- District: Nainital
- Altitude: 2084 m
- STD Code: 05942
- PIN Code: 263001
- Famous for/as: Hill Station
- Languages: Kumaoni, Garhwali, Hindi
- Best Season: Mar – Jun
- Weather: Summer 15 to 30°C, Winter 0 to 24°C
Commonly known as the “Lake District of India”, Nainital is one of the most beautiful hill stations in North India. Surrounded by mountains on three sides Nainital is located around the beautiful lake Naini Tal. This lake resort is situated at a height of 1,938 meters. There are many legends associated with the place. According to one, Nainital has derived its name from the Goddess Naina while the other legend says that when the Goddess Sati lost her eyes, she was being carried by Lord Shiva and a lake was formed. (‘Naina’ means eyes and ‘Tal’ means lake). This beautiful small town in surrounded by seven hills, popularly known as ‘Sapta-Shring’ – Ayarpata, Deopata, Handi-Bandi, Naina, Alma, Lariya-Kanta and Sher-Ka-Danda. The majestic mountains and the sparkling waters of the lake add an immense lot to the beauty of the town.
In a mythological account, this picturesque lake is said to be one of the emerald green eyes of Shiva’s beloved consort, Sati (nain is a Sanskrit word for eye). When Sati’s father failed to invite Shiva to a family sacrifice, she burnt herself to death in protest. Shiva gathered the charred remains in his arms and proceeded to engage in a cosmic dance tandav, which threatened to destroy the creation. To bring the dance to an end, Vishnu chopped up the body into pieces, and the remains were scattered. The Naina Devi Temple at the northern end of the lake is built over the precise spot where the eye is believed to have fallen.
From the Nainital town the Snow View top is a 3 km trek. Part of it can also be covered comfortably by cars and small vehicles. At the top, one can have a close up view of Nanda Devi (7816 m), the second highest Himalayan peak of the country.
There’s a small temple dedicated to Dev Mundi, housing images of Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva, Goddess Sita, Lord Rama, Sri Lakshmana and Sri Hanuman. From Snow View one can walk west to another point and then continue on to the main road to Kilbury. One can also continue up to Cheena Peak or head down the road to Sukhatal, passing great views of the lake en route. On the walk up to Snow View one can take a peek in the tiny Gadhan Kunkyop Ling Gompa of the Gelukpa order (of which the Dalai Lama is the spiritual head).
Naina Peak is locally known as the Cheena peak. This is the highest point in Nainital. From here Nainital appears like a majestic shining bowl. You can walk or take ponies to reach the peak. Naina peak also gives a good view of the Camel’s Back, another interesting peak. There are no hotels or restaurants on the top so it is advisable to carry food and water along.
Naina Devi Temple:
At the upper end of the attractive Nainital lake, a temple of Naina Devi is located. Dedicated to the patronizing goddess of the town, Naina Devi, this temple and its complex becomes the location of the famous Nanda Devi Mela, held every year on Nandashtami during September.
The place is of great religious importance. Situated at a height of 1951 meters, this place was established by Baba Neem Karauli. A very beautiful Hanuman temple is at the top. Watching the Sunset from Hanuman Garhi, is an out-of-the-world experience. You can leisurely walk down to Hanuman Garhi from Nainital town.
The clearly visible skies over Nainital encouraged the government to set up an observatory here. The observatory has one of the most advanced telescopes in India. This telescope measures the movement of stars, planets and other heavenly bodies to great precision. The entry in the observatory is by permission only and timings are fixed.
High Altitude Zoo:
Nainital has a small but a very beautiful Zoological garden. There are several animals including Deer, Bears, Tigers and many more. Special efforts have been put in to make the environment of the zoo hygienic and clean. Not surprisingly this zoo is one of the cleanest zoos in the country. The zoo can be reached on foot or by small vehicles.
- Delhi to Nainital: 286 kms
- Banglore to Nainital: 2206 kms
- Almora to Nainital: 60 kms
- Ranikhet to Nainital: 81 kms
- Corbett National Park to Nainital: 127 kms
By Air: The nearest Airport is Pant Nagar, at a distance of 65 km.
By Train: Kathgodam is the nearest railhead.
By Road: Nainital is well connected via roads.