Hill Station | Lake / Backwaters
At a distance of 20 km from Nainital and 11 km from Sattal, Bhimtal is a picturesque lake located in the town of Bhimtal in Nainital district. It is situated at an altitude of 1,370 m and is one of the major places of sightseeing near Nainital. Bhimtal is older than the Nainital city as it was once part of the ancient silk route. 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 during the exile period of the Pandavas. This is another popular attraction not to miss in a Nainital tour package.
Bhimtal is the largest lake in Kumaon region and situated amidst lush green mountains. The lake is of 1701 m length, 451 m width and depth of 18 m. It is spread across 63.25 hectares of area. The Victoria dam was built on this Lake in 1883 when Kumaon region was under the British Raj. Bhimtal offers splendid views and visual vistas of nature's beauty. The lake provides drinking water supply and supports aquaculture with several species of fish.
The Bhimtal Lake is much cleaner and less crowded than the Lake at Nainital. There is an island at the center of the lake which can be reached by a boat. This island has an aquarium with different species of fish from China, South Africa and Mexico. Earlier there was a restaurant, which has been closed due to pollution.
There is an ancient Bhimeshwara Mahadev Temple on the banks of Lake. The present temple was renovated by Baz Bahadur of Chand Dynasty in the 17th century. Close to the Bhimeshwar Temple, there is Garg Parvat, a small hill that happens to be the origin of the River Gargi, which is called Gola Nadi in this area.
The Karkotaka hill is well known for the Nag Temple, which is about 2.5 km from Bhimtal and is visited by thousands of pilgrims on the event of Rishi Panchami. Hidimba Parvat is located 5 km from Bhimtal and is named after the demon wife of Bhima. Vankhandi Maharaj, an environmentalist and monk lives there and he has developed a refuge for wild animals. The area is now known as Vankhandi Ashram.
Aquarium Entry Fee: Rs.60 for Adults and Rs.30 for Children.
Boating Charges: Rs.100 per person to aquarium both ways.