Last Updated on July 14, 2023 by asoulwindow
Table of Contents
What is there in Naukuchiatal? Tourists come in moderate numbers to Nukuchiatal to enjoy zorbing, ziplining, mountain biking, hot air balloon, parasailing and boating and other adventure sports. Naukuchiatal is a much-loved destination among the brave heart and fun-loving tourist. Some of the top sightseeing places in Naukuchiatal are located at walking distance from each other.
This is the most comprehensive travel guide to Naukuchiatal. The deep insight I have shared in this information packed Naukuchiatal travel guide is not available in traditional travel guide books and mainstream media. I have written this detailed travel guide on Naukuchiatal based on my several trips to the tourist-friendly Kumaun region of Uttarakhand in North India. So, here is all you wanted to know about Naukuchiatal.
Visit Naukuchiatal lake
Naukuchiatal lake is a major point of attraction in the Kumaun region. The iridescent bluish water of Naukuchiatal lake is to be seen to be believed. The magnificent mountain ranges surrounding the lake makes the setting all the more dramatic. There are many unusual places to visit in and around Naukuchiatal lake which I discovered on my trip here. It is a famous picnic spot as kids and families love spending time here especially in summer when kids have summer holidays and the plains of Delhi NCR face soaring temperatures. This is why, it is a great weekend destination from Delhi NCR.
Also called as the lake of nine corners, Naukuchiatal is located very close to Kathgodam. Naukuchiatal is also known for the annual ‘escape festival’ which takes place every May. Ziplining, rowing, canoeing, paddling, zorbing or yachting are popular adventure sports of Naukuchiatal which tourist enjoy all day.
Stats of Naukuchiatal lake
Located at an altitude of a comfortable 4,002 feet above the sea level, Naukuchiatal makes for a great weekend getaway from Delhi NCR. What is the area of area of Naukuchiatal? What is the height of Naukuchiatal? What is Naukuchiatal altitude? These are some commonly asked questions. Well, did you know that Naukuchiatal is 175 feet deep? Not many know that Naukuchiatal is the deepest of all the lakes in the Nainital region. Below are the stats of the natural lakes of Kumaun in the Nainital district:
- Sattal is 1390 meters or 4,560 feet above mean sea level. It has 24.48 ha water area.
- Bhimtal is 1370 meters or 4,495 feet above mean sea level. It has 86.5 ha water area.
- Naukuchiatal is 1220 meters or 4,002 feet above mean sea level. It has 65.0 ha water area.
Hanuman Garhi Temple: Bajrang Bali Statue
As I was walking from Naukuchiatal to Bhimtal, the 52 feet statue of Lord Hanuman fell on my left. The statue also fell on our right when we drove towards the Allure Villa in Naukuchiatal during my arrival. I made it a point then to come back for a better darshan of Bajrang Bali. It is a divine statue which is half below the eye level and half above it. No wonder, it is the best Naukuchiatal tourist place.
What makes it unique is that half the statue is below the eye level. This means that if you are walking, cycling or driving on road, you will see only the face and chest of Hanuman ji. Kids also love to take the artificial cement cave which takes devotees to the base of the temple premises. Temples devoted to Mata Vaishno Devi, Shani Bhagwan are also present in the precincts.Where there is Hanuman ji, Ram ji is not too far. That’s why, do not forget to visit the Ram Darbar temple within the same temple complex.
The gorgeous backdrop of lush green mountain peaks and a clear blue sky is a sight to behold and cherry on the cake. This is why locals and tourists also love to come and relax on the spacious courtyard of the temple. Now you know why the Hanuman Temple is easily the best place to visit in Naukuchiatal.
How to reach Hanuman Temple?
The must-see Hanuman Temple is the most visited pilgrimage spot in Naukuchiatal. If you are reasonably fit, then you can easily walk up to the Hanuman Temple from Naukuchiatal Lake or Allure Villas. It will take around 10-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can drive here from Naukuchiatal which will take only 5 minutes. Hanuman Temple is only 2 kilometers before you reach Naukuchiatal. It is also located close to the Bhimtal market. Timings are: 5.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m.
Walk from Naukuchiatal lake to Bhimtal Lake
While my friends were sleeping after the hearty lunch at the cozy Allure Villas, I felt restless being stuck at one place. I mostly retire to hotels only after sunset. Make that midnight when in Goa. It was still late afternoon and I didn’t want to sit in the room all day. So, I impulsively decided to go for a solo long walk from Naukuchiatal lake to Bhimtal Lake which was nearby.I started the walk from Naukuchiatal and the first stop was the Hanuman Mandir which I had seen from only car till now. I had a good darshan here, took selfies and moved on to the next stop after asking the way from the local people.
After sometime, still closer to Naukuchiatal, I noticed a stargazing shop on my right. I love all things space and astronomy but it was about to get dark and I had made up my mind to do this walk. I wanted to reach Bhimtal before it turned dark. I kept walking, asking strangers, “How far for Bhimtal?” Almost all of them gave wrong answers. I had imagined it to be a lonely path but I was happy to see some people always during the walk. There were small patches when I was the only one walking on the narrow road, right next to a beautiful green valley. The entire stretch between Naukuchiatal and Bhimtal was dreamy and visually stunning. I visited Naukuchiatal in the first week of June. Even in the peak June season, there were not many cars on this road. That made walking pleasurable despite the road being very narrow. To add, the road condition here are excellent. At some places, I even walked on the interlocked tiles.
After some time, I saw many restaurants on the way. But what caught my attention was a hot air balloon tied in the green valley on my left. It started to get darker and I was nervous about not making it to Bhimtal before dark. I wanted to see its beauty in day light. I had already seen a surreal sunset behind the tall mountains on my left. There was still some post sunset light around. I increased my pace and luckily, I made it to Bhimtal just before it completely turned dark.
I enjoyed walking here and after few minutes, my friends called me asking for my whereabouts. I rather asked them to pick me up and enjoy Bhimtal in night. While returning, I noticed that the pathway was lit with cute little street lights and it was actually safe to go back even at 8 p.m. because I saw many people roaming around at regular intervals. Still, the threat of leopards prowling in night is always there. You can alternatively take a taxi from Bhimtal to Naukuchiatal on return. I had already seen leopard cub in Pench National Park from the safety of my safari jeep. I had no desire to come face to face with one!
