwar’ but half way through we decided to go to ‘Nainital’ first and then cover ‘Mukteshwar’.

Nainital, as the name suggests is a lake (Naini Lake) surrounded by hills which believe you me, is very beautiful any time you look at it. The view of cottages and villas including the hotels that have come up on the hills is awesome. 
The early morning cool breeze, with a serene view of the lake in front of you, makes you sit and introspect in your mind. 

The sun rays falling on the lake make it glitter in the afternoon and the fun /enthusiasm of paddling a boat in it in the evening just makes your experience at the lake complete. There are plenty of budgeted hotels that you will find at Nainital. Look for the ones that are situated at the hill so that you get the beautiful view of the lake from your room itself. When you are in Nainital don’t miss out on visiting Bheemtaal, Sat- Tal and Nauchika Tal in Uttarakhand. These other ‘Tals’ are situated at a few kilometres from Nainital. (Bheemtal to Nainital- 22km, Sat- Tal to Nainital-23 km, Naukuchiatal to Nainital- 23km). Also, ensure to do the local sight-seeing by hiring a taxi for a day rather than driving yourself around. Taxies and the guides are easily available on mall road at reasonable rates. Be careful to carry some shawl or some warm clothes as evenings are cold here especially when it rains. The rains are very unpredictable here.

Local places to see- Cave Garden, Hanuman temple, Raj Bhawan (Governor’s house, golf course), Zoo, KhurTal- man made lake, small waterfall, lover’s point, high point are the important things to see in Nainital. Rope way or Cable car connects the snow view point with Nainital. All this can be covered in one day. You should give one day to enjoy all the boat rides on the lake. More adventurous and sporty can have the fun of paddling the boat in a paddle boat. It’s a small boat for two people to paddle. Or if you want to just sit and enjoy the boat ride then you can have the one driven by the boat man. We decided on spending time on both and believe me it was worth it. There were people enjoying kayaking as well in the lake.

You will find many shops that arrange for a day’s tour on mall itself. Mall road runs on one side of lake with plenty of hotels, shops and restaurants etc. We hired a local taxi wala for an amount of Rs 1500/- to show us around on the local tour of Nainital. The Zoo is situated on a l’ll height. It is at an altitude of 2100mts in an open, large and sprawling area. It is well maintained and has parakeets, silver pheasants, Leopards, Himalayan bear, monkeys etc. Visiting the caves was also fun. 
If you are an adventurous sort then you will definitely enjoy going through those narrow caves. But if you are even a wee bit claustrophobic then it is not recommended. Visiting Raj Bhawan requires buying an entry ticket but one is not allowed to go inside the governer’s house.However; from the outside of it one can admire the greenery outside the building, which is well maintained .Like other hill areas this place also had many small temples in and around, especially of God Hanuman. The road to the local waterfall and the lover’s point is beautiful especially when it’s raining. We got drenched in the rain and enjoyed some candid photography as well. One of my friend loves taking pics so he took out his camera and took some shots in the rain that came out really beautifully. In fact while we were coming back to the lake after our local site- seeing it started raining heavily. Remember weather is unpredictable here!It doesn’t stay in one condition and changes very quickly. 

We had to head to Mukteshwar (it is 51km from Nainital and at an elevation of 7513 ft) so we did not decide on staying but one can stay longer and plan on visiting Kausani, Almora etc as well. Mukteshwar, I would say is another paradise on earth. Still, so very untouched by the tourist crowd. Although there are many resorts that you will find on your way to Mukteshwar. But the best and the most famous one to stay is the ‘mountain trail’.
If you want to unwind and gain peace away from the maddening hustle bustle of our daily life then ‘Mukteshwar’ is the place to go.

The most peculiar thing that we observed at Mukteshwar was the sound of the wind that flows through the trees. Yes! The wind flows making a sound of a ‘Jharna’ (waterfall). Listening to the sound was very soothing and calm. It gives you a very soothing and quiet feel and brings you more closer to Nature. The experience and the stay there was very relaxing and calm. We had covered the Nainital & Mukteshwar trip in a week’s time giving three days each to both the places.
'Chauli ki Jaali'-My favourite point on the cliff to spend time early mornings and evenings daily at Mukteshwar

Himalayan peaks as visible from Mukteshwar in the early mornings

Nainital is much commercialized and very much touched by the tourists, but Mukteshwar is not. By the way, you don’t expect a TV either at such a place;)

At mountain trail, the rooms are made such (there is a varandah and a glazed sit-out next to your room) that you can always enjoy the view of snow peaked mountains of Himalaya in front of you. Early morning view from here is a breathtaking one. Mukteshwar, I would recommend is an ideal place to spend some quiet time with family or the loved ones. 

A very famous temple of lord Shiva called “Mukteshwar temple” and “Chauli ki Jaali” are the two venues for sightseeing here. ‘Chauli ki Jaali’ is a overhanging of cliffs and rocks, which gives a breath taking view of both sunrise and sunset. They also provide a panoramic view of the valley below. This is also a very good point for spotting eagles and other birds. Witnessing sun-rise & sunset at these cliffs is an experience in itself. If you like adventure sport then the resort administration helps arrange for mountain climbing, rappelling and fox trot/flying activity at Chauli ki Jaali. 

Mukteshwar became famous after IVRI was established in 1893. But the name has been derived from the famous 350 yrs old temple of Lord Shiva called “mukteshwar” which is situated at the highest point at town. “Mukti” means moksha/ salvation by Ish, i.e.Lord Shiva. As per the local story, Lord Shiva gave Mukti to a demon that he killed. The temple itself is very calm and serene. Climbing the stairs through the woods gives you a tranquil and delightful feeling. We heard the wind blowing like a jharna at the temple stairs only. March-April (a non- peak) season is a better idea to visit. Mukteshwar is a very small town in Uttarakhand and locals are as helpful and naive as people would be at any hill station. Resorts like Mountain Trail provide you with all the modern amenities except for a TV.
Various adventures activities that one can enjoy at Mukteshwar are trekking, Nature Walks in the nearby woods, fox flying, rappelling & rock climbing.

Trip to Nainital and Mukteshwar is worth visiting again always!


  1. Shweta, Since Mukteshwar is my native place, I must say....whatevery you have mentioned in this blog is very true. Your photography and way you have written about various places is simply amazing... Keep visiting more place... I would love to read your upcoming experiences.


  2. Thanks Nipun:) appreciate it! I wrote and photographed whatever I observed at Mukteshwar. Sitting near the cliffs was an amazing experience for me. This is one place where I would love to visit again and again.

    1. You are always welcome Shweta, do let me know when you go next to Mukteshwar, may be I can show you some more beautiful places over there..:)

  3. Beautiful travelogue. Have been to Nanital but not to Mukteshwar. Your travelogue has now made me put it on my must visit list. Thank you.

    1. Thank you magiceye for the complement:)Yes, you must visit Mukteshwar whenever you can. Memory of spending time at the cliffs and the Shiva temple is still fresh in my mind:)

  4. Added to my must see places list! The pics are breathtakingly beautiful!

    1. Thanks Indrani :)Indeed, a must see place..heaven on earth!

  5. This is just an awesome post Shweta. You recalled my memories from Mukteshwar — truly heaven on earth!

    1. :) Glad that you liked reading it. yes, a beautiful place indeed.


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