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A Complete Tour Guide To Ranikhet Hill Station

One of the most beautiful hill towns of Uttarakhand, Ranikhet is located in the Almora district of the state. It is a cantonment town which was developed by the British and is entirely managed by the Indian National Army and serves as a home to the Kumaon Regiment, Naga Regiment and the Military Hospital. The name Ranikhet literally translates to the ‘Queen’s Meadow’ and is connected to a legend that describes the town as being the residence of Rani Padmini, however there are no archeological findings that support this story. Ranikhet was once also chosen to be the summer capital of the British Government instead of Shimla but things didn’t really work in its favor and the proposal was shelved. The town is situated in the Kumaon Hills at an elevation of 1,869 meters above sea level and is surrounded by a thick cover of Oak and deodar forests that house several rare and endangered wildlife species. The town is spread across 2 ridges with varied attitude. The upper area is known as the Chaubatia ridge which sits at an elevation of 2,116 meters above sea level.

ranikhet-hill-station
Photo by Mrneutrino, CC BY-SA 3.0 

Climatic Conditions

Ranikhet due to its high altitude enjoys a cool weather throughout the year and gets plenty of snowfall during the winters. The summer months start from late March till the end of May. The temperatures during this season never go beyond 22 degrees and are the mildest and one of the most pleasant summers you will encounter anywhere in India. The monsoons arrive in end of June and rains continue till early September. The rains in the hills cover the region in breathtaking greenery and the scenery is the most picturesque. The winters in Ranikhet start pretty early in the month of October and ends till the month of February. The temperatures can get below freezing with occasional snowfall experienced in the higher areas.

Best Time to Visit

Ranikhet is accessible during most times of the year but most people know it for its immensely pleasant summers. The summer season is extremely mild in Ranikhet and allows visitors to easily roam about during the day and experience the natural beauty of the place. The monsoon season also makes the place a natural paradise but the mountain rains can be really heavy and the rainy season should be mostly avoided due to the fear of landslides.

Attractions/Things to Do

Ranikhet is full of various natural and manmade attractions and offer the visitors a serene relaxation like no other. The forests that surround Ranikhet contain several wildlife species such as the Leopard, Mountain Goat, barking deer, pine marten, red faced monkey, red fox, jackal and Indian hare etc. The summers are great for bird watching and are a haven for all the shutterbugs. You can visit the army museum which is managed entirely by the Kumaon Regiment and the Naga Regiment of the Indian National Army and contains several photographs, memorabilia, and a wide collection of stories which date from the First World War. The Jhula Devi temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity Durga and is also a must visit spot and has a very interesting legend related to its creation. The temple walls are covered with bells that the various devotees have tied in order to thank the deity for the fulfillment of their wishes. The Ram Mandir is in close proximity to the Jhula Devi temple and also has a monastery where the students are taught Vedic mathematics and the ancient Vedas. The Chaubatia gardens are one of the prime attractions in Ranikhet and are covered with fruit orchards and flowery meadows. The gardens also offer a great panoramic view of the Himalayas and the visitors can also buy fresh fruits and honey from the souvenir shop. The Nanda Devi peak is also viewable from most spots in Ranikhet.

How to Reach

Ranikhet is well connected to all the districts in the Kumaon Region and is in close proximity to several other scenic hill stations like Almora and Nainital. You can easily get buses for Ranikhet from Kathgodam, Pithoragarh and New Delhi. The nearest airport is Pant nagar with 4-5 flights operating from Delhi in a week. The nearest railway station is Kathgodam which is around 85 kilometers away from Ranikhet. Car rentals and taxi services from Delhi to Ranikhet are also available.

Distance from Major Cities

  1. Almora – 46 Kilometers
  2. Pithoragarh – 158 Kilometers
  3. Kathgodam – 107 Kilometers
  4. Nainital – 90 Kilometers
  5. Dehradun – 314 Kilometers
  6. Shimla – 541 Kilometers
  7. Chandigarh – 466 Kilometers
  8. Lucknow – 459 Kilometers
  9. Delhi – 359 Kilometers
  10. Jaipur – 616 Kilometers
  11. Mumbai – 1,745 Kilometers
  12. Kolkata – 1,468 Kilometers
  13. Hyderabad – 1,769 Kilometers
  14. Bangalore – 2,359 Kilometers
  15. Chennai – 2,391 Kilometers

Accommodation and Accessibility

Due to it being divided into various levels with varied altitudes, the best way to get around in Ranikhet is on foot. The mild weather doesn’t allow you to get fatigued easily hence walking isn’t a really bad option as one gets to use the picturesque shortcuts between the roads to reach a particular destination. Buses and taxis are available for travelling between the various areas along with shared SUVs. Accommodation is also not a problem as you can find plenty of budgets and mid ranged tourist hotels and lodges in Ranikhet. You can also stay at the Kumaon Vikas Mandal Guest houses which are located near some great viewpoints. Apart from these there are several luxury guest houses which are located near the road leading to the Golf Course.

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