Nainital, the city of lakes, lies in the lap of the Kumaon Hills surrounded by seven mountains. It is one of the most charismatic hill stations that India harbors. The first recorded discovery of this now popular hill station of Nainital, was in 1841 when a British, Mr. Barron, chanced upon the lake. Moved by the scenic beauty of the lake and thickly forested hills, he constructed a house named Pilgrim's Cottage. It was the first of many residences, which were to transform Nainital into a popular resort. By 1858, Nainital became a well-known hill station, and within a few years the summer seat of the provincial government. Nainital was the summer capital of Uttar Pradesh before Uttaranchal was carved out for many years during the British regime and also after independence.
The origin of Nainital traces back to legend. It is said that when Lord Shiva was carrying the corpse of his first wife Sati, her body disintegrated and her eyes (naina) fell here near the lake. At this site now stands the Naina Devi temple. The waters of the lake are therefore considered sacred and the Naina Devi temple is the venue of an autumnal fair. In ancient times, the lake was know as the Tri Rishi Sarovar, the lake of three rishis (sages) namely Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha.
Nainital is divided into two segments, Tallital and Mallital, at the lower and upper ends of the lake, respectively. The North Mall running along one side of the lake, and the South Mall along the other, connect the two parts. On the shores of the lake, at Mallital stands the beautiful temple of Naina Devi. Nainital offers a number of enchanting lakeside picnic spot and many pleasant walks. Trekking, yachting, boating and fishing are other attractions. Its quaint cottages, colourful markets, the sylvan landscape and the charming lake at the very heart of it, make Nainital a delightful place.