Tranquil surroundings, dense jungles, twisting mountain roads, orchards and an enchanting lake – I was entranced and in love with Naukichiatal as soon as I set my foot there and the awed feeling stayed throughout the entire stay. 26 kilometers from Nainital, famous as the ‘queen of Kumaon’ in Uttarakhand, India, and 4 kilometers from Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal is situated amidst the Kumaon mountain range on an altitude of 1220 meters from the sea level. Named after the ‘nine cornered lake’ that adorns the valley (and yes, the local guide did show us the 9 corners on a rowing boat!), Naukuchiatal is the less popular, but very scenic hill station set in near the Himalayan province of Uttarakhand.
The route we had chosen for Naukuchiatal was the 7 hour journey from Delhi to Kathgodam. After an extremely bumpy and tiring overnight bus ride, we disembarked at the foothills of the mountain range which nestles Nukuchiatal – a small village named Kathgodam, from where one is required to hire a taxi or board a bus to Naukuchiatal. Once the uphill journey began, the stunning visuals gave us a clear indication of the beauty that lay ahead.
Naukuchiatal is a visual retreat – one can almost get lost in a trance while staring at the astonishing beauty of the nature here. Untouched, wild and yet pleasant, the terraced farmlands, the rolling valley, the mighty mountains with jets of water streaming down them – the beauty of it all makes your heart sing with joy! We stayed at the Club Mahindra Resort, which had vast villa-styled rooms with the lake as a backdrop. Come evening, and we were all set to visit the lake.
The crystal clear water sparkled in the gleaming sun, and we were so enchanted that we agreed for a repeat boat ride (row-boats, of course – the diesel run boats are banned here). The boatman told us about an ancient lore that prevails here, according to which anyone who can spot the nine corners of the lake would attain nirvana. “You can even drink it directly”, he said, “Its sweet”. Though we lacked the spunk to do the same, we did notice the lack of any plastic debris near the bank, and the locals indeed were drinking straight from the lake. The visions of the lake, its serene waters, ducks and swans swimming in a row with the sun setting in the background is still fresh in my mind, and makes me want to travel to this tiny hill station again and again.
Naukuchiatal is a tranquil setting for those who find city life over-crowded, and prefer to stay in more unruffled surroundings. It offers a diverse set of activities to the tourists, in addition to the beautiful sceneries. Boat riding, mountain trekking, river crossing, bird watching, rappelling, mountain cycling, forest expeditions and rock climbing are some of the popular activities. Paragliding is a great adventure sport option from October to June, and several visitors flock here in order to experience the excitement in this activity.
The author Lydia Cross is a travel consultant associated with a travel managing company dealing with Kerala Tour Packages. She has written several blog posts on exotic travel locations in India and Europe. When not writing, she loves shopping, sky diving, surfing the net and reading her Kindle.