Nainital district General information

Nainital is a glittering jewel in the Himalyan necklace, blessed  with  scenic  natural spledour and varied natural resources . Dotted with lakes , Nainital has earned the epithet of  'Lake   District'   of  India . The most prominent of the lakes is Naini lake ringed by hills . Nainital has a varied topography . Some of the important places in   the   district are Nainital , Haldwani , Kaladhungi , Ramnagar , Bhowali , Ramgarh , Mukteshwar , Bhimtal , Sattal  and Naukuchiatal . Nainital’s  unending   expense  of  scenic  beauty is nothing short of a romance with awe-inspiring and pristine Mother nature.

Nainital is headquarter of Nainital District. It is also divisional Headquarter of Kumaon Division of Uttarakhand State.


Nainital is referred to in the ‘Manas Khand’ of the ‘Skanda Purana’ as the Tri-Rishi-Sarovar,the lake of the three sages ,Atri,Pulastya and Pulaha who were reputed to have arrived here on a penitential piligrimage, and, finding no water to quench their thirst dug a hole and siphoned water into it from Mansarovar the sacred lake in Tibet.

The Second important mythological reference to Nainital is as one of 64 ‘Shakti Peeths’.These centres were created wherever parts of charred body of Sati fell ,when Lord Shiva was carrying around her corpse in grief .It is said that the left eye (Nain) of Sati fell here and this gave rise to patron deity of town Nainital . It is said that the lake is formed in the emerald eye shape . Naina Devi temple is located at the northern end of the lake . Thus name of Nainital derivated from Naina and the tal (Lake).

Social System

District Nainital has rich cultural traditions & heritage . The main towns of the district are cosmopolitan and its people are associated with various religions and sets living through generations. Broadly eighty percent of population follows Hindu religion, the rest part belongs to Sikh,Muslim,Christion,Bauddha etc religions. The major part of population follows Kumouni traditions.

Marriages are mostly arranged by the parents after tallying horoscopes. The main functions of marriages are Ganesh Pooja, Suwal Pathai, Dhuliargh , Kanya-daan, phere, vida. The traditional kumouni barat take a lively colour in presence of Choliya Nritya (Dance) & playing of turais (trumpets) ,dhol ,damua. But now a days people are seen dancing on the tunes of bands in Barat.


Balmithai People are mostly rice eating in habit but wheat, maduwa and other grains are also consumed. In pulses, people prefer Urad, Gahat, Bhatt, Masur . Meat is also common among the people. Ceremonial food consists of Kheer, Singhal, Poori, Pua, Bada, Kapa made of Palak, Raita, Khatai etc. The other typical kumouni foods are SinghalChudkani & Bhattiya made of bhatt & Soya been, Gautras made of Gahat, Jholee made from mattha, Gaba vegetable .In towns restaurants provide general food along with Chinese & South Indian dishes . There are people who enjoy fishes, Tharus and Bengali settlers comes in this class.

Fairs & Festivals

After harvesting season people mostly relax, rejoice, dance and sing thus a festival is generated. At the transition of sun from one constellation to another Sankranti is observed. Each Sankranti has a fair or festival connected to it somewhere in Kumoun. Fooldeyi, Bikhauti, Harela, Ghee Sankranti, Khatarua, HoliUttaraini are the mostly observed Sankranties throughout the region. Other festivals have the bearings in the moon and the dates changed frequently in Gregorian Calendar. Basant Panchami, Shiv Ratri, Holi, Samvatsar Parwa, Ram Navami, Dashra, Batsavitri, Rakshabandhan, Janmastmi, Nandastmi, Deepawali etc are some of the auspicious occasions. Fairs are organised on these occasions on certain places. The Uttaraini Mela at Chitrashila near Ranibag is observed on Makar Sankranti Day (Approx. 14th January). Kumaoni people feed the crows on Uttaraini day by saying ‘Khale Kaua khale Ghughuti Bada Khale’ .On Buddha Purnima Day, in the month of May there is festivity near Budhansthli, while Bhimtal observes Harela Mela on 16th or 17th of July. Baishakhi Purnima day brings rejoicing near Lokhamtal while Kainchi temple premises is gay on 15th June. Kakrighat has Somnath Fair on the last Monday of Baishakh, Garjia is full of festivity on Kartik Purnima day in the month of November. Nandashtami Festival is observed with full devotion in the district, fairs are organised at Nainadevi temple Nainital and Bhowali.The Kumaoni people use the fortnight of Shradha in late September or early October to remember their passed away ancestors.

