Nevertheless, the lake had been known for quite some time to herdsmen from villages nearby and held in great reverence as an abode of gods and spirits. Traill had great respect for the traditions and beliefs of the hill folk. To his way of thinking, crowds would violate the sanctity of the place, so he kept the discovery strictly to himself.
On the other hand, P. Barron, a trader in sugar from Shahjahanpur and an intrepid traveler, had no sooner caught a glimpse of the lake in its sylvan setting than he realized its potential as a hill resort and went full steam a colonizing it. The year was 1839. Barron first reached the lake through a trick, a fact mentioned in his book Wanderings in the Himmala. He knew there was a large lake in the heart of Kumaon. He also knew that local guides deliberately misled Europeans who wished to go there, in order to keep the location a secret.
Sure enough, Barron' s guide declared he had never heard of the lake, at which Barron placed on the guide's head a large stone and told him to carry it till they managed to find the lake. He said there were reputedly no stones near the lake and he needed to build a house. Desperate to be rid of the load, the guide soon confessed he knew the lake well enough and there was no scarcity of stones in the general area. Barron says that other Europeans also resorted to the same trick till such time that Nainital found a place on the map.
The names of two Englishmen must always be linked with the discovery of the Lake at Nainital. One of them G. W. Traill, Commissioner of Kumaon and Garhwal, was the first European to set eyes on it in 1823. Nevertheless, the lake had been known for quite some time to herdsmen from villages nearby and held in great reverence as an abode of gods and spirits. Traill had great respect for the traditions and beliefs of the hill folk. To his way of thinking, crowds would violate the sanctity of the place, so he kept the discovery strictly to himself.
How To Reach
The nearest airport is at Pantnagar, 71 km away. It is connected by Vayudoot services with Delhi. A coach takes the tourists to Nainital. Taxis are also available.
The nearest railhead is at Kathgodam, 35 km away. Nainital is connected by rail to Delhi, Agra, Bareilly and Lucknow. Taxis and buses are available from Kathgodam to Nainital.
Nainital is connected by good, all-weather roads to Delhi (322 km), Bareilly (141 km), Almora (66 km) and Ranikhet (60 km). Public and private bus companies ply regular bus services between Nainital and Delhi, Lucknow, Bareilly, Hardwar, Dehradun, Almora, Ranikhet, Ramnagar and other important towns in the state.