Ranikhet is a hill station and cantonment town in Almora district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is the home for the Military Hospital, Kumaon Regiment (KRC) and Naga Regiment and is maintained by the Indian Army.
Ranikhet is at an altitude of 1,869 metres (6,132 ft) above sea level and within sight of the western peaks of the Himalayas.
Ranikhet, which means Queen’s meadow in Hindi, gets its name from a local legend, which states that it was here, that Raja Sudhardev won the heart of his queen, Rani Padmini, who subsequently chose the area for her residence, giving it the name, Ranikhet, though no palace exists in the area.
In 1869,the British established the headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment here and used the station as a retreat from the heat of the Indian summer. At one time during British Raj, it was also proposed as the summer headquarters of Government of India, in lieu of Shimla. In 1900, it had a summer population of 7,705, and its corresponding winter population was measured in 1901 as 3,153
Ranikhet had been under Nepalese rule, and the Kumaonese (people of Kumaon Region) won it under the leadership of their able General Kashi Nath Adhikari – after whom the small town of Kashipur was named (which at one point of time was the gateway to the hills and is now an educational and institutional hub) – with the help of Britishers at around 1816 and is a part of India now.
Ranikhet has an average elevation of 1,869 m (6,132 ft).The climate of the village is very cool. The cantonment is spread across two ridges, the first, called the Ranikhet ridge, is situated at an elevation of 5,983 ft (1,824 m) and the second, the Chaubattia ridge, is at an elevation of 6,942 ft (2,116 m).
Ranikhet becomes very cold in the winters and remains moderate in summers, and is best enjoyed from March to October. Ranikhet gets snowfall in the winter season, mainly in the months of December, January and February. But in the rest of the months the weather of Ranikhet remains pleasant.
Flora and fauna
The pine, oak, and deodar forests host an array of wildlife including leopard, leopard cat, mountain goat, barking deer, sambar, pine marten, Indian hare, red-faced monkey, jackal, langur, red fox, and porcupine.
Places to visit
Ranikhet Golf Course is one of the highest golf courses of Asia, located 5 kilometres (3 mi) from main Ranikhet City. Ranikhet Golf Course is a 9-hole course making it one of the prime attractions of Ranikhet. The green meadow of the golf course at such high altitude is awe-inspiring. The golf club provides membership plans for outsiders as well .Golf course is located in KALIKA.
Ashiyana Park is situated in the midst of Ranikhet town. The Park is specially designed & developed for children on jungle theme by Ranikhet Cantt.
This temple is attached to the Nar Singh Maidan (Ground), constructed by the Kumaon regiment. Opposite the temple is a Gurudwara and a Shawl factory.
There is another jewel added to the beauty of town “Rani Jheel”. Located nearby Nar Singh Stadium, beneath the Veer Naari Awas it gives the visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the ride of Boats.
The artistic structure of the Binsar Mahadev Temple and its deity Lord Shiva both adds positive vibes to our mind and soul. A beautiful stream flowing close to the Binsar Mahadev Temple adds amazement to the natural beauteousness of this sacred place. Binsar Mahadev Temple is situated amidst beautiful pine and deodar trees. Apart from the temple an ashram, Binsar Mahadev also has lovely cedar forest surroundings.
Situated 4 km from Ranikhet, Haidakhan Temple (Hairakhan Temple or Chilianaula) is dedicated to Lord Shiva made by Shri Haidakhan Maharaj who is said to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva.
The splendid views of the gigantic Himalayan peaks are clearly visible from Haidakhan Temple.
Bhalu Dam or Baludham
It is an artificial small lake blessed with natural bounteousness, panoramic views of the Himalayan Mountains and placid surroundings. The small but beautiful garden nearby the dam is marvelous.
The dam site is open for all the tourists throughout the year. The views of the massive Himalayan peaks are enchanting and ravishing from Bhalu Dam. It is an ideal spot for camping and picnicking.St. Bridget Church It is an old church in Ranikhet town.
Located at a distance of 12 km from Ranikhet, on the way to Almora, Majkhali offers a close view of the snowy Himalayas with peaceful surroundings. It is a picnic spot on the Ranikhet-Almora road.
Katarmal (Sun Temple)
It is the second most important temple to Sun God, the first one being Sun Temple of Konark in Orissa. Katarmal is more than 800 years old. Situated 25 km from Ranikhet this historical temple is an example of intricate sculpturing.
Tarikhet is located at a distance of 8 kilometres (5 mi) from Ranikhet is well known for its Gandhi Kuti, and the temple of Golu Devta is venerated in the Kumaon region. It is famous for the Gandhi Kuti and the temple of Golu Devta.
It is a scenic spot with unparallel beauty situated at a distance of 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Ranikhet. Syalikhet is located in the amidst green forest and apple orchards. The famous temple of Syahi Devi is situated in Syalikhet.
KRC (Kumaon Regimental Centre) Museum
Maintained by the Kumaon and the Naga Regiment of the Indian Army, the museum has a wide collection ranging from stories of the heroics of the First World War till date. It has on display the various weapons captured, flags of enemies captured by the army and also the LTTE boat captured during Operation Pawan. It has stories of the First and the Second Param Vir Chakra who belonged to the Kumaon Regiment. You can also get to know the list of all the Army Generals who belonged to the Kumaon Regiment. The regiment, which has a long and successful history of heroics and tales of valor, is on full display at the museum. Contributions by the Regiment during the World Wars, during the Indo-China war and the Pakistan war, during Kargil and Op Pawan can be known at this Museum. The Museum is very well maintained by the Army and they also provide an Army guide who will help understand the history and the heroics of the Regiment. Photography is prohibited inside the Museum. Interesting to see are the weapons captured during the war, some of them weigh nearly 80 kg and require at least 2 people to carry and load it. You also get to see the medals and uniforms of the brave soldiers. A visit to this Museum is must when going to Ranikhet. One gets a strong feeling of patriotism when visiting this museum.
Jhula Devi temple
Jhula Devi temple is situated at a distance of 7 kilometres (4 mi) from the town of Ranikhet near Chaubatia. It is said that the dense jungle near the temple was once full of wild animals, leopards and tigers used to attack local villagers. The villagers prayed to Maa Durga for protection, and one day Goddess Durga came in a shephard’s dream and advised him to excavate her idol. This temple was constructed at the spot where the shepherd found Goddess Durga’s idol. Since then pilgrims come to make a wish to Goddess Jhula Devi. And when their wish is fulfilled they come again to thank Jhula Devi Maa by offering a bell to the temple. The popularity of the temple can be realized by number of bells hanging over the temple walls. The temple priests have to timely shift the old bells to a different place to make room for the new bells that are tied everyday. In addition to bells, dried coconut and prasad is offered to the Goddess. This place has a calm environment and a sense of spiritual peace to it.
Rama Mandir (temple)
Located in the vicinity of Jhula Devi temple is the Rama Mandir, dedicated to lord Rama. A small flight of stairs goes to the hilltop where the temple is situated. Rama Mandir has a monastery where students are taught ancient vedas along with vedic and modern mathematics in direction of Sant Sri Mouni Maharaj. People who have a keen interest in vedas should not miss the chance to visit this temple.
Located about 10 kilometres (6 mi) from Ranikhet, this place has plantation of apricots, peaches, chestnuts, and almonds and is famous for apple orchards. With a wide variety of Himalayan flora, it also offers the picturesque views of snowcapped Himalayas. Apart from fruits, one can buy fresh juices and artisan honey from the garden store on the way out.