Nainital gets its name from lake 'Naini' (Tal means lake). The pear-shaped lake is only one of the many lakes that give the hill station its nick name – City of lakes. Located in the Kumaon district of Uttarakhand, a popular hillstation since the days of British Raj, Nainital was the summer capital of the United Provinces during the British rule.
It is believed that goddess Sati had burned herself upon a pyre at Nainital. There is a temple dedicated to her on the banks of the lake. The Naini lake is believed to contain the same holy water as that of the sacred Manasarovar. The Jim Corbett National Park, oldest national park of India, established to protect the endangered species Bengal Tiger, is located here.
A haven of lakes, Nainital has an economy sustained mainly by tourism. The beautiful landscape as well as tranquil atmosphere makes Nainital a heaven-on-earth experience for the travellers.
The G B Pant High Altitude Zoo, popularly known as the Nainital Zoo boasts of many rare, endangered species of animals like the Snow Leopard and the Himalayan Black Bear. The Naina peak, located 8,568 feet above sea level, offers an exciting chance of mountaineering with a stunning view of the Himalayas from the top.
Nainital is also well-known seat of many prestigious educational institutions and research centres. The Aryabhata Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), a leading research institute specialising in Astronomy, Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences, is located just 9 kilometres from the city. Sherwood College, St Joseph's College, Sainik School at Gorakhal in the Nainital district and Kumaun University are some of the prestigious educational institutions located here.
Boating and trekking
Just like other popular hill stations, Nainital also has a wide range of adventure opportunities. Those who are interested in boating, can take a ride on the lake Naini. The aerial ropeway that connects the Snow View Point with the city offers a view of China Peak, Snow View Point, and Tiffin Point. Trekking to points like Betelghat, Binayak, Kainchi Dham, Kilbury, and Snow Point can also be arranged for interested travellers.
Bara Bazar, Tibetan Market, and Mall Road Market are the places that would lure the tourists with an eye for shopping. All local curios including handicrafts, textiles, ornaments, and designer candles are available in these market areas.
Nestled in the midst of Kumaon Hills, Nainital is located 322 kilometers from New Delhi. It is accessible both by road and rail. Kathgodam is the nearest railway station. From December to February, the mercury hits below 0 degrees. The Hanuman Garhi, temple of Hanuman and Naina Devi Temple, one among the 51 Sakthi Peetas of India can also be visited here. Kilbury, located around 10 kilometres from Nainital, is a good family picnic spot.
Lariya Kanta, the second tallest peak, is located around six kilometres from Nainital. The beauty of the lake Khurpatal can be enjoyed by including the spot Land End in your trip. To reach Land End, you have to take a cable car, travelling 705 kilometres. Naina Peak, the tallest peak in Nainital is another attraction. The peak is accessible only on horseback.
Best time to visit
While Nainital has a year round climate suitable for tourists, the best time is between April and July. Summertime attracts the largest number of tourists. It is always best to avoid visits to Uttarakhand during Monsoons because of adverse climatic conditions like landslides.
How to reach
Nainital is well-connected to the rail and road network of India. Kathgodam is the nearest railway station. Train services are available from New Delhi. The nearest air port is located at Pantnagar.