Nainital District: History, Tehsils, Places To Visit, Route & Distance

nainital map image

Nainital is a hilly district in the state of Uttarakhand. It is blessed with scenic natural splendor and varied natural resources. Nainital District headquarter is located in Nainital. It is also the divisional headquarter of the Kumaon Division of Uttarakhand State. Nainital has filled with many lakes and earned the epithet of ‘Lake District‘ of India. In Nainital, Naini lake is the most prominent lake ringed by hills. Some of the important places to visit in the Nainital district are Nainital, Haldwani, Kaladhungi, Ramnagar, Bhowali, Ramgarh, Mukteshwar, Bhimtal, Sattal, and Naukuchiatal.

Nainital has a varied topography and its unending expense of scenic beauty makes it one of the most popular hill stations in India. Kosi is the main river in the Nainital district. River Kosi arising out of Koshimool near Kausani (Bageshwar) flows on the western side of the district. There is a number of smaller rivulets like Gaula, Bhakra, Dabka, Baur, etc. Most of these have been dammed for irrigation purposes.

Here we will explore everything about the Nainital district. We had compiled details on tourism, weather, education, distance, route map and places to visit in Nainital.

Nainital at a Glance

Popular PlacesSattal, Nainital Lake
District MagistrateMr. Savin Bansal (IAS)
Area4,251 Sq.Km.
Population (2011)9,54,605
Vehicle RegistrationUK-04
STD Code05942
Pin Code263001
Official Website

History of Nainital District

According to Skanda Purana, 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 pilgrimage and finding no water to quench their thirst dug a hole and siphoned water into it from Lake Manasarovar the sacred lake in Tibet.

naina devi temple

The Second important mythological reference to Nainital is as one of 64 ‘Shakti Peeths’ known as Maa Naina Devi Temple. Shakti Peeths were created wherever parts of the charred body of Sati (Parvati) 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 the patron deity of town Nainital. It is said that the lake is formed in the emerald eye shape. Maa Naina Devi temple is located at the northern end of the lake. Thus the name of Nainital district derivated from Naina and the Tal (Lake).

The British occupied Kumaon & Garhwal in 1815. After the British occupation, E. Gardiner was appointed as the commissioner of the Kumaun Division on May 8th, 1815. In 1817 the second commissioner of Kumaun Mr. G.W. Traill has conducted the second revenue settlement of Kumaun, Mr. Traill was the first European to visit Nainital but he did not popularize his visit in respect for the religious sanctity of the place.

In the year 1839 an English businessman from Rosa, Mr. P. Barron a sugar trader and his friend an avid hunter strayed into the hills while hunting they got lost and while finding there way back chanced on the wondrous spot. So enamored was Barron with the vision of the placid lake that he left the sugar business and build a European Colony on shores of the lake. This colony now is a part of Governor House Nainital.

In 1841, Nainital appeared in an issue of the ‘Englishman Calcutta’ announcing the discovery of a lake in the vicinity of Almora. According to the earliest data available on a tourist in Nainital by 1847, it had become a popular hill resort.

On 3rd October 1850, the Nainital Municipal Board was formally constituted. It was the second Municipal Board of North-Western Provinces. To catalyze the formation of a town the administration transferred land to the wealthy Sah community of Almora, on condition that they build houses on the land.

In 1862, Nainital became the summer seat of the North-Western Provinces. After it was made the summer Capital, a remarkable expansion of the town occurred with the growth of magnificent bungalows all around and construction of facilities such as marketing areas, rest houses, recreation centers, clubs, etc together with the secretariat and other administrative units. It also became an important center of education for the British who wanted to educate their children in the better air and away from the discomforts of the plains.

Formation of Nainital District

In 1891, The Nainital district was carved out of the Kumaun District and the Kumaon District was then renamed Almora District.

On 9 Nov 2000, Nainital district become part of one of the 13 districts of the state of Uttarakhand. Nainital is also known as the Judicial capital of Uttarakhand. The High Court of Uttarakhand is located at the Nainital district. The Uttarakhand High Court is the High Court of the state of Uttarakhand in India.


