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Ranikhet – A beautiful Hill Station in Uttarakhand, India




Altitude: 1869 meters
Coordinates: 29.65, 79.42
Weather: Moderate in summers, very cold in winter. Ranikhet gets snowfall from the months of December to February
Clothing: Summer – Light Woolens ; Winter – Woolens
Local Transport: Taxis/Jeeps/Buses
STD Code: 05966

Ranikhet is a hill station and cantonment town in Almora district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is the home for the Kumaon Regiment (KRC) & Naga Regiment and is maintained by the Indian Army. This hill station is undoubtedly a tourist’s paradise. The scented mountain breeze, fresh & pure, the singing of birds, the panoramic view of the Himalayas, the sights, sounds and smells leave the onlooker spellbound. Weaving an instant spell on the visitor Ranikhet draws visitors all the year round. Ranikhet reflects the very best of the heavenly Himalayas: their lush green forests, majestic mountain peaks, exotic plant life and attractive wild life.
Take in the panoramic views of the Himalayas and breathe in the fresh pine scented air even before you reach the main hill station. Ranikhet is a cantonment area and somewhat similar to Kasauli of Himachal as it is clean and reminds you of the gone by British raj with it’s colonial buildings et al. Being under the army no major constructions have been allowed in Ranikhet allowing it to retain it’s old world charm. One can go for long walks in the jungle or admire the lovely view of the Himalayas from Bhagirthi in the west to Nandakot in the east, all day long.

Map to Ranikhet from Maps.google.com


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Ranikhet, which means Queen’s meadow in Hindi, gets its name from a local legend, which states that it was here, that Raja Sudhardev won the heart of his queen, Rani Padmini, who subsequently chose the area for her residence, giving it the name, Ranikhet, though no palace exists in the area.
In 1869, the British established the headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment here and used the station as a retreat from the heat of the Indian summer. At one time during British Raj, it was also proposed as the summer headquarters of Government of India, in lieu of Shimla. In 1868, the site was selected for stationing British Troops and the following year the Cantonment was established after acquiring the land from villagers of Sarna, Kotli and Tana on payment of compensation of Rs. 13,024.00. The Cantonment comprises Ranikhet proper, Kumpoor, Chaubattia and the standing camp also known as Dulikhet and is about 6 km long with an average breadth of 8 miles and has an area of 4,262.61 acres.
Ranikhet offers some wonderful treks for trekking enthusiasts. Adventure lovers can enjoy trekking to Kausani, Dunagiri and Sitalakhet

Places to see:

Cantt. Aashiyana park – The Multifarious Environmental Zone: Ranikhet has developed a multifarious environmental zone named as “Aashiyana”. As there was not a single park where tourists can visit and take a short break from their usual hectic schedule, it is a complete park in all respect. The park is a complete world for all age group. It contains a complete children park, herbal garden for those persons who are interested in herbal and medicinal plants, lawn, sitting arrangement, colorful fountains, view points for Himalayan peaks, evening lighting etc. It was inaugurated on 14/11/04.

Rani Jheel: As Ranikhet is located at a higher altitude (between 5500 ft to 7500 ft.), no river is crossing through the vicinity of this naturally beautiful small town. Even there is no such lake/dam, which can preserve rain water/spring water. Hence the Cantt. Board is developing a huge lake named as Rani Jheel. It is beautifully located between two natural ridges of Ranikhet i.e. between Canossa Convent School and Kendriya Vidyalaya.After complete development of the said Jheel the same will preserve rain water as well as spring water of 3 perennial springs joining the lake.

Bhalu Dam: It is the most beautiful artificial lake situated in the reserved forest 3km below Chaubattia in the Cantt. area. The lake was constructed by the Britishers in 1903.The Imperial Gazetteer of India 1908 says about the Bhalu Dam “an excellent system of water-works have recently been carried out”. Water from the dam comes to reservoir at Nagpani treatment plant by gravity and then it is supplied to Chaubattia.

Sun Set Points: One of the major attractions of Ranikhet is to view the gradual sun set from different locations. The prominent are:- At Machkhali from hill top near Woodvilla, the other are at Golf Ground, site between Transit Camp and Ganiadeoli, and the site located on the road leading from Jhoola Devi to Bhargaon approx 1 k.m. away from Jhoola Devi Temple.

