Nainital

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This article is about the municipality in Uttarakhand, India. For its namesake district, see Nainital district.
Nainital
नैनीताल
Hill station
View of Nainital Lake City
View of Nainital Lake City
Nainital is located in Uttarakhand
Nainital
Nainital
Coordinates: 29°14′N 79°16′E / 29.23°N 79.27°E / 29.23; 79.27Coordinates: 29°14′N 79°16′E / 29.23°N 79.27°E / 29.23; 79.27
Country India
State Uttarakhand
District Nainital
Elevation 2,084 m (6,837 ft)
Languages
 • Official Hindi
 • Other Kumauni
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 263001/263002
Telephone code +91 - 5942
Vehicle registration UK 04
Website nainital.nic.in

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
Naini Lake view at night

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
(48.9)
11.2
(52.2)
15.5
(59.9)
19.9
(67.8)
23.2
(73.8)
22.9
(73.2)
20.1
(68.2)
19.6
(67.3)
19.3
(66.7)
18
(64)
15.4
(59.7)
12.4
(54.3)
17.24
(63)
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.2
(41.4)
6.8
(44.2)
10.6
(51.1)
15
(59)
18.2
(64.8)
18.6
(65.5)
17.2
(63)
16.8
(62.2)
15.9
(60.6)
13.6
(56.5)
10.6
(51.1)
7.8
(46)
13.03
(55.45)
Average low °C (°F) 1.1
(34)
2.4
(36.3)
5.7
(42.3)
10.1
(50.2)
13.3
(55.9)
14.4
(57.9)
14.3
(57.7)
14
(57)
12.6
(54.7)
9.3
(48.7)
5.9
(42.6)
3.2
(37.8)
8.86
(47.92)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 64
(2.52)
56
(2.2)
60
(2.36)
35
(1.38)
67
(2.64)
178
(7.01)
443
(17.44)
381
(15)
241
(9.49)
76
(2.99)
8
(0.31)
27
(1.06)
1,636
(64.4)
Source: Climate-Data.org[3]

Demographics[edit]

As of the 2001 Indian census,[4] Nainital had a population of 38,559. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Nainital has an average literacy rate of 91%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 98%, and female literacy is 96%. In Nainital, 1% of the population is under 6 years of age. Kumaonies form the major part of the town's population along with people from all over India.

Mythology[edit]

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. 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.[5][6]

History[edit]

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."[7] 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 (Anyar-patt – in Kumaoni means – complete blackout. The reason for this nomenclature by the localites 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) .."[8] 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]

1875
1880
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."[8]

"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."[8]

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,[8] 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 school was St. Mary's Convent, popularly known as Ramnee, in 1878.

Libraries[edit]

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;[9] the Uttarakhand Academy of Administration, Library and Documentation Center, Mallital;[10] the ARIES Observatory Library;[11] and the Kumaon University Library, Nainital.[12]

Famous people with links to Nainital[edit]

Gallery[edit]

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 (2000 (2002)), Inter H.G.S – Indian Culture in Daily Life., Oxford India Reprint  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • 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), 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]