Difference between Dehradun and Nainital

Key Difference: Dehradun is the capital city of the state of Uttarakhand, whereas Nainital is a famous hill station in the state of Uttarakhand and is widely popular for its lake. Dehradun and Nainital are both important cities in Uttarakhand. Dehradun is a big city in area and population, whereas comparatively Nainital is a small town with a lesser population.  

Dehradun and Nainital are two districts in India. Dehradun district is located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, whereas Nainital is located in the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand. Dehradun is the prime city of Dehradun district and similarly Nainital is a prime city in the Nainital district. The article presents the differences based on these cities rather than the districts.

Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand has got its name from the word dera meaning 'camp' and doon meaning 'valley between the Himalayas and the Shivaliks'. Dehradun is regarded as one of the oldest cities in India, and therefore it is also considered to be connected with 'Ramayana' and 'Mahabharat', the two great epics of Hindu Mythology.

Guru Ram Rai, a Sikh guru came here from Punjab in 1676 and established his settlement. Later, the Mughar governor Najib-ud-Daula ruled this place during the middle of the eighteen century. Around 1815, it came under the British rule and then under the British, it developed into an important town. Many fine institutions like the Forest Research Institution, Doon School, Welham School, etc., kept being added with time. 

Dehradun, as the capital city for Uttarakhand has the main offices related to the state, and thus it is a home to many officers and politicians. It is well connected by rail, road and air. The nearest airport is present at Jolly grant which is 24 km away from the main city. It is connected via rails with various cities like Amritsar, Howrah, Bombay, Delhi etc. It is connected with a wide network of roads. Dehardun is also known for its picturesque landscape and pleasant climate, and thus it is also preferred by the tourists.

Nainital is a popular hill station which is present in the Uttarakhand state of India. It is located in the district named the same as Nainital. Nainital is mainly famous for its lakes; it is also sometimes referred to as the lake city. It is set up in a valley that comprises of a pear shaped lake known as Naini Lake and the city has got its name from this lake. There are other lakes too that are present near Nainital and thus, whenever tourists visit Nainital, they take a tour to all nearby lakes.

Nainital is famous for its serene beauty and therefore, many tourists visit this hill station. Nainital is also famous for snowfall and people are really excited to see the snowfall during the winters. Nainital is well connected with other cities. Nearest airport is present in Pantnagar which is approximately 71 kilometers away. Nearest train station is in Kathgodam which is 35 kilometers far from the city. The climate throughout the year is considered to be cold.

It would be interesting to know a little about the history of Nainital. It was discovered by P.Barron in the year 1843. Its serene beauty charmed the British and thus, they started setting up a framework in the city for housing and other purposes. It was also looked as the health resort and was later adopted as the summer residence for the Governor of the United Provinces. Even after the independence of the country, Nainital remains a favorite tourist attraction. The famous attractions of Nainital include Naini Lake, Naina Devi Temple, Governor's House, Pt. G.B. Pant High Altitude Zoo, Snow View, Naini Peak and many others.

Nainital and Dehradun are both famous for their educational institutions; Dehradun offers a variety of educational institutions at the school and college level. However, Nainital is renowned for its schools.

The main difference between the two is that Nainital is a hill station, whereas Dehradun is a valley. Dehradun has got the status of the capital of Uttarakhand and thus, it is an important city regarding state affairs. It is bigger in size than Nainital. Nainital is mainly earning through tourism, whereas Dehradun has a variety of offices and businesses. Some of the main differences are listed below in the table:-





1,950 m, 29.5333° N, 78.9333° E

960  m, 30.3234° N, 78.0421° E


11.73 sq. kms

300 sq. kms

Local Transport

Rickshaws, Dandies, Ropeway, Ponies, Taxis.

Buses, taxis, private cars, tongas, tempos and auto rickshaws.


Summers are pleasant and winters are severely cold

Temperate, although it varies from tropical; from hot in the summers to severely cold in the winters

Places to visit

Governor’s House, Himalaya Darshan, Land’s End, Naina Peak, Naini Lake, Tiffin Top, etc.

Robber’s Cave, FRI, Tapkeshwar Temple, Malsi Deer Park, Tapovan, Sahashtradhara, etc.

Local Festival

Nandadevi Fair in the month of September, Mahotsav in the month of October, etc.

Tapkeshwar fair, Bissu fair, etc.

Total Population

38,559 (according to 2001 census)

7,14,223 (according to 2011 census)

Image Courtesy: en.wikipedia.org, blog.smilingstart.com

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