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|Time zone: IST (UTC+5:30)|
• 3,827 /km2 (9,912 /sq mi)
• Elevation (AMSL)
|11.73 km² (5 sq mi)
• 2,084 m (6,837 ft)
Nainital is a town in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and headquarters of Nainital district in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 1,938 metres (6,358 feet) above sea level, Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (2,615 m (8,579 ft)) on the north, Deopatha (2,438 m (7,999 ft)) on the west, and Ayarpatha (2,278 m (7,474 ft)) on the south. From the tops of the higher peaks, "magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bounded by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas."
Nainital is located at  It has an average elevation of 2,084 metres (6,837 feet)..
Nainital has temperate summers, maximum temperature 27 °C (81 °F); minimum temperature 10 °C (50 °F), during which its population increases more than fivefold with an annual influx of tourists predominantly from the plains of Northern India. In the winter, Nainital receives snowfall between December and February with the temperatures varying between a maximum of 15 °C (59 °F) and a minimum of −3 °C (27 °F).
As of the 2001 Indian census, Nainital had a population of 38,559. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Nainital has an average literacy rate of 81%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 86%, and female literacy is 76%. In Nainital, 9% of the population is under 6 years of age. Kumaonies form the major part of the town’s population along with people from all over India.
 Nainital in Mythology
It is believed that Nainital figures in some ancient myths of India. In the Manas Khand of the Skand Puranas, Nainital Lake is called Tri-Rishi-Sarovar, hinting at the story of three sages (or rishis), Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha, who, upon finding no water in Nainital, dug a large hole at the location of the present day lake (sarovar = lake) and filled it with water from the holy lake Manasarovar in Tibet. According to lore, a dip in Naini Lake, "the lesser Manasarovar," earns merit equal to a dip in the great lake.
It is also believed that Naini Lake is one of the 64 Shakti Peeths, or religious sites where parts of the charred body of Sati (Parvati) fell on earth while being carried by Lord Shiva. The spot where Sati’s eyes (or Nain) fell, came to be called Nain-tal or [lake of the eye.] The goddess Shakti is worshipped at the Naina Devi Temple on the north shore of the present day lake.
 Early Construction
The Kumaon Hills came under British rule after the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-16), but the hill station town of Naini Tal was founded only in 1841, with the construction of the first European house (Pilgrim Lodge) by P. Barron, a sugar trader from Shahjahanpur. In his memoir, he wrote: "It is by far the best site I have witnessed in the course of a 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometres) trek in the Himalayas." In 1846, when a Captain Madden of the Bengal Artillery visited Naini Tal, he recorded that "houses were rapidly springing up in most parts of the settlement: some towards the crest of the limitary ranges were nearly 7,500 ft (2,286 m) above sea level: the rugged and woody Ayarpatta was being gradually planted and that the favourite sites were on the undulating tract of forest land which stretched back from the head of the lake to the base of China and Deopatta (Camel’s Hump). The Church, St. John in the Wilderness, had been built, …" Soon, the town became a health resort favoured both by British soldiers and by colonial officials and their families trying to escape the heat of the plains. Later, the town also became the summer residence of the Governor of the United Provinces.