Here are the answers to some most frequently asked questions like what is the population of Nainital district? And many more about Caste, Religion, Culture languages in Nainital.

Nainital District Population

According to the 2011 census,

  • Nainital district has a population of 954,605.
  • There is a gender ratio of 934 females for every 1000 males in Nainital.
  • There is a literacy rate of 83.9% in the Nainital district.

Culture & Languages in Nainital District

Nainital district has rich cultural traditions & heritage. The major part of the population follows Kumouni traditions. At the time of the 2011 Census of India, the major first languages of the population were Kumaoni (48%), Hindi (39%), Urdu (6.6%), Punjabi (2.1%), Garhwali (1.6%), Bhojpuri (0.70%), and Nepali (0.63%). There are also speakers of Buksa or Bhoksa tribe, found in a number of villages in Ramnagar development block in Nainital.

  • Kumaoni (48 %)
  • Hindi (39 %)
  • Punjabi (2.1 %)
  • Garhwali (1.6%)
  • Bhojpuri (0.70%)
  • Others (9.3 %)

Religion in Nainital District

The main towns of the Nainital district are cosmopolitan and its people are associated with various religions and sets living through generations. Broadly eighty-four percent of the population follows the Hindu religion, the rest part belongs to Sikh, Muslim, Christion, Buddhist, etc religions.

  • Hindus (84.84 %)
  • Muslims (12.65 %)
  • Sikhs (1.82 %)
  • Christian (0.53 %)
  • Others (0.16 %)

The total geographical area of Nainital district is 4251 Sq. Km. The district is geographically divided into 2 zones, Hilly and Bhabar regions. The hilly region in the outer Himalayas is known to geologists as Krol. The highest peak of the district is Baudhansthali 2623 m high near Binayak adjoining Nainital town. The hilly region of the district used to have big & small lakes like Bhimtal, Sattal, Naukuchiatal, Khurpatal, Nainital, Malwatal, Harishtal, Lokhamtal, etc. are famous lakes of a bigger size.

The foothill area of the district is known as the Bhabhar region. The name Bhabhar is derived from a tall growing grass growing in the region. The underground water level is very deep in the Bhabhar region of the district.

Administration (Nainital District)

map of nainital district

The district of Nainital lies in the Kumaun division of Uttarakhand. On the northern side lies the Himalayan ranges while on the southern side lies the plains making the resultant climate of the Nainital district enjoyable one.

  • Nainital is surrounded by Almora district to its north.
  • Udham Singh Nagar district to its south.
  • Champawat district flanks it in the east.
  • Pauri Garhwal district to the west.

Nainital district is administratively divided into 9 tehsils and 8 developmental blocks and 7 municipalities. There are 1141 villages in the district.

Tehsils in Nainital District

Uttarkashi district is subdivided into 9 tehsils.

  1. Nainital
  2. Haldwani
  3. Ramnagar
  4. Kaladhungi
  5. Lalkuwan
  6. Dhari
  7. Khanshyu
  8. Kosiyakutoli
  9. Betalghat

Blocks in Nainital District

Almora district is further divided into 8 development blocks.

  1. Haldwani
  2. Bhimtal
  3. Ramnagar
  4. Kotabag
  5. Dhari
  6. Betalghat
  7. Ramgarh
  8. Okhalkanda

Constituencies in Nainital District

There are 5 Assembly Constituencies in the Uttarkashi district.

  • Lalkuan (56)
  • Bhimtal (57)
  • Nainital (SC-58)
  • Haldwani (59)
  • Kaladhungi (60)
  • Ramnagar (61)

There are two Parliamentary Constituencies that are Garhwal (Partial-02) and Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar (Partial-04).

Education in Nainital

During British rule in India, a number of “European” schools for boys and girls were founded in Nainital in the 19th century. During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, students in these schools consisted largely of children of the British colonial officials or soldiers.

In 1869, The Diocesan Girls High School now known as All Saints’ College was established in Nainital near where the High Court of Uttarakhand stands today.

By 1906, there were over half a dozen such schools, including the Diocesan Boys School (later renamed Sherwood College) and the Philander Smith’s College (later renamed Hallett War School, currently Birla Vidya Mandir).

