It is a heaven for nature lovers and holidaymakers. Referred to as the 'Lake District of India', Nainital occupies a places in the Kumaon hills of the Himalayas. The hill station features impressive lakes and hills and is visited by people of all ages. As history maintains it, the hill station became a focus of public attention after being discovered in 1839 by P Baron, a British sugar merchant.
Enamored of its beauty, the Britisher constructed a house called Pilgrim's Cottage and became a resident of Nainital. Soon the trend was followed by others and Nainital took shape of an administrative town.
A visit to Nainital is one of the finest options of getting away from the rat race and the crowd of the city life. Adventure lovers can indulge in sports like paragliding, parasailing and trekking at Nainital. The hill station gives you peace of mind and lets you reconnect with nature.
The lake is a photographer's delight. It is the Naini Lake after which the hill station has been named. The lake is beautifully surrounded by verdant hills from all sides, a feast for your eyes. According to a legend, the lake came into existence when the eye of Sati's body fell out while Lord Shiva was carrying her. The whole town of Nainital is situated circling the Naini Lake.
This is one of the four lakes of Kumaon hills, the other three lakes are Sattal Lake, Bhimtal Lake and Naukuchiyatal Lake. Nainital Lake is lunar-shaped and has an outlet at the southeastern end. The lake covers a perimeter of 2 miles with a depth varies from 6 m to 28 m. Northern part of the lake is called as Mallital while southern part known as Tallital. Balia Nala is the main feeder-stream of the lake.
Sat Tal is a cluster of seven inter-connected freshwater lakes located in Nainital district. At an altitude of 1,370 m, it is one of the most scenic places around Nainital and also one of the popular Uttarakhand tourist places.
The group of lakes is set amidst dense forests of oak and pine trees. Sattal is one of the few unspoiled and unpolluted fresh water bodies in India. This is often compared with Westmoreland of England by British. The names of the seven lakes of Sattal are Purna Tal, Ram Tal, Sita Tal, Laxman Tal, Nal Damyanti Tal, Sukh Tal and Garud Tal. The Garud Tal is a solitary lake and is not interconnected. The Ram, Sita and Lakshman Tal all together form the Sattal main Lake.
The presiding deity of the temple is Goddess Naina Devi represented by two eyes. According to the legend, Naina Devi Temple is the place where eyes from burned body of Goddess Sati fall when her corpse was being carried by Lord Shiva. The word Naina is synonymous with Sati's eyes.
It is said that the current temple at Nainital actually replaces the original 15th century temple. In 1842, a devotee Moti Ram Shah installed an idol of Naina Devi. A major landside has destroyed the temple completely in 1880. Naina Devi temple was replaced by the present structure in 1883. Inside the temple, devotees have darshan of three deities. On the extreme left is Mata Kali Devi, the center representing two eyes of Naina Devi and to right side is idol of Lord Ganesh.
Mall Road is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Nainital. It connects the North and South West corner of Nainital Lake known as Mallital and Tallital and runs parallel to Nainital Lake. Shopping in Mall Road is one of the top activities in Nainital.
The Mall Road was constructed during the British colonial rule. This is the main commercial area which runs through the heart of the Nainital town. The Mall road is now named as Govind Ballabh Pant Marg. Visitors can enjoy their leisurely evening stroll on the Mall Road, with a cool refreshing breeze blowing across the lake on to the road adding to the charm of the Mall. During summers, this road becomes crowded with locals and tourists enjoying the evening weather.
Situated at an altitude of about 2,290 m, Tiffin Top is a famous vantage point in the scenic hill station of Nainital. It is one of the most famous among Nainital places to visit. It is also one of the best places for short trekking in Nainital. This place is named after Dorothy Kellet, an English Painter, who died in a plane crash.
Tiffin Top is a stonework bench built in the memory of Dorothy Kellet by her husband J.P. Kellet. This was the place where she used to sit and paint the beautiful town and its surroundings. Later, it started becoming a famous picnic spot for the Rajas who ruled this place and hence was officially converted into a picnic spot and locally named Tiffin top which denotes packed food consumed during the day.
Situated at an altitude of 2,270 m, Snow view point offers excellent views of snowcapped mountains like Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Kot. It also offers great views of Nainital Lake and the town. Snow view point is well connected by road but a ride in aerial ropeway from Mallital is the best way to reach this place.
In order to provide a perfect view to visitors, a pair of huge binoculars is installed at this spot. A small temple housing images of Rama, Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman with Durga and Shiva is located on the peak. The Tibetan monastery Gadhan Kunkyop Ling Gompa of the Gelukpa order situated near Snow view point is also a must visit spot.
Naina Peak is situated at an altitude of 2615 m. The peak was renamed from China peak to Naina peak after the 1962 war with China. Due to high altitude and lush green forest path, Naina Peak is also a favorite place in Nainital for trekking. This highest point of this mountain is widely known for its amazing natural surroundings and the snow covered mountains all around. Naina Peak is a quiet place from where the Nanda Devi peak and the mountains on the Tibet border can be viewed.
The peak offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. The trek to Naina Peak is little challenging, covering a distance of 6 km from Mallital. One can reach here by taking a horse ride or traversing the hilly paths. Pony or Horses can be hired to visit this peak either from Snow View Point or from Mallital.