Situated at an altitude of 1869 meters above the sea level, this idyllic hill station is located just 59kms away from Nainital. It was discovered and built entirely by the British in 1869. The serene hills, the blooming valleys, the pleasant climate will cast an instant spell on the visitor.
As it located in the Northern region of India in the Kumaon hills, all four seasons here have something special to offer. The hill station also experiences snowfall in the months of December and January. This is the perfect destination to unwind and rejuvenate while enjoying the magnificent views offered by the Western Himalayas. Today, Ranikhet is preserved by the Indian Army.
According to local legends, Ranikhet gets its name from Rani Padmini. She was the queen of Raja Sukherdev, the local ruler. When she saw the place, she was so captivated by its beauty that she decided to make it her residence. Ranikhet literally means ‘Queen’s field’. The region around Ranikhet was ruled by the local Kumaoni rulers and later came under the British rule. The British then proceeded to develop it as a hill station for their troops and established a cantonment in 1869. They used it as a retreat during the summers. Ranikhet is still a cantonment town and is the Kumaon Regimental Center.
There are many attractions in Ranikhet along with the scenic views offered by nature. First and foremost is the Nanda Devi Mela. It is a fair of great religious and cultural significance. It is held in September at the Nanda Devi temple to celebrate the memory of goddesses, Nanda and Sunanda. Even if you’re unable to make it to the fair, a visit to the two famous temples Jhoola Devi Ka Mandir and Kali Devi Ka Mandir is a must.
Ranikhet also presents a wide array of sports such as tennis and golf. It has a well-equipped residential club which offers temporary membership to tourists. Moreover, there’s Chaubatia, which are the four fruit gardens. This is well worth the visit as it also houses the sales depot and a cafeteria along with a Government Fruit Research Centre. Last but not the least, is the Bhalu Dam, known for its fishing. The main source of the town’s water supply comes from here.
All this and much more ensure that Ranikhet is one hill station you cannot afford to miss. The ideal time of visit this paradise on Earth is between the months of March and September.