is a town and a nagar panchayat
in Nainital district
in the state of Uttarakhand
situated at an altitude of 1370 meters above sea level
and is about 22 kilometers from Nainital
. The major attraction in Bhimtal is the Bhimtal Lake
which has an island at its centre. Besides tourism, Bhimtal has also now become a mini district headquarters since most of the district administration offices have been shifted to the newly constructed Vikas Bhawan, the building complex for district administrative offices.
Bhimtal is an ancient place named after Bhima
. Bhimeshwara Mahadev Temple, an old Shiva
temple in the bank of Bhimtal lake, is believed to have been built when Bhima visited the place during the banishment (vanvas
) period of pandavas
. The present temple was built in 17th century, by Baz Bahadur
(1638-78 AD), a King of the Chand dynasty
, and the Raja of Kumaon
Bhimtal came under British rule after the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-16), when Naintal became the summer capital of the province .
Bhimtal is older than nearby Nainital as the city of Nainital is just 150-160 years old. But Bhimtal has been a stoppage for the travellers of the region from hills to plains or vise versa for a long time. The old pedesterial road is still in use here and this road connects nearby Kathgodam to all Kumaun region and even to Nepal and Tibet. It might have been the part of the famous ancient silk route.
Places of interest
Near the Bhimeshwar temple is a small hill known as Garg Parvat, which is the source of river Gargi, also known as Gola Nadi in the region.
About 2 km from Bhimtal is Nal Damyanti Tal, a small natural lake. It is believed that the palace of famous king Nala drowned into this lake. It is a very sacred place for the dwellers of the region.
About 5 km from Bhimtal is a hill known as Hidimba Parvat. It gets its name from demon Hidimba of Mahabharata. Vankhandi Maharaj, a monk and environmentalist lives on the hill now, and has created a sanctuary for the wild animals around the hill. The area is known as Vankhandi Ashram.
The hill of Karkotaka is supposed to be named after Karkotaka, a mythical cobra. The hill is famous for its Nag temple in the region and on every Rishi Panchami thousands of people visit the temple and worship the Nag Karkotaka Maharaj. This is one of the famous nag temples situated in Uttarakhand region.
There are many government and private institutions in Bhimtal which include Tassar Regional Research Center (Ministry of Textile, Govt. of India), National Cold Water Fisheries Institute, Jan Sikshan Sansthan, Birla Institute of Applied Sciences
(an Institute of Higher Technical Education), Kumoun University Campus (Faculty of Management and Pharmacy) and District Institute of Teachers |Education (DITE).
Bhimtal has quite a few English medium schools. Sainik School in Ghorakhal near Bhimtal is a school where students prepare themselves to join the Indian Military. The Head of the school is a working officer from the Indian Air Force. Herman Gminer School, Mount Alvern Convent School, Lakes International School and Central School are some other well known schools in the area.
As of 2001
, Bhimtal had a population of 5875. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Bhimtal has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 81% and female literacy of 75%. 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.