Life Style

t all auspicious occasions tilak made out of processed turmeric with akshat (Pithya) is put on the forehead. Village ladies are seen with a long pithya starting from the upper nose up to forehead. Various superstitions exists as common throughout the country. A black spot is put on the forehead of a child to ward away from evil spirits .

Courtesy calls are made on days other than Tuesday and Saturday. Mourning calls are made exclusively on Tuesday and Saturdays. Visit to sick persons are not made on Tuesdays , Thursdays and Saturdays. Females do not pay visit to their mothers on Thursday. Elders are greeted by touching their feet with ovation of pailagon and responded by chirinjivi bhav or saubhagyavati bhav.Others are greeted with folded hands using Namaskar .

Kumaoni Woman in traditional DressMarried women put round ingoor or sindoor on their forehead . On special occasions married women wear huge golden nose ring called nath. Black beaded ( Chareu) garland on their neck is considered to be the pious symbol of leading a married life for a woman. Golden necklace is commonly used but poor people use silver in the neck known as Hansuli. So far as the usual dress is concerned females wear sari but there is still a longing for the conventional dress of ghaghara-pichora . Every lady keeps it ready for ceremonial occasions.

People live in houses made out of stone or bricks. Few old constructions are made out of wood also. Wood carvings which was very common in the past are now very rare. TempleIn hilly area, roofs have slopes and roofing is done with the help of tin or slates of stone. In villages, animals live in ground floor called Goth and human beings in first floor.

Hill temples are the monuments having mixture of deep sense of art and culture. Sculpture varies with the time of inception of the temple. The mode of worship is also different in many aspects from that of plains. These temples act as the nucleus of the social and cultural activities. Hill people orgnise Jagars to please local deities.Golu, Bholanath, Sam, Aidi, Gangnath are some of the local deities.


he tradition of colorful ornamentation on Aanchal cloths is a unique Kumouni tradition, rooted deep in its long history. In all ritual ceremonies women wear pichora, also known as Rangwali. It is a piece of muslin cloth, 3 mts. in length & One and half mts. in width, which is dyed yellow, it is then printed with design with a padded wooden stick using red colours. At the centre is the sign of Swastik, and the motifs of sun, moon, bell and conch shell .

Aipan ArtThe style of painting is locally known as Aipan. During ceremonies and festivals the women set themselves to decorating the floor & walls of their houses with designs & patterns . The material used is the paste of rice mixed with ochre. The floor of the worship room & the seat of Gods & Folk ArtGoddesses, are decorated with specific tantrik motifs called Peeth or Yantra. A Yantra is a diagrammatic representation of the deity, and consists of linear or septal geometrical permutations of patterns considered as the plan of the terrestrial places where the deity resides. For Namkaran Sanskar, the Aipan on the wooden chauki comprises motifs of sun, moon, bell etc. In the Janeu, the Aipan shows the zodiacal sign of Great bear arranged in hexagons, to invoke the blessings of Sapta-Rishis. In marriage ceremony, the Dhuliargh Chauki bears a design of big water-jar, symbolising primordial water from which the universe emerged.


Apple orchards are found mainly in Ramgarh Mukteshwar belt . Beside this Peach, Pears , Apricot,Citrus fruits ,Kafal,Strawberry, Hills Banana grown in the hilly track ,Lichi of Ramnagar makes Nainital a main fruit growing district. Tea plantation work is also in progress in the slopes of Niglat & Ghorakhal.

Now a days a number of floriculture farm have mushroomed in the district due to its favorable climate for growing flowers.

