Nainital is one of the most beautiful and best places to visit in uttrakhand. It is famous for its Lakes & Breathtaking View, after which it is named Nainital, The region of Nainital was once called the ‘City of Lakes’ or ‘Queen of Lakes’as there were 60 lakes in the area beside the Naini Lake, Which is the major attraction of the region. Nainital is a paradise for nature lovers.
The most prominent of the lakes is Naini Lake ringed by hills. Thus with ‘hills’ in the backdrop and the enchanting lake the place offers a calm and serene along with enthusiastic and passion laden experience for its visitors. The pear shaped lake is encompassed and bounded with hills on all sides. Nainital has varied scenery some of the important places in the district are Nainital, Haldwani, Kaladhungi, Ramnagar, Bhowali, Ramgarh, Mukteshwar, Bhimtal, Sattal and Naukuchiatal. Nainital’s unending expense of scenic beauty is nothing short of a romance with tremendous.
Mythology of Nainital
Nainital finds mention in various ancient myths and legends. The Naini temple at the banks of Naini Lake holds a lot of significance especially among the Hindus as it is believed to be one of the 64 Shakti Peeths in India.
According to the Hindu mythology, the Naini Lake one of the popular tourist attractions of Nainital is the place where the eyes or ‘nain’ of Sati fell, when Lord Shiva was carrying her charred body to Kailash. Therefore, the place came to be known as ‘Nain-tal’ or the lake of the eye. In the memory of this event, a Naina Devi Temple was built where Goddess Shakti is worshipped by the devotees. The temple is idyllically situated on the north shore of the aesthetic Naini Lake.
History of Nainital
After the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-16, the Kumaon hills came under the British rule and the hill station Nainital was founded in 1841 when the first European house was constructed by P. Baron, a sugar trader from Shahjahanpur. The oldest buildings of Nainital includes the St. John’s church snuggled in the wilderness of Nainital, followed by Belvedere, Alma, Asdale Cottage built in 1860.
Soon the lesser known town of Nainital became the hotspot of the British soldiers and colonial officials who came with their families to escape the scorching heat of the plain areas. Around 1880, Nainital came to be known as the exclusive British summer getaway in India.
Places to Visit in Nainital
Nainital Lake- It is commonly known as the Naini Lake, it is situated in the middle of the town and is the lifeline of Nainital. Boating facilities are available for the visitors and alternatively a slow paced stroll around the lake will offer a serene relaxation like no other.
Naina Peak– It is known as the Cheena or China Peak by the locals, Naina Peak is the highest peak in Nainital. It is situated at an average elevation of 2,615 meters above sea level and is a popular trekking spot in Nainital. The spot is known to offer one of the most amazing panoramic views of the entire valley and Nainital situated near the Naini Lake.
Tiffin Top– It is located at the Aryapatta Hill at an average elevation of 2292 meters above sea level. Tiffin Top is a famous view point that offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Himalayas and Nainital. The place is named after an English painter Dorothy Kellet who used to sit at this very spot and paint. This place is also known as Dorothy’s seat.
St. John in The Wilderness- St. John in the Wilderness refers to a church which was established in 1844 and is located on the north end of the town. The church was named so after the Bishop of Calcutta was obliged to sleep in an unfinished house in the wilderness after falling ill. The church is located in a hidden and serene located amidst the deodar forests and is built in a Neo- Gothic styled architecture with stained glass windows from Belgium.
Pt. G.B. Pant High Altitude Zoo- It is located at an average elevation of 2,100 meters above sea level. Pt. G.B. Pant High Altitude Zoo was established in 1984 and was opened to general public in 1995. The zoo contains several exotic and endangered species of animals and birds which are native to this region. Snow Leopard, Himalayan Bear, Tibetan wolf etc. are few of the endangered species found here.
Gurney House – Gurney House refers to a cottage which is famous for being the residence of the British conservationist Jim Corbett. The house was built in 1881 and is located near the Nainital Lake. The materials used in the building were reused components of an older house which was present at this site. The house was sold to Mr. Sharda Prasad Varma in 1947 when the Corbett family left for Kenya.
Eco Cave Gardens- Eco Cave Gardens are an interconnected network of caves and attract huge crowds of tourists and are a treat for kids upon their visit. The park comprises of seven caves which are reached through a narrow and winding road with amazing views during the commute. This is one of the best places one should visit with the family and is of special interest to kids with the musical fountain that is located here.
Snow View- One of the best viewpoints in Nainital, the Snow View is located at an average elevation of 2,270 above sea level, it is reachable by a cable car. It provides amazing and picturesque views of the snow capped Himalayas with the major peaks like Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Trishul. The stay is chargeable for each hour that you spend at the spot and can be visited between 10 am to 5 pm.
Land’s End- It is famous for being a spot that is usually reached by trekkers, End is a picturesque location and the amazing views from this spot are like none other. The spot is located at an average elevation of 2,118 kilometers above sea level provides views of the surrounding hills and is surrounded by some beautiful trees and pine forests.
Kilbury Bird Sanctuary- One of the few high altitude bird sanctuaries in India, the Kilbury Bird Sanctuary is located at an average elevation of 2000 meters above sea level. The sanctuary is a home to over 240 different species of Birds which are both migratory and resident. The sanctuary is located at a picturesque forest village called Pangot.
How to Reach Nainital
By Air: Pant Nagar is the nearest airport to Kathgodam and Nainital as well. It is situated 72km from Nainital and is well connected by motorable roads.
By Rail: Kathgodam is the nearest railway station to Nainital, situated at a distance of 41km Kathgodam is well connected by Railway networks with major destinations of India like Lucknow, Delhi and Kolkata.
By Road: Nainital is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of northern India. Nainital is only one hour drive from Kathgodam which is spread on the hills of the lower Himalayan range.