Bhimtal is a town and a nagar panchayat in Nainital district in the state of Uttarakhand, India, 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 of Mahabharata. 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 the 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).
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 vice 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.
Near the Bhimeshwar temple is one of the source of river Gargi known as Gola Nadi in the region and originates from Garg Parvat or village Gagar in Nainital District.
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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 the famous group of lakes known as Sattal, which is a place of attraction for nature lovers. Clear water of lakes surrounded by thick forest and voice of birds is a wonderful experience. Hill near the lake 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.
Sayad Baba ki mazar is a place where people from different part of Bhimtal and near around places come for worship on every Thursday. It is an example of unity in diversity as people from different religions (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian) visit this place, apart from this the centre of attraction of this mazar is its location. You can see the whole lake, dam and the island from their and also near around places like Jhangaliyagaon, Nakuchiyatal.