Ranikhet – Queen Meadows
The mesmerizing Ranikhet is situated near about 1,829m above sea level. It is one of the hill station in the district of Almora. One of the beautiful holiday spot with immense natural beauty. Developed by the British as a hill station for their troops, a cantonment was established here in 1869. Today Indian Army’s celebrated Kumaun Regiment is headquartered in Ranikhet.
Ranikhet is also known as “Queen’s Meadow” and provides some of the delicious apples, apricots, and many other alpine fruits. These fruits can be best enjoyed in the summer season. Many travelers take boxes of fruits to their home on the way back.
The footfall of tourist increases in the peak season (April- June), in other times it is more of a day trip for tourist coming to Nainital. Although, few travelers keep coming back exclusively to Ranikhet, to enjoy their favorite holiday destination again.
Why Visit Ranikhet Hill Station ?
The queen meadows are surrounded by lush green forests of oak and pines. The 180 degree of panoramic views of the mighty Himalayas brings joy to the soul. Far from the hustle which has become familiar to British hill stations, Ranikhet is an exception. The Tudor cottages, army barracks, old church buildings, Ranikhet pleasantly still finds itself in an era long gone.
Ranikhet is covered with the thick forest of oak and deodars that host various rare and endangered species of wildlife. Ranikhet is famous for its natural beauty, the varieties of birds, the rich flora and fauna, and mesmerizing mountain views. It was once chosen as the Summer Capital of British India, but later on, things didn’t go in its favor, and the proposal was dropped.
It being the home of Kumaon Regiment of which more you can learn in our article, Uttarakhand- Land of Valor. As it happens with many of such cantonment areas, there is an air of respect and patriotism that surrounds the city.
The town Ranikhet retains an old- world charm that is hard to defy. One can take a walk around and inhale the aromatic pine air and listen to the whispering wind. The upper and lower mall roads connect the three forested ridges of Deolikhet, Chaubatia and Alma hill.
Strolling around the bungalows and one can feel the presence of the memsahibs of the erstwhile Raj. Ranikhet is also famous for its visual delight of nine-hole golf course spread over undulating meadows.
There are two stories for the etymology of the name Ranikhet which translates to “Queen’s Meadows.” The first one being it is named after the twelfth century Katyuri Queen Rani Padvani. The second theory suggests since Ranikhet itself is so beautiful, it was named as the queen of all meadows.
In the 1860s, after the mutiny of 1857 where Army conspired against their British overlords. The English turned to other places in search of the army personnel who were both brave and value tribal bonds. Such a search brought them to Kumaun and then to Ranikhet. On reaching Ranikhet, English were taken aback by the beauty of Ranikhet.
There is presence of timber and resin in abundance in Ranikhet. It which used to very precious at that time, was an additional incentive. The Kathgodam railway station was formed in the year 1881 through which these raw materials was transported to manufacturing hubs. As a result, only 35% of a very dense forest now remains in Ranikhet.
Activities to do in Ranikhet –
Trekking – The forest of Ranikhet gives its visitors many a chance to get into the wild. Many day hikes one can undertake here and the meadows also present themselves as perfect pinic sports. Some of which involves Holy Farm and 5km trek to Chautobia.
Golfing – Golfing in Ranikhet is a must do the activity. A 9 hole golf course is situated at a distance of 3kms from Ranikhet. You can access the golf course by paying a nominal fee to the authorities.
Spirituality – There are various mythologically significant temples around Ranikhet which must be visited for anyone going to Ranikhet. The two of the major temples in the region include Jhula Devi Temple and Kalika Temple.
Places to Stay in Ranikhet
Ranikhet offers multiple options for the variety of travelers coming to the hill station. The heritage hotels which are known for colonial architecture are a major hit. Also, a number of homestays and camps are cropping up in the area which presents its traveler a much more deeper and authentic travel experience.
Corbett National Park
Sattal Distance Chart – Distances between Places to Sattal
Restaurants in Ranikhet
There are many food stalls which offer the visitors with local kumauni dishes along with tea and samosas. Ranikhet Retreat, near Gandhi Chowk, serves the European delicacies. You must also try the famous sweets such as Bal Mithai among other. The fish here is prepared by masalas found in the mountains.
Best Time to visit Ranikhet
Ranikhet remains the door open for its visitors throughout the year. Here is what you should expect:
In Summers: The summers starts for Mid-March and lasts till June end. The weather is cool and provides respite for the people coming from the plains. The season also is marked as the peak season in which maximum tourist come here.
In Monsoon: The monsoon season starts with July and ends with September. The season sees a lot of rainfall. The hills are in their full bloom in a rainy season. Although road blockages happen rarely, the tourist count is low at this time.
In Winters: The season starts from the end of October and ends with March. This hill station receives snowfall during these months of the year, thus making it a paradise for snow lovers. In this season many couples come for their honeymoon here.
How to Reach Ranikhet
- By Roadways: This hill station is well connected by roads. You can find buses from Almora, Haldwani and ISBT Anand Vihar Delhi.
- By Railways: The nearest railway head Kathgodam is about 90 km from Ranikhet.
- By Airways: The closest airport is at a distance of 110 km from Pantnagar.