The city of 'Nainital' got its name from the Naina Devi Temple. The word Naina is synonymous with Ma Sati's eyes. It is believed that the temple is situated where Ma Sati's eyes fell, after Lord Shiva carried her burnt remains, taking them out of the fire of the yagna performed by her father - Daksha.
The Naina Devi temple is situated on the northern shore of Naini Lake. It is considered to be one of the most revered Hindu temples in India. Naina Devi temple serves as a major tourist spot of Nainital.
The temple of Naina Devi was built in 15th century during Kushan rule, at one corner of the lake. This structure was destroyed early in 1880 in a landslide due to heavy rainfall. The temple was rebuilt, after the British Governor allocated the land and Moti Ram Shah (a nepali architect) took initiative to build the temple structure. The idols of Ma Naina Devi were established in 1883 on the birthday of Ma Adi Shakti.
Ever since then, a grand statue-immersion ceremony has been taking place here, on Bhadrapad Shukla Ashtami or Durgashtami (in the month of September every year). Thousands of pilgrims gather here every year around September to worship Goddess Parvati (Gauri Pooja).
During this period, the festival is held in honour of Nanda Devi the patron goddess of Kumaon hills and a local princess Sunanda Devi. Nanda Devi Mela is a fair of great religious and cultural significance.