Nainital , Uttaranchal is famous not just for its green hills or many lakes. It is also famous for it's many legends and stories. Hundreds of ancient temples and peaks with astounding views of the mountains in the background add to Nainital's magical appeal.The history of this dainty town sails over the surface of the Naini Lake, where oarsmen narrate the stories of the rishis who brought the waters of the sacred Mansarovar River to formSuffocating at times with thousands of tourists, Nainital is also home to Sherwood, one of India's most prestigious schools.
Nainital is 34 Km from Kathgodam, the gateway of Kumaon and the terminus of North Eastern Railway. It is 304 km from Delhi, capital of India, and 388 km from Lucknow the State capital. According to the District Gazetteer Nainital is situated at 29 degree 24' north latitude and 79 degree 28' east longitude, in a valley of the Gagar range running east and west, which is bounded on the north by the peak of China, which rises to a height of 8.568 feet, continued by the Alma peak (presently known as Snow-View) and the Sher-Ka-Danda to the eastern extremity, where the ridge descends almost to the level of the lake. On the west the rugged hill of Deopatha rises to a height of 7,987 feet, and on the south Ayarpatha attains an elevation of 7,461 feet diminishing gradually towards the east.
While the intervening portion between these two hills is a mass of rocks piled up loosely together which goes by the name of Handi Bandi, and is formed of the transition limestone of Mussoorie. exhibiting every where vast rents, fissures and boulders of all sizes and shapes. The eastern boundary is the pass through which the surplus water of the lake find an exit, forming the principal source of the Ballia river, which falls into the Gola near Ranibagh. The western end of the valley consists of a series of gentle undulations formed by the debris of the surrounding hills. Thus Nainital is situated at a height of 1939 metres from sea level & is surrounded by some outstanding
Peaks and hills. The town has the famous lake to which it owes its name. The surface of this lake has an elevation of 1.935 m above sea level. Maximum length & breadth being 1,434 m & 463 m.respectively.
The depth of this lake is said to range between a maximum 28 metres and a minimum of 6 metres. Most Important Characteristics of the town Nainital has some unique features and physical characteristics. By far the greatest attraction is provided by the lake Naini. Flowing on the base of rising peaks. Cheena, Laria-Kanta, Deo- patha, Snow view and others, the lake presents a view which lingers in memory. All around the lake is wide road, the Mall, now known as G. B. Pant Marg, which is crowded by pedestrian and rickshaw traffic. All this is mirrored up and brightly reflected in the glittering blue waters of the lake.
According to a legend Parwati the daughter of King Daksha held a great 'Yajna' but did not invite Parvati and her consort Shiva. Parvati could not bear this direct insult, in her great fury Parvati gate-crashed into the 'Yajna' ground and leaped into the high flames of 'Yajna' fire to end her life.And later lord Shiva retrieved her half-charred corpse himself. The majority of the local people believe that the eyes of Sati dropped in the lake while her body was being carried by Lord Shiva to Kailesh Parvat. Hence,the lake was given the name of 'Nainital' or Naini lake. Later the spot became famous by this very name.
Nainital was founded in the year 1841 by Mr. P. Barron, a European merchant and an enthusiastic hunter from Rosa, near Shahjahanpur. Mr.P.Barron was the first European who took great fancy to this land. Moved by the beauty of the sparkling lake he wrote: "It is by far the best site I have witnessed in the course of a 1,500 miles treak in the Himalayas." It is very less is known about the history of Nainital. This region was called Khasdesh in ancient times and Khasis ruled this region before Christ was born. The name "NAINI" is derived from a temple to the goddess 'Naini Devi" built on the upper edge of the lake and was destoyed by the landslip of 1880. It was subsequently replaced by a modern structure. The word "Naini" means 'Eyes'and 'Tal' means 'Lake'.
Nainital, owing to its location, is colder than the rest of the hilly tract of Kumaon region. During monsoon, it gets heavy rainfall. The climate, therefore, is damp. The neighbouring areas of Almora and Ranikhet are warmer than Nainital. Similarly humidity in Nainital is less than in other hill towns. The monthly maximum and minimum temperature of the town ranged between 28.06 degree C and 7.06 degree.
Places to see in Nainital
(1371 MT) About 22 kms from Nainital, nestled in a beautiful pristine valley, this jem of a lake is the largest around Nainital. The beauty is enhanced by a small Island surrounded by crystal blue water.
