Sattal is a small town perched at a height of 1,375 mts above sea level situated in the lower Himalayas and a short drive of 22 km from Nainital. The town is decorated with thick dense forest of Oak and Pine Trees and there is a beautiful natural freshwater spring named Subhash Dhara arising out of dense Oak forest in the west and a lovely Lake from where the town derives its name. There are seven small lakes that connects with each other to form 'Sat Tal' which also means 'Seven Lakes' and till now, this phenomenon is still unexplained but the real thing is that it is beautiful and often compared with Westmoreland which was a former county in the Lake District that lies northwest of England.
The names of these seven Lakes in no particular order are Ram Tal, Laxman Tal, Sita Tal [named after Legends of the Ramayana epic], Purna Tal, Nal Damyanti Tal [named after King Nala who drowned in this Lake], Garud Tal [named after the mythical bird-like creature who rides the Chariot of Lord Vishnu] and Sukha Tal [Formerly named 'Khudariya Tal' but since it has almost dried up it was renamed Sukha Tal which means 'Dry Lake']; Hence, all these Lakes are considered very sacred and holy amongst the dwellers of this town. Tourists can enjoy Hot Balloon trips arranged from this Lake.
Sattal homes more than 500 species of migratory and resident birds that use these Lakes as their natural habitat for feeding and breeding. It is also filled with a wide variety of flora including medicinal herbs and shrubs, diverse fauna and a variety of fish like Mahseer.
Sattal is known to home over an amazing 525 species of Butterflies, over 11,000 species of beetle, bugs, moths and other insects ideal for amateur and professional Lepidopterologists. A museum in Jones Estate built by Frederic Smetacek displays over 3600 species of butterflies, moths and insects; however, sadly the fame and knowledge died with Frederic Smetacek and whatever collection that is left now is managed by his sons who do not have any knowledge of this science and are just using his reputation to fleece tourists.
Sattal also offers tourists with many adventure sports and excursions like rock climbing, night hiking and camping in Jungles, trekking, mountain biking, bird and butterfly watching, river crossing, angling, kayaking, river rafting, rappelling, swimming and nature trailing into deep jungles.
The Christian Ashram in Sattal was built on the banks of the Sat Tal Lake by Rev. Stanley Jones, a missionary and evangelist in 1930. Rev. Jones was a good friend to Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi Ji. It was earlier a tea estate that was converted to make this Ashram that showcases a mixed colonial style of architecture. The Church of St. John in the Wilderness is a part of this Missionary. The famous mountaineer, Earl Denman, who attempted to climb Mount Everest secretly with Tenzing Norgay in 1947, had stayed in this Ashram for a few years.