October 8, 2014

Naukuchiatal- In the Lap of Nature...!!

The nine cornered lake nestles itself comfortably in the lap of Kumaoni hills in Naukuchiatal making it an enchanting one for its visitors. Though there is more to Naukuchiatal than the lake, this small town in the lake district of Uttarakhand boasts of this gorgeous water body as its main attraction. It also forms a part of the Lake District along with Nainital, Bhimtal and Sattal.

Situated amidst tall pine trees, the Club Mahindra resort where I stayed, is a walk away from the lake. Gaze at the serene lake as the reflection of the hills and the trees kissing the waters make a beautiful frame before the mist wraps it up. Take a boat and pedal yourself on the cold shimmering waters of Naukuchiatal and don’t be surprised if you feel like parking yourself in one corner of the lake and letting you mind wander away. As you distance yourself away from the jetty, the expansive frame spreads before you and makes it all the more surreal. If a pedal boat bores you, get geared and canoe or kayak away into any of the secluded corners of this beautiful water body. Walk around the lake and try finding all the nine corners. The locals say you can tick off only eight, a mystery that remains unresolved. If your tired legs need some rest, a ride around the lake on a horse would be an apt way to see the surroundings.

Naukuchiatal Lake
 A nature walk early in the morning from the resort through the nearby villages is an ideal way to begin your day. Blooming flowers and swooping birds welcome you, not to forget the ever smiling villagers. Do not hesitate to give them a broad smile and they are sure to return back a broader one. Take your binoculars along and you may be lucky to spot a naughty macaque or a barking deer grazing by. The aerial view of Naukuchiatal lake comes up in a while and that indeed is an enchanting vista. The trail past the open fields and stepped terraces lead to a forest patch where you can enjoy the morning rays that seep through and listen to the chirping of birds. 

When in Naukuchiatal, the quirkiest way to explore is to have a bird’s view of this quaint hill station. Strap yourself and paraglide over the expansive hills, the minute villages, the deep valleys, the glistening Naukuchiatal lake and enjoy the magnificent vistas that is on offer. Let the fresh mountain air throng your nostrils and lungs, and sway yourself to the wind as you glide over the stunning landscape.

Gliding over Naukuchiatal Lake

From the boats of Naukuchitalal lake, hop onto the shikaras of Bhimtal lake for an enjoyable ride on this placid one. Gorgeous white ducks swim along with the shikaras to the wonderful aquarium at the centre of the lake which exhibits colourful and exotic fishes. The glistening lake in itself is a gorgeous one and the hilly backdrop makes it all the more enchanting. The adjoining Bhimeshwar temple and dam offers great vistas of the lake. Bhimtal has more to it than just the lake. Be ready to get awed at the butterfly and moth museum at Bhimtal run by Peter Smetacek. A workshop with him is a complete encyclopedia into the world of colourful butterflies from across the globe.

Bhimtal Lake
Butterfly and moth museum
 Sattal lake, a few kilometers away from Naukuchiatal, left me speechless for a long while before I gained my composure when a few naughty macaques intruded into my thoughts. The place gets its name from the seven lakes that it comprises of. Sattal is cold for most part of the day with hovering mist and the green surrounding hills accentuates its beauty. Give the boat a miss, take in a lungful of fresh air, gaze at the natural surroundings in oblivion and get encapsulated by its serenity. A hot cup of tea or a steaming delicious local cuisine beside the lake is an apt way to spend an afternoon. Be cautious of the notorious monkeys or you could end up losing a packet of chips or two. If you are tired of gazing around, walk around the lake or hike up to a small church nearby. One can also try flying fox over the lake if you need some action.

Shikaras on Sattal
Sattal Lake
A lovely winding drive from Naukuchiatal, past the tall pine trees, deep valleys with stepped terraces and distant hills to Almora and further ahead to Ramgarh would be quite rewarding with magnificent vistas all along. Golu devtha temple at Ghodkal, an interesting temple with magnificent views has devotees offering bells to the deity. Tea estates are not commonly seen around Naukuchiatal, but the road that leads from the temple goes past a tiny a tea estate before the valleys and pine trees resurfaces on the landscape. More expansive vistas open up, and without a cue, snow clad Himalayas make their appearance to a pleasant surprise. The expansive range of more than 300 Kms spread  a sight to behold. Nanda Devi, Panchachuli, Trishul, Nanda Koti and many more wonderful peaks glow as they soak in the rays of the morning sun. The magnificent vistas take the road to Mukteshwar, a beautiful hamlet snuggled cozily amidst the giant hills of Kumaon. Walk the bridle trail through a small forest patch to Choli Ki Jali, a rocky protrusion that offers a panoramic vista of the hills, valleys, plains, Almora town and the snow clad Himalayas. Choli ki Jali is undoubtedly a photographer’s delight.  Amidst the pine trees further ahead lies the well known 350 year old Shiva temple of Mukteshwar. 

Offerings at Golu Devtha temple
Snow clad Himalayas
View from Choli Ki Jali
Do not miss out on the local cuisines like Karhi chawal, palak ka kappa, butka  jhola, aloo ka kejwa and rajma chawal that can be relished at any of the numerous food stalls near Bhimtal and Sattal lakes. The famous Bhuransh, a local squash made from rhododendron can be picked up from any of the fruitage shops. Local products from Himjoli (an organization supported by NGOs) like body care creams, hand woven fabrics, spices, tea, herbs and handicraft items would definitely be a great souvenir to take back home. 

Signing Note- Lose yourself amidst the hills, lakes, pine trees and stepped terraces...!!

Route- New Delhi- Ghaziabad- Moradabad- Bilaspur- Rudrapur- Haldwani- Kathgodam- Naukuchiatal


New Delhi to Naukuchiatal- 310 Kms
Naukuchiatal to Bhimtal- 5kms
Naukuchiatal to Sattal- 13 kms
Naukuchiatal to Ramgarh-35 kms
Naukuchiatal to Mukteshwar- 62 kms

Himalayan Adventure Institute (paragliding) - 09412906780/ 09897538668
Butterfly museum, Bhimtal- 09359948490
Nearest rail head- Kathgodam (26 kms)
Nearest airport- New Delhi (320 kms)

Another version of this article appeared on the Hello magazine of Club Mahindra.


  1. Beautiful place! Whenever I see a place from Uttarakhand, I feel so homesick!

  2. That was a treat to read and watch, Niranjan. Your words rose to meet the breathtaking beauty of Naukuchiatal.

  3. a very informative and detailed post about Naukichiyataal . pics are very attractive and gives an invitation to go there once.

  4. Heaven view and amazing photos Niranjan.... Loved the place....:)

  5. Beautiful and scenic. Very picturesque.

  6. Oh! So beautiful! It really is an amazing experience to paraglide!

    1. Glad you liked it. It absolutely was a thrilling experience.

  7. beautiful serene lake and the forest path are very inviting...

    1. Serenity and secludeness is written all over. :)

  8. Awesome RND . Planning to go there in Dec.

  9. Wow, simply amazing pictures that describes the beauty of the place to the fullest.

  10. Niranjan, this is such a dreamy landscape! And so beautifully captured in words and images.

  11. Wonderful images! I have recently visited Nainital District. Had I discovered your blog earlier we wouldn't miss teh butterfly museum. :)

    1. Thank you. Head there next time. It is a wonderful place.



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