A group of 7 lakes, Sattal has located around 22 km from Nainital, Uttarakhand at a height of about 1,370 m above sea level. The cluster of lakes named Ram Tal, Purna Tal, Laxman Tal, Sita Tal, Nal Damyanti Tal, Garud Tal and Sukh Tal, is nestled amidst dense forests of pine and oak trees.
The Garud Tal is a solitary lake while the Ram, Laxman and Sita Tal together form the main Sattal Lake. The surrounding forest area is home to more than 500 types of resident birds, over 525 types of butterflies, 20 types of mammals and more than 11,000 species of moths. A freshwater spring known as Subhash Dhara starts from the dense forests of Sattal.
The area offers boating facilities and water sports activities like rowing, paddling and kayaking. Sattal has an exciting myth associated with it. According to the epic Mahabharata, King Nala and his wife Damayanti drowned in one of the lakes after they had been exiled by King Nala’s brother. And since then, that lake was known as Nal Damyanti Tal.
Sattal Lake is at its picturesque best during the season of the monsoon but travelling there during this season can be a little difficult as the roads and treks get slippery and there is always a possibility of a landslide.
Between the months of March and June is the best time to visit Sattal. The Winter season is also quite popular with travellers who are passionate about snowfall.
The word Sattal means Seven lakes when translated to English (Sat-Tal). This place is associated with an epic legend going back to the times of Mahabharata. According to the legend, the great King Nala drowned in the waters of one of the lakes along with his wife Damayanti during their fourteen-year long exile cursed by his brother. Hence, one lake is named as Nal-Damyanti Tal.
The remaining six lakes are named after the gods and goddesses from Indian mythology as Lakshman Tal, Sita Tal, Purna Tal, Sukha Tal and Garud Tal. The Sukha Tal was first known as Khudariya Tal but due to a leakage at its western end, the water drained out and the lake dried up. Since then, it is called Sukha Tal, which means Dry Lake.
Due to its divine atmosphere and spellbinding formation, the Sattal Lake is compared with the Westmorland of England. The Britishers who had set up colonies at Nainital used to visit the lakes with their families. The place had one of the four Tea Plantations of the Kumaon region during the British era.
Sattal Lake draws numerous tourists due to its beauty and plethora of activities that can be carried at and around the lakes.
Tourists can go camping at the lakeside which is carried out by locals. The camp offers an insight into the natural habitat of fauna here and an opportunity to connect with the heartfelt beauty of this place.
Boating is another fun activity that you can do at the lake. Visitors can take a boat ride at the lake and witness the enchanting beauty of this place from close.
Bird Watching is one of the most famous things to do here. The place is home to the resident as well as migratory birds. Click amazing pictures of birds flying in flocks and pairs.
Home to 525 plus species of butterflies, Sattal Lake is no less than a heaven on Earth.
Tourists can get a fishing permit from the authorities and enjoy a relaxing day at the lakeside. Tourists can take caught fish home or to the hotel and cook it by themselves.
If you are an adventure seeker, this place won’t disappoint you. Many activities like rappelling, mountain biking, rock climbing, boating, trekking, angling, etc are carried out at the Sattal lake area.
Sattal is 23 kilometres from Nainital and 302 km from New Delhi if you are travelling by road. It takes somewhere 6 hours to drive from Delhi to reach Sattal.
The nearest bus stand is the Tallital Bus Stand in Nainital to Sattal Lake. There is no particular Bus stand for Sattal. You will have to reach Nainital in order to reach Sattal by bus. From the Tallital bus stand, tourists can hire a taxi to reach.
Kathgodam Railway Station is the nearest railhead which is 33 kilometres away from Sattal Lake. Buses and private taxis are available from the railway station to Sattal.
The nearest airport, Pantnagar is the nearest one from Sattal Lake. The distance from the airport to Sattal is 67 kilometres, which can be covered by taxis and buses.
It is advised that all travellers willing to visit Sattal Lake should carry heavy woollens during all seasons. In the evenings, it gets quite chilly and if it rains, the days also get colder.
Also, travellers should carry a first-aid kit and some food while camping or going for a trek.