Bhimtal is the fast emerging tourist destination of Kumaun region of Uttarakhand. The real pride of this place is Bhimtal Lake which attracts the most. Bhimtal lake is larger then the Nainital lake, making it the largest lake in the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand. It has its origin due to the shifting of earth crusts that brought down water from mountains resulting in the formation of this lake.
This lake provides an abundant source of water supply to Haldwani & another tarai region for irrigation, drinking & other purposes. People find it worthy to book their vacation in the quiet, peaceful & lush green mountains than the overcrowded Nainital. It has become a hotspot of young students aspiring their career in the lap of nature. The joy of living in nature has the endless pleasure that gives an everlasting experience.
Bhimtal is a lake town at an altitude of around 1371 meters. When one plans a trip to Nainital, one always like to see the nearby places to give an add-on to their tour. Exploring places, going down the hills, doing window shopping, seeing the unseen, feeling the nature, unfolding the mountain secrets is all what we really enjoy when we think of Nainital, when we plan for trip to mountains.
Bhimtal – Alluring Greenery & Largest Lake of Uttarakhand
The town and the lake are named after Bhima, one of the Pandavas of the epic story of Mahabharata who is said to have visited the place. On the banks of the dam you can find the Shivji Temple called as Bhimeshwar Temple which is said to be built in the early 1880’s with strong devotees to this temple.
This old temple is said to be built by Raja Baj Bahadur Chand of Kumaon Kingdom during the 17th century. Bhimtal, under its low rounded hills, beyond which stands a cone-shaped mountain of Chota-Kailas is singularly prominent. Named after Bhim, the strongest after five Pandava brothers have acted for centuries as one of the strategic links between Almora and the Plains.
This road has seen many skirmish or tough battles. Chands and Khasyas, Kathis and Katuriys, all in turn, realised its strategic importance. In mid-sixteenth, century Kumaunis managed to retreat Mughal army from here and two centuries only to be withdrawn by the Rohillas past Ramgarh and Peora.
On passing through the Mallital Bazar, one comes on the out of the edge of the lake. At an altitude, Bhimtal Lake carries the crown of the largest natural lake in Uttarakhand (1700m in length and 454 m in width). The water is clear except the rusty patches caused by infusoria by animate which discolours the water to red at times.
Local legends contend that this continues until a victim is claimed when it settles down to normal. The place is packed with the pristine aura and salubrious whispers. Thick forests cover mountainsides around the Bhimtal lake include chir pine, ban oak and mixed deciduous forest.
But slowly hotels and resorts are cropping up around the lake premises. In the peak season, you can see tourist desperately looking for a place to stay. Bhimtal is becoming crowded like its cousin 22 km away(Nainital). The place is a paradise for nature lovers, birdwatchers, honeymooners and challenging sports. Sports like kayaking, paragliding, angling, cycling being some of them.
The place is paradise for the migratory birds and one can easily sight common birds like kingfisher, crested kingfisher, water redstart, forktale and much more. The surrounding forest has a good habitat for animals like leopard, ghurad, kakad (barking deer), etc.
When to Visit Bhimtal
You can visit Bhimtal all the year around. Mostly huge tourist crowd can be seen in the months of March to June. In the rainy season of July & August when monsoons knocks doors of these hills, the lush greenery all round are scenic, exotic & mesmerizing. In the months of November to January you can feel the chilling winds on your cheeks, you really need to cover yourself properly.
Things to do in Bhimtal
Bhimtal provides adventure lovers a pool of options to test up their endurance in the amidst of evergreen mountains. Race around the lake, take your boats swirling the lake, fly high in the sky by taking your gliders from height to feel the gravity and what not in Bhimtal.
And when want to entertain up your children & family then Bhimtal will serve you with Water Zorbing to enthrall you like never before. You can also enjoy Paragliding, Boating, Kayaking, Horse Riding, River Crossing, Camping etc.
Places to visit in Bhimtal
1. Bhimtal Lake –
The lake is the major attraction of the hill station. The banks are steep and covered with shingle except at fringes when water touches edges and bushes.
The activities include Boating, Fishing of the Majestic Mahseer Fish (You need a licence from Fisheries Department), kayaking and other water adventure activities are also available.
2. Aquarium –
An aquarium in the small island between the sparkling green water of the lake and twelve meter high Victorian Dam carries the primary magnetism. There used to be a restaurant in the middle which was then replaced by the Aquarium. It is well promoted by the local authorities, proclaiming it as “One of the best in North India”.
Bhimtal Aquarium exhibits colourful fish from as far as China, Latin America, and South Africa. It will be worth your time, tickets were priced at Rs60/- for an adult while it charges Rs30/- for kids below 12 years. You have to take a boat to the island which would cost you Rs 200.
3. Karkotak Trek –
Karkotak Trek, the highest peak in Bhimtal is another option. The 5 km trek path is mostly barren but as you reach the top just before the final climb, there is a patch of the green forest of vibrant cypresses, that takes you to the hilltop. The climb is moderately comfortable with winding tracks.
This top of the mountain can be seen easily seen from the Bhimtal-Haldwani highway.The peak gives you a mesmerizing 360-degree view of place surrounding it. You can see the captivating view of Bhimtal lake and Nakuchiyatal.