Flora and Fauna

In its Tarai & Bhabhar belt a number of medicinal trees, shrubs and herbs grow like Vijayasar, Arjun, Bhilwa, Varun, Gambhari, Kutuj, Tejpatra, Priyangoo, Danti, Sarivah, Shwet Sarivah, Brahmi, Satwahi, Patha, Bhringraj, Punarnava, Kamal & Kamalni, Gokhru, Anatmool, Marodfali, Talwarfali, Ashok, Kaliyali, Pipli, various species of Mentha and so on. There is potential to grow Mulhatti, Aswagandha, Saptaparna and so many other plants of various zones of India.

These plants can also grow in the deep valleys of hills. In the middle Himalayan range we find CholaiDaruharidra, Timoor, Manjishtha, Sugandhabala, Samayava, Manduparna, Dhooplakkar, Talish, Devdaru, Padam, Vidhangabhed, Kakoli, Ksheerkakoli, Lahsuniya and so many other plants. This range has the potential to grow plants like Saffron, Vindhanga, Ghritkumari and so on.

The sub alpine zone of this district grows Fern, Deodar , various other species of Daruharidra, Sugandhabala, Banapsa. It has the potential to grow plants like Gandhanarain, Kutki, Kooth, Bhootkesi, Junipers, Abies which is called Fern . Here around 2500 mts. plants like Jatamasi, Mithavish, Atish can also be tried.

Many of these plants have a great commercial importance. These are widely used in indigenous system Fusiaof medicines like Ayurveda, Yunani, Aamchi (Tibetan System) for skin diseases, stomach disorder, nervous disability, liver diseases. Many of these are used in heart & brain tonics. Some are blood purifiers and strengthen the immunity mechanism.

At present crores of this herbal raw material is supplied to Haldwani, Ramnagar, Dehradun & other mandis of plains. Bheshaj Sanghs & K.M.V.N. has the official authority to collect these medicines.

Tourist Place

Bhowali :

It is 1706 meters above the sea level and 11 KMs. away from Nainital.This is a road junction serving all the nearby hill stations from Nainital.Bhowali is famous for its scenic grandeur and as a hill fruit mart , Bhowali is also known for its T.B. sanatorium established in 1912.


Famous for the temple of Lord Golu worshipped by hill people and sainik school this place is at a distance of 3 Kms from Bhowali.

Sat Tal :

At a distance of about 23 Kms. from Nainital at an altitude of 1370 mts. Sattal is a unique, unforgettable spot having cluster of lakes placed amidst the oak forest. It is comparable with Westmoreland of England. As one approach toward Sattal first lake  is  old Nal Damyanti Lake. On moving ahead there is the ashram of Stanley Johns an American Missionary. Next lake is Panna or Garude lake.As we move down there is a cluster of three lakes , these lakes are Ram,Laxman and Sita lake.


It is about 22 Kms. from Nainital and 11 Kms. from Bhowali at an altitude of 1370 mts. The pride of Bhimtal is a beautiful lake which offers magnificent vistas for tourists. The lake is larger than Naini lake. Tourist enjoys here boating in lake. There is an island amid lake a restaurant is located atop it. Tourist visit here by boats. The distance of island from lake shore is 91 mts.There is a 17th century Bhimeshwar temple complex along the 40 feet high dam . The local bus stand and taxi stand is situated near it. One road from Bhimtal leaves for Naukuchiatal while the another one goes to Kathgodam 21 Kms from here.

Naukuchia Tal:

It is 26 Kms from Nainital and 4 Kms from Bhimtal at 1220 mts above sea level.A pretty deep clean lake with its nine corner is a captivating site.Length of lake is 983 mts. ,breadth is 693 mts & depth 40.3 mts.It is within an enchanting valley offering an opportunity of angling and bird watching.There is ample scope for rowing ,paddling or yachting.

Kainchi Dham :

On the Nainital - Almora Road , 9 Km from Bhowali and 17 Kms from Nainital is a modern pilgrim centre. This place has achieved recognition owing to the ashram of the famous Neem Karoli Maharaj. Kaichi is a term used for two sharp hairpin bends of the motor road in local dialect hence the name. It has no relation with scissors.

Mukteshwar :

This beautiful place is 2286 mts in altitude and 51 Kms. from Nainital. Surrounded by fruit orchards and thick coniferous forest it was developed by the Britishers as research and education institute (IVRI) in 1893. It is the celebrated scenic spot overlooking long ranges of Himalaya.An old temple of Lord Shiva exist on the top of a rock.