Enjoy at the Aquarium Island Café
Aquarium Island Café, sure is the most unique place to see near Naukuchiatal. Just as I was busy eating the bhutta (corn), by the steps of Bhimtal Lake, I noticed a small island right in the center of the lake. Turns out, it is a major place of tourist interest. I saw a signboard which announced the entry fee and the boat timings to reach the restaurant located on the island. The signboard also mentions that there are no washrooms here, so better empty your bladder before hopping on the boat to the unusual Island café. It is a no smoking zone. Liquor is prohibited here and so is outside food. They take their motto ‘Keep the island and lake clean’ seriously. Therefore, there is also a hefty fine if you are caught littering here. Timings of Aquarium Island Café are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Boating in the Naukuchiatal lake
What are the best things to do in Naukuchiatal? The serenity of the Naukuchiatallake and the splendid lush greenery all around enamored me by its sheer beauty and grandeur. As the boating stated, Naukuchiatal turned out to be much larger than what I had expected. The Naukuchiatal never falls short of water because it is regularly filled by the underwater stream. This is why, it is possible to do boating in Naukuchiatal throughout the year. This detailed travelogue on Naukuchiatal is based on my own personal experiences.
Stay in a boutique cottage Allure Villa Naukuchiatal
What are the top hotels in Naukuchiatal? You will surely have a great time at this hilly retreat called as Allure Villa with your loved ones. It surely is one of the best places to stay in Naukuchiatal. Located on the Silotia road, Allure Villa resorts has been rated as one of the best resorts in Naukuchiatal. Nestled among the verdant foothills of the mighty Himalayan mountains, Allure Villa Naukuchiatal is a destination in itself. We were 4 people who stayed in a duplex bungalow here. “It is the best villa we have here.” I was told by the manager as I was ambling aimlessly in the lush green manicured lawns of the sprawling property.
Overlooking the green hills, we sat at the first-floor balcony and enjoyed hot snacks with tea and coffee. The top floor of the room here has 2 bedrooms, two attached washrooms, a small lobby and a balcony. The ground floor has a huge hall, a large sofa, a dining table, a fireplace, a modular kitchen, a washroom and a sit out area. All the rooms have wardrobe. While my friends, a couple stayed in one room, their mother stayed in the other bedroom. Since I was alone, I slept in the large alcove or the sit out area. Despite being 6 feet, 1 inch tall, I easily slept in the alcove. This is how 4 of us easily accommodated in the villa. If you are friends or family, so can also hire similar bungalow and split costs. The joy of staying together in a pretty destination is unmatched and much desired by many. If you are not traveling in a group, then you can also choose the smaller one-story rooms, facing the valley.
The Allure Villa has a restaurant located right next to a lawn which is the center point of all the rooms and bungalows. In the evening, the lawn comes alive with a water fountain, mood lighting and the views of the illuminated village in far distance. The al fresco bar located within the lawn is also a great place to spend time with friends and family. You can also enjoy a bonfire in the lawn or just chill on the few swings that are located across the central lawn.
Do camping in Naukuchiatal
Campingis one of the best things you can wish to try out in Naukuchiatal. There are many spots in and around Naukuchiatal where you can pitch a camp. Some tour operators also organize an all-inclusive camping package in Naukuchiatal. The package includes meals, adventure sports, stay and sightseeing etc.
Luxury Camping in Naukuchiatal or glamping is also available if roughing it out is not your thing! Some resorts and hotels in Naukuchiatal also allow tourists to pitch a camp in the lawns of their property for a small fee. You can also use their common washrooms. Just ask around. Camping in Naukuchiatal is indeed the best outdoor adventure activities for adults here.
Enjoy the homestay experience in Naukuchiatal
Some people also run homestays in and around. Staying in a homestay in a good idea to immerse with the local culture of Kumaun. My stay with a local family in nearby Kasar Devi was memorable. You can have similar authentic homestay experiences in Naukuchiatal. It is a lesser-known place.
Devbhumi Adventure Park & Restaurant
Generally, Devbhumi Adventure Park & Restaurant is very popular with kids. If you are traveling to Naukuchiatal with kids and family, you may want to take out few hours to spend at this adventure park. The kids and even the adults can indulge all day in fun activities such as rope course, kayaking, zoom bike, zorbing and ziplining etc. You can also have lunch here.
Learn about Himalayan Mahseer fish conservation
Did you know that the Himalayan Mahseer fish (Tor putitora) is an endangered species found in Naukuchiatal, Bhimtal, Sattal and Nainital lakes of Uttarakhand? The numbers of the Himalayan Mahseer fish have dwindled in the Kumaun region over the years due to various reasons such as hunting and fishing. This is why it is now illegal to do fishing in Naukuchiatal. I noticed a signboard indicating conservation programs adopted by the fishery department as I was walking around the scenic lake. This signboard is located a little ahead of the ziplining tower. The signboard read as follow:
“Conservation and rehabilitation of endangered Golden Mahseer in Naukuchiatal lake.
An initiative by: ICAR: Directorate of Coldwater fisheries Research. Bhimtal-263136, Nainital, Uttarakhand.”
Since Naukuchiatal is being managed by the Department of Fisheries, they take strong steps to ensure repopulation of the lake with the Himalayan Mahseer fish by adopting better management practices such as stocking the Naukuchiatal lake and other lakes around it on a continuous basis with sufficient mahseer fingerlings. It is also known as the golden mahseer. The fishery department also enforces very strict conservation measures to avoid the killing of juvenile Himalayan Mahseer fish. These are lesser-known facts.
See bird’s eye view of Naukuchiatal lake
For vistas par excellence, climb up a mountain. The boatman told me that Naukuchiatal is called so because it has 9 corners. You can have a view of the entire Naukuchiatal lake from the top of one of the tall mountains surrounding it. As per the local folklore, a single glimpse of all the 9 corners of the pristine lake with feet on the land can help one achieve nirvana. Either trek up or drive up a mountain to have a better panoramic view of the Naukuchiatal lake.
