History

DISCOVERY OF NAINITAL :-

The names of two foreigners is linked with the discovery of the Lake at Nainital. One of them G. W. Traill, Commissioner of Kumaon and Garhwal, was the first European to set eyes on it in 1823. Nevertheless, the lake had been known for quite some time to herdsmen from villages nearby and held in great reverence as an abode of gods and spirits.
G. W. Traill had great respect for the traditions and beliefs of the hill folk. To his way of thinking, crowds would violate the sanctity of the place and the lake, so he kept the discovery of the Nainital Lake strictly to himself.

On the other hand, Mr. P. Barron, a European merchant and an enthusiastic hunter from Rosa, near Shahjahanpur, had no sooner caught a glimpse of the lake in its sylvan setting than he realized its potential as a hill resort and went full steam a colonizing it. Mr.P.Barron was the second European who took great fancy to this land. Moved by the beauty of the sparkling lake he wrote: "It is by far the best site I have witnessed in the course of a 1,500 miles treak in the Himalayas"

The year was 1839. Barron first reached the lake through a trick, a fact mentioned in his book Wanderings in the Himmala. He knew there was a large lake in the heart of Kumaon. He also knew that local guides deliberately misled Europeans who wished to go there, in order to keep the location a secret. Sure enough, Barron's guide declared he had never heard of the lake, at which Barron placed on the guide's head a large stone and told him to carry it till they managed to find the lake. He said there were reputedly no stones near the lake and he needed come to build a house.

Desperate to be rid of the load, the guide soon confessed he knew the lake well enough and there was no scarcity of stones in the general area. Barron says that other Europeans also resorted to the same trick till such time that Nainital found a place on the map.

On his second visit, Barron got the better of a local thokdar (village headman) Nar Singh who had laid claim to the lake and the surrounding hills as his ancestral property. The matter was pending settlement in court. Barron persuaded Nar Singh to accompany him for a ride on the lake in his (Barron's) own private boat, a rarity in those days. In the middle of the lake, Barron threatened to upset the boat if Nar Singh did not waive his claim, thereby admitting the right of the honorable Company Bahadur to the disputed land.

Nar Singh had no choice for, unlike the others, he could not swim. He wrote the needful in pencil on the page of a pocketbook provided by Barron. Mission accomplished, Barron promptly applied for a plot to construct a house.

Land was allotted for the purpose just above the present Nainital Club at an annual lease of two annas! Here, Barron constructed the house Pilgrim Lodge, his pen name being Pilgrim. The house stands to this day.

Nainital was Jim Corbett's home for many years. Though Nainital had expanded and the surrounding forests that once teemed with bears, tigers and deer, the soul remains the same. Nestled in the serene and peaceful hamlet of beautiful lakes and mountains, watch the sun rise and set over the mountains of Nainital. Move across the ravines and valleys, and see localized weather patterns appear over the higher peaks as winds are driven upward.

Blessed with picture perfect and varied natural resources.
The Nainital town became the summer headquarters of the colonial administration of the province. It was a popular retreat for the residents of the plains.
Being popular with the British, the town developed a British character with several European schools, barracks, a sanatorium and a race course, of which this is a view.

Massive Distruction Faced By the Nainital Region (Nainital Landslide 1880)
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In Sept 1880 a landslide occurred at the north end of the town, burying 151 people. The first known landslide had occurred in 1866, and in 1879 there was a larger one at the same spot, Alma Hill, but "the great slip occurred in the following year, on Saturday 18th Sept 1880. "Two days preceding the slip there was heavy rain.
20 to 25 inches fell during the 40 hours ending on Saturday morning, and the downpour still lasted and continued for hours after the slip. This heavy fall naturally brought down streams of water from the hill side, some endangering the Victoria Hotel, Bell's shop, the Volunteer Orderly Room and the Naina Devi temple were scenes of labour with a view to diverting streams.
At a quarter to two the landslip occurred burying those in and around the buildings mentioned above." The total number of dead and missing were 108 Indian and 43 British nationals.
The Assembly Rooms and the Naina Devi Temple were both destroyed in the disaster. A recreation area known as 'The Flats' was later built on the site and a new temple was also erected. To prevent further disasters, storm water drains were constructed and building byelaws were made stricter.
Nainital the ' Lake District of India' has been privileged with as many as 60 lakes. With the passage of time some 40 lakes disappeared because of deforestation, pollution and a general lack of awareness.

