Nainital is a town located in the Kumaon division of Uttarakhand. This town holds the position of the judicial capital of Uttarakhand and also houses the state’s High Court. Historically, it was designated as the summer capital of the United Provinces. Tourists all over the world love Nainital for its amazing nature, lakes, and waterfalls. The mix of old and new architecture makes it a charming spot in the Himalayas.
This town is situated in the Kumaon foothills about 314km from the capital of India and around 276km from Dehradun. It stands at a height of 1938 meters above sea level. Surrounded by mountains Nainital has the highest peak Naina in the North direction, Deopatha in the west, and Ayarpatha is in the south. This hill station is one of the most attractive tourist spots with splendid views.
Etymology and Mythology
It is thought that Naini Lake is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths, according to the story based on goddess Sati’s death. After the death it is believed that God Shiva carried her body and walked around the universe, remembering their moments together. Then another god Vishnu used his special weapon Sudarshana Chakra to cut Sati’s body, and the parts of the body fell on the earth becoming sacred places. The spot where Sati’s right eye fell became Naini Lake, which means lake of the eye. After that people built a temple in that place and called it Naina Devi Temple to worship the goddess Shakti, which is also known as Naini Mata.
Nainital has a historical connection with the Kumaon Region. After the Katyuri Dynasty fell in the 10th century, the area around Nainital became part of small states ruled by a Khasiya family. The Chand dynasty later took control of the region. Trilok Chand built a fort at Bhimtal in the thirteenth century, but Nainital wasn’t under Chand’s rule at that time. After sometimes Udyan Chand expanded his kingdom up to Koshi and Suyal River. After a while in 1560, Khasia chiefs tried to break it down but fortunately, Balo Kalyan Chand stopped them and kept control of it.
The British government took over the charge of Kumaon Hills after fighting a war with Nepal. They started the hill station in 1841 by naming it Nainital. P. Barron, a trader thought that it was the best place in the Himalayan trek, and built the first European house. The church St. John was one of the oldest structures built in 1860, followed by Belvedere, Alma Lodge, and Ashdale Cottage. It becomes one of the popular health resorts for the British soldiers. Later it also became an important place for the United Provinces to stay there in Summer.
The landslip of 1880: –
In this hill area in 1866, the first landslide occurred destroying the old Victoria Hotel. After that another major landslide incident happened in 1880, at the northern edge of the town. In this incident around 151 people were buried. Before the incident, 40 hours of rainfall occurred and made the whole hillside like a half-liquid mass that just needed a little push to start moving.
Unfortunately, the push came from a small earthquake, which people in the Bhabar region below and in Nainital felt on the same day. A total of 108 Indian individuals and 43 Europeans were reported dead or missing after the incident. The disaster destroyed the Assembly Rooms and the Naina Devi Temple. Afterward, a new temple was built in the same spot. To prevent more disasters, they made drains for rainwater and strict rules for building things.
Nainital town spreads across an area of 11.73 square kilometers and sits at 29.38°N 79.45°E, about 6,837 feet above sea level. The highest peak around the area is Naina Peak reaching a height of 8,593 feet. The town is approximately 314km from the capital of India and around 276km from the state capital, Dehradun.
The town is situated in a valley surrounding Nainital Lake, which has an eye-shaped appearance. This lake sits at an elevation of 6,350 feet above sea level. The deepest point of the lake is near Pashandevi, which is around 83 meters deep. The lake is nourished by 26 major drains, including three perennial drains.
Climate of Nainital
With a subtropical highland climate according to the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system Nainital is relatively dry in Winter and the summers are marked by significant rainfall due to the South Asian monsoon system. The lowest perception of 7.9 millimeters in November and the highest of 725 millimeters in July has been recorded there. The summer of this region is relatively cool compared to the other parts of India. The temperature of this area stays around 17 °C to 24 °C during the summer. While in January the temperature goes around 1 °C. In the historical record, the highest temperature in this area was 30 °C on June 18, 1972, while the lowest was −5.6 °C on January 17, 1953.
