An ideal destination for honeymooners as well as family vacationers, Nainital is a fascinating hill station situated at an altitude of 1938 m in the Kumaon foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Blessed with incredible natural scenery, snowcapped mountains, salubrious weather, and tranquil lakes, it is one of the popular hill stations in India, and among must include places in Uttarakhand tour packages. Besides all these, Nainital is also home to many revered temples with great historical and mythological significance.
Here is the list of spiritual temples that one should not miss during your next trip to Nainital.
Naina Devi Temple
Situated on the northern end of the Nainital Lake, Naina Devi Temple is one of the sacred and the most popular temples to visit in Nainital. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Naina Devi who is represented by two eyes. It is one of the 51 Shaktipeethas in India where the eyes of goddess Sati fallen while her burnt body was being carried by Lord Shiva. It is said that the current temple at Nainital replaces the original 15th-century temple. In 1842, a devotee Moti Ram Shah installed an idol of Naina Devi. A major landslide has destroyed the temple completely in 1880, and the present structure was built in 1883. Inside the temple, devotees have darshan of three deities – Mata Kali Devi, Naina Devi, and Lord Ganesh as part of Nainital tour packages. During Nanda Ashtami, a big fair is organized in the Naina Devi temple and devotees come for darshan and take blessings.
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Located on the Nainital – Almora Road, Kainchi Dham is a beautiful secluded shrine and is famous for the Hanuman Mandir. It is one of the well-known temples in Uttarakhand, and one of the top places to visit in Nainital. In 1962, Neem Karoli Baba built a platform around a place where two spiritual gurus Sadhu Premi Baba and Sombari Maharaj had performed Yagyas in Kainchi village. The Hanuman temple was built over the platform in 1964. A temple for Baba Neem Karoli was built at the Ashram after his death in 1973. Among the most well-known of Neem Karoli Baba’s disciples were spiritual teacher Ma Jaya, Ram Das, teacher/performer Bhagavan Das, Lama Surya Das, and the musicians Jai Uttal and Krishna Das. On the 15th of June every year a Bhandara is organized, which attracts a large number of devotees to celebrate the birth anniversary of Neem Karoli Baba. Anyone who wants to visit the Ashram in Kainchi village needs prior permission.
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Pashan Devi Temple
Set on the banks of Nainital Lake, Pashan Devi is an ancient temple dedicated to Maa Durga who is considered as the Goddess of the stone-pelters. It is one of the most prominent places of pilgrimage in Uttarakhand and among the must-visit Nainital tourist places. The entire temple is made out of stones including the idol of the goddess as well. It is an important place of worship for the locals as it is stationed at a big giant rock which represents all the nine forms of Devi Durga and its unique manner. The main highlight of the temple is the ‘Akhand Jyoti’, an eternal flame that has existed ever since the temple was first formed. Visited by thousands of devotees every year, the temple is very famous for sindoor and sarees.
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Situated at an altitude of 6,401 feet, Hanuman Garhi is another Hindu temple situated south of Tallital in Nainital. This temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and was built by Neem Karoli Baba, who is a famous saint around the year 1950. The temple has a large idol of Lord Hanuman with a golden umbrella. The temple complex also has shrines of Lord Shiva and Lord Rama. On the other side of the hill has the temple of Shitala Devi temple and Ashram of Lila Sah Bapu. One can view the magnificent sunset, and valley view of the Tarai from here. The temple is crowded during Tuesday, Saturday, and Ramanavami when devotees flock here to offer their prayers and take part in the celebrations.
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Golu Devta Mandir
Golu Devta Temple is one of the popular religious places that lies on the Ghorakhal hill in the small town of Ghorakhal. It is one of the must-visit temples near Nanital, one of the top hill stations in Uttarakhand. Dedicated to Golu Devta, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, also revered as the God of Justice by the locals. There is a popular belief that Golu Devata dispenses quick justice to the devotees that makes this temple unique. Devotees need to come with prayers written on a piece of paper, and then leave it in the temple. Devotees offer bells after the fulfillment of their wishes. One can see thousands of bells of every size over the temple premises.
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With an altitude of 2315 m in the Kumaon hills, Mukteshwar Dham is a popular Hindu shrine situated in Mukteshwar town near Nainital, Uttarakhand. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is regarded as one of the most important temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in the Hindu scripture, and among the best places of pilgrimage in India. It is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva killed a demon and gave him a mukti. Mukteshwar Dham is a 350-year-old temple that enshrines a white marble Shiva Linga. The temple also houses the idols of other deities like Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Goddess Parvati. One can get a panoramic view of the entire breathtaking valley from the temple. Besides, one can also visit a rock named ‘Chauli Ka Jali’, located near the temple which is used for rock climbing and rappelling.
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