Ranikhet is a hill station and a cantonment town that is located in the Almora district, in Uttarakhand. It is located at an altitude of 1,829 metres above sea level and the Himalayan ranges surround this beautiful hill station. Ranikhet, in literal terms means 'Queen's meadow' in English. According to a legend, an Indian queen visited the site and built her palace at this place, though surprisingly there is no palace in the whole town.
In the year 1869, the British established their headquarters of the Kumaon regiment in Ranikhet and used this place as a retreat from the summer season. It is here that the Kumaon and the Naga regiment is located and is maintained by the Indian Army. Because of its pleasant weather, Ranikhet has become a favorite hotspot among the tourists. It is very cold in winters while the summers are very pleasant. Ranikhet receives snowfall during the months of December, January and February.
This beautiful, quiet hill station is surrounded by lush green forests, huge mountain peaks, some attractive plant life and wild life as well. If you want to see nature at its best, then Ranikhet must be high on your list of must visit places. The cool mountain breeze, the chirping of the birds and the panoramic view of the Himalayas; everything comes together to provide a breathtaking and beautiful atmosphere. This is what makes Ranikhet a destination which a traveler can visit during anytime of the year.
Tourist Attractions in Ranikhet
Ranikhet is a beautiful hill station, located in the state of Uttarakhand. The various tourist attractions of Ranikhet are the following:
Golf Course: The Golf Course at Ranikhet is the second biggest natural golf course in the country today. It is a nine-hole course and is one of the major attractions of the Ranikhet town. A temple dedicated to Goddess Kalika is located very close to the Ranikhet Golf Course.
Jhula Devi: Jhula Devi is a temple that is dedicated to Goddess Durga. This temple is more than 800 years old. It is said that if a person asks for something and gets it, then he is supposed to tie a bell in the temple. Situated very close to the Jhula Devi temple is another temple, that is dedicated to Lord Ram.
Chaubattia Garden: Chaubattia garden is a world famous apple garden which is also famous for breeding apple plants. One can buy fresh fruit juice, etc. from the counters at the outlet, during the season. The research laboratory located here is a must visit place. Also, the Chaubattia garden provides a wonderful view of the Himalayan ranges. Hairakhan Temple The Hairakhan temple is located about 4 kms. from the city of Ranikhet in the town of Chiliyanaula. The Hairakhan temple was established by Shri Hairakhan Maharaj who is said to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva. From here, one can also get a very good view of the Himalayan valley. The GD Birla Memorial School is also located not far from this place.
Binsar Mahadev: Situated about 15 kms. from Ranikhet, is the Binsar Mahadev Temple. It has a beautiful and fresh water stream flowing very close to it. Apart from the temple, Binsar Mahadev also has cedar forests surrounding the place.
Dronagiri and Pandavkholi: The 1,100 year old Dronagiri temple is located about 52 kms. from Ranikhet. Legends have it that during the Ram Ravan battle, when Laxman got injured by Medhnath's arrow, Hanuman was sent to get Sanjivani buti from Himalayas. This buti fell from his hands where the Dronagiri stands now. About 5 kms. ahead of Dronagiri is the famous cave of Pandavkholi which finds its description even in the famous autobiography of a Yogi of Lahiri Mahashay.
Baijnath Temple: The Baijnath temple is located about 70 kms. from Ranikhet. There is a stone idol of Goddess Parvathi inside the temple. This temple is an beautiful example of ancient art. Here, one can also enjoy feeding large number of fishes but please keep in mind that fishing in this area is strictly prohibited.
Katarmal (Sun Temple): Situated about 25 kms. from Ranikhet, a beautiful trek leads one to one of the two Sun temples of the country. If you do not quite feel like trekking all the way up, there is also the option to drive although it won't take you up all the way to the temple. This beautifully designed temple was created in the 12th century this temple is protected and preserved by the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI).
Dwarahat: Dwarahat is located about 37 kms. from Ranikhet. It is a prime tourist attraction of the Kumaon region. It was once the power centre of the Katyuri rulers back in the 16th century.
Places to See Near Ranikhet
Ranikhet excursions consist of some of the finest places near the city. Excursions around Ranikhet, Uttarakhand are a must see for those visiting the city. Some of the famous places to visit around Ranikhet are the following:
Kausani: Kausani is a beautiful place that is known for its scenic beauty and the wonderful vistas that it provides to a traveler. It is also known as the Switzerland of India. It is located at a stone's throw away from Ranikhet and is known for the panoramic view that it has to provide to the visitors.
Sitlakhet: Sitlakhet is yet another place located close to Ranikhet which provides a beautiful view of the Himalayan ranges that surrounds it. Located about 35 kms. from Ranikhet, it is an ideal retreat for anyone looking to visit any nearby place near Ranikhet. Sitlakhet is surrounded by lush green orchards, herbal and medicinal plants.
Dwarahat: Dwarahat is a holy place located about 7 kms. from Ranikhet. It is located amidst a beautiful valley. The Ramganga River that flows through Dwarahat is famous for its cluster of 55 temples of the Katyuni period. This place was one of the places where Katyuni Kings ruled in the ancient period.
Binsar Mahadev: The Binsar Mahadev temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located about 15 kms. from Ranikhet town and has a beautiful stream flowing very close to it. Apart from the Shiva temple, Binsar Mahadev also has a lovely cedar forest surrounding it.
Naukuchia Tal: Naukuchia Tal is a beautiful lake that is located in the Nainital town. For anyone who is interested in bird watching, Naukuchia Tal is an absolute heaven. During the winter season, many migratory birds can be spotted in the lake.
Must Visit: Golf Course, Jhula Devi, Chaubattia Garden, Hairakhan Temple, Binsar Mahadev, Dronagiri and Pandavkholi
Climate: Pleasant in summers and cold during winters
Ideal Time: April to June
Languages: Kumaoni, Hindi and English
Festivals: Dwarahat Fair, Bhikiasain
Ranikhet STD Code: 05966
Ranikhet is a quiet, serene hill station located in Uttarakhand. It has a very pleasant climate. The summers in Ranikhet are very comfortable with the temperatures hovering between 16 and 20 degree Celsius.
The winters are cold and sunny during the daytime while the nights are very cold with temperatures falling below the zero degree mark easily. The monsoon season starts in July and can last till September. Ranikhet usually has a pleasant climate all year round.
But be it rain, sun or snow, every season has its charm and this makes Ranikhet an all-season destination.
Do not forget to buy some 'baal mithai' from the market at Ranikhet, if you are out for shopping. Baal Mithai is made of condensed and concentrated milk, covered with little sugar bead. This sweet is the specialty of Ranikhet. You can also try 'singaudi' which is rich in sugar and ghee.
Another excellent shopping option is shawls at KRC Shawl and Tweed Factory and Outlet. It is located in an old church with high ceilings and stained glass windows. Don't forget to visit the factory to watch the weavers at work as they churn out shawls in many hues and patterns.
How to Reach Ranikhet
Ranikhet is one of the most popular hill stations of Uttarakhand. It is surrounded by beautiful hills all around. It is one of the most famous hill stations in the state. One can reach Ranikhet by various ways.
By Air: The nearest airport from Ranikhet is located in Pantnagar, situated about 200 kms. from Ranikhet. Another option for the travelers is to fly till the Jolly Grant airport at Dehradun and take local taxis or luxury buses from there.
By Rail: The nearest railheads are located at Kathgodam, at 83 kms. and Ramnagar, at about 100 kms. From there, one can take cabs or buses to Ranikhet.
By Road: Ranikhet is well connected by roads. It can be reached quite easily from all the major towns of the Kumaon district and even all the major cities of the state.