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India - Uttaranchal - Nainital History

Nainital History


According to an ancient belief, Nainital was the site where one of Parvati’s eyes fell. When Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva, the Hindu Destroyer of the Universe, died, Shiva was filled with grief and carried her corpse wherever he went. Parts of Parvati’s body fell on Earth, and her eye fell in Nainital, forming a large crater that became Naini Lake. In fact, Naini Lake derives its name from the Hindi word, naina, which means ‘eye’.


¤ Discovery of Nainital

Nainital remained ‘undiscovered’ till 1839, when a sugar maker called P Barron found the huge lake amidst forested mountains. Following an intuition, Barron met the local chief, and tried to convince him to relinquish his claim on the region. But Barron had to handle this cleverly.
He took the chief for a boat ride on the lake, and offered him two options: either he give up Nainital, or drown in the lake. The chief’s common sense prevailed, and he signed a deed right then, abdicating his control over Nainital. The British built villas around the lake, and made Nainital their summer capital, along with Mussoorie.


¤ Massive Distruction Faced By The Region

Nainital suffered a drastic reversal on 18 September, 1880. The hill at the northern end of the lake on which stood the Victoria Hotel, was washed away by two days of incessant rain. Landslides crushed houses in their path, burying people alive.
Soon after, the hill over the Victoria Hotel collapsed, crushing a rescue team of soldiers and civilians. More than 150 people died in the landslides, after which the area was flattened, and is now known as the Flats.



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