Nainital, situated at an altitude of 1,938 meters (6,358 ft) above sea level, is a town and headquarters of Nainital district of Kumaon division, Uttarakhand, India. Nainital is the judicial capital of Uttarakhand. The High Court of the state is located there and is also the headquarters of namesake district. It also houses the residence of Governor of Uttarakhand in the Raj Bhavan. Nainital is located at a distance of 285 km from Dehradun and 345 km from New Delhi. The town is set in a valley with an eye-shaped lake, approximately and surrounded by seven hills known as ‘Sapta-Shring’ – Ayarpata, Deopata, Handi-Bandi, Naina, Alma, Lariya-Kanta and Sher-Ka-Danda.

Mythological Tale behind Nainital Lake

The story of Nainital Lake is often associated with a Hindu mythological figure, Lord Shiva. According to the legend, the lake is believed to be one of the “51 Shakti Peeths,” which are sacred sites dedicated to the goddess Shakti. It is said that the eyes of the goddess Sati (an incarnation of Shakti and the first wife of Lord Shiva) fell at the spot where Nainital Lake now exists. The word “Naini” means “eye,” and “Tal” means “lake,” so the name Nainital translates to the “Lake of the Eye.”

Another legend tells of a local Brahmin, who was deeply troubled by a drought in the region. He had a divine dream in which he was told to dig at a specific spot. Upon following the dream’s instructions and digging at the designated location, water gushed out; forming what is now Nainital Lake. The lake was thus considered a gift from the heavens and a source of life-giving water for the region.

Other than the mythological significance, Nainital Lake played a significant role during the British colonial period. The British recognized its beauty and potential as a hill station, and it became a popular destination for them to escape the summer heat. They also developed Nainital as a hill station town, building various structures around the lake, including the Naini Lake Bridge and the Mall Road, which encircles the lake.

Places to visit in Nainital

  1. Snow View Point
  2. Naini Lake
  3. Mall Road
  4. Naina Devi Temple
  5. Governor’s House Raj Bhawan
  6. Astronomical Observatory
  7. Tiffin Top
  8. High Altitude Zoo
  9. Kainchi Dham
  10. Naina Peak