Nanda Devi Mela: Nanda Devi Mela is a fair of great religious and cultural significance. It is held at Nanda Devi Temple in September to commemorate the memory of goddesses, Nanda and Sunanda. It is said to have started in Kumaon, during the reign of Raja Kalyan Chand in the 16th century. Nanda means prosperity and well being. Nanda Devi Mela is held as a symbol of prosperity, both material and spiritual, of the hill regions. The Nanda Devi Mela is held at Almora, Nainital, Nauti, Dandidhara, Munsyari & Ranikhet, of which the Almora and Roopkund fairs are the most famous.

Upat Kalika : 6 Kms. from the town on Almora Road the place has one of the best mountain golf links (9 Holes) in the country surrounded by dense forests. Just one km. from Upat is Kalika with its famous temple.

Chaubatia, 10 km from Ranikhet away houses the botanical gardens and a Govt. fruit research institute where one see different varieties of exotic flowers and orchids. It also serves as a vantage point to view snow clad Himalayan mountain peaks including NandaDevi, Trishul, Nandaghunti and Nilkanth.

Hairakhan Dham : It is 5 kms. from Ranikhet , ashram of Hairakhan Baba is loacted here.

Jhoola Devi Temple: This is a very famous temple of Ma Durga the Goddess of Sakti . It is 7 Kms. from Ranikhet on the way to Chaubattia. There is a long and quite scientific mythology and traditional faith behind this temple well explained in the information board displayed at the temple gate. Devotees pray at the temple for fulfillment of their wishes and after so devotees come again and to pay tribute, devotees tie bells at Ma Jhoola Devi temple. As a result, there are thousands of bells hanging in the temple premises.

Ram Mandir: The most famous temple of the Kumaon hill, it is dedicated to lord Rama. It is above Jhoola Devi Temple.

Mankameshwar Temple: This temple is a beautifully designed and developed temple by Kumaon Regimental Centre for Lord Shiva and Radha Krishna. This temple is near to the Nar Singh ground.

Majhkhali: On the Ranikhet – Almora road, 13 km, is a spot of entrancing, celestial beauty. Here is an awe-inspiring view of the majesty of the snowy peaks. The U.P. Government Agriculture Farm is situated here.

How to get there: It is located at a distance of 360 km from Delhi, 55 km Nainital

Road: For Ranikhet follow the same route as for Nainital till Bhowali. From Bhowali follow the road to Khairna and on to Ranikhet. For Delhi-Nainital route click here.

Train: Nearest railhead from Ranikhet is 80 km away at Kathgodam. Get a taxi or a bus from there.

Air: Nearest airport is at Pantnagar 110 km away.

DISTANCES / LOCATION
Delhi to Nainital : 325 Kms
Ranikhet to Nainital : 60 Kms
Kathgodam (Nearest Railway Station) to Nainital : 35 Kms
Corbett to Nainital : 118 Kms
Delhi to Corbett : 295 Kms
Almora-Nainital via Khairna : 67 Kms
Dehradoon Nainital : 360 Kms
Almora-Nainital via Ranikhet : 106

Places to stay: (some details available at this link)

Rosemount (heritage property)
Trishul Lodge
Woodsvilla Resort, Ranikhet (link)
The West View Hotel, Ranikhet
Parwati Inn, The Mal Ranikhet
Cosmos Ventures, Ranikhet
Trishul Lodge, Ranikhet
Hotel Holm Farm Heritage
Hotel Ranikhet Inn
Cost Plus Resort
Windsor Lodge

External Articles:

1. Ghumakkar.com (link)
2. Locations in Ranikhet (link)
3. Photos of Ranikhet on holidayiq.com (link)
4. Ranikhet photos on Webshots (link)
5. Photos of Ranikhet on oktatabyebye.com (link)
6. Photos of Ranikhet on trekearth.com (link)
7. Some WordPress.com articles on Ranikhet (link)
8. Ranikhet Photo Gallery (link)
9. Ranikhet Photo Gallery on shunya.net (link)
10. Photos on raahi.com (link)
11. Photos of Ranikhet on mustseeindia.com (link)
12. Blog on Ranikhet (link)
13. Ranikhet by Sumit (link)
14. Blog on Ranikhet (link)




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