Ranikhet in translation means the Queen's Meadow and the queen in reference here is Rani Padmini, who was mesmerised by the beauty of this place and the king, Sudhardev, had to oblige to her and build a palace for her in this place. Although there are no remains of the palace to be found anywhere in the present times, the beauty of place still remains the same as a witness to the numerous legends associated to the place.
Located at a distance of 370 km from Delhi and at an altitude of approximately about 1800 m above sea level, Ranikhet is a hilly retreat which attracts its visitors with its serene and charming sceneries, which are filled with pine trees, vast green meadows and the breathtaking views of the majestic Himalayan ranges, which make it haven for those who come seeking peace and establish an instant connection with Mother Nature.
The British established the headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment in the year 1869 here and used it as a summer retreat to escape from the heat of the Indian summer. At one point of time, the British proposed the place as the summer headquarters of the Government of India instead of Shimla. The place also had been under the rule of Nepalese and Kumaonese, who won it over with the help of the British around 1816 and is now part of India.
1. Upat Golf Course
Considered as one of the highest golf courses in Asia, the Upat Golf Course is located 6 km away from the main town at an altitude of approximately 1800 m above sea level. The nine-hole golf course is maintained by the Kumaon Regiment and showcases a well-maintained green ground along with tall pine trees, which makes it one of the most peaceful places to relax in and is a major draw here.
Majkhali is small retreat which is away from the main city, which is well known for the shrine of Goddess Kali and for its natural beauty. The place has a very less population, which gives it many spots which offer breathtaking views of the snow-covered peaks of the majestic Himalayan ranges.
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3. KRC Museum
The museum is maintained by the Kumaon and Naga regiments of the Indian Army, which has a wide range of exhibits starting from the First World War until present day. The place has various weapons which were captured along with flags of the enemies and LTTE boat which was captured in Operation Pawan.
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4. Jhula Devi Temple
According to legends, it said that the dense jungle near the temple was once the abode of many wild animals and villagers would fall prey to leopards and tigers. The villagers offered prayers to Goddess Durga to protect them and one day she came in a shepherd's dream and asked him to excavate her idol.
The temple was constructed at the site where the idol was found by the shepherd and since then a large number of devotees come here to get their wishes fulfilled; once the wish is fulfilled, they return back to the shrine and offer a bell to the deity.
The fame of the temple can be witnessed by the large number of bells hanging over the walls of the shrine and the priests have to shift the old ones to a different location to make space for new ones that are tied every single day.
5. Chaubatia Garden
The Chaubatia Garden is another well-known attraction which is spread across 600 acres and is known for the orchids of various fruits, such as apples, peaches, etc. The garden is located at a height of 1800 m above sea level which contributes to the panoramic beauty of the snow-covered Himalayan peaks which makes a major tourist spot here.
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How To Reach
By Air: Pantnagar, at a distance of 119 km, is the nearest airport to reach Ranikhet which is connected to various major airports across the country, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc.
By Train: Kathgodam railway station, located at a distance of 80 km, is the nearest railway station to reach Ranikhet.
By Road: Delhi is located at a distance of 370 km from here and has excellent connectivity by road with regular buses to Haldwani and from there one needs to hop into a local taxi to reach the destination.