St. Joseph’s College, Nainital (popularly known as SEM) is a day-boarding and residential school built by Irish brother in 1888 and celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2013.

St. Mary’s Convent High School, Nainital (popularly known as Ramnee) is another important school for girls was established in 1878 and celebrated its 125th anniversary in the year 2003.

Some of the other colleges and institutions in the Nainital district are listed below.

  • D.S.B. College, Nainital
  • Govt. Degree College, Kotabag
  • Govt. Women College, Nawabi Road, Haldwani
  • Kumaun University, Sleepy Hollow, Nainital
  • M.B. PG College, Nainital Road, Haldwani
  • Medical College Govt. Medical College, Rampur Road, Haldwani
  • Uttarakhand National Law University, Bhowali, Nainital
  • Uttarakhand Open University, Haldwani

Tourism in Nainital

Nainital is also known as the “Lake District of India”. It is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Uttarakhand. Nainital is located around the beautiful Naini Lake (Tal) situated at a height of 1,938 meters. This beautiful small town is surrounded by seven hills, popularly known as ‘Sapta-Shring’ that are Ayarpata, Deopata, Handi-Bandi, Naina, Alma, Lariya-Kanta, and Sher-Ka-Danda.

The majestic mountains and the sparkling waters of the lake add an immense lot to the beauty of the Nainital. The older parts of the town also retain colonial vestiges, including sprawling bungalows, public schools, churches, and the old Christian cemetery.

Places To Visit in Nainital

naini lake in nainital
Naini Lake image

Brightly colored sails of yachts dot the calm waters of the lake while crowds of holiday-makers throng the Mall at its edge. Others come here for trekking in the densely forested mountains that surround the Nainital town.

Naini Lake: In a mythological account, this picturesque lake is said to be one of the emerald green eyes of Shiva’s beloved consort, Sati. Naini word derived from Nain which is a Sanskrit word for eye. When Sati’s father failed to invite Lord Shiva to a family sacrifice, she burnt herself to death in protest. Shiva gathered the charred remains in his arms and proceeded to engage in a cosmic dance Tandav, which threatened to destroy the creation. To bring the dance to an end, Vishnu chopped up the body into pieces and the remains were scattered. The Naina Devi Temple at the northern end of the Naini lake is built over the precise spot where the eye is believed to have fallen. Boating in the lake is just one of the favorite activities of the tourists.

Snow View: The Snow View top is a 3-kilometer trek from the Nainital town. The major part of it can also be covered comfortably by cars and small vehicles. At the top, one can have a close-up view of the Nanda Devi peak situated at the height of 7816m. It is the second-highest Himalayan peak of the country. There is a small temple dedicated to Dev Mundi, housing images of Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva, Goddess Sita, Lord Rama, Sri Lakshmana and Sri Hanuman. From Snow View Point, one can walk west to another point and then continue on to the main road to Kilbury.

Naini Peak: Naini Peak is locally known as the China peak or Cheena peak. This is the highest point in town and Nainital appears like a majestic shining bowl from here. You can reach here by walk or take ponies to reach the peak.

Naina Devi Temple: Temple of Naina Devi is located at the upper end of the attractive Naini lake. This temple is dedicated to the patronizing goddess of the town Naina Devi. Its complex becomes the location of the famous Nanda Devi Mela which held every year on Nandashtami during September.

Hanuman Garhi: This place is of great religious importance. Hanuman Garhi is situated at a height of 1951 meters. This place was established by Neem Karoli Baba. A very beautiful Hanuman temple is at the top. Watching the Sunset from Hanuman Garhi is an out-of-the-world experience. You can leisurely walk down to Hanuman Garhi from Nainital town.

Astronomical Observatory: The clearly visible skies over Nainital encouraged the government to set up an observatory center here. This observatory has one of the most advanced telescopes in India. This telescope measures the movement of stars, planets and other heavenly bodies in space to great precision. The entry in the ARIES observatory is by permission only and timings are fixed. The full form of ARIES is the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences.

