Has the stress of everyday work life frazzled your nerves? Or you simply want to beat the crowd and spent some comfortable time in the lap of nature. Look no further than Bhimtal, a small lake town in the Kumaon hills of Uttrakhand.
Bhimtal is an ideal weekend to get away from Delhi where you can relax and unwind in the refreshing mountain air. Unlike the hustle and bustle of its crowded cousin Nainital, the calm and serene environment of Bhimtal is all yours to claim.
If you are looking to spend some time in this scenic town, read on to find more about this place.
Seek Blessings of Lord Shiva at the Bhimeshwar Temple
The old Bhimeshwar temple was said to be built by Bheema, a Shiv bhakt when he visited the Himalayan region alone during vanvaas.
It is said that he used his mace to make a hole in the mountain while building the temple. River Ganga flowed in from the hole and the lake was formed, and hence the place got its name Bhimtal.
The present-day temple was built by Baz Bahadur, a king of Chand dynasty of Kumaon, in the 17th Century.
Row Away Your Worries in the Bhimtal Lake
Spend some time boating in the Bhimtal lake – the largest lake in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. As the oars of your boat make ripples in the water, enjoy the beauty of the forest-clad mountains around you.
The Aquarium in the Middle of the Lake
There is a natural island in the center of the lake which has been developed as an aquarium. It is accessible only by boat. The collection of fishes is not especially outstanding, but if you have kids with you then you can spend a short while in this place.
Count Butterflies in the Butterfly Research Center
The Butterfly Research Center has the fourth largest reference collection of butterflies and moths in India. The owner Peter will impress you with his vast knowledge about the insect kingdom and the place has an amazing collection of butterflies and insects – including the largest India butterfly, owl butterflies, leaf butterflies, etc. There is a home-stay and café along with the lake where one can stay and indulge in some lip-smacking dishes.
Trek to the Top of Hidimba Parvat and Lose Yourself to Nature
If you are a trekking enthusiast, trek to the top of this hillock located some 5 km away from Bhimtal. The place is named after Hidimba, wife of Bheem, one of the five Pandava brothers from Mahabharat.
There is also a wildlife asylum called Vankhandi Ashram on the Hidimba Parvat, a habitat developed by Vankhandi Maharaj, an environmentalist, and monk who lives there.
Pay Reverence to Lord Hanuman at Hanuman Garhi Temple
Located in between Bhimtal and Naukuchiatal, the Hanuman Garhi temple houses an impressive statue of Lord Hanuman. The Temple has been encircled by an artificial cave; designed on the lines of the famous Vaishno Devi Shrine.
Hike to the Highest point of Bhimtal, the Karkotaka Temple
The path to the Nag Karkotaka temple is an off-beat and arduous trek, but the rewards of the trek are amazing. The temple is devoted to Nag Devta, and the summit offers three sixty degree views of the surrounding region – including Bhimtal and Haldwani.
Make the Compulsory Visit to the Lok Sanskriti Sanghralaya
A non-public museum founded by Dr. Yashodhar Mathpal, international famed archaeologist, artist, scholar, and logician Padmshree, in 1983, this place is also known as the Folk Cultural Museum.
Dr. Mathpal has painstakingly collected artifacts from all over Kumaon and set up beautiful gallery – tourists can also see folk paintings, wooden artifacts, ancient manuscripts, images of god and goddesses, agricultural implements and costumes.
There is a second gallery as well, which is a marvel in itself – where a large number of cave paintings from all over India have been recreated.
Explore Adventure Sports Activities
Adventure sports enthusiasts can go further 4 km away to Naukichiatal for paragliding and dirt biking. Paraglide in Naukichiatal to enjoy this amazing aerial view of the place.
Visit Nearby Towns for a Perfect Kumaon Trip
If you have more days in hand, you may plan and visit other lake towns like Nainital, Sattal or Naukichiatal. Mukteshwar is also another great nearby destination.
Bhimtal is a one hour drive from Kathgodam, the nearest rail-head. One can quite easily get share cabs and buses from Kathgodam.
Kathgodam is connected to Delhi by three trains that run daily, also there multiple bus operators running comfortable overnight buses between the two places.