3 Wild Camping Locations in Nainital
Camping is generally not for the idle, loner types like me, that is for sure. However, gladly for mother earth, most of the people love adventures and thus, camping is nice enough idea for them, especially when it is in the pleasant weather and breathtaking surroundings of Nainital. If you are among these active, fun-loving, on the go, happy go lucky (and similar phrases) people, you will love camping. Jokes apart, camping allows us to connect to the mother nature like nothing else.
Nainital has several places to camp and spend some decent nights, and I will try to guide you to a few personal favourites. Yes, I go to camping, but the only activity there for me is stargazing. This is why I always turn to camping after staying for a few days in any of the hotels in Nainital.
This is my favourite spot, of the more popular ones, simply because I go to camping to find solitude and this is one of the less popular ones which means a good amount of solitude can be found here. However, for the active Indians, try the rope tricks, including 60 ft. rock climbing, 200 meters of valley crossing and 100 meters of river crossing, all done hanging on ropes. As you can see, there are hardly anything missing here, from the popular camping spots.
You get your private tent, a must-have for me, and of course, experienced instructors when you book camping via leading holiday arrangers like Yatra in India. I would recommend this because you really need an instructor as you plan to do much more than stargazing. Don't miss the bonfire and the scary bonfire urban legend talks. Carry your guitar and who knows; you might find people appreciating your cacophony.
Naina Devi Jungle Camp
The most recommended and the most popular spot for camping around Nainital. Had it been less crowded, I would have named it before Mangoli, actually. However, it compensates for that through the activities available here and also the view you get from the camp.
Firstly, the scopes of activities are far diverse here. Try rock climbing, river crossing, hiking, and trekking, just like you would do at Mangoli Village. However, you can also go for Jumaring (a weird looking equipment which helps you to climb without sweating much), slithering (a nice way of climbing down, yes down, a vertical rock safely and quickly, using ropes and other equipment. Do try this out at Chauli ki Jali) and rappelling (almost the same with slithering but down from a bridge actually).
However, my favourite point is what is called 360 point. It's hardly 200m from the camping site, and it offers a view of 380 km. Garhwal, Kumaon & Nepal Himalayas along with some villages scattered all over the places. Stargazing is best down from here. Birdwatching is also possible because the trek and hike are mostly through the thick jungles where plenty of birds will chirp you welcome.
There is a stream nearby, caused by a brook, and you can trek to that point. For the extremely fit comrades, do try out the Kapileshwar temple trek, 4000ft high and extremely challenging.
There are ample opportunities for enjoying folk dances and music here to make your evenings more memorable. I mean, I have nothing against the hotels in Nainital but surely, would you stay in a concrete house ignoring these? I wouldn't.
This is around 50 km from Nainital and is at 7300ft altitude. If you plan to enjoy the activities, don't go during the winters. Beautifully set, there are ample peach and apple orchards around to keep the click-happy tourists pleased. Surrounded by the snow-clad mountains, you wouldn't forget the sunrise and sunset for a long time to come.
Coming back to activities, there is no dearth of enjoyment here. For the poetic type, wake up early to catch the birds and the early nature or trot down to the meadows to witness the majestic sun coming out of its slumber. Try the local workshops where you can pick up some really good handicrafts. For the adventurous types, there are rappelling (I told you what's this), river crossing, rock climbing, trekking to nearby places and hiking. What extra you find here is paragliding, one of the rare adventure activities I actually like and participate. Don't miss my favourite activities including stargazing, bonfire and urban legends, astronomy and more.