Rowing through the Naini Lake, riding the ropeway and admiring the scenic Tals—that’s pretty much how a tourist would plan out their trip to Nainital. However, what’s missing in this mainstream itinerary is enjoying the roads less travelled and being at places that are not explored much by the tourists in Nainital. But, why give the conventional travel plan a second thought, you may ask? The answer lies in the unperturbed beauty of Nainital that can only be witnessed when you trot the town like a local.
Out of all the innumerable trips that we Delhites take to Nainital, it was just this one time I and my small group of friends decided to explore Nainital in the most uncommon way possible over a weekend. And, that is how it became the most memorable trip to Nainital.
So, here’s how we traversed Nainital like a local.
Visiting Thandi Sadak
What the Mall Road of Nainital is to tourists, Thandi Sadak is to locals. A casual stroll on Thandi Sadak in the evening gives a spectacular view of the surrounding hills and the cool breeze originating from Naini lake makes you feel one with nature. Bonus: Since the entry to Thandi Sadak is not known to most tourists, it is much less crowded than the Mall Road.
Exploring Higher Altitude Areas on Foot
Taking a return ropeway ride from Mallital to snow viewpoint is a customary activity for all tourists in Nainital. However, what added a pinch of twist to the regular ride for us was not opting for the ropeway to return from snow viewpoint. Instead, we decided to walk up to Mallital from snow viewpoint. This was an opportunity to explore the higher altitudes of Nainital and come across places that no cab driver in Nainital would take you to. It’s indeed a long walk down the hills but coming across the never-before-seen places and views of Nainital make every bit of it worthwhile. You also don’t have to worry about the unpredicted hunger pangs which you might get during the long walk. A small Maggi and tea joint on the way will help you refuel the body.
Eating Like a Local
Cafes and restaurants located on the mall road are bustling with tourists for obvious reasons. However, to eat like a local in Nainital and to make the most of your eating time, head to the Flats instead. The small tea stalls here sell bun mask with tea and that is one of the most loved food combinations amongst the locals. And what’s more to it? Your evening snacking session at the Flats won’t cost you more than Rs. 50 per person and you can also enjoy the kids showing off their football skills in the playground nearby along with the mesmerizing view.
Getting the ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ Feels
One of my friends on the trip being alumni of St Joseph’s College, a visit to the school was a must. Exploring the vastness of the school and the serenity that students must feel studying in a hill station, Koi Mil Gaya being shot here was not a surprise!
Horse-riding along the Hillock
While a lot of tourists take cabs or use their own vehicle for commuting and sightseeing, the two best ways of experiencing the town is walking and horse-riding. One can take a horse from Bara Pathar to Tiffin Top, a route which is fascinating and adventurous at the same time.
Like I mentioned earlier, I had the company of a local to make me experience Nainital like I’d never visited before, though I had been to the town several times as a kid. True, sometimes it just takes a fresh perspective to visit the same place and experience a new one!