Nainital gives you an insight into the local life and customs of people living in the hilly areas of the country. There is a stark difference in their belief and way of living compared to their city counterparts. The native population of Nainital is god-fearing and superstitious. They show their participation in any religious ceremony by attending community prayers and by wearing things that are considered auspicious. For instance, ladies put a long pithya starting from the upper nose to the forehead on all occasions. Pithya is a tilak made of turmeric.
The normal routine of people is guided by commonly believed superstitions. Any action against the blind belief is considered offensive by the society and the person becomes answerable to everyone. For instance, all death mourning takes place only on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The rest of the days are meant for all auspicious invitations and good work initiatives. Visit to sick people on mourning days and Thursdays is a complete no. Women also cannot visit their parents’ house on Thursdays. To keep evil spirits away, a black kohl dot is put on the forehead or behind the ear of a person. This is a common practice to save small children from negativity.
Unlike in other parts of India, Nainital people also follow a greeting protocol. Younger greets the elders by touching their feet and in response they are blessed with long life wishes.
Married women put sindoor or vermilion on their forehead and a black-beaded chain on their neck to signify their marital status. On special occasions, they wear a huge golden nose ring called nath. The traditional wear is Ghaghara-pichora that is normally worn on family weddings. Normally, women are seen in saris.
People mainly live in houses made out of stone or bricks. All of them have a slope roof tops so that the snow easily slips and falls on the ground during winters. The roof tops are generally made of stone. The livelihood of people is mainly from the tourism business. They are shopkeepers, guides, hotel staff, restaurant owners, cab drivers, etc.
The population of the area is mainly Hindus. People worship local deities like Golu, Bholanath, Sam, Gangnath, and Adi for bringing peace and harmony in their lives. The normal life of everyone, irrespective of the age group, revolves around religious activities. That is why, places of worship are hub for all cultural activities and social gatherings.