Nainital Lake is a picturesque natural freshwater lake, idyllically situated amidst the bejeweled town of Nainital in Uttarakhand state. It is one of the four famous lakes of Nainital district, other three are Sattal Lake, Bhimtal Lake and the Nakuchiatal Lake.The Nainital Lake coordinates between latitudes 29.4°N and longitudes 79.47°E. The crystal clear water of the Nainital Lake is a home to varied aquatic life. Also, the area around the lake is bestowed with nature’s grandeur. One can see many vibrant coloured flowers blossoming along the lakeside which is a treat to the eyes.
This lake is nestled in Nainital also known as the “Lake District of India” which comes under Kumaon division of Himalayas. The max length of the Nainital lake is 1,432 m(4,698 ft), width 42 m(138 ft), max depth 27.3 m(90 ft) and the surface area is 48.76 ha (120.5 acres). The surface elevation of the lake is about 1,938 m about 6,358 feet above sea level.
The saga of Lord Shiva and Sati behind the name of Nainital Lake:
Nainital name is derived from two words Naina which mean ‘eye’ and tal means ‘lake’. According to Hindu mythology, Sati the daughter of king Daksha married Shiva against the consent of his father, who in spite of Shiva’s god-like stance did not favour the match. King Daksha held a “yajna” in order to insult his son in law. Everybody was invited except the couple itself. Sati in a rage stormed at the Yajna and before the eyes of her arrogant father, she leapt into the raging flames of the fire.
Upon hearing the grievous news, Lord Shiva came down to earth to retrieve the half charred body. He tenderly took it in his arms and made his way to Kailash Parvat “The abode of Shiva”. On his way back to Kailash Parvat, the eyes of Sati drop into the lake, giving an emerald and turquoise colour to the water. Later, Naina Devi temple was built which was dedicated to Sati. This temple has firmly stood on the grounds of the lake from centuries in spite of being hit by the landslide of 1880, the temple was rebuilt the next year as it is considered to be a sacred place.
Nainital Lake was founded accidently:
The Nainital Lake was founded in 1839 by Mr. P. Barron, an English businessman involved in the sugar trade. He was the first one to visit Nainital from Rosa. Barron who was at a hunting expedition accidently came across the emerald lake. He was bewitched by its ravishing beauty and decided to build a European Colony on the shore of the lake. Barron quoted “It is by far the best site I have witnessed in the course of a 1500 mile trek in the Himalayas”.
How to Reach:
One can easily access the lake as it is situated in the heart of Nainital city. The city is well connected by motorable roads with major cities of India. The nearest railhead is at Kathgodam (35 km) and the nearest airport is Pantnagar Civil Aerodrome at a distance of 55 km from Nainital. The Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi is the nearest International airport.