They say the journey is the real delight and not the destination. If that is true (and it is true!), then the city of Haldwani should be full of wonderful surprises. And you are not wrong in thinking that. This town in Uttarakhand is the gateway to the magical kingdom of Kumaon and often only appears on travel itineraries online as a mere transit town. Let us change tracks and look at some of the finest places to visit in Haldwani rather than just passing through. After exploring these places you will surely agree that Haldwani is worth being on the list of your travel-musts.
Top 10 Places To Visit In Haldwani
Haldwani is a hidden paradise of Uttarakhand. Here are the best places you can explore in this otherwise undiscovered part of mountainous state of India:
- Gaula Dam
- Shitla Devi Temple
- Bhimtal Lake
- Hanuman Garhi Temple
- Kainchi Dham
- Walkway Mall
- Hidimba Parvat
In Kumaoni, Kathgodam stands for timber depot. Kathgodam may be a railway station for most tourists traveling on to more popular destinations, but it has an interesting history. Direct trains from cities such as Delhi, Kolkata, and Jammu Tawi to Kathgodam provide easy access to travelers to the Kumaon Himalayas. When you step out of the station and wait for your cab to take you to Nainital, Ranikhet, Almora or any of a number of places that are accessible from Kathgodam, take a step back to appreciate what may be the most beautiful railway station in India.
Surrounded by the hills and with the Lower Himalayas often in view, Kathgodam provides the perfect beginning to your magical journey into Kumaon. It is one of the best places to visit in Haldwani and you can reach it in 30 minutes by public transport.
Distance from Haldwani: 8 km
Entry fee: INR 5 for station ticket
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2. Gaula Dam
The Gaula river originates somewhere in the Lesser Himalayas. It eventually joins the Ramganga river that goes on to become a tributary to the holy Ganges. The river itself cuts right through the town of Kathgodam and provides several scenic spots for your next picnic outing combined with the surrounding hills. However, the real icing on the cake is the beautiful Gaula Dam that is the most popular hangout for locals as well as tourists who have decided to stay in Haldwani for the night.
If you are religious, you must know that the river Gaula or Gargi was associated with Markandeya Muni in the ancient texts. Given the enormous appeal of this place, the Gaula Dam should be one of the top places to visit in Haldwani.
3. Shitla Devi Temple
The Durga temple is one of the popular tourist places near Haldwani, Uttarakhand. The temple is located on a small hill, and the climb is easy. You should visit the Shitla Devi, the goddess of sore and pustules and all kinds of diseases, if you are a worshipper. Also enjoy the amazing views of the sunset in the evenings that draws crowds.
The woods around the temple and the low backdrop of mountains provide the perfect backdrop and make this a popular spot for lazy picnics. There is no entry fee, but you should not stay late after dark. Also, there are plenty of monkeys on the premises and you might want to steer clear of them before they snatch your stuff!
About 23 kilometres away from Haldwani, it takes about 30 minutes to get to this small village, which is located on the road to Nainital. The village is one of the best places to visit in and around Haldwani and is the perfect embodiment of the peace offered by the Himalayas. In fact, locals claim that yogis like Swami Vivekananda meditated here. There is a wonderful Victorian era cottage where you can spend the night for not much money.
Distance from Haldwani: 23 km
Literally the lake of nine corners, this charming hill station is one of the best places to visit near Haldwani, and should be on the top of the list of places to see on a Haldwani sightseeing tour. Only 33 km from the town, the lake is set amongst hills and offers a beautiful peek into the Himalayas of the Kumaon. The lake is at a height of 4000 feet above sea level, so you would be ascending when you travel from Haldwani.
A day-long trip from the town is the best way to see the lake, and you can easily drive home after watching the sun set behind the hills.
Distance from Haldwani: 33 km
6. Bhimtal Lake
This lake is around 15 km from Haldwani and is significantly bigger than the Naukuchiatal. In fact, at a height of 4500 feet above sea level, Bhimtal is the largest lake in Kumaon, which is often called the lake district of India. Bhimtal does not have the quiet beauty of the smaller lakes, but you can find places around the lake shore where you would feel like the only people in the world. Tourists have also often seen pheasants and exotic deer around the lake. Bhimtal should definitely be on your list of best places to visit in Haldwani.
Distance from Haldwani: 15 km
7. Hanuman Garhi Temple
Around 40 km from Haldwani and on the road to Nainital, the Hanuman Garhi is a peaceful and clean establishment situated at the top of a small hill. It is actually very close to the Naukuchiatal, and you may want to club both the places together on your itinerary.
Distance from Haldwani: 40 km
8. Kainchi Dham
This is one of the most famously spiritual places to visit in Haldwani, Uttarakhand. Around 44 km from the city centre, and also on the road to Nainital, the temple is dedicated to the famous Neem Karoli Babaji, who inspired a number of celebrities with his philosophy of bhakti yoga. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have visited the Kainchi Dham in search of peace, so whether you like them or not, the Kainchi Dham should make your list of top Haldwani tourist places.
Distance from Haldwani: 44 km
9. Walkway Mall
Walkway Mall is one of the ideal places to visit in Haldwani, Uttarakhand if you want to go shopping on this hill vacation. On the Bareilly Nainital road, the Walkway is the only commercial mall in Haldwani. While it makes sense not to have malls rising out of every corner of this sleepy hill town, the Walkway is a great place to chill out after a long day of visiting the Haldwani tourist places.
Timings: 10 AM – 8 PM
10. Hidimba Parvat
If you are raring for a physical challenge, climbing the Hidimba Parvat is for you. Around 5 km from Bhimtal, the temple, dedicated to Bhima’s wife, offers gorgeous views of the hills from its premises. However, you should be advised, the place is crawling with rowdy monkeys and you should be ready to protect yourself. Also, the trek up the mountains is not suitable for people with heart or respiratory issues, as the oxygen gets thinner as you ascend.
Distance from Haldwani: 20 km
While Haldwani might not boast of the same roster of popular places as Nainital or Ranikhet, the lazy town in the foothills of beautiful Kumaon has its charms. The locals are friendly and the culture is frankly an educational experience. Book your trip to Uttarakhand and explore all these fascinating places to visit in Haldwani.
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