Bhimtal should be on every mountain lover’s radar for many reasons. For one, it is a quiet retreat for solitude lovers. Second, it is a haven for nature lovers with its peaceful Himalayan woods, and third, it is a visual feast for the eyes.
Located at an altitude of 1371 m above sea level above the Kumaon hills, Bhimtal is a magical hill station. It lies 23 km from Nainital.
A look at its history
Thousands of years ago, as the legend states, Prince Bhima of the Bharata clan and one of the Pandava brothers of Hastinapur, climbed the high Himalayan Mountains. To his surprise, Bhima heard a celestial voice that asked him to build a Shiva temple on the mountains to be remembered for the coming generations. Bhima heeded the divine voice and erected a wonderful temple to honour the deity. He used his powerful mace to give a blow to the earth, out of which sprouted a fountain of water. This formed a lake, which came to be known as Bhimtal.
When in Bhimtal, visit these places
Bhimtal Lake is a magnanimous water body, where tourists can spend time to their heart’s content. A large Victorian-era dam is located at one of the ends of the lake and terraced gardens are located on another side. Bhimtal is much liked for the spotted paths, wild raspberries, scenic terraced fields dotted with farmhouses and trees bearing citrus fruits.
A folk culture museum exists in Bhimtal, which houses an attractive array of artefacts, rock art and wealth of knowledge about the various hill stations of Uttarakhand.
Things to do around Bhimtal
There is enough to do around Bhimtal to keep you occupied for 3 to 4 days. Visit the Naukuchiatal Lake marked for its nine corners! The lake also has trees on its fringes, and it makes a pleasant site for enjoying a boat ride.
There is another site that would please lovers of outdoor activities and nature’s wonders.
Sattal, is a cluster of seven lakes, out of which two have dried up now. It is a wonderful place for boating and fishing activities, and is surrounded by dense woods and small creeks at the edge of the lake shore.
Bhimtal is also blessed with the presence of Bhimeshwar Mahadeva Temple. There is another holy shrine made to honour the serpent Karkotaka, who is one of the prime snakes mentioned in the ancient scriptures. It is believed that Karkotaka was the snake, who was redeemed from his curse by a virtuous and famous king, named Nala, and the former returned the favour by helping the latter regain his lost kingdom. This interesting story finds a mention in the Mahabharata.
How to visit Bhimtal?
Air trippers need to board a flight to Pant Nagar (55 km) or Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun (100 km approx) for reaching Bhimtal. Train travellers from most parts of India can book a trip to the Kathgodam Railway Station, which is about 23 km from Bhimtal. Taxi services are easily available from the railhead in Kathgodam. For tourists coming from Delhi/NCR, Punjab, Himachal or Rajasthan, state transport bus services are easily available for Bhimtal. In case the bus service terminates at Kathgodam or Nainital, tourists can take a taxi or local bus ride that links these two towns to Bhimtal.