4. Butter Fly Museum-
It was the great Frederick Smetacek who started this museum to conserved and preserve biodiversity. It is not very huge but encompasses years of dogged patient work and painstaking research for the preservation of exotic butterfly specimens, larva, and other insects.
Butterfly Museum, with about more than 2,500 butterflies, moth and insects specimens at Jones Estate. Mr. Peter would show you around with great patience, knowledge and understanding. It is a steep hike but will be well worth your time, children will love it. The Butter Fly Museum charges Rs 150 person.(Open 9 a.m –5 p.m.; 05942-247068; call before visiting)
5. Bhimeshwar Temple-
Along with the masonry twelve meters high Victorian Dam, close to colorfully traced garden, with flowing canals
.An old temple of Bhim, dating back to the 17th century, was built by Raja Baj Bahadur in the Seventeenth Century AD. The temple is an exquisite example of Chand Architecture.
Nal Damayanti Tal: About 2km from Bhimtal is a sacred lake, Nal Damayanti Tal. It continues to be the local’s best-hidden secret. This sacred lake is full of colourful fishes which are ready to put up a show for anyone who feed them.It is surrounded by lush country and have mountains to its north. A serene spot, away from all the city noise, where wildlife and humans coincide. It has a mythological angle to it too.
You can undergo a number of treks when you visit from once to visit Bhimtal like Karkotak top, Hidimba Ashram, Sattal waterfall and Jhandi Dhar.
Excursions from Bhimtal:
12 km from Bhimtal, Ghorakhal is famous for two places Ghorakhal Golju Temple and Ghorakhal Sainik School. It is a pleasing place at an altitude of 2000 metre. Golju Maharaj, the presiding deity, is the God of justice. They write letters,(sometimes on stamp paper) to their beloved deity. The temple is filled with bells which tied by the pilgrims. It’s a perfect picnic spot. Paragliding Activities have also started here.
18km from Bhimtal, Nainital is one of the most alluring destinations in the state. The city has evolved around the Naini Lake. The summer capital of United Province continues to be known as the ‘lake district of India” .The buzz and noise, the tranquillity of Nature, the growing needs of modern traveller Nainital has it all packed in one hill station for more.
28km from Bhimtal is on Nainital Haldwani Highway. A health resort and is an excellent spot for those who are interested in floriculture and butterfly catching. The beekeeping center is an added attraction.
6 km from Bhimtal, lies Nakuchiatal, which means the lake with nine corners. Bounded by dark woody forests, and lush greenery, Nakuchiatal remains a place where nature is given preference over man. Famous for its boat rides, it offers some of the best scenic vistas of the sparkling bluish water lake and its delightful environment.
Located 12km from Bhimtal, Sattal, perched at an altitude of 1370 metres. ‘Sattal’ means ‘seven lakes’. Interestingly, three of these lakes are named Ram tal, Lakshman tal, Sita tal and other are Bharat tal, Hanuman tal, Nal damyanti tal, Gurad tal.
These seven interconnected lakes are surrounded by tall oak and pine trees, and this ecosystem is ideal for bird watchers and adventure enthusiasts. The green mountain ranges and sparkling greenish water reflect nature gloriously in all its bounty.
Located 31 km from Bhimtal, Ramgarh is also known as the fruit bowl of Kumaun is divided into two part Talla(Down) Ramgarh and Malla (Ramgarh).The other very famous thing about Ramgarh are the orchards which provide you with one of the best apples, pears, and peaches. It has a history of hosting poets, writers, and artist who come to the hills seeking inspiration.
7. Saladi –
Sialadi is mid way halth bwteen Bhimtal and Kathgodam. In a cab or a bus then the next half an hour take u to a locally famous hot spot among travelers “ Saladi”. The place Saladi is famous for its offerings. The Uttarakhand famous “Aallu-Rayata”. The environment is so calm and soothing that one forgets his tiredness due to the journey only by entering the place. And then enjoying spicy “aalu raita” and the breeze makes mood.
At a distance of 37km, Mukteshwar is a stunning place nestled between the dense conifers and fruit Orchards and is situated 2,286 metres above sea level. Mukteshwar offers 180-degrees view of the Himalayan Ranges. One can see the peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Ghunti, Nandakot, Trishul, and Panchachuli. It is a famous hill station in Kumaon.
9. Kainchi Dham:
Situated at 18km from Bhimtal is this Small Ashram Compound where Maharaji spent much of his later years. Kainchi Dham had its share of the limelight when in a candid interview, Mark Zuckerberg revealed to the Prime Minister, that he had visited a temple in India on the advice of Steve Jobs.
How to Reach Bhimtal:
Bhimtal is just 11 km from Bhowali and about 22km from Nainital. You can easily get local cabs, Uttarakhand roadways & other means to reach here whether you at Kathgodam Railway Station or Nainital. The nearest airport is Pant Nagar at a distance of 35km.
You can find the crossroads in Bhimtal where one road from Bhimtal leaves for Naukuchiatal (5 km away), while the other one goes to Kathgodam, 21km away & one road towards Bhowali & thereby Nainital.
By Air: Nearest airport from Bhimtal is Pantnagar which is 55 km away from Bhimtal.
Via Rail: Nearest Railhead from Bhimtal is Kathgodam which is 20 km away from the destination.Buses and Cabs are available after every half an hour.
By Road: Bhimtal is well connected through roads. It is 280 km from Delhi and 25 km from Nainital.