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This article is about the municipality in Uttarakhand, India. For its namesake district, see Nainital district.
Hill station
View of Nainital Lake City
View of Nainital Lake City
Nainital is located in Uttarakhand
Nainital is located in India
Location in Uttarakhand, India
Coordinates: 29°23′42″N 79°26′56″E / 29.395°N 79.449°E / 29.395; 79.449Coordinates: 29°23′42″N 79°26′56″E / 29.395°N 79.449°E / 29.395; 79.449
Country India
State Uttarakhand
District Nainital
Elevation 2,084 m (6,837 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 41,377
 • Official Hindi
 • Other Kumauni
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 263001/263002
Telephone code +91 - 5942
Vehicle registration UK 04

Nainital About this sound pronunciation  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."[1]

Geography and climate[edit]

Naini Lake, Nainital

Nainital is located at 29°23′N 79°27′E / 29.38°N 79.45°E / 29.38; 79.45.[2] The slopes of the nearby mountains are most populated, with an elevation ranging from 1,940–2,100 m (6,360–6,890 ft). The highest point nearby is Naina Peak or China Peak, with an elevation of 2,619 m (8,593 ft).

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 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).

Its climate is classified as subtropical highland (Cwb) according to Köppen-Geiger system.

Climate data for Nainital
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 9.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.2
Average low °C (°F) 1.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 64


Naini Lake view at night

As of the 2011 Indian census, Nainital had a population of 41,377.[4] Males constitute 52.3% of the population and females 47.7%. In 2011, Nainital had an average literacy rate of 92.93%, higher than the Uttarakhand state average of 78.82%.[4] In Nainital, 9.54% of the population is under 6 years of age. Kumaoni people form the major part of the town's population along with people from all over India.


It is believed that the Naini Lake is one of the 64 Shakti Peeths, or religious sites where parts of the charred body of Sati (Parvati) fell on earth while being carried by Lord Shiva.[5] The spot where Sati's eyes (or Nain) fell, came to be called Nain-tal or lake of the eye. The goddess Shakti is worshiped at the Naina Devi Temple on the north shore of the present day lake.[6][7]


St. John in the Wilderness, NainiTal, 1860

Early construction[edit]

The Kumaon Hills came under British rule after the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–16). The hill station town of Naini Tal was founded only in 1841, with the construction of the first European house (Pilgrim Lodge) by P. Barron, a sugar trader from Shahjahanpur. In his memoir, he wrote: "It is by far the best site I have witnessed in the course of a 1,500 miles (2,400 km) trek in the Himalayas."[8] In 1846, when a Captain Madden of the Bengal Artillery visited Naini Tal, he recorded that "houses were rapidly springing up in most parts of the settlement: some towards the crest of the limitary ranges were nearly 7,500 ft (2,300 m) above sea level: the rugged and woody Anyarpatta Aashish (Anyar-patt – in Kumaoni means – complete blackout. The reason for this nomenclature by the locals was because there were minimal sun rays due to its location and dense forests) was being gradually planted and that the favourite sites were on the undulating tract of forest land which stretched back from the head of the lake to the base of China and Deopatta (Camel's Hump). The church, St. John in the Wilderness, was one of the earliest buildings in Nainital, followed by Belvedere, Alma lodge, Ashdale Cottage(1860)..."[9] Soon, the town became a health resort favoured by British soldiers and by colonial officials and their families trying to escape the heat of the plains. Later, the town became the summer residence of the governor of the United Provinces.

The landslip of 1880[edit]

A general view of the north end of Naini Tal before and after the landslip of 1880.

In September 1880 a landslide ('the landslip of 1880') occurred at the north end of the town, burying 151 people. The first known landslide had occurred in 1866, and in 1879 there was a larger one at the same spot, Alma Hill, but "the great slip occurred in the following year, on Saturday 18 September 1880."[9]

"Two days preceding the slip there was heavy rain, ... 20 inches (510 mm) to 35 in (890 mm) fell during the 40 hours ending on Saturday morning, and the downpour still lasted and continued for hours after the slip. This heavy fall naturally brought down streams of water from the hill side, some endangering the Victoria Hotel, ... (which) was not the only building threatened ... Bell's shop, the Volunteer Orderly Room and the Hindu (Naina Devi) temple were scenes of labour with a view to diverting streams. At a quarter to two the landslip occurred burying those in and around the buildings mentioned above."[9]

The number of dead and missing were 108 Indian and 43 British nationals. (See poem by Hannah Battersby on the page Literary references to Nainital.) The Assembly Rooms and the Naina Devi Temple were destroyed in the disaster. A recreation area known as 'The Flats' was later built on the site and a new temple was erected. To prevent further disasters, storm water drains were constructed and building bylaws were made stricter.

Establishment of schools[edit]

St. Joseph's College, Nainital from Tiffin Top (Dorothy's Seat)
A view of the Nainital town, 1885

In the latter half of the 19th century a number of "European" schools for boys and girls were founded in Nainital. During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, students in these schools consisted largely of children of British colonial officials or soldiers. The Diocesan Girls' High School, now known as All Saints' College, was established in 1869, near where the High Court of Uttarakhand stands today. By 1906, there were over half a dozen such schools,[9] including the Diocesan Boys' School (later renamed Sherwood College) and the Philander Smith's college (later renamed Halett War School, currently Birla Vidya Mandir).

