Overview Ranikhet :
Visitors describe it as a serene stress of green hills adorned with tall pine trees. Not to mention the charming background of the snow wrapped Himalaya that makes this small cantonment area in Almora district of Uttarakhand a blessed land. Ranikhet, meaning the queen’s meadows stand true to its name since the royal beauty of the surrounding makes it a special destination. Often frequented by nature lovers who swear by its magnetic climate, Ranikhet is best known for its solitary landscapes. Located at the Himalayan slopes approximately 6000 feet above the sea level and away from the maddening city life, Ranikhet is one of the best summer retreats in Uttarakhand. Being the home to the Kumaon Regiment (KRC) & Naga Regiment of the Indian Army, Ranikhet is a well maintained area of sheer beauty and an organized life.
If the local legend is to be believed the place got it name from Rani Padmini. Wooed by her beloved husband Raja Sudhardev, the queen afterward chose this beautiful area for her residence, giving it the name, Ranikhet. The connection of this place with the British Raj goes back to 1869 when the British regiment established the headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment here. Soon the establishment was used as a retreat for the humid Indian summer days.
Visiting Places at Ranikhet
Spread across two ridges the cantonment area is a scenic combination of elevated pathways and beautifully aligned forests. The first ridge is called the Ranikhet ridge and the second one is called the "Chaubattia ridge". The whole area houses pine, oak, and deodar forests that are home to a wide assortment of Himalayan wildlife. Although most of the visitors come here to unwind by taking a solitary walk in the sloppy pathways, other recreational options are available too. For example, golf is catching us with the crowd as a popular activity in Ranikhet. Call it a bygone British era leftover or a game of the elite, golf is no more confined to the classes. The charm of the place never runs out as magic keeps unfolding as you shuttle between old churches to ancient temples to colonial structures. The explorer and the admirer in you will surely come into senses.
Since the purpose of visit to Ranikhet often remains recreational shopping is not a matter of concern most of the time. However, one can check out the handloom items in the old church nave near the Somenath Dwar. There are not too many out of the world restaurants for gourmet food hunt, but the simplicity of the hills reflect in the food culture as well. No matter whatever and wherever you eat, the warmth of the food as well as the people around will surely touch your soul.
Best Places to Visit Ranikhet
Ranikhet is enjoyed at its best from the months of March to October when the sun shines though the green forests, wild flowers bloom to its full glory and the birds sing the happy songs of contentment. The same lively place wears a deserted look when the winter snow drives everyone indoors. However, to enjoy a snowy day inside a Ranikhet cottage in the warmth of the hearth sounds like a nice option to many tourists.
How to Reach Ranikhet
Ranikhet is blissfully situated at a distance of 279 km from the capital city of Delhi, well connected and well perceived. Incidentally, Ranikhet falls in the most popular tourism circuit in Uttarakhand. The nearest railway station to Ranikhet is Kathgodam, approximately 80 kilometers away. The nearest airport is Pantnagar.