Raj Bhawan (Governor House): Raj Bhawan, also called Governor House is a British era building, now serves as the residence of Governor of Uttarakhand. The foundation stone of Raj Bhawan of Nainital was laid on 27th April 1897 and the construction took two years to complete. It is built on European patterns and based on Gothic Architecture which is Known for its magnificent looks and old age charming architecture. Raj Bhawan in Nainital previously served as the summer residence of British Governors. Governor House or Raj Bhawan is located in a splendid landscape and spreads across vast areas.

Rajbhawan Golf Course: Abutting the Raj Bhawan is 160 acres of forest land which has a number of faunal species, besides a large number of floral varieties. The Raj Bhawan (Nainital) also has a Golf Course spread over 45 acres built-in 1936. The Golf Course is one of the vintage golf courses in India and is affiliated to the Indian Golf Union (IGU).

G B Pant High Altitude Zoo: Nainital has a small but a very beautiful High Altitude Zoological garden. There are several animals including Deer, Himalayan Bears, Tigers and many more. Special efforts have been put in to make the environment of the Nainital Zoo hygienic and clean. Not surprisingly this zoo is one of the cleanest zoos in India. The zoo can be reached by a trek on foot or by small vehicles.

St. John’s in the Wilderness Church: The Church was inaugurated on 2 April 1848. A brass memorial is kept in memory of those people who killed in the 1880 landslip. The cemetery in the church has graves from 1845 to around 1922 with the last burial being of Sir George Knox (British Indian Judge). The graves include those of the mother and father of British hunter Jim Corbett.

Khurpa Taal: The emerald blue-green lake of Khurpa Tal is cradled in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. It is encircled by the lofty pine and old cedar trees offering a gorgeous view of the mountains. Khurpatal, being tucked away at an astonishing height of 1,635 meters above sea level, this beautiful piece of nature is just 12 km away from Nainital and can be easily approachable.

Sariyatal: Sariyatal is a small but beautiful lake located on Kaladungi Road in the Nainital district. It is 5 km away from Nainital town. Sariyatal is among the numerous lakes of Nainital district and is fed by a beautiful stream surrounded by lush green picturesque landscape. The water of the stream is very cold and this deep emerald lake is also referred to as Sarita Tal. Apart from the beautiful lake, Sariyatal is also famous for the Himalayan Botanical Garden which is run by the Forest Department.

Sattal or Sat Tal: Sattal is the cluster of seven lakes in Nainital. Sattal is located at an altitude of 1370 meters and 23 km away from Nainital town. Sat Tal is a unique and unforgettable spot having a cluster of lakes snuggled amidst thick green forests. Many western travelers have often compared it to Westmoreland of England. As one approaches Sat Tal, the first lake one comes across is the old Nal Damyanti Tal, Bhimtal. On moving further, there is Sattal Christian Ashram set up by Stanley Johns. The next lake is called Panna or Garuda and as we move down, there is a cluster of three lakes named after Ram, Laxman, and Sita.

7 Lake of Sat Tal or Sattal names are:

  1. Panna Tal or Garud Tal
  2. Nal-Damyanti Tal
  3. Purna Tal
  4. Ram Tal
  5. Laxman Tal
  6. Sita Tal
  7. Sukha Tal or Khurdariya Tal

Pangot Village: Pangot or Pangoot is a small picturesque remote Himalayan village. It is located just 15 km away from Nainital. Pangot is a birdwatchers paradise and has more than 530 species of birds in and around.

Brahmatal Trek: It is a beautiful trek that goes towards a small temple located on the highest peaks of Brahmsthali at Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti in Nainital district. The Brahmsthali trek or Bhrahmatal trek to the temple is about 1.5 km.

Kilbury: Kilbury is a famous bird-watching spot in Nainital which is 12 km away from the main town. Kilbury gives a breathtaking view of the Himalayas. The Uttarakhand forest department has an old guest house here. Kilbury takes one into the laps of nature from the hustle-bustle of the town in no time at all.

Kainchi Dham: Kainchi Dham Ashram is On the Nainital Almora Road, 9 km from Bhowali and 17 km from Nainital. This Ashram is established by a celebrated holy man Neem Karoli Maharaj Ji in a remote environment with river & mountain views. This has altogether a different positive vibe. A must visit place if you want to experience peace and divinity. It is a modern pilgrim center.

