Nainital made the British feel homesick for Cumbrian Lake District, urging them to develop a similar town around the Naini Lake. Forested hills surround the lake. A busy bazaar is always humming with din of local shopkeepers calling out to tourists. Walking trails to breathtaking view points of the hills, all sum up the old charm of the small town. Dotted with many small lakes and villages, Nainital is a storehouse of surprises and fun.
1. Nainital is the town of Goddess Naina, the presiding deity of Naini Lake.
They say the left eye of Goddess Sati fell at the point when Lord Shiva was carrying her corpse after she self-immolated herself unable to tolerate her husband Lord Shiva’s insult by her own father.
The lake thus came to be known as Naini Lake (eye-shaped lake) and the town which sprawled around the lake was named Nainital.
2. Historically, Nainital is older than Christ; it was called Khadesh and was ruled by Khasis.
According to scriptures, Naini was known as the Tririshi Sarovar (lake of the three sages), who arrived here but found no water. Through meditation by the sanctum of Mansarovar Lake in Tibet, the sages dug a huge crater in the earth and also filled it up with water.
3. The Naina Devi Temple is considered one of the holiest sites in India.
Most important occasion here is the festival held in honour of Goddess Naina Devi.
4. Nainital and the nearby Kilbury Bird Sanctuary in Pangot are full of Eurasian Jays, Laughing Thrushes And Black-Headed Jays.
5. Nainital has one of the oldest golf courses in India; the 18-hole golf course dates back to 1926.
But it was opened to the public only in 1994.
6. It was a British sugar merchant by the name of P. Barron who discovered Nainital Lake in 1839.
The British then decided to set up a European colony here.
7. Naina Devi Temple is a Shakti Peeth.
The temple is believed to have been completely destroyed in 1880s, only to be re-constructed again.
8. Due to the lake on its northern end, it rains almost every afternoon in Nainital.
Nainital has a meeting ground called ‘the flats’ where you will find the most happening crowd in town.
9. Just 22 km from Nainital is Bhimtal Lake, named after Bhima.
There is temple right in the middle of it which dates back to the 17th century.
10. Bhimtal is also one of the premier sites for paragliding in India.
11. The nearby Naukuchia Tal has nine corners. It is believed that anyone who can see all the corners at once will disappear.
12. The world famous Jim Corbett National Park is less than two hours’ drive from Nainital.
It is the oldest national park of India.
13. At Mukteshwar, you will find Indian Veterinary Research Institute at 7500 feet.
14. If you go to Nainital and come back without trying the ropeway to the snow-view point, you will regret it for life.
During winters the snow-capped mountains look breathtaking from the top.
15. At the Nainital zoo, you will have the golden opportunity to see a snow leopard up-close and a Siberian tiger, too.
Both are critically endangered species.
16. At the Mall Road in Nainital you will see a gurudwara and Naina Devi temple on one side, and mosque and church on the other.
17. Traditional Kumaon food is readily available in Nainital. It includes varieties such as Chudkani, Bhattiya, Guatras And Mattha.