Nainital, also spelled as Naini Tal, is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Nainital is the judicial capital of Uttarakhand, the High Court being located here, and is the headquarters of the Kumaon division as well as an eponymous district. It also houses the Governor of Uttarakhand, who resides in the Raj Bhavan. Nainital was the summer capital of the United Provinces.
Nainital is located in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas at a distance of 285 km (177 mi) from the state capital Dehradun and 345 km (214 mi) from New Delhi, the capital of India. Situated at an altitude of 2,084 metres (6,837 ft) above sea level, the city is set in a valley containing an eye-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains, of which the highest are Naina (2,615 m (8,579 ft)) on the north, Deopatha (2,438 m (7,999 ft)) on the west, and Ayarpatha (2,278 m (7,474 ft)) on the south. From the tops of the higher peaks, "magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bound by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas
The Kumaon Hills came under British rule after the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–16). The hill station town of Naini Tal was founded only in 1841, with the construction of the first European house (Pilgrim Lodge) by P. Barron, a sugar trader from Shahjahanpur. In his memoir, he wrote: "It is by far the best site I have witnessed in the course of a 1,500 miles (2,400 km) trek in the Himalayas." In 1846, when a Captain Madden of the Bengal Artillery visited Naini Tal, he recorded that "houses were rapidly springing up in most parts of the settlement: some towards the crest of the military ranges were nearly 7,500 ft (2,300 m) above sea level: the rugged and woody Anyarpatta Aashish (Anyar-patt – in Kumaoni means – complete blackout. The reason for this nomenclature by the locals was because there were minimal sun rays due to its location and dense forests) was being gradually planted and that the favourite sites were on the undulating tract of forest land which stretched back from the head of the lake to the base of China and Deopatta (Camel's Hump). The church, St. John(1846) in the Wilderness, was one of the earliest buildings in Nainital, followed by Belvedere, Alma lodge, Ashdale Cottage(1860)..." Soon, the town became a health resort favoured by British soldiers and by colonial officials and their families trying to escape the heat of the plains. Later, the town became the summer residence of the governor of the United Provinces.
Nainital experiences subtropical highland climate (Cwb) according to Köppen–Geiger climate classification system as the city's climate is influenced by the elevation. The city is a bit dry during winter and very wet during summer due to South Asian monsoon system. The lowest precipitation total occurs in November with total 7.9 millimetres (0.31 in), while the highest precipitation total occurs in July with total 725 millimetres (28.5 in). Like most places in temperate region, Nainital has relative cool summer. The hottest month is July with temperature ranging from 16.4 °C (61.5 °F) to 23.5 °C (74.3 °F), while the coldest month is January with temperature ranging from 1.7 °C (35.1 °F) to 10.7 °C (51.3 °F). The highest Temperature ever recorded in Nainital was 30 °C (86 °F) recorded on 18 June 1972, while the lowest temperature was −5.6 °C (21.9 °F) recorded on 17 January 1953