Bhimtal: Bhimtal is situated at an altitude of 1370 m and 22 km from Nainital and 11 km from Bhowali. It takes pride in its beautiful lake, that offers magnificent vistas for visitors.

Mukteshwar: Mukteswar is at an altitude of 2286 m and its distance from Nainital is 51 km. It was developed by the British as an important Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in 1893, surrounded by fruit orchards and thick coniferous forests. It is the celebrated scenic spot overlooking long Himalayan ranges.

Naukuchiatal: It is situated at a distance of just 3 km from Bhimtal the deep crystal clear lake called Naukuchiyatal with its nine corners is a captivating sight. This beautiful lake of Naukuchiatal is 983 m long, 693 m broad and 40.3 m. There is ample scope for boating, rowing, paddling or yachting.

Ghorakhal: Ghorakhal is famous for Army school and Lord Golu Temple. Lord Golu is the most famous and revered local deity of Kumaon. The well-pedigreed Army School of Ghorakhal is at a distance of 3 km from Bhowali.

Ghorakhal Tea Garden: Ghorakhal tea garden is located 1800 m above the sea level near the famous Golu Devta Temple. This tea factory was established in 2007-08. It has its plantations scattered over an area of 14 hectares, which are best known to produce some of the richest qualities of tea in Uttarakhand. Ghorakhal Tea Garden’s production capacity is 11,000 Kg per year.

Garjiya Devi Temple: Garjiya Devi Temple is a noted Devi temple located in the Garjiya village near Ramnagar, Nainital. It is on the outskirts of the Corbett National Park and is a sacred Shakti shrine where Garjiya Devi is the presiding deity. The temple is situated over a large rock in the Kosi River and is one of the most famous temples of the Nainital district. It is visited by thousands of devotees during Kartik Poornima.

Vairatapattana: Vairatpattana is the capital of the old kingdom of Govisana and is spread in the deep reserve forest of Jim Corbett National Park in Dhikuli. In the seventh century, the place was visited by Hieun Tsang. The remains of this ancient town are not easily accessible due to the thick green forest.

Sitabani Temple: Sitavani Temple is situated in the Sitabani Wildlife Reserve range of the Jim Corbett National Park. It is an ancient temple famous for its religious significance and architecture. The presiding deity is Goddess Sita, who lived in the region during her exile before facing the Agni Pariksha. The site of the temple is said to be the hermitage of the Maharishi Valmiki. A number of Amalaka stones, one headless dancing Ganesha sculpture, doorjamb, decorated columns carved slabs scattered near the present temple prove the antiquity of the site. However, the existing temple at the site is of a very late period.

Weather in Nainital

Nainital temperature remains mostly cool in the summer season. The hottest month is July with temperature ranging from 16.4 °C to 23.5 °C, while the coldest month is January with temperature ranging from 1.7 °C to 10.7 °C.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Nainital was 30 °C recorded on 18 June 1972. while the lowest temperature was −5.6 °C recorded on 17 January 1953.

Summer: 15 to 30°C,
Winter: 0 to 24°C

Best Time To Visit Nainital

Weather in Nainital remains pleasant throughout the year except for the winter months. The temperature is mild at any time but in winter it becomes very cold. The climate of Nainital is regulated by the lakes here which shower rain almost every afternoon. The best time to visit Nainital is between April to June and then again in September and October. The months of January to March are marked by snowfall season. Equipped with the right clothing, this unique hill station can otherwise be visited at any time of the year.

How To Reach Nainital

how to reach nainital
Delhi To Nainital Route-Map

Nainital district is well connected by National Highway 87. Regular roadways buses run from Delhi, Agra, Dehradun, Haridwar, Lucknow, Kanpur & Bareilly daily. Besides these luxury coaches are available from Delhi for this place.

How To Reach Nainital By Air

Pantnagar Airport is the nearest airport from Nainital at a distance of 70 Km. Regular flights from Delhi To Pantnagar are available. Taxi and private vehicles are easily available at service from Pantnagar to Nainital.

