During the British Raj in India, it was a common practice to escape to the hills in order to avoid the summer woes and Uttarakhand being the nearest destination from Delhi, the centre of power, was the obvious choice for a summer retreat. However, being located at the distance wasn’t the sole reason to be chosen as a summer getaway. Serene hills and blooming valleys along with many other Himalayan wonders made Uttarakhand a perfect destination to unwind and rejuvenate. The options were many for Uttarakhand is abundant with natural delights and among all the place of interest for British who frequented this region, Ranikhet scores as a top destination.
Ranikhet as the name suggests is truly royal in its character. Ranikhet, meaning the Queen’s meadow has earned this name for its picture perfect valleys with deep forests. However, there is a history behind this name that relates to a queen who fell in love with this place on one of her excursions and decides to live here forever. But, there is no evidential structure or any particular location to hold this legend true.
Today, the area speaks of a colonial connection with a quiet British time cantonment town representing an amalgamation of both the old and the new. Divided into two ridges, namely Ranikhet ridge and Chaubattia ridge, Ranikhet serves as an ideal town to spend a languid summer with nothing special to do but to just walk around.
Administration of India locates Ranikhet under the Almora district of the Indian state Uttarakhanand it is approximately 279 kilometers away from Delhi, the capital of India. Well connected by both road and railways, Ranikhet can be reached through Kathgodam, the closest railway station, situated about 80 Kilometers away. Buses and taxis are also available from Delhi and other towns in Uttarakhand. There is an airport at Pantnagar which is almost 114 kilometers away.
Needless to mention, Ranikhet enjoys a pleasant climate though the weather is variable in most of the days. The climate remains harsh cold is winter with heavy snowfall. Thus, the tourist session here lasts from March to October- the best time enjoy the healthy climate and de-stress. The charm of each season in Ranikhet is always appealing to different people. That is why Ranikhet enjoys a steady footfall throughout the year. When the summer comes people come here to enjoy the cool breeze and the same crowd flocks here to cherish the snowfall during winters.
Vast forests of Pine, Oak and Deodar trees make Ranikhet an ideal place for jungle walks and hiking. Wildlife spotting in the wild is also a favorite activity among the tourists. However, the best thing to do in Ranikhet is to explore the Ranikhet Golf Course, one of the highest golf courses of Asia. Golf at the high altitude with the greenery around is actually a soul inspiring activity. Moreover, one gets to enjoy the remoteness with the local golfers who are quite friendly to the visitors.
Excursions out of the town to nearby hilly spots are the best satisfying thing to do in Ranikhet. Besides, ancient temples and colonial churches are among the other things to explore. Ranikhet also headquarters one of the Kumaon regiment of Indian Army. Situated 10kms from Ranikhet, Chaubatia Gardens is renowned for its apple orchards. No wonder, Ranikhet is popular for its luscious apples, apricots, peaches and various alpine fruits. Taking a stroll in those orchards and sampling nature fresh fruit juice and honey can feel like a heavenly experience for city dwellers.
And speaking of temples, Haidakhan Temple near Ranikhet besides being an abode of one of the incarnations of Lord Shiva is often visited by tourists in search of inner peace. The splendid view of the gigantic Himalayan peaks behind the temple is the perfect spot to watch a sunset.
There are many other temples of significance and so are some picnic spots famous for their scenic beauty but they are best discovered other than being read about. So, asking around and roaming here and there to discover Ranikhet is the real joy of a summer vacation Shopping is hardly an activity in Ranikhet as the idea of being in Ranikhet is only about natural rendezvous.