Ranikhet :

A hill station, idyllic in its charm, Ranikhet with its majestic pine trees, is 60 Kms. from Nainital. According to popular belief this spot had won the heart of Rani Padmini, queen of Raja Sudhardev . She chose this scenic place to her abode & since then, it has come to be known as Ranikhet, literally "Queen’s Field" . At an altitude of 1829 mts. above sea level, this hill station is undoubtedly a tourist’s paradise. The scented mountain breeze, fresh & pure, the singing of birds, the panoramic view of the Himalayas, the sights, sounds and smells leave the onlooker spellbound. Weaving an instant spell on the visitor Ranikhet draws visitors all the year round. Ranikhet is the headquarter of Kumaoun Regimental Centre. KRC museum and memorial are the jewels of Ranikhet town . The following sites can be visited during stay at Ranikhet .

Upat Kalika : 6 Kms. from the town on Almora Road the place has one of the best mountain golf links (9 Holes) in the country surrounded by dense forests just one km. from Upat is Kalika with its famous temple.

Chaubatiya Garden : 10kms. from Ranikhet town this place has fruit gardens with a Government Fruit Reserch Centre.

Bhalu Dam : It is 3 kms. from Chaubatiya. It is famous for fishing.

Hairakhan Dham
: It is 5 kms. from Ranikhet , ashram of Hairakhan Baba is loacted here.

Kausani :

Nestling among thick dense pine forests, atop a narrow ridge and separated from the towering mountains of the Nanda Devi range by low, medium mountains ; at Kausani the grandeor of the Himalayan scenery comes alive. The view of the snow covered Trishul & Nanda Devi is so clear that one gets a feeling of the snown being within touching distance. Its ethereal sunrise & a 300 kms. wide view of the Himalayan range have attracted thousands of visitors to this place time & again. Eulogised by poets & philosophers, this scenic & beautiful spot offers so much all the year round, sightseeing, history, pilgrimage and complete relaxation .Mahatma Gandhi, who spent 12 days in 1929 at Kausani, penned his memorable commentry on the Geeta-Anashakti-Yoga inspired by the scenic grandeur of this richly gifted spot. The guest house where the Mahatma stayed is now known as the Anashakti Ashram. Hindi poet laureate Sumitra Nandan Pant was born at Kausani. Some of his early poem composed here have described nature in its myriad manifestations. Kausani is ideal for those who seek to escape from the din & dust, hustle & bustle of big cities and wish to spent a quiet holidays in the lap of nature.

Baijnath :

Situated at an elevation of 1125 mts. it is 19 Kms. from Kausani towards Bageshwar. Lying on the banks of Gomti river in a flat valley, the temple complex of Baijnath was constructed by the Katyuri kings. Here in Baijnath old anicient temples of Shiva, Ganesh, Parvati, Chandika, Kuber, Surya, Brahama are located . These were constructed in 13th century AD.

Jageshwar :

Counted among the 12 Jyotirlings in the country, Jageshwar lies in a beautiful narrow valley hedged by monarch-sized, ancient deodars. Of the over 100 small and large shrines of this complex, the three outstanding ones, in terms of sculpture, are dedicated of Jageshwar, Mrityunjaya and Pushtidevi. Jageshwar temple has sculpted dwarpals standing guard at its entrance . Although the presiding deity at Jageshwar is shiva a strong Buddhist influence is visible in the carvings. It is about 100 Kms. from Nainital.

Binsar :

95 kms. from Nainital , Binsar is one of the most scenic spot in the Kumoun Himalayas and acclaimed hill resorts. At an elevation of 2412 mts, this place offers an excellent view of Kumoun hills and the greater Himalayas , surrounded by Alpine flora, ferns, hanging moss & species of wild flowers. The main attaraction of Binsar is the majestic view of the Himalayas. A three hundred kms. stretch of famous peaks which includes Kedranath, Chaukhamba, Trishul, Nandadevi, Nandakot & Pachachuli. The forests of Himalayan Oak and rhobodendron are excellent for trekking and communing with nature.

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