The most attractive tourist attraction in Bhimtal which is thronged by hundreds is the Bhimtal Lake. Known to be larger than the Naini Lake in Nainital, the Bhimtal is a perennial lake which also offers boating activities for interested tourists. This makes it amazingly popular among travellers who arrive with family during the peak season of March to June when the plains of India are scorching in the summers. This is not the only reason why tourists visit the lake. Tourists also visit this because it is an amazingly popular bird watching site, especially if you are interested in watching Trans-Himalayan birds flocking into the area.
Located in the outskirts of the town, this is a hillock which is named after another character from the epic Mahabharata –Hidimba who was actually a demoness. According to mythology, Hidimba transformed herself as a beautiful lady to attract the Pandava brother - Bhima. Today, the hillock is known to harbour a large number of wildlife species and an environmentalist by the name of Vankhandi Maharaj has taken upon himself to preserve the area. He has established the Vankhandi Ashram which is surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary known for its rare flora and fauna. This is a great opportunity for many to view wild life in their natural habitat.
An Approximately 2 kilometer from the town of Bhimtal is another natural lake which is comparatively smaller than the Bhimtal Lake and is called the Nal Damyanti Tal. The lake gets its prominence for being the lake where King Nala, one of the famous kings of the region drowned. This has made the lake not only famous but also sacred among the locals of the region.
Named after the mythical cobra called Karkotaka, the hill houses a temple dedicated to the cobra popularly known as the Nag Karkotaka Maharaj. The temple manages to attract thousands of devotees from across the town and the country for being the one of the rare Nag Temples in the state of Uttarakhand. The temple is especially popular during the Hindu festival of Rishi Panchami.
Kids will love Bhimtal because of its lake and for the opportunity to boat across the blue waters of the lake. Though there is not much to do in Bhimtal, you can take long walks along the lake with kids who can see a variety of flora and fauna which will make them feel excited. The jungles around the town also make it a good space for wildlife species; hence, keep a look out for the deers that roam about.
This is the most prominent places to visit in Bhimtal and dates back to the 17th Century. Like the town, the temple derives it names from Bhima, the Pandava brother. Built by BazBahadur from the Chand Dynasty, the temple is dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva and attracts hundreds and hundreds of devotees during the famed Hindu festival of Shivratri.
This is a secular religious spot where devotees throng the place of worship irrespective of the religion. The best time to visit it on Thursdays when the mazar is visited by Muslims, Hindus and Christians alike. What makes this a remarkable tourist destination is the view of the Bhimtal Lake and the island from the mazar.
The town of Bhimtal does not have a large number of places to visit but one of the popular spots which allow you to peak into the history of the town is the Folk Culture Museum. Also known as the LokSanskritiSanghralaya, the museum displays rare artefacts such as photographs and paintings that date back hundreds of years. Also, the museum has a rare collection of rock arts and items from different regions of Uttarakhand. You will also be able to view some rare idols of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses and some rare manuscripts.
Also known as Sat Tal which literally means the ‘seven lakes’ this is basically a group of seven inter-connected lakes. Located at an altitude of 1370 meters, the Sat Tal are freshwater lakes (Sita Tal, Ram Tal,Purna Tal,Panna Tal,Laxman Tal, Nal-Damyanti Tal, and Sukha Tal or Khurdariya Tal) which are a paradise for a number of migratory birds which also manage to attract bird loving enthusiasts from across the world.
Few of the avian fauna which will enthral you at Sattalare kingfishers, barbets (lineated, crimson-fronted, plum headed and brown-hearted), woodpecker (grey-capped, yellow-crowned, rufus-bellied, and stripe-breasted), Indian tree pies, leaf birds, pheasants, sunbirds, flower-pecker, buzzard, rose-finch and many more. Apart from the birds, there are much more that will capture the attention of tourists. There is a wide variety of fish in the freshwaters of the lakes.
Not far from the town of Bhimtal is one of the most popular hill stations in the country – that is Nainital. Overlooking the Kumaon Hills, the hill station is famous for housing Jim Corbett’s home and the Naini Lake. There is much to do in Nainital such as visiting the Sher-ka-Danda Ridge, Nanda Devi Temple, St. John in the Wilderness church, Gurney House, Naina Lake and many more.
Originally called the Hailey National Park, the national park is located not far from Bhimtal. The park is renowned for being the background of the famous Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book but that is not all. The park is a wildlife enthusiast’s haven as it allows you to spot the tiger.
Walking and trekking around the jungles surrounding the town is probably the most popular activity in Bhimtal. Also, there is the opportunity to boat in the many freshwater lakes of Bhimtal. If you are not into any of these then capture some of the rare species of birds and butterflies in and around the lake area. Bird watching is very popular activity in the region.
The town has a decent number of restaurants and eateries which offer all kinds of cuisines inspired from across the country. Few of the best restaurants in Bhimtal are Gravity of the Lake, Southern Delights, Italiano and George’s Wild Orchid.
While at Bhimtal, always try out the simple but tasty Garhwal cuisine which is known for its usage of hash seeds also known as bhang. The presence of bhang in the Garhwali cuisine along with tomatoes makes it different and absolutely delicious. Few of the best dishes in the region which is served in the restaurants of Bhimtal are bhang-jeera chutney and other rice dishes. Also, do not miss an opportunity to taste juices made of the local fruits such as burash or rhododendron juice and malta juice. Few, other Garhwali fruits which can be tasted in Bhimtal are are kaafal or bayberry) and kilmudi, mekauti or (malta). If you are visiting the town during the festival season, do not forget to taste the special desserts such as Roat, Arsa, Sei, Gulgula, Kesar Halwa, Jhagora ki Kheer, and Rwatna.
For a shopping experience head to the Mall Road at the town centre which is dotted with small shops and kiosks that offer a rare opportunity to buy statues and carpets from the region. Also, it offers an opportunity to buy Garhwali paintings and woodcrafts which are intrinsic to the culture of Uttarakhand. The town shops also sell organic products in and around the region.