Birdwatching around Naukuchiatal lake
Naukuchiatal lake is also home to several colourful butterflies and exotic Himalayan birds. I came back with so many pictures of exotic birds when I visited the nearby Sattal. A similar variety of colorful endemic birds are also found in Naukuchiatal. In fact, I saw many colorful birds within the premises of the Allure Villa, especially in early morning. I would suggest you to venture out with a telephoto lens at around 5-6 a.m. to take pictures of birds in Naukuchiatal. You can also find many birds around the lakeside.
Jungliagaon is very popular with the wildlife Photographers and birders alike. A popular haven for nature lovers, Jungliagaon is a must-visit place if wildlife excites you. Surrounded by lust green mountains, it is a visually stunning place to visit. Serious birdwatchers come here and spend hours clicking pictures of various endemic and migratory avian species.
Besides deeply exploring the flora and fauna of Jungliagaon, you can also take part in various outdoor activities here. It is located around 8 kilometers from Naukuchiatal.
Wildlife trails in Naukuchiatal
Naukuchiatal offers a perfect getaway into the wild. There are a few wildlife and nature trails around Naukuchiatal which you can explore with the help of a local guide. Naukuchiatal, a little-known paradise in Uttarakhand has many such hidden gems which can help to spot the local wildlife of the Kumaun region.
Visit the sunset and sunrise points
After a long day of sightseeing around Naukuchiatal, just as I sat down in the patio of my bunglow at Allure Villa, I noticed a surreal sunset on my left. I excitedly called my friends from bedrooms on the first floor of the villa so that we can enjoy the beautiful spectacle together.
Witnessing the enchanting sunrise and sunsets from Allure Villas at Naukuchiatal was my favorite pastime during my visit here. There are also many places around Naukuchiatal from where you can see ethereal sunrises.
Stargazing at Stargate Observatory Naukuchiatal
This is one of the best things to do near Naukuchiatal Lake. This public observatory from Stargate is located right next to the Hanuman Mandir on the Bhimtal – Naukuchiatal Road. It is situated closer to Naukuchiatal (walking distance) than to Bhimtal. When I was walking from Naukuchiatal towards Bhimtal, it fell on my right, a few steps after I crossed the Hanuman Temple. People come here in large numbers for solar observation and to observe nebula, planets, moon and galaxy etc. You can easily spend 1-2 hours here. It is an offbeat thing to do in Naukuchiatal.
If you are an astronomy buffs like me, you will enjoy the educational programs and astronomy shows offered by the Stargate Observatory. It is a meaningful way to engage yourself and the kids for hours during the day as well as at night. It is managed by Starscapes, the only chain of observatories in India. Founded by astronomy aficionado Ramashish Ray and Paul Savio, their first observatory was open to public in Kausani in the year 2015. Kausani is a hill station located in the Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand. Do go on this offbeat exciting stargazing safari in Naukuchiatal. Thank me later.
Address: Naukuchiatal Road, Dungsil Malla, Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand.
Unwind yourself and go through wellness therapies
Since you have already cut off yourself from the chaos of the big cities, why not use the opportunity to spend time in relaxation in the soothing atmosphere of Naukuchiatal. In my opinion, going for some wellness therapies will surely rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. Some hotels and resorts around Naukuchiatal offer wellness sessions. You may want to book a prior appointment for the same, especially during the peak summer season.
Cycling in Naukuchiatal
The paths here are so clean and uncrowded, that it is hard to resist going on quick cycling trips. A far cry from the maddening crowds of the nearby touristy Nainital, it is a pleasure to be able to cycle peacefully around Naukuchiatal. I highly recommend cycling from Naukuchiatal to Bhimtal in morning or evening. In winters you can even cycle in afternoon due to the pleasant weather. Many hotels offer cycles for hire here.
The roads around Naukuchiatal are very smooth and uncrowded, making it apt for physical activities such as jogging. A jog at the periphery of the gorgeous lake is therapeutic and rejuvenating. Listen to the chirps of exotic birds as you jog around the lake early morning. Therefore, it is a brilliant idea to stay in a hotel located close to Naukuchiatal such as Allure Villa. You can even jog all the way from Allure Villa to Naukuchiatal due to the proximity. Thank me later!
Yoga in Naukuchiatal
Do not miss out on your yoga sessions during the Naukuchiatal trip. The pollution free environment and the cleanliness here may tempt you into rolling out your yoga mats and do what it takes. This is why do carry your yoga pants and yoga mats when traveling to Naukuchiatal. You can do yoga in the lawns of Allure Villa or even by the lake. Some hotels and properties here also do Yoga Training sessions and workshops.
Meditation in Naukuchiatal
The surroundings of the Naukuchiatal are so peaceful that even on the busy weekend in peak season of June, I found it to be very quiet, even at the lake. Imagine yourself meditating by the lake early morning. Even a 15-20 minutes of meditation session here can help you recharge and align your mental equilibrium.
Canoeing in Naukuchiatal
What is there to do in Naukuchiatal? Canoeing is one of the best things to do in Naukuchiatal. While walking around Naukuchiatal, many local vendors offered me canoe ride. It was only then that I noticed many canoes anchored near the fence that separated the lake from the road. You can find many canoe vendors near the ziplining tower which is right next to the entry of Naukuchiatal Uttarakhand.
Kayaking in Naukuchiatal
Kayaking is also a very popular activity in Naukuchiatal. You can do kayaking in the wide lake of Naukuchiatal. Just ask around at the entry of Naukuchiatal and many vendors and random shopkeepers will guide you regarding booking the same. In order to book your trip, you need to select the desired package option offered by the vendors. This is an unusual thing to do in Naukuchiatal.
Zorbing in Naukuchiatal
To my amusement, zorbing turned out to be one of the most popular things to do in Naukuchiatal. I saw many kids and adults enjoying zorbing in the Naukuchiatal. They were doing it mostly next to the lake entry. You can easily book zorbing from the vendors roaming around the steps to Naukuchiatal.
Hire a bike
What better way to explore Naukuchiatal and surrounding area than to ride a bike here? I saw many vendors offering bike for ride in Naukuchiatal and Bhimtal. It is a great way to explore and discover the offbeat places and hidden gems of this region. Besides, bikes also give you freedom to go to places where regular tourists don’t go. How about taking a random road which, you don’t know where it will lead to. Sounds exciting? Just hire a bike!
