Sattal or Sat Tal, aka seven lakes, is an interconnected group of seven freshwater lakes situated near Bhimtal, Nainital district in Uttarakhand. The lakes are located between thick jungles of oak and pine trees, perched at an elevation of 1,370 meters, right below lush orchards in the Mehragaon valley. Sattal is one of the few pristine and uncontaminated freshwater biomes in India and acts as true heaven for migratory birds.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
A cluster of mysteriously interconnected seven freshwaters, Sattal is located in the Nainital district of the Kumaon region. Sattal displays peaceful environs emphasized by the charming which will definitely set your mood to get up and explore. A great destination for honeymooners, nature lovers – especially bird watchers, groups, families, and leisure-seeking tourists.
Seven Lakes comprising Sattal are:
- Panna Tal or Garud Tal
- Nal-Damyanti Tal
- Hanuman Tal
- Sita Tal
- Ram Tal
- Laxman Tal
- Sukha Tal or Bharat Tal
Sattal is located in the Lower Himalayan Range and is the effect of tectonic activities and the elevating of deposits amid the Tibetan and the Indo-Gangetic plains. The rocks are mainly sedimentary and quartzite. The area can be divided into lower Himalayas and terraces.
History of Sattal
The British used to liken the enthralling splendor of Sattal with the Westmorland of England. In fact, the British loved the area so much that during the colonial era, Sattal had a tea plantation area which was among the four tea plantation estates of the Kumaon region.
Given that these beautiful interconnected lakes are situated in the Himalayas – you can bet there is a mythological story attached to the region! It is believed that in the epic Mahabharata, during his 14-year exile given by his brother – King Nala drowned in the water of one of the seven lakes of Sattal with his wife Damayanti. That particular lake, hence, is known as the Nal Damyanti Tal.
The other lakes are Purna Tal, Laxman Tal, Sita Tal (Ramayana), Sukha Tal and Garud Tal (named after the chariot of Lord Vishnu).
The weather in Sattal lake is typical to that of the Himalayan region with the summer months of April to June enjoying a warm, temperate climate of 15-30°C. And winter months of November – February can experience anything from 10 to -10°C. Monsoon months receive a lot of rainfall, because of which landslides are expected. Also, the spring and fall months are especially beautiful with the perfect hilly weather!
Best time to visit Sattal Lake
Best time to visit Sattal is during the months of March to May and again during December to January. On the other hand, travelling in off season is cheaper and you’ll encounter fewer tourists. Best to avoid monsoon season.
How to reach Sattal lake
Sat Tal is located in the lower range of the Himalayas, just 23 kilometers away from Nainital. Sattal is well connected with most of the important towns and cities of Uttarakhand.
The nearest airport is Pantnagar, 61 Kms from Sattal. From here, buses and cabs are easily available for Nainital and Sattal. The overall journey will take you 2 KMs from the airport.
The nearest railway station is Kathgodam, situated only 33 KMs from Sattal. There are two trains from Delhi to Kathgodam daily. Buses and takes are easily available from here to Sattal.
Distance from Delhi to Sattal is 310 KMs and can easily be covered in 7 hours of total driving time. The roads are nice, though best avoidable in the monsoon months.
Things to do
The place offers visitors a whole lot to do and immerse themselves in nature. Yes, the place has unmatched tranquility. But, the rough hills of Sat Tal also offer adventure-seekers a chance to indulge in trekking, biking, abseiling, mountain biking, rock climbing, night-trekking, nature trails, backpacking, angling, kayaking, rafting, river-crossing, jungle-safaris, and night-camping. Of course, you can also enjoy leisurely activities like boating and fishing at Sat Tal.
Truly a birdwatcher’s delight, the biodiversity of this lake is unique and includes 500 species of natural and migratory birds. Adding to the charm further, more than 525 varieties of butterflies call this region home
Given the prominence of butterflies in the region’s wildlife – it is no coincidence that the main attraction here is the Butterfly museum in the Jones estate.
While there is a lot to Sattal itself, there is a lot to explore nearby too-
Enveloped in a thick foil of nature, accentuated by the scent of the flowering blossoms blending miraculously in the crisp fresh air, Nainital is truly the treasure trove of Kumaon. It is among the most visited hill stations of North India since the British period.
Perched at an elevation of 2,084 meters above sea level, the glittering city of Nainital is hailed for being a parent to the ravishing Naini Lake from which it has earned the epithet of being the lake city. Nainital is not only a famous tourist destination but is also known for its prestigious educational institutions and schools which have stood since the British era.
Naukuchiatal literally suggests a nine-cornered Lake, perched at an elevation of 1220 mts above sea level in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. the length of the lake is approximately 1 km and it has a depth of around 40 mts. It is the deepest lake in the greater Nainital area.
Only 3 KMs from Sattal – Bhimtal lake is a beautiful lake with an island in the center. It is an ancient unsolved mystery – though Bhimtal is believed to be part of the ancient silk route.
Where to Stay in Sattal
As Nainital district is fairly popular, you’ll not face much issue in finding hotels/resorts/guesthouses near the lakes. Whatever your budget, you should find something that meets your requirements. Of course, the trusty KMVN (government owned guesthouses) are also available.
However, I would suggest you book in advance and plan your travels accordingly – if choosing this option. Given the popularity of the Nainital district in general, particularly during the peak months – it is advisable to do so! The views from KMVN are stunning, although the services are basic. The food at the guesthouses is great!
Food Guide for Sattal
Sattal has fairly adequate quantity of restaurants and eating joints. These can offer cuisines ranging from Chinese, continental to North Indian and South Indian. Apart from that, you’ll get to indulge in street food such as the ever delicious (especially when in hills) Momos which are available all over the place. You should definitely enjoy these while sipping a leisurely cup of coffee or chai by the lakeside. The best option is to eat at the restaurants of the resorts and hotels.
Tips to visit Sattal
- It is advisable to avoid the region during the monsoon season. If you are keen on enjoying the lushness of the mountains in the season, I advise you to research thoroughly and keep your plans flexible. Pay keen attention to the weather updates and road conditions with the local authorities and tour operators before traveling to the destination.
- Fishing permits for the day can be acquired from the forest department.
It is my humble request to anyone reading this to PLEASE not litter in the hills. Even if you’re going to touristy places and especially in far flung, isolated villages – please ensure you clean up after yourself. There are no cleanup crews coming after you to pick up your trash. It breaks my heart to go into the hills and see plastic bottles, cigarette butts, paper plates, half eaten food containers, discarded clothes and so much more filth strewn around.
I love the hills, as I am sure you do too! Let’s do our part in ensuring that when we return the next time the place is still the same. Anyone who travels through the hills is a part of a very sacred community. It is our duty to ensure the hills are clean for our community. We should not be making it difficult for people living in these villages in already tough circumstances! With folded hands, I request you to please clean up after yourself.
From the unexplored natural vistas to the joy of seeing an array of exotic bird flock, from leisurely promenades to butterfly watching, you can truly indulge in an extensive range of leisurely activities in Sattal. The pure charm of unadulterated nature makes Sattal a great escapade.
This place is surely going to rejuvenate even the most tired of souls. I encourage you to go out and explore this untouched area near Nainital and make a great memory of the place. I hope the above provides you with sufficient information to plan your travel. However, if you have any questions – feel free to drop a comment below and we will be happy to help!