Blessed with enviable natural beauty, Ranikhet is a charming hill station located in the Kumaon hills of Uttarakhand. It is a very calm and tranquil place developed by the British as an army cantonment during late 19th century. It still serves as the India Army cantonment area and the headquarter of Kumaon Rifles. Each year, thousands of tourists visit Ranikhet to experience the natural essence and the beauty of the region.
The town’s name Ranikhet literally means Queen’s Field and is derived from a legendary queen who fell in love with this charming place and settled in the region. Sights of colorful birds, enchanting flora and fauna, and surrounding peaks make this place a charming hill station in India. Tourists on Ranikhet trip can enjoy several natural treks in addition to the cool environment and amazing sights. Viewing the snow-capped Nanda Devi Peak is one of the most memoriable experience in Ranikhet. Leafy pinewoods and lovely forest trails create an pleasant environment all around the town.
The lovely Ranikhet town lies at an altitude of around 1830 m above sea level and nearly 50 km from Almora. Grand bungalows and many churches remind of the colonial past of the town. Ranikhet Officers Club is a good place to get a glimpse of the life in Indian Army. Sadar Bazaar is the most crowded area of the town. The rest of the town is settled above it towards the hilltop.
Main Tourist Attractions of Ranikhet
Jhula Devi Temple
Dating back to 8th century, this temple lies at an isolated place and enjoys the serene location. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga, locally referred to as Jhula Devi. A very interesting thing to see here is the cluster of bells whose sounds can be heard at long distances. The temple offers panoramic view of the surrounding peaks. You can also visit a nearby temple dedicated to Lord Ram.
Showl and Tweed Factory and Outlet
The Showl and Tweed Factory and Outlet is the best place to watch weavers busy in doing their work with looms and wheels. This place is located above the Narsingh Stadium Parade Ground.
Other major attractions in and around Ranikhet include the golf course and the Chaubattia Orchards.
How to Reach Ranikhet
You can reach easily reach Ranikhet using buses from different regions of Kumaon. Direct bus service is available from Delhi, Nainital, Dehradun, Haldwani, Almora and many other cities of Uttarakhand. Kathgodam nearly 85 km away serves as the nearest railhead to Ranikhet and is connected to Ranikhet via nice road network. Pantnagar Airport serves as the nearest airport to Ranikhet. For traveling within the city, local buses, jeeps and taxis are available for the tourists. A taxi is usually the best option for visiting the temples and tourist sites around the town.
Best Time to Visit Ranikhet
March to June and September to November are the best months for Ranikhet tour. During the winter months of December to February, the temperature falls sharply and hovers around the freezing point. During the months from April to June, the weather remains pleasant and perfect for the travel. In July and August, the heavy rainfalls make the travel sometimes uncomfortable.