Nainital, situated in the Kumaon Valley region of Uttarakhand, is a famous tourist destination. Shining like a glittering rub on the Himalayas, this city attracts a lot of domestic and foreign tourists. Nainital, covered with lush green mountains and lakes, is an excellent specimen of natural beauty. But do you know, Naini Lake in Nainital is only a lake or lake of Kumaon valley. When the hills begin on the route from Haldwani or Kathgodam plains towards Kumaon Valley, small lakes appearing one after the other enchant. The time spent near lakes like Bhimtal, Satatal, Naukuchiya Tal makes us unbroken by nature.
In the few days spent in the vicinity of these lakes, every morning we took a beautiful excursion in the delightful environment along the banks of the lakes. At dusk, we would spend hours watching other tourists enjoying the boat ride in the lakes, playing with ducks and playing other water sports. We thoroughly enjoyed each lake, and each lake gave us a new experience. Every lake told a new story.
I want to share the same experiences and stories with you. Come, let me introduce you to these lakes through my experience and vision.
Kumaon Valley – Bhimtal
The name of this pool tells a story. Among the Pandava sons of Mahabharata, this lake named after Bhima, the second son. It believed that the Pandavas came here during their exile.
Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple
Located on Bhimtal, Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple is a small and ancient temple, namely the temple dedicated to the presiding deity of Bhima. Seeing the bright colors of the temple, its old belief is not there. But a sight on the banyan tree located in the temple premises will clear all your doubts.
In and around Bhimeshwar Mahadev temple, I saw unique stone sculptures. Looking at the picture of the ancient temple, it can be inferred that originally the structure of this temple was stone like the temples of Jageshwar. According to the information plaque on Bhimtal, the present temple is 16th. King Baz Bahadur built Chand Vanshi in the century.
The hill adjacent to this temple is called Hidimba Pahadi. Bhima married the demon Kanya Hidimba during his exile. He also received a son named Ghatotkacha from him.
Excursion Around Bhimtal lake
My most unforgettable moments related to Bhimtal were the revolutions of Bhimtal at sunrise! However, a beautiful view of Bhimtal was visible from our room in the residence of Kumaon Vikas Mandal Nigam. However, Bhimtal’s pilgrimage at dawn was a supernatural experience. At that time, there were, only we, some birds and unearthly natural beauty. Even Jagran and Puja Archana had not started in the temple.
Bhimtal, the most famous of Kumaon, is even more ancient than Nainital or Naini Lake.
At the beginning of the Bhimtal tour, we saw a bridge-like structure floating from the casks floating in the water. Wire nets were hanging on it. I was guessing that my estimate was confirmed by an information board that wrote – Experimental cage fisheries industry by the Department of Freshwater Research. That day I came to know about the technique of the cage fisheries industry.
Bhimtal is the largest lake in Kumaon.
A permanent turban built around the lake, on which we started walking. This route was relatively much higher than the lake. While walking, it seemed as if we were walking on a high mound. At small intervals, small platforms built above the lake, by climbing on which we could get a bird’s-eye view of the lake. On our left was a high flat rock whose shadow was shooting with the lake water. The lake water was clean as a mirror. The shadow falling on it challenged us to distinguish between the real and the shadow.
Blue, Yellow and Red coloured birds accompanied us on our walks. They gave us the much-needed reason to stop and try to catch them with our camera.
There is a sub-island in the middle of Bhimtal on which there used to be a restaurant. This restaurant has closed due to some inconveniences. Now the Nainital Lake Development Authority has established an aquarium on it. You can reach the subcontinent by enjoying the boatyard and see colorful fish brought from the countries of Mexico, South Africa, China, etc. in the aquarium in the attractive background.
On one side of Bhimeshwar Mahadev temple, we saw a canal that connects the waters of Bhimtal to the Gola River. Its water used for irrigation and urban water supply.
There is a ferry center on the other side of the lake. There are many colorful boats and canoes lined up at sunrise. Tourists enjoy boating in the lake as soon as they arrive. Also, you do not get tired of licking on the lakeshore with the taste of chaat, dumplings, corn, tea, etc.
In the last phase of Bhimtal Padbhramana, we saw a temple dedicated to Kaanchulidevi. According to the Manaskand of Skanda Purana, the water of Bhimtal near this temple is very sacred. It believed that bathing in this holy water ends all diseases of the body. Fishing consequently prohibited in this part of the lake. The original temple of Cantuli Devi buried in water. Only his top flag is visible above the water level. The Cantuli Devi temple located near the road is a relatively new structure.
Kumaon Valley – Naukuchiya Tal
As it is named, Naukuchiya Tal is a small rhythm of nine corners. 4 km from Bhimtal We reached here one evening to reach this rhythm. We took a round of this rhythm in the evening light before sunset.
The tourism environment of this lake became somewhat quiet, and only some simple business activities were visible on both sides. I desired to take the full circle of this rhythm and calculate its nine corners. But this was not possible due to the closure of the route at one place. However, there was no cut in our enjoyment. During our visit, we saw many dimensions of the beauty of this rhythm. Due to its irregular shape, it was changing at a short distance. Somewhere the hill, somewhere the water of the lake peeping from behind the mountain, sometimes the rays of the sun coming out from behind the mountain, sometimes the backdrop of the lake decorated with colorful boats. Somewhere the Tikoni hills were reflecting in the geometric shape in the calm waters of the lake and making attractive pictures.
