Discovery of Nainital: A Brief History & Best Time to Visit Nainital

A captivating destination that seamlessly blends history, natural beauty and a tranquil ambience, Nainital is situated in the middle of the serene mountains of Uttarakhand. This famous hill station has a rich past and offers many attractions that tempt travelers from all over the world. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of Nainital and Explore the enchanting paradise of Nainital and discover the best time to visit Nainital

Historical Background of Nainital

Legend has it that Nainital derived its name from the goddess Naina Devi, whose eyes fell into the charming Naini lake during a celestial dance. The Katyuri dynasty, which flourished in the region from the 7th to the 11th century, exerted significant influence on the early development of Nainital.

British Influence and Development

In the early 19th century, Nainital was discovered by British explorers who were captivated by its natural splendour. Recognizing its potential as a hill station, the British Raj established Nainital as a popular retreat from the scorching plains. They developed Nainital’s infrastructure, including the construction of colonial-era buildings, churches, and a network of well-laid roads.

Evolution as a Tourist Destination

Over the years, Nainital has evolved into a favoured destination among Indian and international travellers alike. Its serene lakes, lush greenery, and pleasant climate have been drawing tourists seeking refuge from the chaos of city life. Additionally, Nainital holds historical significance as it played a notable role in the Indian independence movement.

Nainital’s Unique Geography and Climate

Geographical Features

Situated at approximately 2,084 meters (6,837 feet) above sea level, Nainital is perched in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. The town is set around the beautiful Naini Lake, which adds to its allure. Surrounded by rolling hills and verdant valleys, Nainital is also home to several other lakes, such as Bhimtal and Sattal.

Nainital’s Climate

Nainital experiences a pleasant climate throughout the year, with four distinct seasons. Summers are mild and provide a welcome escape from the scorching heat of the plains. Monsoons bring refreshing showers, rejuvenating the surroundings with lush greenery. Winters in Nainital are marked with cold temperatures and occasional snowfall, transforming the town into a winter wonderland.


Best Time to Visit Nainital

Summertime Escape

Nainital offers a perfect retreat from the scorching heat of the plains during the summer months of May and June. The temperatures range from a pleasant 14 to 30 degrees Celsius (57 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). Travellers can enjoy boating and engage in thrilling water sports on the tranquil waters of Naini Lake.

Monsoon Splendor

As the monsoon recedes, Nainital adorns itself with a breathtaking display of autumn colours during the months of July to September. The weather remains mild, with temperatures ranging from 10 to 18 degrees Celsius (50 to 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit). It is an ideal time to explore nearby attractions and embark on picturesque hiking trails.

Winter Wonderland

For those seeking a magical winter experience, Nainital is a dream come true from October to February. The town experiences occasional snowfall, turning it into a fairyland. With temperatures ranging from sub-zero to 15 degrees Celsius (32 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit), visitors can indulge in winter sports and revel in the festive charm of Nainital.

Snowfall in Nainital

The snowfall season in Nainital typically occurs from late December to January, although it may vary slightly each year. Factors such as altitude and weather patterns influence the intensity and frequency of snowfall. Snowfall in Nainital transforms the town into a wonderland straight out of a storybook. Visitors can partake in delightful activities like building snowmen, engaging in snowball fights, and simply relishing the ethereal beauty of snow-clad landscapes. The panoramic views of the snow-covered mountains and the glistening Naini Lake are a treat for the eyes and soul.

Exploring Nainital’s Historical Landmarks
Naini Lake and Mall Road

Naini Lake, the centrepiece of Nainital, offers a serene retreat. Visitors can take a leisurely boat ride or stroll along the vibrant Mall Road, dotted with shops, cafes, and enchanting lakeside promenades.

Naina Devi Temple

The Naina Devi Temple, perched atop the Naina Hill, holds immense religious significance. Devotees flock to this ancient shrine dedicated to the goddess Naina Devi, seeking blessings and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Governor’s House

Formerly known as the Raj Bhavan, the Governor’s House showcases architectural grandeur and echoes the colonial legacy of Nainital. Its well-manicured gardens and guided tours offer visitors a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the British Raj.

St. John’s Church

With its historical significance and elegant Gothic architecture, St. John’s Church is a must-visit landmark in Nainital. The tranquil atmosphere, stained glass windows, and peaceful surroundings provide solace and spiritual reflection.

Natural Wonders in and around Nainital

Eco Cave Gardens

The Eco Cave Gardens boast a unique interconnected cave system and beautifully landscaped gardens. Visitors can indulge in adventure activities like crawling through narrow caves and enjoy educational experiences about the local ecology.

Tiffin Top (Dorothy’s Seat)

Tiffin Top, also known as Dorothy’s Seat, offers mesmerizing viewpoints and panoramic vistas of the Himalayas. It is a popular spot for nature lovers and photographers, with its well-defined hiking trails and serene picnic spots.

Naini Peak (China Peak)

As the highest peak in Nainital, Naini Peak offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and snow-capped mountains. Trekking enthusiasts can embark on the exhilarating journey to the summit, capturing memorable photographs along the way.

Pangot and Kilbury Bird Sanctuary

Nature enthusiasts and bird lovers should not miss a visit to Pangot and Kilbury Bird Sanctuary. This paradise is home to a wide array of avian species, and visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquil environment while exploring nature trails.

Festivals and Events in Nainital

Nainital Winter Carnival

The Nainital Winter Carnival is a celebration of winter sports, cultural events, and local traditions. Visitors can enjoy ice skating, immerse themselves in music performances, and witness the vibrant local culture.

Uttarayani Mela

The annual Uttarayani Mela is a vibrant fair and religious festival that attracts a large gathering of devotees. The fair showcases traditional rituals, cultural performances, local handicrafts, and delectable cuisine.

Sharadotsav (Autumn Festival)

Sharadotsav is an autumn festival that brings together local art, music, and dance forms. Visitors can enjoy cultural programs, explore art exhibitions, and savour mouthwatering delicacies from food stalls.

Practical Information and Travel Tips

Accommodation Options

Nainital offers a range of accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences. Travellers can choose from a selection of hotels, resorts, and guesthouses that provide comfortable and convenient stays.

Getting to Nainital

Nainital is well-connected by various transportation options. Travellers can reach Nainital via nearby airports, such as Pantnagar Airport, or by train via the Kathgodam Railway Station. Road routes are also available, providing scenic drives through the picturesque landscapes of Uttarakhand.

Packing Essentials

When visiting Nainital, it is essential to pack appropriate clothing and accessories based on the season. Lightweight and breathable clothing is recommended for summers, while winters require warm layers and winter wear. Additionally, packing items such as sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, and a camera is essential for outdoor activities and capturing scenic beauty.

Safety Considerations

Visitors should take necessary precautions when visiting high-altitude destinations like Nainital. It is advisable to acclimatize to the altitude gradually, stay hydrated, and be aware of any altitude-related health issues. Familiarize yourself with the location of medical facilities and emergency services in Nainital to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.


Nainital, with its intriguing history, breathtaking landscapes, and cultural festivities, stands as a remarkable destination for travelers seeking an immersive experience. Whether you visit during the summertime escape, autumn splendor, or winter wonderland, Nainital never fails to captivate with its charm and natural beauty. Plan your visit to this enchanting hill station, and let Nainital’s rich history and awe-inspiring vistas leave an indelible mark on your journey and explore the best time to visit in Nainital.

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