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MYTHOLOGY ABOUT NAINITAL

It is very less is known about the history of Nainital. This region was called "Khasdesh" in ancient times and "Khasis" ruled this region before Christ was born. Once the Nainital area had many lakes and it was called the City of 60 lakes or 'Chakta' The Nainital Lake finds mention in the Manas Khand (chapter) of the Skanda Purana (scriptures) as the Tririshi Sarovar, i.e., the lake of the three sages (or rishis). Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha. Legend has it that in the course of their pilgrimage the three sages arrived here, only to find the place without water. Meditating on the sacred and bountiful sanctum lake of Tibet namely Manasarovar Lake, they dug a hole here. So great was the power of their tapasya (meditation) that the hole soon filled with water.

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According to a legend King Daksha held a great 'Yajna' but did not invite Parvati and her consort Shiva. Parvati could not bear this direct insult, in her great fury Parvati gate-crashed into the 'Yajna' ground and leaped into the high flames of 'Yajna' fire to end her life and later Lord Shiva retrieved her half-charred corpse himself. His Chakra and cut the Sati’s body into fifty one pieces to save the earth from Shiva’s wrath. All the fifty one places - where parts of Sati's body fell, became known as Shakti Peeths.
It is said that the shimmering green waters of the Naini Lake is a reflection of the emerald green eye of Sati. The majority of the local people believe that the eyes of Sati dropped in the lake while her body was being carried by Lord Shiva to Kailesh Parvat. Hence, the lake was given the name of 'Nainital' or Naini lake. Later the spot became famous by this very name.

MYTHOLOGY OF NEAR BY PLACES IN NAINITAL DISTRICT

There are many places Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand which have religious connection Epics like MAHABHARATA and RAMAYANA. It is said that Padava spent their 14 yrs of exile in Uttarakhand. They constructed several temples in Uttarakhand during their stay here and finally they went to Heaven from the Uttarakhand itself. There are several places in Uttarakhand which have connection with Ramanayana also.

Mukteshwar (Nainital District)

Mukteshwar has served as a retreat and also carries much religious significance. According to local belief and folklore the Pandavas as well as many gods and Devtas of the Hindu pantheon have graced it with their presence.

Bhimtal (Nainital District)

Bhimtal, earlier known as Bhimsarovar, is believed to be the stamping ground of the Pandavas. According to the locals the town is named so because when the Pandanvas had been exiled in this region they could not find a water body from which they could quench their thirst. It was then that Bhima, the powerful, hit the ground with his "gada" or club thus creating a cavity in the ground, which was filled with an underground source of water. The Bhimeshwar temple is said to have been set up by the Pandavas, who established a Shivling there.

Sattal (Nainital District)

Religious beliefs pertaining to the Sattal lakes go back to the times of the Mahabharata. The Nal Damayantital is named after King Nal. King Nal, one of the most famous kings of Hindu mythology, was sentenced to a fourteen year exile by his brother, Pushkar. Penniless and ostracised, he and his wife Damayanti sought refuge in Satal, among other places.

Seeta Bani Temple (Nainital District)

Seeta Bani Temple is dedicated to Devi Sita, consort of Lord Rama. Sita was a foundling, discovered in a furrow in a ploughed field, and for that regarded as a daughter of Bhumi Devi, the goddess of the Earth. It is believed that at the end Devi Sita entered into the lap of Mother Earth from here. Every year, a fair is held here during Ram Navami. It is located at a distance of 20 km from Ramnagar.

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The name "NAINA" which means eye is derived from a temple to the goddess 'Naini Devi" built on the upper edge of the lake and was destoyed by the landslip of 1880.

It was subsequently replaced by the present structure. The word "Naini" means 'Eyes' and 'Tal' means 'Lake'. The perimeter of the Naini Tal lake is of nearly 2 miles.

Maa Naina Devi Temple is considered to be one of the most revered Hindu Temples in India

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Though the Naina Devi temple is named after Naina Devi (another name for Sati), the biggest social occasion here is the festival held in honour of Nanda Devi.

The patron goddess of Kumaon hills and a local princess Sunanda Devi.
On the northern side of the lake is built a temple dedicated to Sati and is called the Maa Naina Devi temple.
The Naina Devi temple is situated atop Naina hillock in Nainital. Thousands of pilgrims gather here every year around September to worship Goddess Parvati.

Maa Naina Devi Temple is considered to be one of the most revered Hindu Temples in India

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Maa Naina Devi Temple is considered to be one of the most revered Hindu Temples in India

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