The first recorded discovery of this now popular hill station of Nainital was in 1841 when a British, Mr. Barron, chanced upon the lake. Moved by the scenic beauty of the lake and thickly forested hills, he constructed a house named Pilgrim's Cottage. It was the first of many residences, which were to transform Nainital into a popular resort. By 1858, Nainital became a well-known hill station, and within a few years became the summer seat of the provincial government. According to local belief the origin of Nainital dates back to mythological times. Sati, Lord Shiva's consort committed suicide at the yajna of Daksha Prajapati. When Lord Shiva roamed across the universe carrying her dead body, Sati's eye fell near the lake, where the Naina Devi temple now stands. The waters of the lake are therefore considered sacred and the Naina Devi temple is the venue of an autumnal fair. In ancient times, the lake was known as the Tri-rishi Sarovar, the lake of three rishis-Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha. Nainital tourism attractions range from quiet walks in meadows to the forests of pine and deciduous, the adventure sports as well as popular entertainment. This hill resort can be enjoyed at any time of the year.
Altitude: 1938 meters above sea level.
Climate: Cold and comfortable
Weather: min -3° C & max 27° C
Best Time to Visit: March- June, mid September - October
Suggested Clothing: Summer - Light Woollens Winters - Heavy Woollens
Places to visit
Nainital tours are also known as 'Lake Paradise'. In its beautiful 'lakes', option of boating through yachts, paddle boats and traditional rowing boats are available. The Nainital Boat House Club exclusively holds the management of Yachting in Nainital. In Nainital district, Sat Tal, Bhim Tal and Naukuchiyatal also have water sport and boating facilities. Nainital is famous for its candles, woollens, woodcrafts and handicrafts.
- Snow View:
Situated at 2270 meters this popular vantage point is accessible by rope way. It offers an excellent view of the northern Himalayan ranges.
- Nanda Devi Temple:
The temple destroyed in the landslide of 1880 was later rebuilt on the shores of Lake Naini.
- Naina Peak:
At 2611 meters this is the highest peak bordering the lake. A popular picnic spot which offers a panoramic view of the resort.
- Dorothy's Seat:
Named in memory of an English woman who was killed in an air crash. This pleasant spot offers a partial view of Nainital.
- Land's End:
Situated at 2881 meters on the southern border of the lake, this hill affords a view of another lake, Khurpa Tal.
- Hanuman Garhi:
A place of religious interest, also good for viewing the setting sun a must visit for those on Nainital tour.
- State Observatory:
Located on the top of a ridge, the observatory is open to the public in the evening.
- The Mall:
Nainital's popular promenade offers a variety of entertainment
Highlights of Nainital Tourism
Permits for Nainital Lake from Executive Officer, Nagar Palika
Boats are available on hire near Boat House Club, Mallital and Tallital. Paddle on the pristine Naini Lake or hire a yacht for a more private experience which will cost you Rs 120+5 (tax) per hour.
- Mountaineering & Trekking
Equipment can be hired from the Nainital Mountaineering Club and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam.
Autumn Festival (October), Nanda Devi Fair (August-September).
- Kilbury: 10 km. Accessible by road, it is part of a forest reserve and rich in flora and bird life.
- Khurpa Tal: 10 km. A small lake along the Nainital-Kaladhungi-Ramnagar Road, popular with picnickers and anglers.
- Bhowali: 11 km. Situated at an altitude of 1706 meter on the main Haldwani-Almora Road, it is a popular health resort.
- Jeolikote: 18 km. A noted bee-keeping Centre.
- Sat Tal: 21 km. One of the most picturesque resorts of Kumaon, it has seven interconnected lakes. KMVN provides accommodation facilities.
- Bhim Tal: 22 km. Fast developing into an independent tourist centre, this lake resort offers a quite vacation and facilities for water sports. KMVN has a Tourist Bungalow here.
- Naukuchiya Tal: 26 km. A nine-cornered lake situated in an enchanting valley, this is a popular haunt of anglers and naturalists.
- Ramgarh: 26 km. A picturesque hamlet set in the midst of fruit orchards. This fruit belt of Kumaon is famous for its juicy fruits all over India.
- Kaladhungi: 35 km. Situated in the Terai, and surrounded by thick forests of Sal, this was the winter home of noted hunter and naturalist, Jim Corbett. His house has been turned into a museum.
Ram Nagar: 50 km.
- Mukteshwar: 51 km. from Nainital, Mukteshwar set atop a high ridge, is one of Kumaon's beautiful resorts. It abounds in fruit orchards and dense coniferous forests. A rare sight on tours to Nainital, Mukteshwar also offers a fine view of the majestic Himalayas, as well as of Almora. The famous Indian Veterinary Research Institute is located in Mukteshwar.
- Ghorakhal: 37 km. Famous for the temple of Gollu Devta, a demi god highly revered by the Kumaoni. The famous Sainik School of India is also located here.
Nearest railway station is at Kathgodam -35 km, which is connected by meter guage to Agra, Bareilly and Lucknow.
Nainital is connected by road to major centres of northern India, some of the major road distances are:
- Almora - 62 km.
- Agra - 379 km.
- Delhi - 277 km.
- Kausani - 117 km
- Ranikhet - 60km.
- Corbett (Dhikala) - 128 km.
- Bareilly - 141 km