ATV ride in Naukuchiatal
Feel the rush of riding on a 1-kilometer long roading track even as the cool breeze caresses you. ATV Ride is one of the most exciting adventure sports do to in Naukuchiyatal. You and your friends can ride an ATV vehicle with 300 cc engines. ATV rides are safe here as it is done under the vigilant eyes of a qualified instructor. The ATV ride in Naukuchiatal lasts anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes. You can also ride ATV in Sattal, Bhimtal and Nainital.
Here are some points to remember. The number of laps offered in the package are 4 per person. While minimum age of ATV ride in Naukuchiatal is 15, the maximum weight of the participant is 100. Also, avoid heavy meals before the ATV ride. Pregnant women are anyways not allowed to take ATV rides. It is also wise to dress comfortably and wear a waist belt and helmet as protection measures before the ATV ride begins.
Hot air balloon in Naukuchiatal
To my surprise, I noticed hot air balloon tied in a green valley while trekking from Naukuchiatal to Bhimtal. Yes, in case you didn’t know, you can also take a ride on the hot air balloon in Naukuchiatal. On the flipside, the hot air balloons here are tied. I have taken a real hot air balloon ride around Taj Mahal so I wasn’t very excited to do a tied ride. But if that excites you then why not. I feel that kids and even adults who have never taken a hot air balloon ride will love it. For a newbie, it is still an exciting experience. You can book hot air balloon at random counters in Naukuchiatal and even Bhimtal.
Ziplining in Naukuchiatal
I noticed during my trip that ziplining above the lake is easily the most popular thing to do in Naukuchiatal along-with paragliding. The ziplining tower is located right at the entry of Naukuchiatal near the steps. You can just ask the owner or staff member and they will readily take you for a ziplining session.
There are two ziplining sessions offered in Naukuchiatal: the short one and the longer one. The short one begins near the steps of Naukuchiatal while one needs to go higher up in the mountains to do the longer one. For the short ziplining session, you can just climb the tower or the machan made next to a café in Naukuchiatal. Needless to say, the slightly longer (and more thrilling!) zipline ride is double the cost of the shorter ride. No prior booking needs to be made. You can just book as a walk in. Ziplining is one of the most popular Naukuchiatal adventure activities.
Paragliding in Naukuchiatal
Before I arrived in Naukuchiatal, I had no idea that paragliding is one of the best activities to try out here. Just as I sat in the first-floor balcony of our private villa in Naukuchiatal over a hot cup of tea and pakoras, I noticed something unusual. A paraglider was descending in the green mountain hills in front of me. Several paragliders with parachutes in bright primary colors such as red, yellow, orange, blue lyrically navigated the Naukuchiatal skyline as I watched slack-jawed.
Is paragliding safe in Naukuchiatal? Though it is exciting to have an adrenaline-pumping experience like paragliding, you must ensure the safety standards adopted by the service provider.
Can you take your phone while paragliding? You are allowed to carry phones, but I would suggest against it. Even if you carry the phones, keep it locked in a zipped pant.
Café hopping in Naukuchiatal
There are many quaint cafes in and around the Naukuchiatal lake. While we were walking around the lake, we came across several cute looking, well-lighted cafes. Some even looked straight out of a fairytale. The café overlooking the Naukuchiatal lake is also a must-visit place. There are some beautiful cafes located right next to the lotus pond. I also saw some, if not many upmarket cafes in Bhimtal. Nainital, of course has many more cafes as compared to Naukuchiatal and Bhimtal.
Eat local authentic food of Naukuchiatal
We had amazing local food of the Kumaun region at the Allure Villas. The staff of this resort are local people and they made excellent kadhi, Bhat Ki Dal, Alu Ke Gutkhe and Bhaang Ki Chutney, all local authentic food of Kumaun. For those who seek comfort food, the staff of Allure Villas can also rustle up delicious mainstream dishes such as Kadhai Paneer, Dal Fry etc.
Treks around Naukuchiatal
There are various Himalayan Mountain peaks around Naukuchiatal which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys. You must hire a local guide and plan a memorable trekking adventure to a nearby hilltop. Make sure you come back before sunset as it gets really dark here and leopards freely roam around the forests. This is why start trek early in the morning and always with a local help who knows the routes. Do not trek alone here as it is easy to lose the path.
Visit Lotus Pond
Just as we walked from Allure Villas to Naukuchiatal, the lotus pond fell first on our route on the right side. I first thought that this is Naukuchiatal, so I wasn’t much impressed. However, my co-traveller corrected me by informing that lotus pond comes before Naukuchiatal. Lotus pond is a much smaller pond and is not as grand as the adjacent Naukuchiatal. However, when the lotus flowers bloom in all its glory, the much-ignored lotus pond transforms into a visual stunner and attracts people equally.
Loop Walk around Naukuchiatal
When I was strolling down the idyllic Naukuchia Tal lake the sweet fragrance of the dense woody forests amalgamated with the cool breeze and made me feel tranquil and at peace. In winters, the paths are misty and fun to walk on. The densely forested patches around the Naukuchiatal are a pleasure for those people like me who love to walk for hours. A mere walk here is a perfect way to enjoy a tranquil time away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
During the loop walk, we saw many Hindu temples, cafes and cute looking bungalows of local people. I also saw many unusual flowers and birds during the walk here. I highly recommend the self-guided free walking tour in Naukuchiatal.
Bonfire dinner in Allure Villa Naukuchiatal
Thanks to the thoughtful staff of Allure Villa Naukuchiatal, they had set up a set up a bonfire in the garden area where I had lip-smacking dinner of local food over deep conversations with my friends. A bonfire in the hotels of Naukuchiatal in winter is a must do. Not only does bonfire warms tourists up in cold weather conditions but it is also an excuse to bond with your friends and family. Time to switch off the phones please.
Nature Walk around Naukuchiatal
I feel exploring a new place on foot is the best immersive experience you can do. It is not every day that we get to stay away from the regular city life. Why not go for random aimless walks around Naukuchiatal when you are here. This is an unusual thing to do in Naukuchiatal, if you go off the touristy trail. Needless to say, nature walk is afree thing to do around Naukuchiatal. There are many such lesser-visited places here where you can walk in morning and evening.
Souvenir Shopping in Naukuchiatal
While walking from Naukuchiatal to Bhimtal I noticed a small shop right opposite the hanuman Temple selling local products such as Rhododendrons juice. In local language rhododendrons are known as buransh. It is a beautiful red flower which is sometimes also seen in white and pink hues. I always buy the juice of its flowers when I am in the Kumaun region.
