The lovely aspect of Two Chimneys is that it can be a peaceful base camp for you to explore the more touristy areas of the Kumaon region. There are numerous day trips that can be planned and catered for.
The alternate capital option of the newly formed state of Uttrakhand (till it lost out to Dehradun)at a height of 1938 mtrs a easy 45 minute drive of 28 km from Two Chimneys. It Is a town burgeoning out of shape but held together by the beautiful emerald Naini Lake. One could view it as a chaotic happy fair ground or as a miserable example of a hill station gone wrong.
Founded in 1841 by Mr. P. Barron, a European merchant and an enthusiastic hunter from near Shahjahanpur while on a trek. It went on to become the summer capital of then United Provinces. Two most popular legends attached to the formation of the lake go thus -
• In ancient times, it is said the area had as many as 60 lakes and it was called the City of 60 lakes. These lakes find mention in the Puranas as the Tririshi Sarovar, - the lake of the three sages. The myth goes that three sages arrived here but there was no water available so meditating on the sacred Manasarovar Lake, they began to dig a hole and soon their prayers were answered as water filled the area.
• Another legend has it that the eyes of Goddess Sati fell here (hence the name Naini Tal - Eye lake) and it became one of the 51 Shakti Peeths It is said that the shimmering green waters of the Naini Lake is a reflection of the emerald green eye of Sati. Sati was the divine consort of lord Shiva. Sati's father, King Daksha failed to invite Sati’s husband, Lord Shiva to the yagya at his palace. The enraged Sati immolated herself in the very fire of the yagna. A furious Shiva, held her charred body in his arms and began to perform a cosmic dance of destruction. Lord Vishnu stepped in to save the universe by scattering the remains of Sati across the Earth. The Naina Devi Temple, at the northern end of the lake, is said to be located at spot where Sati's eyes fell.
The Lake is the nerve centre of Nainital, it’s a 2 mile long walk around the lake that sits in the lap of seven mountains dotted with quaint villas and cottages and alas, numerous modern constructions too. Over crowded in the summer months, it’s a dream destination during the off-season. Like in all hill stations in India the Mall road is stuffed tight with curio shops, restaurants, hotels and shops. Apart from boating, horse riding and walking, a visit to the Observatory is recommended. It has one of the most advance telescopes in India. The entry in the observatory is by permission and timings are fixed.