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The lake of Nainital is a lake town in Uttarakhand at an elevation of 2080 meters. The lake, named after the eye of the Hindu goddess Parvati, is pear-shaped and about two miles in circumference and 20 m deep.

From Wikipedia: In the Manas Khand of the Skand Puranas, Nainital Lake is called Tri-Rishi-Sarovar, hinting at the story of three sages (or rishis), Atri, Pulastya and Pulaha, who, upon finding no water in Nainital, dug a large hole at the location of the present day lake (sarovar = lake) and filled it with water from the holy lake Manasarovar in Tibet. According to lore, a dip in Naini Lake, "the lesser Manasarovar," earns merit equal to a dip in the great lake.

The history of the Nainital town, however, begins with the British colonial period. 'Discovered' by P. Barron in 1841, the lake quickly became a hill settlement and a summer retreat for the colonials. Even after a major landslide killed 150 in 1880, expansion continued with new schools and buildings. After the 1920's, British presence dropped significantly, and today, the town remains an incredibly popular tourist attraction. Boating is one of the major activities around the lake, with boaters taking tourists around (as in this photo), as well as a professional boating club plowing sailboats through the waters.

As picturesque as the lake seems, environmental degradation is a major concern. According to ecologists, hundreds of fish die every year due to the lack of oxygen in the lake - a result of garbage dumping. The environment is certainly one of the major problems India needs to face in the coming decade.

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Additional Photos by Biswaroop Mukherjee (bmukherjee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 218 W: 72 N: 211] (1516)
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