You can also buy other unique food products of Kumaun such as jakhiya (a masala), loon (local flavoured salt), jhangora (they make kumauni kheer out of this grain), bhat ki daal, gahat ki daal, local red rice, Munsiyari Rajma (purple colored kidney beans) pahadi garlic, pahadi potatoes, pahari gaderi (big colocassia), bhaang seeds etc. Some shops also sell pecan nuts. I bought some from the Aut tunnel in north Himachal Pradesh while I was on my way to Sharchi village, Jibhi and Tirthan valley to attend the annual Phagli festival.
Since we were returning from Almora, we also stopped to buy the famous Baal Mithai and Singhori from the random shops. It is a perfect gift to buy for friends and families back home. We even bought some baal mithai for our maid back home. We also bought local fruits such as delicious and juicy aadu or peach, alubukhara or plums, kafal, hisalu, khumani or apricot. You can also buy other local fruits of Kumaun such as Ghingaru, Kirmode, Bedu, Timil, Matla, Jhingaru and Dadim. These local fruits are available at Naukuchiatal, Bhimtal, Almora etc and roadside shops. Since we were traveling by car, we packed many fruits from home from a roadside shop while returning home.
Read a book
Naukuchiatal is the perfect place to finish that book you have been stuck reading since so long. There is so much silence and peace here that it is a good idea to tuck under your blanket and bury the nose in the dog-eared favorite book of yours. Be warned though! The sheer beauty of Naukuchiatal distracts majorly! So, which book are you planning to read next?
Writing retreat in Naukuchiatal
If you are a writer like me, you can even hole up in a rented room in Naukuchiatal and finish writing that dream book here. Places in Kumaun has inspired several writers since times immemorial. On an earlier trip, I trekked up on an uphill path to arrive at a ruin of a house once inhabited by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and his ailing wife. The house overlooked the mesmerizing range of Himalayas in nearby Malla Ramgarh, district Nainital, Uttarakhand. I also visited Mahadevi Verma Museum in Ramgarh.
Actors and writers like Victor Banerjee, Tom Alter and Ruskin Bond spent the major parts of their life in the heavenly Landour near Mussoorie. I had visited their homes from outside during my Landour visit. And we all know that Yann Martel wrote Life of Pi in the silent forests of Matheran in Maharashtra. To summarize, my point is that quiet places like Naukuchiatal can help your creative juices flow and create a masterpiece which the world may (or may not) remember. It is also a good idea to hold workshops and writing retreat in Naukuchiatal for budding authors. I had also visited the home of Jim Corbettin Kaladhungi which is now known as Jim Corbett’s Museum.I also visited Gurney House, the former home of Jim Corbett in Nainital.
While walking around hidden places in Mussoorie, I also came across George Everest’s House, perched on top of a cliff overlooking the beguiling Mussoorie valley. Also known as George Everest’s House and Laboratory or Park Estate, it was constructed in the year 1832. This is where he helped the British measure the height of the world’s greatest peak, Mount Everest or Sagarmatha of Nepal and Chomolungma of Tibet.
Plan a corporate offsite in Naukuchiatal
My friend who runs an office keeps planning and executing annual offsites in the resorts and hotels of Naukuchiatal and other places in Kumaun region. Being so close from Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurugram and Delhi NCR, Naukuchiatal makes for an exciting weekend break. The facilities at sprawling properties like Allure Villas are perfect to host a corporate offsite. In fact, on the day we were checking out of Allure Villa, the entire property was booked by one group. It is also a good idea to plan a corporate offsite in Allure Villas because most of the places of interest are located at walking distance from this beautiful property. This helps in keeping the team together and planning sightseeing tours with ease.
Plan a wedding in Naukuchiatal
Why not get married in Naukuchiatal? Destination weddings are in vogue and what better a place to get married than in a hotel in Naukuchiatal. Being close to Delhi NCR, making wedding arrangements in Naukuchiatal is also convenient when compared to destination wedding in Goa, for example. Also, it is much easier to transport the guests to Naukuchiatal than other wedding destinations. You can just book a train or bus to Naukuchiatal from Delhi NCR.
Honeymoon in Naukuchiatal
Planning a honeymoon in Naukuchiatal is a wise idea because of its proximity from Delhi NCR. It also costs less to travel to Naukuchiatal when compared to other popular honeymoon destinations. The atmosphere here guarantees privacy, solitude and silence, making it an apt choice for a honeymoon for newlywed couples.
What are the romantic things to do in Naukuchiatal? You can do romantic activities in Naukuchiatal such as taking a boat ride together, doing an adventure sport together, go on long walks or just snuggle up in the bed with breathtaking views. You can also come here to rekindle the love to bring back the spark in your marriage after a few years! Because why not!
Celebrate Birthday in Naukuchiatal
It is also a great idea to celebrate the birthday of that special someone in your life in Naukuchiatal. Imagine celebrating the birthday of your parents, kids or spouse in a place as picturesque as Naukuchiatal. You can make their moment special by planning surprises and group gatherings of close family friend and relatives in Naukuchiatal.
Do photography in Naukuchiatal
Visit Naukuchiatal for picture-perfect postcard images. Being a photographer myself, my camera was hardly switched off. From beautiful vistas to bird photography to photography of Hindu temples and buildings, I had a busy time shooting in Naukuchiatal. You can also try your hand at the much-loved astrophotography. Though, you must have a basic knowledge of how to shoot the night sky. Take help from the nearby stargazing shop maybe.
Do Vlogging in Naukuchiatal
There is a lot you can shoot in Naukuchiatal. While one video can be focused on birdwatching, another video can focus entirely on the boating experience in Naukuchiatal. Other video ideas include recording the ziplining experience, zorbing experience, walk, Mahseer fish conservation and even a video on Naukuchiatal to Bhimtal walk like I did. Because why not? Because of less crowds , zero pollution, noiseless atmosphere and nice weather, it is a pleasure to do vlogging in Naukuchiatal.
Stay in KMVN Naukuchiatal
The KMVN is located right on the shores of Naukuchiatal. You can enjoy sweeping views of the vast lake from the comfort of your room and balcony while savoring hot chai and pakora. KMVN Naukuchiatal is located at walking distance from the lake.
