Nainital Travel Guide – Must See Places in Nainital

Although not so rare, it is amazing to see a body of water some 2000 meters above sea level.

Nainital City at Night

This is the sight that would greet every tourist who decides to visit Nainital. And with the religious and historical background that the area has, one can expect to see more than just the water.  Architectural wonders and places of serenity will provide any guest on tour with the opportunity to relax.

History of Nainital

Like most of the hill stations in India, this particular town started out as a place where British soldiers and nationals decided to take time off away from the oppressive heat of the lowlands.  A portion of it was so densely covered in foliage that it was named Anyarpatta, derived from the Kumauni word “Anyarpatt”, meaning “complete blackout”.  It was noticed in 1846 by a Captain Madden that houses were beginning to spring up in the area.  In 1880 though, a great landslide occurred resulting in the 151 deaths.  Since then, storm water drains have been put up, and much stricter building regulations have been made.

Tourism in Nainital

In the myths, the Nain Lake is where the eyes of Parvati fell while she was being carried by lord Shiva.  This is where the name Nain-Tal came from, as it is literally translated “lake of the eye”.  This is why the Naina Devi Temple sits on the north side of the lake.  The original structure was destroyed in the landslip of 1880, but was rebuilt soon after.  Tours of the area will expose visitors to the deity of the temple, Maa Naina Devi, represented by a pair of eyes.  Beside her, in the temple, are the deities Mata Kali and lord Ganesha.

Just half a mile northwest of the temple is the Church of St. John in the Wilderness.  Established in 1844, it was named by the Bishop of Calcutta because after he had laid the foundations of the church, he was taken ill and was forced to sleep in an unfinished house at the edge of the forest.  This is a well visited spot, and tours pass by the area to remember the disaster more than a century old.  The altar of this church has a brass plaque on it which bears the names of the victims of the Landslip of 1880.


A brisk walk from the town would take one to Naina Peak, the highest peak in the town, standing 2,615 meters above sea level.  It is important to tour the spot, even for just a while, because of the spectacular view.  One can see a great portion of the Himalayas, as well as the whole town of Nainital.

There is more than one lake located near Nainital.  These lakes are Sattal, Khurpa Tal and Naukuchiatal.    All are worth seeing, and Khurpa Tal is extremely popular with the anglers.

One should devote more than just two days to the tour of Nainital.  The town is wonderful, and the people are extremely nice.  There are numerous sites that can be seen, more than listed here.  Most importantly, the location allows everyone to do what a vacation should get someone to do, and that is to rest.


  • Area: 11.73 km2
  • Population: 38,500
  • Elevation: 2,084 meters
  • Geographical Location: 29° 22? 48? N, 79° 27? 0? E
  • Climate: Temperate
  • Primary Rainy Season: June to September
  • Temperatures: Summer: 7 – 27 deg C; Winter: -3 – 15 deg C
  • Languages: Kumauni, Hindi
  • Best Season: March to June, September to October
  • Places to Visit:  Naina Devi Temple,  Church of St. John in the Wilderness, Naina Peak, Sattal, Khurpa Tal and Naukuchiatal

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