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Reema Bhalla Sep 14 2015

Shop like a pro in Nainital

Florina Soren Sep 15 2015
16 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

A visit to Nainital is incomplete without shopping in the Mall Road. The lifeline of this very popular hill station, Mall Road is abuzz with people till late in the night.

Photo by Jigyasha Prasad

Story book setting

The storybook setting is what you would find in any of Ruskin Bond’s novels, even though the hills of Mussoorie, and not Nainital, would have likely been his muse, for most of Bond’s novels. The Mall Road doesn’t have any vehicle entry for a few hours in the evening; this is to ensure that the wanderers and their ilk are not the second class citizens of that road, having to walk around cars whizzing past. The lake has its own attractions, with the misty hills reflecting on the surface. Indian chinar trees cast long shadows on the moored boats, perched precariously along the pavement.

The lake itself is not at the same level, the upper part is called the Mallital, while the lower region is called the Tallital. The Mallital side has a bustling market square. Other markets in the area include the Bhutiya or Tibetan markets. During this season, it is not uncommon for the lake to be enveloped in mist, even during the day, the fog descending gracefully down the mountains, like gloves on a ballerina’s hand, and disappearing as suddenly as it arrives.

Mallital Market

The Mallital market square is perhaps the most crowd intensive part of this otherwise quiet city. The market square is flanked by a mosque on one side, and shops on the other. Look out for wooden trinkets, clothes, candles and incense, as well as essential oils, teas and hand knitted woolens at fair price shops that have been present in the market for a long time. The street Chinese fare shops that dot the market attract a large customer base. I could see thukpas and momos flying off the shelves as soon as they arrived, as a large crowd waited outside after a frenzy of shopping in the Mall Road.

Different Flavours

Dog lovers would find ample friends along the way. Shaggy mountain dogs have made this road their home, and make the picturesque walk even more pleasant. What joy is a mountain walk without a dog following you and keeping you company? You will find many napping under those side benches, wrought iron green, inspired from a previous, more pleasant time. Houses and shops around the road have planters overlooking the road, so don’t be surprised to knock heads with pretty yellow and red nasturtiums and petunias. Stop for a coffee at Café de Mall, or at the original Sakley’s, the mountain café, where Sherwood students of yore remembered spending several sweet dates. Monsoons in hill stations is all about the romance, after all.

Story & photo: Payel Majumdar

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