From mid-November to mid-March, you will see the winter season in Nainital and during this time January becomes the coldest month with a temperature around 1 °C. Sometimes extensive rainfall may occur as a result of western disturbances, resulting in snowfall on peaks exceeding 2000 meters in altitude. From the march, you will see a gradual increase in temperature. While days become slightly warmer, nights remain cool. The temperature continues to rise and picks high in June.
Starting around mid-May, the monsoon brings rainfall to Nainital and continues until mid-October. Nainital, situated near the outermost high ranges of the Himalayas, experiences a considerable amount of annual rainfall. Typically, the monsoon weakens by mid-September, leading to average rain occurring at longer intervals. The post-monsoon months are marked by clear skies, representing a transition between the rainy season and winter.
Flora and Fauna
Nainital is full of varieties of Flora and Fauna. Here are some of the Indian and botanical names of the trees and bushes: – Cupressus torulosa (Surai or Himalayan cypress), Rhododendron arboreum (Buruns), Quercus leucotrichophora Oak (Banj), Aesculus indica (Pangar or Horse chestnuts), Platanus orientalis (Chinar), Rubus lasiocarpus (Hisalu), Rosa moschata (Kunj or Musk rose), Juglans regia (Akhrot or walnut), Populus ciliata (Hill Pipal, a sacred tree), and Pinus (Pine). (Source Wikipedia).
Historical Population Chart
According to the Indian Census of 2011, the population of Nainital was 41,377. The male population was 52.3%, while females make up 47.7%, resulting in a sex ratio of 911 women per 1000 men. The town has a population density of 3527.45 people per square kilometer, with 9,329 housing units at an average density of 795.31 households per square kilometer.
The official language of this area is Hindi, and the second official language is Sanskrit. Kumaoni is one of the languages that is spoken most in the region.
Government and politics
This town is represented in the Lok-Sabha, by an elected representative from the Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar Constituency. The current Member of Parliament from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar is Ajay Bhatt, affiliated with the BJP. In the 2019 Indian general elections, he secured victory with a margin of 3,39,096 votes against Harish Rawat (former chief minister) from the Congress. Historically considered a Congress stronghold, the party has claimed victory in Nainital eight times since 1951. On the other hand, the BJP has won this seat three times.
Renowned as a favored hill station, Nainital presents a plethora of places to visit in Nainital such as Nainital Lake, Naina Devi Temple, Jama Masjid, Eco Cave Gardens, the mall road, and many more.
- Nainital Lake: – It is one of the popular lakes in Nainital. Peoples from all over the world comes here to visit Nainital Lake. The beauty of this hill station is so amazing, that everyone loves to visit.
- Naina Devi Temple: – Situated at the top of Naini Lake, the Temple of Naina Devi is devoted to the town’s goddess, Naina Devi. The temple complex serves as the venue for the annual Nanda Devi Mela festival, celebrated on Nandashtami in September.
- Jama masjid: – Constructed in 1882 during the British Era, the Jama Masjid of Nainital is situated in the Mallital area. This mosque was specifically built to serve the Muslim community residing in and around Nainital.
- Eco Cave Garden: – Based near the Mall Road, the Eco Cave Gardens comprise naturally formed rocky caves, with six caves resembling various animals. Open every day of the week, visitors can explore these unique caves from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Naina Peak: – Based at an elevation of 2611 meters, Naina Peak serves as a captivating viewpoint offering panoramic views of the Himalayan range and an aerial perspective of Nainital.
One of the most asked questions in the internet is how to reach to Nainital? Here are the possible ways to reach Nainital.
- Roadways: – You can reach Nainital by the National Highway 109, which is 40 km away from Haldwani, or you can try State Highway 13, km from Bajpur.
- Airways: – The nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport from Nainital is around 71 km away.
- Railways: – Kathgodam is the nearest railway station, which is around 35.7 KM from Nainital.