Nainital is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 1,938 metres (6,358 ft) above sea level, Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (2,615 m (8,579 ft)) on the north, Deopatha (2,438 m (7,999 ft)) on the west, and Ayarpatha (2,278 m (7,474 ft)) on the south. From the tops of the higher peaks, "magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bounded by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas.It has an average elevation of 2,084 metres (6,837 feet).
It is believed that Nainital figures in some ancient myths of India. In the Manas Khand of the Skand Puranas, Nainital Lake is called Tri-Rishi-Sarovar, hinting at the story of three sages (or rishis), Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha, who, upon finding no water in Nainital, dug a large hole at the location of the present day lake (sarovar = lake) and filled it with water from the holy lake Manasarovar in Tibet. According to lore, a dip in Naini Lake, "the lesser Manasarovar," earns merit equal to a dip in the great lake.
It is also believed that The Naini Lake is one of the 64 Shakti Peeths, or religious sites where parts of the charred body of Sati (Parvati) fell on earth while being carried by Lord Shiva. The spot where Sati's eyes (or Nain) fell, came to be called Nain-tal or lake of the eye. The goddess Shakti is worshipped at the Naina Devi Temple on the north shore of the present day lake.
Nainital has temperate summers, maximum temperature 27 °C (81 °F); minimum temperature 7 °C (45 °F), during which its population increases more than fivefold with an annual influx of tourists predominantly from the plains of Northern India. In the winter, Nainital receives snowfall between December and February with the temperatures varying between a maximum of 15 °C (59 °F) and a minimum of −3 °C (27 °F).
Places of Interest
Naini Lake is situated in the heart of the city and it is owing to this lake that Nainital earned its name. The eye-shaped lake is a tourist hotspot and acts as a magnet for all those visiting the hill resort. Here, a person can either take a leisurely stroll or indulge in boating and enjoy the surrounding beauty. The northern end of the lake is called Mallital, while the southern one is called Tallital. The Lake Bridge that connects the two banks has quite a few shops as well as a post office, the only one in the world to be located on a bridge.
Nakuchia Tal is a lake in Nainital, known for having nine corners. This lake is still untouched by majority of the tourist population and owing to this, has managed to maintain its serenity till date. Take a walk around the nine cornered lake to enjoy the beautiful natural setting. Otherwise, you can also go on a boating tour and explore the scenic surroundings.
Situated 22 km from the city center, Bhimtal Lake is the biggest lake of Nainital. It is named after one of the Pandav brothers Bhim. The lake boasts of an island within its precincts, which is home to a very famous temple. During the day, one can easily hear the chiming of temple bells, even from the embankment.
Naini Devi Temple-
Nainital is believed to be one of the 64 Shaktipeeths, where one of the body parts of Goddess Sati fell, when Lord Shiva carried her body. In Nainital, the eyes (naina) of the Goddess are assumed to have fallen. The shrine of Naina Devi is a must visit for devout Hindus. The temple is located on the northern shore of Naini lake and was reconstructed after being destroyed in the infamous 1880 landslide. One can also get an amazing of the hill station, overlooking the lake, from the temple.
Built in 1899, Governor's House or Raj Bhavan is a marvelous reminiscent of the British era. Built in Victorian Gothic style, it served as the residence of the Governor of north-western province and later the United Province. Raj Bhavan is an architectural marvel and adding to its beauty are the well manicured lawns, a swimming pool and a golf course, situated within the premises. Presently, the structure serves as the guest house for the Governor of Uttarakhand. However, one has to take prior permission to visit the place.
St. John's Church-
Built in 1844, 'St. John in the Wilderness' is one of the most tranquil places in the town of Nainital. The church is located on Mallital, the north end of the town. The Bishop of Calcutta, Daniel Wilson was the one who laid the foundation of the church in Nainital.
Snow View Point-
Situated at an altitude of 2,260 m, Snow View Point is one of the coldest regions in Nainital. Here, you can capture breathtaking pictures of snow-covered peaks and mountains. The ideal time to visit snow point is during the months of October and November. A sojourn to Nainital is undoubtedly incomplete without a visit to the Snow Point.
Overlooking the Naini Lake, Naina peak (2611mt) provides the most breathtaking view of the hill station of Nainital. Situated at a distance of about 6 km from the main town, Naina peak is the highest peak of the hill station. Horses or ponies can be hired from Snow View Point or Mallital, if one intends to visit the peak. Naina peak is also referred to as the China peak and is an absolute delight for trekking lovers.