Spiritual Nainital, Kumaon Himalaya Photo Journal
Gurudwara at Nainital, next to Naini Lake, Bhutia Bazar and Naina Devi temple
Rishis including Atri, Pulatsya and Pulah meditated on the banks of Naini Lake.
This Gurudwara on the banks of Naini Lake gives solace and solitude, food and accomodation. I stayed here in my last visit to Nainital, two decades ago.
This time around, I decided to take a trip down from The Naini Retreat, way up near Gurney House (Jim Corbett’s summer home) and Kotwara Cottage (film-maker Muzzafar Ali’s cottage). I found my way down a path which was used by locals, crossed an imposing and beautiful mosque, the car parking, and Flats (an open ground where people were playing football), and bypassed Bhutia Bazar to get to the Gurudwara before exploring other places. At 11 am, it was all calm inside. Visitors like me came in ones and twos, worshiped Sri Guru Granth Sahib with a prostration and circumambulation, some of them fetched a book from a neat cupboard, read from it, smiled, and left after a while.
Naina Devi temple in Nainital
The Naina Devi temple in Nainital is one of the 52 Shaktipeeths in India. The Puranas name Naini Lake to be as sacred as Mansarovar Lake (Kailash Mansarovar, Tibet). It is the lake that was formed due to the falling of Devi Sati’s left eye here. I did not know about this, and was curious about the locals’ offering of worship with coconut, incense, etc. while facing the lake. Naina Devi being a Sidhpeeth, Kumaonis from far off villages come here to pray and worship. The Puranas also mention that many Rishis including Atri, Pulatsya and Pulah meditated on the banks of Naini Lake.
In the backdrop of oak and rhododendron trees
Naina devi’s temple was built in the early 19th century by Moti Ram Shah an eminent citizen of Nainital, whose home Pilgrim Cottage was the first building in Nainital. This temple was earlier located near the present day Boat House Club and was completely destroyed in the great landslide that struck Nainital in the year 1880. The temple was rebuilt by Moti Ram’s son Amarnath Shah, when Naina Devi appeared in a dream and told him the whereabouts of her idol in the landslide debris. The new temple was built in its current location and is now managed by a trust set up by the Shah family.
Naina Devi’s central shrine
The temple is well kept and has a profusion of flower pots in bloom in summer.
Fuschias, Hydrangeas and Begonias in bloom at Naina Devi temple
This is a side view of the main shrine of Naina Devi. Naina Devi’s darshan is truly uplifting. It is a blessing to see her smiling face.
Lord Shiva and Naini Lake (a manifestation of Shiva’s wife Devi Sati’s left eye as Naini lake)
Shiva temple in the Naina Devi temple premises
Sparrows ate some of the rice offerings made to Lord Shiva.
A view of Naini Lake from Naina Devi temple
A map of Nainital
Photo credits: Anisha Sharma