Excursions from Naukuchiatal
There are many exciting places of interest near Naukuchiatal which you must include in your itinerary. Below are some of the best places to see near Naukuchiatal.
Did you know that the Bhimtal lake is the largest lake in the Kumaun region? Very popular with tourists, Bhimtal indeed is the best place to see near Naukuchiatal.Surrounded with dense greentrees, Bhimtal lake is also the source of drinking water for all the major nearby cities and villages in the region of Kumaon. Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple is one of the top places to visit in Bhimtal. Bhimtal lake is also home to numerous species of fish. I saw many huge fish funnily chasing a duck near the banks of the Bhimtal lake. Bhimtal is just 10 minutes of drive and one hour walk away from Naukuchiatal. There is also zone for playing games for kids.
A collection of seven freshwater lakes, Sattal is popular with both trekkers and birdwatchers. In fact, I visited Sattal many times solely for birdwatching. Do read my detailed blog on birding in Sattal. You will be surprised to see the pictures of so many colorful birds I clicked within one day in Sattal. Even if birdwatching doesn’t interest you, you can still visit Sattal for its untouched natural beauty, pristine lakes, dense oak plantations and alluring pine forests. You can also visit Sattal Christian Ashram.
While the nature lovers will be allured by the scenic beauty of Nainital, those who love quieter places prefer offbeat tourist destinations such as the Naukuchiatal. Tourism is Nainital is centered around the big lake. If the main street is too crowded, you can walk along the thandi sadak on the other side of the lake. There are also many hidden gems in Nainital, located far away from the crowd even in the peak season.
Kainchi Dham: Neem Karoli Baba Ashram
This is easily the most popular place to visit in Kumaun. Said to be an avatar of Hanuman ji, Neem Karoli Baba has devotees across the world. I was told by my driver that a big annual fair is organized in mid-June in the Neem Karoli Baba ashram. We missed attending the festival by a few days but you can time your dates accordingly. The festival is actually the sthapna divas or foundation day of Neem Karoli Baba Ashram celebrated with much fanfare on 15th June every year. I saw the preparations in full swing as we drove from the Chitai Golu Devta Temple to Naukuchiatal. The ashram falls on this route.
Ghorakhal Golu Devta Temple
Devotees come in large numbers to offer their prayers at the world famous Chitai Golu Devta Temple. It is one of the most famous and revered Hindu temples of the entire Kumaun region. I have been here many times and each time I discover something new. People ask for manokamna (wish) here while tying the bell. They also write down their wish on a piece of paper and hang it in and around the temple premises. When the wish is fulfilled, the devotees come back to tie another bell. I think it is a very unique concept which is just not as well marketed as the love lock bridges of Europe.
It is said that Mukteshwar was built by built by Tamil Pandya king. The 350-year-old Shiva temple, Mukteshwar Dham is located on the tip of the highest point in Mukteshwar. Some say, it is 5,500 years old temple devoted to Shiv Bhagwan. Mukteshwar, this little hilly town of Nainital is a must-see place near Naukuchiatal. You can also do rappelling and rock climbing at Chauli ki Jali, overhanging cliffs. Some of the other interesting places to see in Mukteshwar are the dense green deodar forest, fruit orchards, the IVRI lab and even a post office dating back to the year 1905.
I cherish every moment spent here. The hilltop Kasar Devi is situated on the edge of a ridge off the Almora-Bageshwar highway on the Kaashay hills of Kumaon Himalayas. Hindu Saint Swami Vivekanand spend a long time meditating here. I visited the devi temple here devoted to Kasar Devi, an incarnation to Maa Durga and climbed up to visit the Shiva temple on the top of the hill. What makes Kasar Devi so special is the fact that it is one of the only 3 places on earth which fall under the impact of highly charged geomagnetic fields that come within the Van Allen Belts discovered by NASA. The other two places are the world-famous Stonehenge in the United Kingdom and Machu Picchu in Peru of South America.
Other famous people who have visited Kasar Devi are Rabindranath Tagore, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, DH Lawrence, Western Buddhist teacher Robert Thurman, Cat Stevens, Danish mystic Alfred Sorensen and Tibetan Buddhism guru Lama Anagarika Govinda.
Bhalu Gaad Waterfalls
This is an unusual place to see around Naukuchiatal. An easy 2 kilometers long trek will get you here. The gorgeous scenic views and small waterfalls en route add to its beauty. Since it is 55 feet tall and 40 feet deep, I advise against swimming here. It is located 10 kilometers away from Mukteshwar town.
Butterfly Research Centre and Fundraiser Café
You can attend half day workshops here. The worskshop includes a tour of the collection of butterflies on display here. It is followed by nature walk for groups. 2-3 hours are sufficient to explore this place. You can learn a lot about moths and butterflies by attending the lecture of experts at the Research Centre. Cataloguing butterflies from across India, this is a must-visit place. On display are largest Indian butterfly, the largest insect in the world, some of the most beautiful moth in the world, leaf butterflies, owl butterflies and so on. Run by Peter Smetacek, the Butterfly Man of India, it is a must visit for naturalists. You can also enjoy home-made breakfast and lunch at the Fundraiser Café.
Address of Butterfly Research Centre: Jones estate road, above Bhimtal lake, Bhimtal 263136, India.
You can make Almora your base and travel to several interesting sightseeing places around the Kumaun region.
Ranikhet is a small little army dominated hill station near Almora. Some of the top places to see in Ranikhet are Jhula Devi Temple, Chaubatia Gardens, local gurudwara, Golf course and St. Bridget’s Church. Some of the other top places to see in Ranikhet are Haidakhan Babaji Temple, Mankameshwar Temple, Kalika Temple, Bhalu Dam, Dunagiri Temple etc.
Majkhali is a small hill station located at close proximity with Ranikhet. I have stayed in an entire rented bungalow. It could have been a great experience. But the staff was very dull here which marred my experience. So, always choose the homestay well because much like mine, the owners of many so-called homestays here either live abroad or in other Indian cities. Majkhali is a lonely place and will be appreciated by only those who likes to stay away from the crowds in peaceful locations. It is NOT FOR EVERYONE.
