Nestled amidst the township of Nainital, Naini Lake (short for Nainital Lake) is a beautiful natural fresh body lake. The lake is in crescent or kidney shape and is one of the most famous lakes of the Kumaon region. Bounded by Naini Peak on North West, Tiffin Point on the South West and snow-capped peaks on the north, the Nainital Lake offers a breathtaking view, especially during early morning and sunset. The mesmerising lake is most famous for its wonderful scenic beauty which is a hotspot for family picnics. Boating, long evening walks and endearing interactions with ducks are some of the things that are a must do whilst visiting this glittering lake. You can also seek the blessings of Goddess Naina Devi at the Naina Devi temple which is also situated near the Naini Lake.
The Nainital Lake is a charming beauty that is surrounded by seven different peaks namely Ayarpata, Deopata, Handi Bandi, Cheena Peak, Alma, Laria Kanta and Sher Ka Danda. The lake itself can be divided into two distinct sections, the northern part called Mallital and southern region called Tallital. Coniferous trees that cover the hillside add charm to the raw beauty of the place. You can also visit Naini Temple on the shores of the lake. A pretty lake that once a European man fell in love with, Naini Lake today serves as a major tourist spot for people from all over the country.
Legend of Naini Lake
Legend says that once upon a time, a very powerful king named Daksha ruled in the country. He had a beautiful daughter named Sati, and when she came of age, King Daksh began looking for a suitable groom for her. As luck would have it, Sati got attracted to Lord Shiva whom King Daksh despised thoroughly. Despite wanting otherwise, Sati and Shiva got married and started living together. This was not acceptable to King Daksh, and he decided to organize a 'yajna' or fire sacrifice ritual where Shiva and Sati were not invited. However, Sati decided to attend her father's prayer service in spite of not being invited to the same. Upon reaching the venue, she and her husband were thoroughly disrespected by Daksh and unable to tolerate the humiliation, Sati jumped into the ritualistic fire.
Upon learning of Sati's death, Shiva was livid and he started performing the 'Tandava' or celestial dance of destruction. According to a legend, it is said that Lord Shiva performed his tandava at Naini Lake as well. This gave way to apocalyptic destruction on the Earth, and the Gods feared that the world was nearing its end. When repeated pleas to Shiva by the other Gods went in vain, Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshan Chakra upon Sati's dead body which cut it into 52 different parts. Each of the remains fell on a different portion of the country and a temple emerged there. The Naini Devi Temple was the site where Sati's 'nayan' or eyes had fallen.
Best Time To Visit Naini Lake
You can best enjoy the serenity of Naini Lake during the months of March, June, November and December when the weather is perfect for a boat ride.
How to Reach Naini Lake
Once you have reached Nainital, the best way to explore the Nainital Lake and surrounding areas is on foot. The Naini Lake is situated close to the Nainital Bus stand from where you can walk your way here. However, for convenience, there are cycle rickshaws and taxis area available that can take you from one place to another.