Nearly 48 km. northwards from Bhowali, beneath the majesty of the mountain snows lies the “Queen of the Fields”- Ranikhet. As the sun washes away the morning mist, a panoramic view of nearly 200 km wide Central Himalayas, extending from western Nepal to the snowy heights of Sri Badrinath and Tehri Garhwal further west, is beautifully unfolded in a semi circular form.
Sharp sighted for the creamy places in the country as they were, the Britishers chose Ranikhet during late 1860s as one of the first settlements for their army. This place was healthy for the fighting forces and wealthy for the forest wealth. Accordingly the Headquarters of Kumaon regiment was established here in 1869. Ever since the cantonment area has been beautifully developed to make Ranikhet what it is today. The army has a beautiful high altitude Golf Course where civilians are allowed on completion of certain formalities.
Ranikhet town is situated on a huge elephant back shaped ridge nearly 12 km in length, on the other end of which is the sleepy village of Majkhali. Majkhali is equally popular for Himalayan view and is fast growing as a sister town to Ranikhet.
Around Ranikhet there are forests of pine, oak, cedar and cypress and fruits orchards as well. It is situated almost in the centre of the Kumaon Hills and is an idyllic, unspoilt and dust free retreat for those seeking a quiet summer holiday. Ranikhet has plenty of accommodation to suit all pockets. The town boasts of being one of the few hill towns where cars can go to most of the houses. The old bazar is very interesting. The shops are made in an ascending order, the lowest being at 5000 ft and the highest at 7400 ft, and that is why it is called the Khari ( standing) bazar.
Only 6 km from Ranikhet, one can be happy to see the majestic temple of Baba Herakhan, a saint with undisputed followings, at a place called Chiliyanaula. Large number of people flock to this place every day.
From here, one road branches off to Almora and the other to Dwarahat. Travellers going on to Sri Badrinath must abandon the road going to Almora and take the one going to Dwarahat, which is 38 km from Ranikhet.
Other Places of Interest around Ranikhet
Bhalu Dam 13 km. (10 km. motorable and 3 km on foot). The main source of water supplies to Ranikhet.
Tarikhet 8 km. Tarikhet’s name is associated with the Independence Movement. Mahatma Gandhi lived for a while in the Gandhi Kuti.
Chaubatia 10 kms from Ranikhet, the headquarters of the Uttarakhand Horticulture Department is located here in a huge orchard. Tourists are allowed to walk through the orchard of exotic species of apples, apricots, walnuts and other fruits.
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