Reminiscent of British settlement, Ranikhet is a beautiful hill station in Almora district of Uttarakhand surrounded by forests of pine, oak, deodar and buransh. It has an elevation of 1,869 m. Ranikhet, which means Queens Meadow, got its name from Rani Padmini who ended up living in this place due to its beautiful landscape. People often visit this place for the same reason. This is one of the places in North India for admiring the Himalayas. This place has everything to pacify newlyweds as an offbeat honeymoon destination.
Norman Troup, an English adventurer, found this place and ended up settling here. The British Government in Delhi acquired the entire area from him to make this a resting place for English soldiers especially during summers. Soon many bungalows and barracks were built.The British engineers cut all the trees in order to construct splendid roads. Later on a nursery was established in Chaubatia, located nearly 10 kilometres south of the cantonment town of Ranikhet.
After the British left India, the Kumaon Regimental Centre was shifted to Ranikhet from Agra. Now, Ranikhet is home to Kumaoni people and is a tourist spot.
Things to do
Ever tried Golfing?
Built in 1920, the Golf Course of Ranikhet is the highest golf course in Asia. Army personnel often play golf here. Civilians can play golf by paying a nominal entry fee. Locals often come here to chill on Sundays.
Locate the Dhruv Tara at night
Majkhali, a small hamlet located around 10 kilometres from Ranikhet, is a popular place for stargazing. As the environment has pure air and almost no pollution the sky remains clear at night. You can easily spot the Saptrishi or Ursa major constellation. You can take a taxi from the main market to travel to this place.
Take a stroll in an unpaved lane
Ranikhet is packed with trails having mesmerising views of the Himalayas and the deodar forest. A breeze of fresh air will be enough to fill your soul. You can admire the beauty of mother nature while walking along these paths. Here, you can truly praise the tranquility of this small town. You can also go for a drive on the long winding roads of Ranikhet.
What about a jungle Safari?
This place is surrounded by forests of pine, oak and deodar trees and therefore is home to many wild species of fauna such as, musk deers, snow leopards, blue ships and thars to name a few. Take a jungle safari in these untamed forests to get a closer look of these rare species.
Watch the sun going down
Although the sunset can be watched from any higher altitude in Ranikhet, the sunset viewed from Sarna garden road, Khaniya won’t fade away from your memory. You will see a magnificent sunset from this location.
Visit the famous Apple Garden
Apple Garden is spread in an area of 600 acres of land. It is located in a place called Chaubatia which is about 10 km south of Ranikhet. It will take a full day to completely explore this place. You can also buy freshly picked apples at lowest prices from this place.
Ranikhet Club, an example of British Architecture
It is a British Army club, located in the slopes of Upper Mall, which is treated with condescendment by local cantonment officers. It is well equipped with modern facilities and various leisure activities. Although it has only four rooms, you will spend the best time here.
Visit the beautiful shrines
Jhula Devi mandir is a famous temple in Ranikhet. This temple is dedicated to goddess Durga and the name is derived from the fact that its deity sits in the jhula (cradle).
Haidakhan temple is another famous temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built by Haidakhan, who is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Binsar Mahadev temple is located 18 km from Ranikhet. The road leading to this shrine and the temple itself is surrounded by tall deodar trees, adding to the beauty of this quaint place. This temple is dedicated to lord Shiva. It also has idols of Ganesh, Har Gauri and Maheshmardini. The serenity of this place makes it a must visit place
Try boating in Rani Jheel
Rani jheel is an artificial lake which was initially built for the purpose of water harvesting. It later became a popular place for boating. It is located between two natural ridges of Kendriya Vidyalaya and Canossa Convent School.
How to reach Ranikhet
By road: Ranikhet is well connected to all the important cities of Uttarakhand. Direct bus services are available from Nainital (60 km), Kathgodam (86 km), Delhi (366 km) and Ramnagar (96 km).
By train: Kathgodam (86 km) is the nearest train depot. Thereafter you can take a taxi or bus to reach Ranikhet.
By flight: Pant Nagar (119 km) is the nearest airport. Here, you can take a taxi to Haldwani and then can either book a taxi or ride in a bus till Ranikhet.
Best time to visit this place
Summers in Ranikhet will give you a break from the scorching heat of urban cities, during winters the entire town will be covered in snow and monsoon will make you fall in love with the mountain, again. Basically, you can travel to this place in any season. You will always find something good and beautiful.
This place has so much to offer that your phone memory will not be enough to store all your mesmerizing photographs and videos. With so many options to choose from you will surely have the time of your life.