Lotus Pond of Naukuchiya Tal
There was a small pond near Naukuchiya Tal which was full of lotus plants. As we know, lotus flowers bloom during the day and by evening time all its petals fall. Since we were here in the evening excursion, we could not enjoy the beauty of these flowers. The imaginary scene of this pond filled with white and pink lotus flowers was inscribed on its mantle and arose. In my fictional picture, colorful real Ramchirayiya, i.e. Kingfisher birds, were planting four moons. The administration’s warning for the beauty and maintenance of the pond clearly expressed by the plank of “Flowering is forbidden”.
As we were present at Naukuchi Tal in Sanjha Bela, we saw boating many tourists. Some tourists appeared to enjoy horse riding and some hot noodles. Some tourists were busy with a unique game called Zorbing in which a participant is rolled up a slope by placing a participant inside a sizeable transparent circle. However, as soon as it was dark, I was more happy to observe the operators removing the air from the ring and overseeing it.
According to legends, Naukuchiya Tal associated with Lord Brahma. Even a temple of Brahma situated on Naukuchiya Tal.
The routes enclosing Naukuchiya Tal are mostly free from the traffic of motor trains. So, you can visit around the pool here in the shade of dense trees without any worry or fear.
Hanuman Statue of Bhaktidham of Naukuchiya Tal
A colossal statue of Hanuman installed near Naukuchiya Tal is visible from a distance. Arriving near, we saw that this statue was, in reality, a part of the Bhaktidham temple complex. There were many small temples in this complex dedicated to Durga, Neem Karoli Baba, and many other deities.
Kumaon Valley – Sattal
Sattal is a group of 7 lakes as the name rightly indicates. These lakes are:
1. Nal Damayanti Tal
2. Garuda Tal
3. Ram Taal
4. Laxman Taal
5. Sita Taal
6. Bharat Taal
7. Hanuman Taal
As is evident from the names of these lakes, it believed that Ram, Lakshman & Sita came here during their exile and lived close to these lakes.
The specialty of Satatal is that these all-connected palates are of sweet water. The names of these locks taken together as if they have only one source. Seeing these locks surrounded by tall trees like oak and cedar, there is a feeling of untouched and serene nature. Nanaprakara flowers and vines planted around this pool. Surrounded by tall trees like those of Oak and Pine, these lakes present the pristine landscape.
Nal Damayanti Tal
Located about 2 km from Bhimtal is this small but beautiful lake called – Nal Damyanti Lake. The legend related to this pool of Panchkoni shape says that King Nal and his wife had spent their exile near this pool. It was here that King Nal left his wife and left. Later, his tomb built in this rhythm. According to this ancient belief, fishing still prohibited in this pool. That is why, in this pool, we saw a lot of big fish.
To reach this lake one needs to come down from the hill, for which a steep slope has made—stairs built around this small pool. Apart from fishing, bathing, washing, etc. and garbage is also prohibited.
While walking around this pool, I got lost in the imagination of Nal Damayanti. Since time immemorial, many big fish swimming in the pool saw that they must have heard their story from their ancestors. I wish these fish could speak!
Other Pools of Satatal
We came to Ram Tal and Hanuman Tal – the most easily accessible pools. There is a walking path around these two locks on which walking is an enjoyable experience.
There was a system ranging from lemonade to food. Here you will have the opportunity to taste North Indian cuisine. You must feel the cold pudding available here. It is highly hospitable and the best dessert to enjoy a mountain holiday.
During the excursion we saw, some of the operators were giving the tourists another unique game where they hung the rope from the rope and pushed it down towards the pool at a fast pace. I was delighted to see tourists screaming with ecstasy, plunging into the waters of the lakes, reaching across the ponds.
After Nal Damayanti Taal, there is a small Garuda Taal. Garuda Tal was visible to us from the road itself. Amidst the valleys of Kumaon, surrounded by tall trees, this blue-green pool looked beautiful. People believe that during the exile, the Silbatta used by Draupadi to make food is still present in these stones somewhere. After Garuda Tal, Ram, Sita and Lakshman Tal join together. Due to the non-availability of the road to these locks, they can be reached only by boats.
My experience of travelling around these locks was remedial and very comforting for me. The way our ancestors lived in the proximity of nature, I also got a direct experience of that life by visiting these lakes. I realized why sage sages used to meditate in the vicinity of these mountains and lakes. On one side there are lush green fields and on the other hand the Himalayas! What else is this paradise?
Tips for visiting the locks of Kumaon Valley
- Many accommodation houses are available for staying near Bhimtal, Naukuchiya Tal and Satatal. Kumaon Vikas Mandal Corporation housing houses are the best in terms of location. But I do not want to make any comment regarding their maintenance and facilities. I hope that in future Kumaon Valley tourism will take the necessary steps for its support and enhancement of facilities.
- There are all kinds of Private hotels near these lakes suitable for all kinds of budgets.
- Fresh delicacies are available, despite the limited arrangement of the restaurant.
- Being a famous tourist destination, many types of tourism activities and facilities are available here.
- 35 km to the nearest rail station. Located at a distance of, Kathgodam is easily accessible from Delhi.
- The condition of the road from Delhi to Kumaon Valley is also excellent.