Lying on the northern part of Naini Lake, the Naina Devi Temple, dedicated to local deity Naina Devi, is a popular spiritual stopover. The temple is one of the shaktipeethas (devotional shrines where severed body parts of Goddess Sati fell) and draws devotees from all over the region. The sanctum sanctorum houses three deities-- Goddess Kali on the left, Lord Ganesha on the right and two eyes representing Naina Devi in the centre. Legend has it that once Goddess Sati's father held a yajna (a holy fire ritual) and failed to invite his son-in-law, Lord Shiva. Angry at her father, Sati immolated herself in the yajna. After this, Lord Shiva carried her body on his shoulders and performed his dance of cosmic destruction, tandava. Fearing that this would destroy the world, Lord Vishnu severed Sati's body with his chakra. It is believed that her eyes fell at the spot where the temple now stands.

Since the temple lies on top of a hill, it offers sweeping vistas of the surrounding areas. It has a large courtyard with a sacred peepal tree on the left and idols of Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman on the right. The entrance of the temple is striking and boasts two lion statues. The temple is especially crowded during the celebrations of Nanda Ashtami.

Other Attractions in Nainital