How To Reach Nainital By Train

The nearest Railway station from Nainital is Kathgodam. The distance from Kathgodam to Nainital is 35 kilometers. Kathgodam Railway station is the last terminus of the broad gauge line of North East Railways connecting Nainital with Delhi, Dehradun & Howarth. Haldwani & Lalkuwan are other railway terminals.

Ranikhet Express start from Jaisalmer Railway Station (Rajasthan) departs from Old Delhi station at 10:30 PM daily. It reaches from Delhi to Kathgodam at 5:05 AM. Extra coaches for Ramnagar are attached to this train, arriving Ramnagar at 4:50 A.M.

Uttaranchal Sampark Kranti Express is also running between Kathgodam & Delhi railway station. It starts from Kathgodam at 8:50 AM in the morning and reaches Delhi at 3:20 PM and on the same day return from Delhi at 4:00 PM and reaches Kathgodam at 10:45 PM.

Shatabdi Express runs between Kathgodam & New Delhi Railway station on every day of weak except on Thursday. It starts from New Delhi at 6:00 AM & reaches Kathgodam station at 11:10 AM and on the same day returns from Kathgodam at 3:15 PM & reaches New Delhi at 09:05 PM.

Bagh Express connects Kathgodam directly to Howarah Railway Station via Lucknow.

Kathgodam Dehradun Express runs daily in between Kathgodam and Dehradun via Moradabad.

Garib Rath, A weekly train introduced between Jammu Tawi, Kathgodam & Kanpur.

Tourists coming by rail mode can take Taxi or Roadways Buses from Kathgodam or Haldwani. Taxis are available on a shared seat basis at Haldwani Taxi stand & as well as at Kathgodam railway stations. While most of the buses start from the Haldwani roadways bus stand. Haldwani Bus Stand and Railway station both are at the same spot.

How To Reach Nainital By Road

Nainital is well connected by motorable road with National Highway No. 87. Regular Uttarakhand roadways buses run from major destinations like Delhi, Agra, Dehradun, Haridwar, Lucknow, Kanpur & Bareilly daily.

Nainital Distance from Nearby Locations

  • Almora To Nainital (64 km)
  • Pithoragarh To Nainital (178 km)
  • Ranikhet To Nainital (57 km)
  • Champawat To Nainital (209 km)
  • Kausani To Nainital (116 km)
  • Kathgodam To Nainital (35 km)
  • Haldwani To Nainital (43 km)
  • Lalkuan To Nainital (61 km)
  • Ramnagar To Nainital (63 km)
  • Dehradun To Nainital (283 km)
  • Haridwar To Nainital (230 km)
  • Rishikesh To Nainital (249 km)
  • Badrinath To Nainital (334 km)
  • Kedarnath To Nainital (292 km)
  • Mussoorie To Nainital (313 km)

Nainital Distance from Major Cities of India

⦿ Delhi to Nainital (305 km)
⦿ Lucknow To Nainital (382 km)
⦿ Agra To Nainital (340 km)
⦿ Chandigarh to Nainital (449 km)
⦿ Hyderabad to Nainital (1657 km)
⦿ Bangalore to Nainital (2248 km)
⦿ Ahmedabad to Nainital (1218 km)
⦿ Mumbai to Nainital (1694 km)
⦿ Bareilly To Nainital (143 km)
⦿ Varanasi to Nainital (692 km)
⦿ Amritsar to Nainital (719 km)
⦿ Gurugram to Nainital (314 km)
⦿ Jodhpur to Nainital (873 km)
⦿ Shimla to Nainital (529 km)
⦿ Jaipur to Nainital (545 km)
⦿ Manali to Nainital (809 km)
⦿ Kolkata to Nainital (1363 km)
⦿ Chennai to Nainital (2281 km)
⦿ Udaipur to Nainital (935 km)
⦿ Pune to Nainital (1587 km)

Important Links Related To Nainital:

Official Website of Nainital District:

Kumaon Division Official Website:
High Court of Uttarakhand, Nainital:
Nainital District Development Authority:
Kumaon University Website:
Jim Corbett National Park:


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