Ringed by the seven hills of Nainital lies the enchanting and sacred Naini lake. Named after the legend proclaiming that the left eye of Parvati, consort of the Lord Shiva fell here, this is where the Naina Devi Temple now stands. Nainital is also mentioned in the ‘Manas Khand’ as Tri-rishi Sarovar. According to this gatha, three sages, Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha, chanced upon this place while on pilgrimage and feeling thirsty, summoned the waters of the Mansarovar Lake.
Because of its hallowed nature, Nainital remained a jealously guarded secret for a long time. Mr. Barron is the man credited with the ‘discovery’ of Nainital in 1841 and the publishing of his story in the newspaper ‘Agra Akhbar’, resulted in drawing the attention of other British travellers, especially those who wanted to escape the torrid heat of Delhi and Lucknow. Barron built a house for himself called ‘Pilgrim Lodge’, and soon a bustling little town sprang up around the lake. Barron’s other important contribution in establishing the town’s character was the fact that he launched the very first boat on Naini’s waters, a pastime that remains a favourite of visitors to this day.
Today Nainital still retains its religious significance, but has also become a treasured holiday destination for people from around the world.
Nainital is at an altitude of about 1938 mtrs. or 6360 ft. above sea level with temperatures ranging from 270 to 170 C in the summer and 150 to 30 C in the winter.
How to get here :
From Delhi :
- 15013 Ranikhet Express departs daily from Old Delhi Railway Station at 2200 hrs and reaches Kathgodam (the railhead for Nainital) at 0500 hrs the next morning. Nainital is 30 kms. uphill from Kathgodam – taxis are available at the station and take about an hour along beautiful, forested roads.
- 12040 New Delhi Kathgodam Shatabdi Express departs everyday from New Delhi Railway Station at 0600 hrs and reaches Kathgodam at 1140 hrs the same day.
- 15035 Sampark Kranti Express departs daily from Old Delhi Railway Station at 1600 hrs and reaches Kathgodam at 2240 hrs the same day.
- 13019 Bagh Express departs daily from Howrah Station at 2145 hrs and reaches Kathgodam at 0930 hrs on the 2nd morning.
- 14120 Dehradun Kathgodam Express departs daily from Dehradun at 2230 hrs reaches Haridwar at 2355 hrs and reaches Kathgodam at 0715 hrs the next morning.
- Nainital is 324 kms. from Delhi on the NH 24 via Hapur, Rudrapur and Haldwani. A shorter and quicker option is to head from Moradabad to Bazpur and Kaladhungi and then up the hills to Nainital.
- Air-conditioned buses are also available from Delhi, Jaipur, Dehradun, and many other cities.