At an altitude of (1635 MT) there lies just another beautiful spot at a distance of 12 km from Nainital popularly known as Khurpatal. It is considered to be anglers paradise having clear water and a good harvest of fishes.
Iterally meaning seven lakes is a group of small lakes nested together, about 23 kms from Nainital at an altitude of (1370 MT) still untouched by modernisation -one can see the natures beauty at its best.
(1218 MT) About 4 kms from Bhim Tal -lies the mystique lake with 9 corners. Surrounded by dense forested hills on all sides it provides solace from the maddening rush of the plains.
It is a placed at an altitude of (1400 MT) at a distance of 20km from Nainital & liked by both tourists and devotees. It is a modern pilgrimage centre established by Neem karoli Baba a saint of early sixties of twentieth century.
At about 12km. from Nainital at a height of (2528 MT) lies a place fit for weekend picnics.It is famous for its flora and fauna and bird watching.One can have a wide panoramic view of Himalayas along with a view of Tarai and Bhabhar.
(1890 MT) 120 Km from Nainita 1ies the beautiful town of Kausani -also called the Switzerland of India. It provides an enchanting sunrise over the Himalayas -a rich experience which will remain alive in your memories for lifetime.
(1829 MT) This beautiful hill resort is about 63 km from Nainital. Its beauty lies in its simplicity - beautiful pine trees create a nostalgic feeling. The orchards, the temples, the joy grounds will back on you again and again to its fold
Nainital - Nearby sites
(2611 MT) The highest peak of Nainital provides a challenge to the most avid trekkers. Situated about 6 kms from the town China Peak is known for its splendid Bird's eye view of the town, the Himalayas and also the vast expanses of the Terai regions of Kumaon.
(2270 MT) About 3 kms from the town and also accessible via a cable car. Snow view is one of the most visited tourist spots of the town. It provides enchanting view of the town and 350km long range of the Himalaya.
(2290 mt) also known as Dorothy's seat -in memory of an English lady Mrs. Kellet Dorothy, who was killed in an air crash Tiffin top is a short trek of about 3 kms from Nainital and provides excellent view of the Himalayas and the town.
It is about 4.5 km from Nainital. Situated at an altitude of (1951 MT).Observatory is basically a place of astronomical studies.Public is shown round some of the instruments during working days at afternoons.For niht viewing three four days on moonlit nights are fixed and permission is needed.
(2118 MT) About 4 kms from town provides a magnificent view of the plains and the beautiful Khurpa Tal surrounded by beautiful village and pine forests.
(1950 MT) About 3 kms from Nainital is the famous temple of Lord Hanumanji. One can view the magnificent sun set from here.
About 5 kms away from Nainital on the way to Kilbury, nestled at a height of about (2300 MT)is the beautiful tourist spot, from here one can have a glimpse of mighty Himalayan ranges and lower forested ridges. It is a very good place to pass some time in solitude enjoying the beauty of nature.
Nainital - The Legendary Lake
The Nainital Lake finds mention in the Manas Khand (chapter) of the Skanda Purana (scriptures) as the Tririshi Sarovar, i.e., the lake of the three sages. Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha. Legend has it that in the course of their pilgrimage the three sages arrived here, only to find the place without water. Meditating on the sacred and bountiful Mansarovar Lake, they dug a hole here. So great was the power of their tapas (meditation) that the hole soon filled with water. The name Nainital is derived from an old temple of Goddess Naina Devi on the shore of the lake. The origin of the temple is shrouded in mystery. It is believed that Lord Shiva, gone berserk after the death of his consort Sati, strode the earth like a colossus, with Sati. s half-charred body over one shoulder. As he passed over the lake, Sati. s left eye dropped there. The place was sanctified as the home of the Goddess Naina Devi (from naina, meaning eye).
Nainital - Getting there
The nearest airport is at Pantnagar, 71 km away. It is connected by Vayudoot services with Delhi. A coach takes the tourists to Nainital. Taxis are also available.
The nearest railhead is at Kathgodam, 35 km away. Nainital is connected by rail to Delhi, Agra, Bareilly and Lucknow. Taxis and buses are available from Kathgodam to Nainital.
Nainital is connected by good, all-weather roads to Delhi (322 km), Bareilly (141 km), Almora (66 km) and Ranikhet (60 km). Public and private bus companies ply regular bus services between Nainital and Delhi, Lucknow, Bareilly, Hardwar, Dehradun, Almora, Ranikhet, Ramnagar and other important towns in the state.