How about walking barefoot on a green carpet of natural bugyal? Sounds interesting, isn't it?
Well, you can enjoy the same in "Queen of Meadows" Ranikhet, which is not so far from the national capital Delhi.
Just 370 km from Delhi, Ranikhet is a tourist destination and well-known hill station in Almora district in the state of Uttarakhand. Ranikhet is a very small hill station that is surrounded by deodar and oak trees.
It is located around 85 km from Kathgodam railway station and is connected by National Highways and State Highways. From this location, the snow-capped central Himalayan ranges can be clearly seen.
Ranikhet, a paradise for nature lovers, is a small but extremely beautiful hill station situated at an altitude of 1824 meters above sea level. This city of the cantonment is famous for its old temples.
Here, you can see silver ornamented snow-covered skyscrapers, beautiful valleys, pine and deodar trees, dense forest, narrow paths covered with fruit vines, streams, ancient temples with beautiful architecture, various types of birds flying high, and the wonderful beauty of rural surroundings and urban surroundings away from pollution. Pindari Glacier, Kausani, Chaubatia and Kalika can be reached from Ranikhet. Chaubatia has state government fruit gardens.
Important Information on Ranikhet
How to reach: The distances to Ranikhet are 63 km from Nainital, 50 km from Almora, 85 km from Kausani, and 80 km from Kathgodam.
Weather: The weather in summer is normal, the weather from July to September is rainy and then from November to February it is snowy and cold.
Best time to visit Ranikhet: April to early June or mid of September to mid- November to mid
Nearest Airport: Pantnagar
Nearest Railway Station: Kathgodam Railway Station
Places to visit in Ranikhet: Maa Kalika Temple , Golf Course , Chaubatia Garden , Binsar Mahadev Temple, Katarmal Surya Mandir
Language: Kumaoni and Hindi
Other information: During the British rule, this area was developed for the army cantonment. Since Ranikhet is the headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment, the entire area remains very clean.
History of Ranikhet
According to a legend, Ranikhet got its name from Rani Padmini. Rani Padmini was the wife of King Sukhdev, the ruler of the state there. Seeing the beauty of Ranikhet, the king and queen were very impressed and decided to stay there.
Most of the areas nearby Ranikhet were ruled by the Kumaoni Kings, but later Britishers captured the area. The British developed Ranikhet as a hill station for leisure holidays and in 1869 built several cantonments which are now the 'Kumaon Regimental Center'.
The seductive beauty of this entire region can be gauged from the statement of Van Palent, who was once the ambassador of the Netherlands - " the one who did not see Ranikhet, he did not see India".
It is said that hundreds of years ago, a queen had set out on her journey. While passing through this region, she was fascinated by the natural beauty here and stayed for the night's rest. Later she liked this place so much that he made his permanent residence here. Since then there were small farms at this place, hence the name of this place was named 'Ranikhet'.
During the British rule, this area was developed for the army cantonment. Since Ranikhet is the headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment, the entire area remains very clean. The market here is amazing. Built on a mountain (ie steep climb). Hence it is called ‘Khada Bazar’.
Tourism in Ranikhet
The beauty of Ranikhet cannot be described in words. The valleys spread far and wide, the pine trees in the dense forests add to the beauty of the place. Every year millions of tourists from all over the world come here to have fun.
At a distance of 6 kilometers from Ranikhet is a large golf field. Ranikhet also has a famous temple of Kalidevi in Kalika. There are 65 temples near Dwarahat, which are famous as unmatched specimens of the then art. Badrikadar Temple, Gujradev's Artistic Temple, Doonagiri Temple, Stone Temple, and Bawdia are famous temples here.
Doonagiri Temple is 14 kilometers from Dwarahat. From here you can see the snow-capped peaks. There are several other temples at the peak including Durgaji, which is visited by a large number of people from nearby areas.
Just a short distance away is Shitalakhet, which is known as the tourist village. The beauty of the place is seen here. The beautiful views seen here are very pleasing to the tourists.
Kalika Temple - about seven kilometers from Ranikhet. Goddess Kali is worshipped here. There are also excellent nurseries of plants here.
There is a golf course at the top and the snow-capped mountain behind it offers a very panoramic view.
Ranikhet also has more picturesque places. The sand dam here is famous for fishing. There are many places to visit a little distance from Ranikhet like Almora where the Himalayas' beautiful view of the mountains captivates the mind.
Chaubatia Garden of Ranikhet is the first choice of tourists. Apart from this, the government park and fruit research center can also be seen here. There is also a waterfall near them. The less crowded and peaceful atmosphere makes Ranikhet even more special.
Major sightseeing near Ranikhet
Maa Kalika Temple
Binsar Mahadev Temple
Jhula Devi Temple
Museum of Kumaon Regiment
Other scenic spots
Upat in Ranikhet
Ranikhet has a world-famous golf ground at a place called Upat, 5 km from the city (on the way to Almora) amidst thick pine forest (at a height of 6000 feet).
Movies are often shot here. This beautiful field of soft green grass has nine holes. Such a field is rarely seen. There is a beautiful bungalow here for the players to stay, where it is very nice to see the snowy mountains spread far away.
A wonderful collection of different types of flora and herbs have been put on display in this Herbarium (Botanical Museum), established by the famous botanist Ram Ji Lal. It is a separate herbarium of its kind throughout India.
Situated 38 km from Ranikhet, this place is more important for historical reasons. The Katyuri dynasty ruled here hundreds of years ago. There are 55 temples built by their kings. Their architecture is worth seeing. By the way, the natural beauty here also fascinates.
Located 35 km from Ranikhet, this place is now developing into a good tourist destination. It is very nice to see the beautiful snow-capped scenery from here. Due to its high altitude, the view below here is extremely breathtaking.
13 km from Ranikhet. Tourists visit the Himalayas for a closer look at Majkhali. The 26500 feet high Trishul mountain looks like a tower from here.
15 km from Dwarahat, this place is more popular due to the beautiful grounds, which are situated on the top of a mountain. From here the panoramic look of the mountains like Dwarahat, Trishul, Pandukholi, Doonagiri, etc. can be seen.
Nanda Devi Fair
The Nanda Devi Fair is the largest religious and cultural fair in Ranikhet. People come from far and wide to see it. It was started in the sixteenth century by King Kalyan Chand. This September fair is dedicated to Goddess Nanda and Sunanda. This fair is organized in many places like Almora, Nainital, Dandidhara, and Ranikhet. The most famous fair in this is Almora and Roopkund.