Nainital is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 2,084 metres (6,837 ft) above sea level, Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (2,615 m (8,579 ft)) on the north, Deopatha (2,438 m (7,999 ft)) on the west, and Ayarpatha (2,278 m (7,474 ft)) on the south. From the tops of the higher peaks, "magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bounded by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas".
Nainital has temperate summers, maximum temperature 27°C (81°F); minimum temperature 7°C (45°F), during which its population increases more than fivefold with an annual influx of tourists predominantly from the plains of Northern India. In the winter, Nainital receives snowfall between December and February with the temperatures varying between a maximum of 15°C (59°F) and a minimum of −3°C (27°F).
Places Near Nainital:
- Nainital Lake- Also known as Naini Lake, it is situated in the heart of the city and it is owing to this lake that Nainital earned its name. The eye-shaped lake is a tourist hotspot and acts as a magnet for all those visiting the hill resort. Here, a person can either take a leisurely stroll or indulge in boating and enjoy the surrounding beauty. The northern end of the lake is called Mallital, while the southern one is called Tallital. The Lake Bridge that connects the two banks has quite a few shops as well as a post office, the only one in the World to be located on a bridge.
- Naini Devi Temple- The temple is located on the northern shore of Naini lake. The presiding deity of the temple is Maa Naina Devi represented by two Netras or eyes. Flanking Naina Devi are the deities of Mata Kali and Lord Ganesha. Nainital is believed to be one of the 64 Shaktipeeths, where one of the body parts of Goddess Sati fell, when Lord Shiva carried her body. In Nainital, the eyes (naina) of the Goddess are assumed to have fallen. The shrine of Naina Devi is a must visit for devout Hindus. and was reconstructed after being destroyed in the 1880 landslide. One can also get an amazing view of the hill station, overlooking the lake, from the temple.
- St. John in the Wilderness, a church established in 1844 and is located on the north end of town (Mallital), about half a mile north-west of the Naina Devi Temple. The church was so named by Daniel Wilson, the Bishop of Calcutta, who, after falling ill during a visit to Nainital in 1844 to lay the foundation of the church, was obliged to sleep in an unfinished house on the edge of the forest.
- Snow View is situated at an altitude of 2,270 m (7,450 ft) and located atop the Sher-ka-danda Ridge (north by north-east of the town centre), is easily reachable by cable car. On a clear day, it offers spectacular views of the snowbound high Himalaya, including Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Nanda Kot. The best time of the year for viewing the mountains is late October and November.
- Naini Peak also known as China or Cheena Peak or Naina Peak is the highest peak in the town, with an altitude of 2,615 m (8,579 ft). and at a walking distance of 6 km (3.7 mt) from the north end of the town (Mallital). From atop the peak, one can not only see a broad swath of the snow clad high Himalaya, but also obtain a panoramic view of Nainital town itself. The summit is an invigorating hike from Nainital town; in addition, for the less energetic visitors, ponies can be hired in Mallital or on Snow View and the Great Wall of China.
- Pt. G.B. Pant High Altitude Zoo: Opened in 1994, it is one of the two High altitude Zoo in India, Second is in Darjeeling, West Bengal. It houses various Phesants e.g. Kaleej Phesant etc.; high altitude endangered Mammals like Siberian Tiger, Snow Leopard, Goat Antelope-Ghooral and Serao etc. The animls are according to their habitat altitude, e.g. Snow Leopard is kept on the highest point.
- The Jim Corbett National Park in the Nainital district is India's oldest national park. The park, which is 63 km (39 mt) west by north-west of Nainital, contains a wide variety of wild life including elephant, tiger, chital, Sambar Deer, nilgai, gharial, King Cobra, muntjac, wild boar, hedgehog, common musk shrew (White-toothed shrew), flying fox (pteropus, megabat), Indian Pangolin, and nearly 600 species of birds.
- Mukteshwar is a picturesque town 52 km (32 mt) north-east of Nainital, is home to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute. It also offers an unhindered view of the high mountains of the western Himalaya, including Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Nanda Kot.
- Bhimtal Lake - Situated 22 km from the city center, Bhimtal Lake is the biggest lake of Nainital. It is named after the second Pandava brother Bhima in the Mahābhārata who was known for his prodigious strength. The lake, which is larger than Naini Lake, is approximately 22 km (14 mt) from Nainital at an altitude of 1,370 m (4,490 ft). There is an island in the lake with a popular restaurant on it. There is also a 17th century temple complex, the Bhimeshwar, alongside a 40 ft (12 m) high dam at one end of the lake.
- Sattal, literally Seven Lakes, is at a distance of about 23 km (14 mt) from Nainital in the Lower Himalayan Range at an altitude of 1,370 m (4,490 ft). It is a cluster of small interconnected lakes in the midst of an old oak forest. On approaching Sattal, the first lake encountered is the Nal-Damyanti Lake; next it is the Panna or Garude lake; and finally there is a cluster of three lakes: Ram, Laxman, and Sita lakes.
- Khurpa Tal, literally Trowel Lake, is an attractive lake about 10 km (6.2 mt) by road (or a 5 km (3.1 mt) hike) from Nainital at an altitude of 1,635 m (5,364 ft). It is popular with anglers and is surrounded by terraced fields (or farms), from which it presumably gets its name.
- Naukuchia Tal, literally, Nine-Cornered Lake, is 26 km (16 mt) from Nainital and 4 km from Bhimtal at an altitude of 1,220 m (4,000 ft). The lake is almost 1 km (0.62 mt) long, 0.5 km (0.31 mt) wide and approximately 40 m (130 ft) deep. It is the deepest of the lakes in the greater Naintal area. According to legend, if one takes in all nine corners in one glimpse, one can disappear in a cloud of smoke.