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Nainital



NAINITAL: UTTARAKHAND



Nainital : The Jewel of Kumaon

Nainital, nestled in the picturesque Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas, is a charming hill station that captivates visitors with its serene beauty and rich history. Let’s delve into the details of this enchanting town, which has rightfully earned the moniker “Jewel of Kumaon.”

Geography and Location

  • Coordinates: 29°23′31″N 79°27′15″E
  • Elevation: 2,084 meters (6,837 feet) above sea level
  • Distance from Dehradun: 276 km (171 miles)
  • Distance from New Delhi: 314 km (195 miles)

Historical Significance

  • Nainital serves as the judicial capital of Uttarakhand, housing the High Court of the state.
  • It is the headquarters of the eponymous Nainital district.
  • The town was the summer capital of the United Provinces during the British Raj.

The Naini Lake and Its Mythical Origins

  • The heart of Nainital is the Naini Lake, an eye-shaped water body approximately two miles in circumference.
  • Legend has it that the lake is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths, where the goddess Sati’s right eye (or “Nain”) fell after her body was cut into 52 parts by Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra.
  • The Naina Devi Temple, also known as Naini Mata Temple, stands on the north shore of the lake, where the goddess Shakti is worshipped.

Natural Beauty and Peaks

  • Nainital is surrounded by majestic peaks:
    • Naina Peak (2,615 m / 8,579 ft) to the north
    • Deopatha (2,438 m / 7,999 ft) to the west
    • Ayarpatha (2,278 m / 7,474 ft) to the south
  • From these vantage points, visitors can behold magnificent views of the vast plains to the south and the tangled ridges lying north, all bound by the great snowy range that forms the central axis of the Himalayas.

Tourist Attractions

  1. Naina Devi Temple: A sacred site on the north shore of Naini Lake, dedicated to the goddess Shakti.
  2. Raj Bhavan: The residence of the Governor of Uttarakhand.
  3. Boating on Naini Lake: Explore the tranquil waters and take in the surrounding beauty.
  4. Eco Cave Gardens: A fascinating network of interconnected caves and hanging gardens.
  5. Snow View Point: Offers breathtaking vistas of snow-capped peaks.
  6. Tiffin Top (Dorothy’s Seat): Named after an English artist, it provides panoramic views.
  7. The Mall Road: A bustling promenade lined with shops, restaurants, and colonial-era buildings.

Local Cuisine and Shopping

  • Don’t miss out on trying local Kumaoni dishes like Bhatt ki Churkani, Aloo Ke Gutke, and Bal Mithai.
  • Explore the markets for handicrafts, woolen shawls, and local sweets.

Year-Round Attraction

  • Nainital’s pleasant climate makes it a year-round destination.
  • Whether you visit during the snowy winters or the blooming summers, the town’s charm remains undiminished.

Conclusion

Nainital, with its pristine lake, lush hills, and captivating legends, continues to draw tourists seeking solace and adventure. As you explore its nooks and crannies, remember that this jewel of Kumaon holds stories of gods and goddesses, British-era elegance, and the timeless beauty of the Himalayas.

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