Nainital, British India's favourite summer vacation spot, is a popular hill station located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Many believe that the area was reminiscent of the Cumbrian Lake district in England and thus led the homesick Englishmen to flock to Nainital. Today, while the bustling town, perched on a mountain top in the Great Himalayas, may have increased in size, with its high-rises mingling with colonial-style bungalows, it retains its old-world charm. Situated at a height of 1,938 m, Nainital was once a domain of 60 lakes, the most important being the Naini Lake, around which the town grew.

There are various legends associated with its name. As per one, Nainital was named after its resident deity Goddess Naina. Another legend tells the story of Sati, who immolated herself when her father didn't invite her husband Lord Shiva to his yagna (religious fire ritual). Enraged, Lord Shiva carried her body and traversed the universe. It is believed that in order to protect the universe from Shiva's wrath, Lord Vishnu shredded Sati's body with his chakra. Many believe that Sati's eyes fell at this spot and thus it has been named as Nainital, wherein 'nain' means eyes and 'tal' means lake. There are many mythological references associated with Nainital. It is referred to in the Manas khand of the Skanda Purana as Tri-Rishi-sarovar where three sages, in order to quench their thirst, dug a hole and channelled water from the holy lake of Mansarovar in Tibet. Not just a popular tourist destination, Nainital is considered holy by Hindus as well.