Friday, June 8, 2018

6 Things to do in Nauchukiatal & Slow Summer Travel

Finally, I got my escape. A last-minute, hurriedly-planned and quickly put-together travel to the hills. The moment you type ‘weekend getaways from Delhi’ into Google, you get tonnes of options. From Nainital to Ranikhet, Almora to Mukteshwar, Corbett Park to Bhimtal, these hill stations studding the crown of Uttaranchal beckon you with promises of cool mornings, cloud-swathed mountains and verdant forest cover. But, we decided to go to Nauchikiatal – a tiny hill settlement with a tongue-twister of a name, sandwiched between Nainital and Bhimtal. 

About an hour’s drive from the Kathgodam railway station, the mountain roads twist and turn (dose up on anti-nausea meds if you have motion sickness like me) to bring you to a quiet little place with lesser touristy footfalls than some of the other places in the region.

However, when we made our way into Nauchukiatal , a pretty lake town set amidst lush mountains, there were throngs of tourists, waiting for their turns on the boats or tucking into street food. For a moment I wondered if we’d arrived at the right hill station because honestly, a place packed with people isn’t my cuppa of holiday tea. But as we entered The Camphor Tree’s premises at the edge of the town and nestled amidst hills & woods, the tourist ho-hum seemed to fade away and all that mattered was our 2-day holiday stretching ahead like an ice-cream on a summer’s day.

A slow holiday, where we read, clicked tonnes of pictures, watched the varied species of birds in the vicinity, took long walks around the lake, made up magical fairy stories, and, soaked in the serenity and beautiful views from the picnic benches parked at The Camphor Tree. And of course, tucked into an array of lip-smacking, home-cooked meals rustled up by the resident cook. Our holiday was truly just as delicious as that ice-cream on a hot day, and we savored every tiny bit of it. Honestly? It went too quickly!

So, if you were to plan a trip to Nauchikiatal (I’d recommend it strongly – go there before the monsoon swoops down mid-June), what would you do or not do:

1. Slow down: Don’t bring work with you, don’t plan to whizz around the hills logging one hill station after another and don’t pack your time with touristy stuff. That’s a lot of don’ts, but when you do any of the above, you turn Nauchikiatal into any other hill station trip. So instead, slow down, savor your stay, read a book or two, and indulge in full-blown family time.

2. Soak in the views and sounds: Gazing at the lake through a curtain of trees, watching a family of ducks waddling in for a swim, listening to the different bird-songs in the mornings and spotting a troop of monkeys loping around on the branches of the towering camphor tree, can be priceless memories to take back to the city where you live. I just couldn’t get enough of the lake views – I could stay there forever, on the picnic bench, looking out at the lake glistening amidst the jade mountains.

3. Go for long walks: Come evening and we’d lace up our sneakers and roll down to the street around the lake. Devoid of morning tourists and traffic, a leisurely stroll admiring the lone boat or the lavender blossoms around the lake, seemed like the perfect thing to do.

4. Savor every bite of your food: Yup, you heard me right. Don’t go on a diet here, especially if you’re staying at The Camphor Tree. We enjoyed the hospitality, personalized service and of course, the scrumptious hot meals that the cook sent from his kitchen. Every bite of fish curry (cooked with fish caught at the lake), desi chicken curry, matar-mushroom, aloo-poori, rajma rice and an assortment of delectable desserts were savored right down to the last bite.

5. Create something: Besides creating memories to take back, Nauchikiatal is just the place to get those creative juices flowing effortlessly. My son and I made up a whole series of stories about pixies (gotta write them down and turn them into books), while my husband took hundreds of photos of the birds in the woods behind The Camphor Tree. I suggest carrying a journal, a coloring book or sketch pad, your camera and the willingness to doodle or write or click.

6. Pick just one to two touristy things to do: There is a lot of running-around that you can do in the hills, driving to different points and towns, going for pony rides, getting your pictures clicked in traditional attire and so on. But that’ll make your holiday downright busy, and if you had to be busy, why not be so back in your buzzing city life, right? We chose to go on a 30-minute paddle boat ride in the lake opposite our B & B, and that was that. We filled the rest of our days with unwinding, slow living and family time.

I already miss Nauchikiatal and am planning my next holiday out-of-town (any recommendations about places to visit around Delhi in September?). But till then, I’ll relish the peaceful memories that I’ve carried back, packed carefully in my journal and in my mind.

Have a good summer ahead and plan that trip soon!

Travel Photography by Smokey Bandit.

Where did you travel to this summer or which place do you want to visit? Leave a comment to tell us about your ice-cream-like holiday experience.

Do pop in to say hello to us on Facebook. We're also on Twitter at @chandanawriter.

P.S. Planning a trip for October/November? You might love Fort Kesroli - here's our travel experience.

#nauchikiatal #nainital #summerholiday #travel #travelblog #summertravel #hillholiday 


  1. So well written Chandana. Lovely pictures by the Bandit! Thanks for sharing. Keep going.

    1. Thank you for reading! Your support means a lot. Hope you plan a trip to this place someday soon.

  2. Excellently articulated... am sure with the way you have described the place we will sure be visiting soon. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great!! Mine exp was also memorAble at naukuchiatal..


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