The highlighting feature of this freshwater lake is its crescent shape. Nested in the lap of Uttarakhand, Naini Lake is one of the must-visit places. Due to the lush surroundings, it has become a hotspot for family picnics. If you truly want to enjoy the beauty of the lake in its full glory, then you cannot afford to miss the sunrise and sunset here.
One of the most-visited hill stations in India, Nainital's serenity never fades. But the best months to witness the aforementioned are March, June, November, and December.
History of Naini Lake
According to the legend, it is believed that once upon a time there was a mighty king, Daksha who ruled the country and had a daughter named Sati. When Sati, King Daksha's favorite daughter, came of age, naturally, the King started searching for a groom. However, destiny had something else planned for them.
Sati fell in love with Lord Shiva, whom the King despised. Soon, against the king’s desire, both Lord Shiva and Sati tied the knot and started living together. This didn’t go well with the king. Thus, when, one day, he organized a fire ritual (yajna), he didn’t invite them both.
But, Sati being his beloved daughter, decided to attend the ritual anyway. As soon as she reached there, the King disrespected her and bad-mouthed husband Lord Shiva. Unable to tolerate this humiliation, Sati jumped in the holy fire.
When Lord Shiva came to know of this, he started performing Tandava, the dance of destruction. Due to this, even the Gods feared the end of the world. They pleaded to Lord Vishnu to intervene and do something about it. Thus, he used his Sudarshan Chakra and cut Sati’s body into 52 parts. Each of these human body parts fell on different lands across India, where the 52 Shakti Peethas are sited in the current time.
The place where Goddess Sati's eyes fell is today known as Naina Devi Temple which is one of the Shakti Peethas in india. Due to the lake's close proximity to the temple, it has also been named on similar lines.
In the ancient Hindu texts, this lake has been mentioned as the Tririshi Sarovar. It is believed that three Maha Rishis used to do their sadhana here namely Atri, Pulastya, and Pulaha. Once upon a time, these three sages dug a giant hole in the soil and filled it with water. It is said that the waterbody was none other than Naini Lake.
Major Attractions in and Around Naini Lake
1. Naina Devi Temple
Naina Devi Temple is almost half a mile away from Nainital, it is known for its beautiful and serene atmosphere. For all spiritual seekers, this must be on your travel bucket list.
2. Mall Road
Mall Road kind of runs parallel to the Naini lake. This place is a hub of entertainment locally. Here you can hope to find the best of everything whether it be food, jewelry, or clothing.
3. Tiffin Top
Tiffin Top is another famous tourist attraction in Nainital. Due to its popularity, it has become one of the most loved picnic spots for locals and tourists alike. Here one can also participate in adventure activities like trekking and rock climbing.
4. Snow View Point
This is perhaps one of the most visited attractions locally. From here, a person can see the panoramic views of the herculean Himalayas.
How to Reach Naini Lake
Naini Lake is situated at a distance of about 284, 1,499, 1,304, 2,108 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Here are the details on how you can reach Naini Lake by the following means of public transport.
The nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport (PGH) situated (approx) 55 km away. However, it would be best to travel here via Chandigarh and Delhi Airport as the connecting aerodromes. Once you deboard at the airport, hire a cab to reach your destination.
From Delhi - Board Air India flights from Delhi Airport. The airfares start from INR 5,000-6,000
From Chandigarh - Board Air India flights from Chandigarh Airport. The airfares start from INR 6,000-7,000
You can consider deboarding at Kathgodam Railway Station (KGM) situated 20-30 km away. After deboarding at the station, you can easily take a cab to reach the lake.
You can also plan a trip here via well-maintained road networks of this region. A road trip is by far, the best way to travel to any place, especially the Northern regions of India which welcome the tourists with natural abundance. To travel by road, you will have to hire a cab or a bus. Otherwise, depending upon your convenience and budget and geographical localtion, you can also travel via your own vehicle.