Katarmal Surya Temple
Katarmal Surya Temple is one of the oldest sun temples of India. Much like the Martand temple of Srinagar in Kashmir, Katarmal Surya Temple is also highly revered. This 9th-century Surya temple built by Katarmalla, a Katyuri King, has unique architecture. Ancient inscriptions on stone, unusual idols, huge terrace, a devi temple nearby, sweeping bird’s eye view of the green valley, a large courtyard, towering dome, cluster of several small temple in the premises are some of the best features of the Katarmal Surya Temple.
Dandeshwar temple, Jageshwar Dham and Vriddha Jageshwar temple are located close to each other and can be easily clubbed with your Nukuchiatal trip. These cluster of temples are highly revered and people come from near and far for a darshan. As many as a whooping 125 ancient Hindu temples dated between 7th and 14th century C.E. are built across the temple complex of Jageshwar Dham. I would recommendpaying your respect inside each big temple if not all.
When I was being driven to Katarmal Surya Mandir, I noticed the board of Lakhudiyar Caves in theBarechhina village. Located on the banks of the serpentine Suyal River in the Almora district of Uttarakhand, Lakhudiyar Caves is a major tourist attraction here. The two historic painted rock & caves here are the major attractions. I saw several ancient cave paintings depicting paintings of animals, humans engaged in various activities etc. It reminded me of my visit to Aurwatand Waterfall in Uttar Pradesh and Bhimbhetka in Madhya Pradesh where I saw several prehistoric paintings and rock art in the shelters.
Jim Corbett National Park
Spend some time in and around the world-famous Jim Corbett National Park, having a dialogue with the vast open sky, the mystic river and the thriving greenery all around. I spotted many Royal Bengal tigers in the Jhirna Zone during my visit here.
Kathgodam has a railway station which is well connected to all the major tourist places of the Kumaun region. Distance between Naukuchiatal and Kathgodam is 26 kilometers and it can be covered in only 1 hour via the Bhowali-Bhimtal-Haldwani Road. Convenient Shatabdi trains run between Ghaziabad/New Delhi to Kathgodam on a daily basis. You can hire a taxi from Kathgodam, like we did and make the onward journey.
Can you suggest an itinerary for Naukuchiatal?
This is a frequently asked question I get. Below is the detailed Naukuchiatal itinerary I followed with my friends:
- We started driving early morning from Ghaziabad.
- We arrived at Allure Villa Naukuchiatal by afternoon in the first week of June.
- We had local authentic food of Kumaun in Allure Villa for lunch.
- Post lunch, we rested for an hour. Though, I was restless and used the time to explore the sprawling property and surrounding areas while my friends were asleep.
- By around 4:30 p.m., I and my friends had tea and cookies at Allure Villa
- At 5 p.m., we started walking towards Naukuchiatal from Allure Villa
- We started 20-30 minutes long boating at 5:30 pm.
- It was followed by ziplining
- Then we spent some time in Naukuchiatal, having hot tea, people watching, eating local fruits such as falsa.
- It was followed by the loop walk around the Naukuchiatal.
- Then we walked back to the Allure Villas, had dinner and spent some time chatting in the well-maintained lawns of the property.
- After a post-prandial walk within the campus of Allure Villas, we called it a day!
- We started the day with a hearty breakfast of parathas and poha in the Allure Villas Naukuchiatal.
- The main agenda for today was to visit the Golu Devta Temple, so we had booked a cab the previous night.
- Much of the day 2 was spent driving to and forth Golu Devta Temple.
- En route we came across the world famous Kainchi Dham – Neem Karoli Baba Ashram. We didn’t stop here due to a previous visit and lack of time. But you can easily accommodate Kainchi Dham in your itinerary without much of a hassle. It gained more popularity after bigwigs such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Virat Kohli visited.
- After a successful darshan at Golu Devta Mandir, we returned back to Allure Villa.
- After a lunch of kadhi, rice and other local delicacies, my friends retired to the cozy rooms of Allure Villa and indulged in an afternoon nap.
- I used this time to walk alone from Naukuchiatal to Bhimtal. Read about this exciting adventure in a separate section above.
- Upon reaching Bhimtal, I walked alone till the midpoint of the lake. I also walked solo at the other areas around Bhimtal.
- My friends woke up in evening and after tea and cookies at Allure Villas, came to pick me up from Bhimtal.
- We explored Bhimtal together and returned back to Allure Villas by 9 p.m. for a dinner of local authentic Kumauni food such as Bhat Ki Daal, Rice, Naan, Alu Ke Gutkhe and the star dish Bhaang Ki Chutney.
- We slept after a post prandial walk in the safety of the gardens of Allure Villas.
- I woke up early morning and walked again till Naukuchiatal from Allure Villas. Early morning walks are always different from the evening walks.
- After the breakfast, we checked out of Allure Villas by 9 a.m.
- As we drove towards Ghaziabad, we made a short stop at Bhimtal (which was anyways on the way) to enjoy its views early morning.
- We continued driving and stopped for an amazing South Indian lunch at a restaurant midway.
- We reached home in Ghaziabad by evening. It was still not dark.
FAQ: Frequently asked questions
Below are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions on Naukuchiatal hill station in Uttarakhand.
How many days are sufficient for Naukuchiatal?
There are so many exciting things to things to do with family and kids in Naukuchiatal that even two days are less. You can easily plan for 3 days and 2 nights trip to Naukuchiatal as seen in my itinerary above. Such trips can easily be planned over a weekday even in peak summer. If you want to cover other sightseeing places (see excursion section) of Kumaun in your Naukuchiatal itinerary, then do add more days. I highly recommend clubbing other destinations of Kumaun on the same trip as they are located at very close distance from each other.
What do I wear for Naukuchiatal?
When I travelled Naukuchiatal in peak summer in the first week of June, I was able to enjoy its pleasant weather in merely a T shirt and shorts. It doesn’t get very cold in Naukuchiatal in summer. In winters, however, you must carry woolen clothes and thermal wears.
What is the best Time to Visit Naukuchiatal?
Naukuchiatal is a year-round destination. It can be visited any time of the year. However, summer and post-monsoon travel to Naukuchiatal offer brilliant views and weather. It remains very pleasant in March, April, May and June. People avoid Naukuchiatal in monsoon due to landslides caused by heavy rains. You can also visit Naukuchiatal in moderately cold months such as August, September, October, November and February. December and Januray are the coldest months in Naukuchiatal.