St. Joseph's College, Nainital, a day-boarding and residential school built by Irish brothers[citation needed] in 1888, celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2013. St. Joseph's College is popularly known as SEM. Another important school was St. Mary's Convent, popularly known as Ramnee, in 1878 which celebrated its 125th anniversary in year 2003.


There are a number of libraries in the Nainital area. Among them are the Durga Lal Shah Municipal Public Library, on the Mall, founded in 1934;[10] the Uttarakhand Academy of Administration, Library and Documentation Center, Mallital;[11] the ARIES Observatory Library;[12] and the Kumaon University Library, Nainital.[13]

Famous people[edit]

Excursions from Nainital[edit]

Bhimtal: 22km way from Nainital lies Bhimtal is named after Bhim, one of the five Pandavas. The lake of Bhimtal is named after Bhim, one of the five Pandavas. The lake at Bhimtal is bigger than Nainital lake. Boating, Swimming, Canoeing, Trekking, Paragliding are the main tourist attractions. An aquarium is located on an island at the center of the lake which is quite famous among the tourists,

Jeolikot: 18km from Nainital is on Nainital Haldwani Highway. A health resort and is an excellent spot for those who are interested in floriculture and butterfly catching. The beekeeping center is an added attraction.

Naukhuchiatal: 30 km away from Nainital and 4 km from Bhimtal, lies Nakuchiyatal, which means the lake with nine corners. Bounded by dark woody forests, and lush greenery, Nakuchiyatal remains a place where nature is given preference over man. Famous for its boat rides, it offers some of the best scenic vistas of the sparkling bluish water lake and its delightful environment.

Saat tal: Located 45km from Nainital, Saat tal, perched at an altitude of 1370 metres. ‘Saat tal’ means ‘seven lakes’. Interestingly, three of these lakes are named Ram tal, Lakshman tal, Sita tal and other are Bharat tal, Hanuman tal, Naldamyanti tal, Gurad tal. TheseIt seven interconnected lakes are surrounded by tall oak and pine trees, and this ecosystem is ideal for bird watchers and adventure enthusiasts. The green mountain ranges and sparkling greenish water reflect nature gloriously in all its bounty.

Kainchi Dham ashram at Kainchi near Nainital.

Ramgarh: Ramgarh, also known as the fruit bowl of Kumaun is divided into two part Talla(Down) Ramgarh and Malla (Ramgarh).The other very famous thing about Ramgarh are the orchards which provide you with one of the best apples, pears, and peaches. It has a history of hosting poets, writers, and artist who come to the hills seeking inspiration.

Mukteshwar: At a distance of 47km lies Mukteshwar is a stunning place nestled between the dense conifers and fruit Orchards and is situated 2,286 meters above sea level. Mukteshwar offers 180-degrees view of the Himalayan Ranges. One can see the peaks of Nanda Devi, Nanda Ghunti, Nandakot, Trishul, and Panchachuli. It is an important hill station in Kumaon.

Kainchi Dham: Situated at 17km from Nainital is this small Ashram Compound where Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaji) spent much of his later years.Kaichi Dham had its share of the limelight when in a candid interview, Mark Zuckerberg revealed to the Prime Minister, that he had visited a temple in India on the advice of Steve Jobs

Corbett National Park: Located at a distance of 66km, was later named after Jim Corbett, who was a wildlife conservationist, and had played a crucial role in the establishment of the park. Apart from the park the Corbett Museum and Corbett waterfall are major attractions of the place. Jim Corbett National Park a major crowd puller in the region. It was in 1936 when it was established as Hailey National Park, to protect the endangered tiger. [14]


See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  • Bateman, Josiah (1860), The Life of The Right Rev. Daniel Wilson, D.D., Late Lord Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan of India, Volume II, John Murray, Albemarle Street, London. 
  • Corbett, SAYUJ (2002) [2000], Inter H.G.S – Indian Culture in Daily Life., Oxford India Reprint 
  • Corbett, Jim (2002) [1948], The Man Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag, Oxford India Reprint 
  • Corbett, Jim (2002) [1954], The Temple Tigers and More Man-Eaters of Kumaon, Oxford India Reprint 
  • Fayrer, Joseph (1900), Recollections of my life, William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London 
  • Imperial Gazeteer of India (1908), Imperial Gazeteer of India, Volume 18, pp. 322–323., Oxford University Press, Oxford and London 
  • Kennedy, Dane (1996), The Magic Mountains: Hill Stations and the British Raj, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Oxford. 264 pages. 
  • Kipling, Rudyard (1889), The Story of the Gadsbys, Macmillan and Company, London 
  • Kipling, Rudyard (1895), Under the Deodars, Macmillan and Company, London 
  • McLaren, Eva Shaw (1920), Elsie Inglis: The Woman with the Torch, Macmillan and Company, New York 
  • M'Crindle, J.W. (1901), Ancient India: As Described in Classical Literature, Archibald ConstaHble & Company, Westminster 
  • Murphy, C.W. (1906), A Guide to Naini Tal and Kumaun, Allahbad, United Provinces 
  • Notes on Wanderings in the Himmala, containing descriptions of some of the grandest scenery of the snowy range, among others of Naini Tal, Agra Akhbaar Press, Agra 

External links[edit]