For hundreds of years this was a well kept secret. Naini Tal a hill town in the foothill of the Himalayas and part of Kumaon region known for over 60 Lakes was a sacred place. The earliest known reference of this town is in the ancient book of Manas Khand in the Skanda Purana where 3 sages are claimed to have drawn water from the Mansarovar to form the Lake. Before the Brits discovered the town this was a sacred place. Another legend states that Lord Shiva carried the dead body of Sati and her left eye fell in what is now the lake in Nainital- derived from Naina -or eyes and Tal meaning lake. The Brits made several attempts to discover Nainital and tricked their way in by 1817.
A valley, Naini Tal is surrounded by a few peaks that provide an excellent view of the snow clad Himalayas. The tallest peak is Naini Peak also known as China Peak:
Naini Peak also provides a great view of Naini Tal. Other peaks include: Snow View another great place for a view of the snow capped Himalayas, Camel’s Back, Lands End and Tiffin Top where the Dorothy seat provides a good eye view of Naini Tal and St. Joseph’s College.
For me this was a homecoming over 30 years in the making. It was here that we were taught by some of the finest educators- the Irish brothers who dedicated their lives for the sole purpose of instilling a value: “Certa Bonum Certamen” (Fight the good fight) -of course strict discipline was enforced by all means including sticks or Knuckles. The school St. Joseph’s College stands on a peak with its iconic towers:
Misty, cloudy, sunny – the weather is unpredictable though spring from March or fall in October are the best times to be there. However as the day progresses Naini Tal transforms:
Naini Tal is not far from the Corbett National park, a tiger preserve- Jim Corbett lived in Kaladhungi not far from Naini Tal. The Kumaon region has over 60 lakes, the closest to Naini Tal being Bhimtal, Sattal and Khurpatal.
The hills are green with an abundance of flora and fauna.:
There is deer, tigers, cheetahs and bears but the most visible are monkeys and langurs:
More pictures of Naini Tal, Flora and Fauna at surendra.smugmug.com