How to reach Naukuchiatal?
This is a commonly asked question. Naukuchiatal makes for a memorable weekend escape from Delhi NCR. It is pretty easy to reach Naukuchiatal.
We drove all the way from Ghaziaabd to Naukuchiatal. Distance between Ghaziabad and Naukuchiatal is 286 kilometers and we covered the same in only 6 hours on baby bottom smooth roads. You can similarly hire a cab from other places such as New Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad or Ghaziabad to Naukuchiatal. The views in the first few hours are not great but as you start entering Kumaun region, you will be greeted with gorgeous views all around.
There are no railway stations at Naukuchiatal or Bhimtal. The last time I visited the Kumaun region, I simply took a train from Ghaziabad to Kathgodam railway station. From Kathgodam, I had hired a local cab to reach various tourist destinations.
Delhi to Kathgodam buses are easily available online and offline. From Kathgodam you can take another bus or taxi to Naukuchiatal.
Naukuchiatal has no airports. The closest airport from Naukuchiatal is the Pant Nagar Airport which is approximately 65 kilometers away. The scenic drive takes almost 2 or 2.5 hours. Taxis and cabs are easily available outside the airport premises. You can take NH109 and Bhowali-Bhimtal-Haldwani Road to arrive at Naukuchiatal from the Pant Nagar Airport.
How can I commute within Naukuchiatal?
For commuting within the Naukuchiatal area, we preferred to walk. Most of the top attractions of Naukuchiatal is located at walking distance from each other. However, this was made possible because Allure Villas, the place where we stayed was located at walking distance from Naukuchiatal lake. If you have issues walking or your hotel is up in the hills and a bit far away, then you may have to hire low-cost autorickshaws or cab and taxi, all of which are easily available.
What is Naukuchiatal famous for?
There are many reasons which make Naukuchiatal so popular with tourists. Naukuchiatal is famous for below mentioned reasons:
· Local fruits
· Pleasant walks
· Picturesque lake
· Boating in the lake
· Walk around the lake
· Stay in a beautiful cottage
· Adventure sports facilities
· Birdwatching opportunities
· Willdife sighting opportunities
Which is better Nainital or Naukuchiatal?
Everyone has different tastes. I know many friends who love Nainital and visit Nainital in every summer holidays. I have visited both Nainital as well as Naukuchiatal. In my own experience, I prefer Naukuchiatal over Nainital because when compared to the latter, Naukuchiatal is much more beautiful, silent, cleaner, uncrowded and pleasant for pedestrians. On the flipside, kids may find Naukuchiatal boring after dark. Nainital has more after dark kid friendly atmosphere and fun activities. So, you may choose as per your requirements. Though, why not visit both Nainital as well as Naukuchiatal on the same trip?
Which is better Bhimtal or Naukuchiatal?
When compared to Naukuchiatal, Bhimtal is a much bigger lake. Bhimtal is also slightly more crowded than the Naukuchiatal. While Bhimtal is as stunning as Naukuchiatal, the latter has otherworldly charm. However, despite I visiting both lakes in the peak season, i.e., the first week of June, we didn’t suffer over-tourism something which the nearby Nainital goes through during every summer holiday. The bottom-line is that it is futile to ask which is better Bhimtal or Naukuchiatal because both the lakes can be easily covered on the same trip. Why not find out yourself?
Which is better Naukuchiatal or Sattal?
I think both Naukuchiatal and Sattal are the most secluded unlike Bhimtal and Nainital. Both Naukuchiatal and Sattal get very less crowds, thanks to its location. One of the best places to see in Kumaun region of Uttarakhand, I feel both Sattal and Naukuchiatal lakes must be explored on the same trip. It really is hard to say which is better out of two. But Naukuchiatal is definitely more popular because of many reasons such as its strategic location.
Which is the most beautiful Tal in Nainital?
I have visited almost all the tals or ponds and lakes in and around Nainital. In my personal experience, I feel Naukuchiatal is the most beautiful Tal in Nainital area. What makes Naukuchiatal so beautiful is the fact that it is located in a secluded place, is very clean, is surrounded with dense greenery on all 4 sides and has rarely seen crystal clear waters. The water may be not as clear as Dawki in Mehalaya, but it is close to that.
Is Naukuchiatal a hill station?
Yes, Naukuchiatal is a small hill station, located close to Kathgodam. Naukuchiatal is also located in close proximity with other hill stations of the area such as Nainital, Almora, Kasar Devi, Ranikhet, Dwarahat, Malla Ramgarh, Mukteshwar etc. Being a popular hill station in Kumaun region, it makes sense to plan a trip to Naukuchiatal in the summer months such as April, May and June when the plains of New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida go through very high temperatures. Since it is a hill station, I observed that the climate of Naukuchiatal is very pleasant even in June.
Is it safe to visit Naukuchiatal?
Yes, Naukuchiatal is very safe to visit. The place is always teeming with few people if not as many as in Nainital. The boating in Naukuchia Tal Lake is also done after ensuring various safety measures in place. For example, it is mandatory to wear life jackets in Naukuchia Tal when boating. However, you must take precautions while walking alone in night here because it is common for leopards to roam around in the Kumaun area. The other adventure sports offered in Naukuchiatal such as Hot Air Balloon, ziplining, zorbing, paragliding etc are also safe to do, depending upon which company you book with. To sum it up, the local people in Naukuchiatal are very friendly, helpful and cheerful. I never felt unsafe in Naukuchiatal.
Conclusion: Is Naukuchiatal worth a visit?
Why visit Naukuchiatal? Here is an overview. There cannot be a better place for losing yourself in the beauty and abundance of nature. There are host of outdoor activities to be explored in Naukuchiatal which will keep you engaged for days. Naukuchiatal is also an offbeat place in Kumaun region. If you like to go off the beaten track, you will love this little-known pristine lake of Kumaun. The wide range of top things to do in Naukuchiatal also makes it an attractive hill station in Uttarakhand. Adventure sports is the most popular activity here. What’s more? There are so many exciting places to see in and around Naukuchiatal that will keep you occupied for days. Do share this complete Naukuchiatal Travel Guide with your friends and family.
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