Bollywood’s undying romance With The Hills
Nainital, nestled in the Kumaon mountain range, has been the fave destination of the filmi folks. Breathtaking locales of this town can be seen in several Bollywood films like Koi Mil Gaya, Vivah, Kati Patang, Masoom, Gumrah, Anita, Bheegi Raat, Gandhi – The Hero’ and lot of BR Chopra films too! What makes Nainital such a hot pick? We decided to find out the asli reason by travelling to the place itself. After a flight from Mumbai to Delhi, we boarded a train from Old Delhi railway station, which took us to Kathgodam railway station, an hour and a half drive from Nainital. Once there, we were put up at the beautiful Leisure Group of Hotels property – The Naini Retreat. This luxe hotel, located on the Ayarpatta slopes, offers a panoramic view of the Naini Lake. Spelling a mix of old world charm and new age grandeur, the 52-room resort, originally used as the summer palace of the royal family of Pilibhit in Nainital, functions as a heritage resort now. Each corner exudes the rich heritage of the region. The resort is almost like a film studio, where each frame exhibits a different era – be it Victorian, very modern, edgy designs or just very royal... We checked into the luxurious Maharaja wing of the hotel, which was absolutely breathtaking. Right from stunning furniture to marvelous artefacts, the wing was nothing less than a film set. Post getting the vibes of royalty, we headed to fill our tummies with a delicious spread of breakfast. We then kick started the day by availing the services of Tattva Spa, which is located in the midst of the property. We were recommended to avail their signature aroma therapy massage. A rejuvenating spa experience refreshed us and we gorged on some more yummy food for lunch. And even though the rain marred the day’s plan to visit mall road, it definitely didn’t dampen our spirits. We walked down the slopes to the Tibetan market to purchase some locally handcrafted candles and subsequently wrapped up the day with some amazing food. The next morning definitely made us sing Yeh haseen wadiyaan, yeh khulaa aasmaan! We explored places in and around the city. Our first stop was the palatial Governors House. Post which, a trip to one more property of the Leisure group of Hotels in Ramgarh was planned and we got to taste some amazing Kumaoni food there. Post gobbling up all that we could, we trekked to an apple orchard nearby. The place offered a view fit for a travel postcard. With some more time to sunset, we serenly watched the sun go down at the Naukuchia Tal. From there, we took the winding, hilly roads and returned to Naini Retreat. An hour long journey’s tiredness vanished as we sipped on some cool cocktails and had some scrumptious dinner. Rain or not, the next day we took a trip to the famous mall road again. From what we heard, veteran actors like Mala Sinha, Dev Anand and Meena Kumari loved sipping a cuppa here. We did a bit of walking around and checked out the places our fave film stars visited and shot at and post polishing off Kumaoni delicacies for lunch yet again, we headed back to the capital, which definitely made us feel like Alia Bhatt’s Highway. From there, we flew back to Mumbai after truly realizing the real reason the filmmakers love Nainital. So the next time you’re visiting Nainital, definitely stay at the Naini Retreat, more so to feel like a film star!