Ranikhet "The Queen's Land"
Perched at an average height of 1,869 meters (6,132 feet) above sea level, Ranikhet is a well-known hill station and cantonment town in Almora district of Uttarakhand state, India. The place gets the attention of every visitor with its captivating natural beauty, lush green meadows, various species of flowers, trees, rich wildlife and a beautiful golf course in the midst of Himalayan mountains. It has one of the highest golf courses in Asia with 9 holes.
The town offers a panoramic view of the great Himalayan peak of Nanda Devi (7816 m). One of the best examples of step farming, ‘Chaubatia Garden’ is among the noticeable attractions in this town. It is situated 10 km away from the main town of Ranikhet. The garden is known for the exquisite orchards of plums, apples, peaches, and apricots. These gardens have become an ideal place for outings and picnics.
History of Ranikhet:
Once, the region of Ranikhet was under the occupancy of Nepalese rulers. General Kashi Nath Adhikari of Kumaon won the area from Nepalese and it became the part of Kumaon region. Because of the achievements of Kashi Nath Adhikari a town was named as Kashipur.
The Britishers established the Kumaon Regiment headquarters here in 1869 to escape the wrath of Indian summer. During British Raj, Ranikhet was also proposed as the summer headquarters of Government of India, in lieu of Shimla.
Things to Do in Ranikhet:
Trekking and Nature Walks:
Ranikhet has several popular trekking trails surrounded by lush green environment and mesmerizing Himalayan peaks. The trail from Chaubatia garden to Holm Farm is well known. Other trails are Meghdoot to Jhula Devi Temple, Chaubatia to Bhalu Dam, Ranikhet Club to Chevron Rosemount and Chaubatia to Bhalu Dam.
Ranikhet is home to one of the highest golf courses in Asia with 9 holes. Upat golf course offers a spectacular view of snowy peaks. However, one has to take playing and admission to the club.
Ranikhet has many important Hindu temples. Kalika Temple, Jhula Devi Temple, Mankameshwar Temple, which is managed by Kumaon Regimental Centre are major worship center for devotees.
Explore Rich Flora:
Chaubatia garden has many species of flowers. The garden is known for the exquisite orchards of plums, apples, peaches, and apricots. Kumaon region’s first Horticulture Research Institute is also there.
Legend Related to Ranikhet:
The town gets its name from a local legend. The word Ranikhet means “Queen’s Field”. According to the legend, When Katyuri King Raja Sudhardev of Kumaon was the ruler of this region, he was impressed by his queen Rani Padmini, who was thrived by the beauty of this place. The king built a palace for the queen. There is no trace of the palace whatsoever but the place hasn’t lost its beauty and remained as beautiful as it was.
Snowfall in Ranikhet:
If you want to see snow covered Himalayan peaks in Ranikhet then winters are the best time to visit. Snowfall is a regular phenomenon in this town, which usually starts in December and January months. From October to February the weather remains cold and temperature ranges between 3°C to 8°C.
Best Time to Visit Ranikhet:
The best thing about Ranikhet is it does not “time-block” visitors. One can visit this town at any given time of the year based on his/her preferences. The summers are not so hot and remain pleasant, winters bring snowfall while monsoons offer fresh and clean Himalayan views.
Summer starts from March and lasts till June or early days of July. The weather remains calm and pleasant. This is the ideal time for trekking, sightseeing and hanging out with family in sunlight.
Monsoon months are July and August. During this time, Ranikhet receives a significant amount of rainfall. It is not advisable to travel during these months as your plans to visit this town might get hindered due to the rain and road conditions.
Winter starts from September and lasts till February. Winters in Ranikhet are known to be cold and chilly and temperature ranges from 0 to 15 degrees. The weather during the months of September, October, and November remains calm and pleasant which is an ideal time for sightseeing. The months of December and January bring snowfall with them.
Flora and Fauna in Ranikhet:
The typical climatic factor of Uttarakhand is a reason for rich flora and fauna of Ranikhet. The floras in this town and neighboring areas include pine, oak, and deodar trees. The faunas include leopard, wild bear, Indian hare, barking deer, red fox, leopard cat, sambhar, red-faced monkey, pine marten, mountain goat, jackal, porcupine, and langoor.
Kumaon Regimental Centre, Ranikhet:
Kumaon Regimental Centre was 1974 by Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army to preserve the legacy of Kumaon region. It is a museum which showcases the achievements, sacrifices, triumphs, and glory of the Kumaon Regiment. Some of the preserved historical valuables here are Jhansi Ki Rani’s argent scepters, Chinese rifles used in the Indo-Chinese war of 1962, abstracts of the Kargil War and a wireless acreage blast used in World War II by Japanese.
Staying at Ranikhet:
Ranikhet is an all season active hill station which attracts a large number of visitors every time of the year. Staying is not a problem here and there are many options available according to one’s budget. It has many budget hotels and lodges and few high end hotels to stay. Government guest houses (KNVN) and tent accommodations are also available.
How to Reach Ranikhet:
Ranikhet comes under Almora district of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand state. It is 46 km away from Almora.
The nearest airport is Pantnagar airport, which is at a distance of 109 km. Pantnagar airport is an active airport which has regular connectivity with Delhi. From the airport, there are many taxis and buses to Haldwani and Almora are available. From Haldwani and Almora, there are many taxis and buses available to this town.
Kathgodam railway station is the nearest railway station. It is at a distance of 75 km. It has regular trains to and from Delhi and Dehradun such as Ranikhet Express and Sampark Kranti. From Kathgodam railway station one can hire a taxi to Ranikhet or take a bus from Kathgodam railway station.
The town is well connected to all the major cities of Uttarakhand via decent motorable roads. Taxis and buses from Haldwani and Almora are available. Almora is 46 km and Haldwani is 83 km from Ranikhet.
Road Distance of Ranikhet from Major Cities:
Delhi: 389 km
Meerut: 293 km
Moradabad: 170 km
Chandigarh: 493 km
Bareilly: 182 km
Kanpur: 457 km
Lucknow: 425 km
Shimla: 574 km
Jaipur: 660 km