Ranikhet, India: Your handbook to ‘Land of the Queen’

Ranikhet is a beautiful small cantonment town in Almora district of Uttarakhand. People often tend to overlook Ranikhet because it is not so popular in comparison to Nainital, Mussoorie, or Dhanaulti. But, the OGs know that’s what makes it even better! Spectacular views, dense forests, high mountains, culture, heritage, flora, fauna, you name it and Ranikhet, India has it. We bet you’ve heard of Ranikhet but did they tell you how much it has, to offer?

This blog is going to walk you through (probably) everything you need to know before planning a trip or visiting Ranikhet. From it’s best time to the climate, how to reach, things to do, and everything else.

The backstory of Ranikhet

The name Ranikhet is made of two words; ‘Rani’ means Queen and ‘Khet’ means farm/meadow. In ancient times, Kumaoni people had inhabited the area and traces were visible of the Katyuri dynasty through temples and remains from the 9th and 10th CE. The name also traces back to those times. It is believed that the Katyuri dynasty’s ruler Raja Sudhardev stole Rani Padmini’s heart. She chose this place as her residence and named it Ranikhet.

During the colonial times, Ranikhet gained the attention of the British Army. Then onwards, it didn’t take long for Ranikhet to become a significant cantonment zone with a regiment established in 1903. Post- Independence, it continued to be an important headquarters, and eventually a Kumaon Regimental Centre Museum was set up to showcase the ‘backstory’

How to reach Ranikhet

Traveling to Ranikhet is an experience in itself as it passes through diverse landscapes and breathtaking views. Here’s how you can reach Ranikhet through various means of transport:-

By Air: The nearest airport to Ranikhet, Almora is Pantnagar Airport, at a far distance of 106 km, almost 3.5 hours.

By Train: If you are planning to travel on the railways, Ranikhet Express is your best choice. The closest railway station to Ranikhet is Kathgodam Railway Station. Kathgodam to Ranikhet is a distance of about 74 km which is a 2.5 hour drive.  The train runs between Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and Kathgodam station in Uttarakhand.

By Road: Ranikhet has considerably good road connectivity and is easy to access by car or bus. Delhi to Ranikhet distance by road is 350 kms which takes about 8-10 hours. If you are coming from Nainital to Ranikhet, it is only a 60 km journey, the Haldwani distance to Ranikhet is also the same. While Almora to Ranikhet is a distance of 50 km.

Ranikhet: Climate and Temperature

 Situated at an elevation of approximately 6,132 ft, Ranikhet boasts a climate with distinctive seasons. Here’s a detailed description of these seasons along with expected temperatures:- 

Summers (April-June): Summers in Ranikhet are mild and pleasant.

  • The temperature during this season typically ranges from 15°C to 30°C
  • It is considered an ideal time to visit, as the weather is comfortable, and the surroundings are lush green.

Monsoon (July-August): Ranikhet experiences moderate to heavy rainfall during the monsoon season.

  • The lush greenery in and around the town comes alive, making it a visually appealing time to visit.
  • Rainfall can lead to landslides, so travellers should be cautious.

Autumn (October-November): Post-monsoon, the weather becomes clear, and the temperature starts to drop.

  • Autumn in Ranikhet is marked by cool and crisp air, making it a good time for outdoor activities.

Winters (December-January): Winters are cold in Ranikhet, with the temperature often dropping below freezing.

  • The winter months offer a chance to experience snowfall, especially in higher altitudes.
  • Daytime temperatures range from 3°C to 15°C (37°F to 59°F), while nighttime temperatures can go below freezing.

Things to Do in Ranikhet

Jhula Devi Temple:

Ranikhet is famous for this ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Jhula Devi and attracts devotes from across the country. It is known for its wish-fulfilling powers and clusters of countless bells hung by the devotees after their wish has been fulfilled.

Chaubatia:

If the idea of picking fruits in orchards of apples, Plums and peaches excites you, Ensure to put Chaubatia on your list. It is a beautiful orchard and a walk through it is like a setback from the race of life. 

Katarmal Sun Temple:

We’ve all heard of Konark Temple, but have you heard of Katarmal Sun Temple? It is the second most significant Sun temple in our country. The architecture is a marvel to look at and stands tall even after 800 years. It is among the tourist places in Ranikhet which are a testimony of art, heritage and time.

Swargashram Binsar Mahadev Mandir:

An ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva among Deodar trees and views of the mountains. It is believed that the temple was built by Raja Pithu in memory of his father Bindu, and it is also known as Bindeshwar Temple, Ranikhet India.

Naukuchiatal:

Naukuchiatal is a pristine lake located in the Ranikhet district of Uttarakhand. One can go boating here, do picnics or even sit on adjacent benches while enjoying the views and quacking of ducks.

Upat Golf Course:

Also known as Ranikhet Golf Course, Upat Golf Course is one of Asia’s highest golf courses. It is situated at an altitude of 6,132 m and offers breathtaking views to the players.

Bhimtal:

Bhimtal, an ancient locale, derives its name from Bhima, a character in the Mahabharata. The Bhimeshwara Mahadev Temple, an age-old Shiva temple situated on the shores of Bhimtal Lake, is believed to have been constructed during the banishment period (vanvas) of the Pandavas when Bhima visited the area. Bhimtal predates the nearby Nainital, which is a relatively young city, being only 150–160 years old. It served as a stopover on the old pedestrian road connecting Kathgodam to the entire Kumaon region and even extending to Nepal and Tibet. It is speculated to have been a part of the ancient Silk Route.

Apart from these, you can do trekking, bird spotting, cultural exploration, and souvenir shopping in Ranikhet.  While you visit places in Ranikhet, please be responsible towards nature!

Best places to visit around Ranikhet

Almora:

Almora and Ranikhet almost go hand in hand because Ranikhet is in Almora. If you are visiting Ranikhet, there’s no reason not to visit Almora. Almora is located on a ridge at the southern edge of the Kumaon Hills of the Himalayas range. It is a charming village with lovely views, trekking trails, ancient temples and opportunities for cultural exchange.

Dwarahat:

If you love exploring heritage and culture, Dwarahat should be on your list. Dwarahat is also called ‘Temple Village’  because it has over 55 temples. Perhaps, there is a also lot of celebration on festivals and other occasions. Indulge in folk music, dance and local carnivals. 

Bhowali:

Popularly known as the ‘Fruit Bowl of the state’s heart’, Bhowali is located at a distance of 46 km from Ranikhet. Bhowali has excellent vegetation and yields a variety of fruits like strawberries, apples, apricots, peaches, and plums. Three words that describe Bhowali the best are Fruits, Fauna, and Fascination. The region is home to rich wildlife and exotic birds like sunbirds and warblers. The views of lakes, mountains, and birds with the taste of fresh fruits, water, and air is an entire fascination come true!

Majkhali:

Majkhali is the closest among the places to visit near Ranikhet. Located at a distance of only about 12 km from Ranikhet village, Majkhali is most famous for Ma Kali’s temple. It is just 6 km from the Golf course, so if you are visiting there, another 6 km to see a beautiful view isn’t a bad idea! 

Nainital:  

Does Nainital even need an introduction? It is amongst the most popular hill stations in India and has captivated the hearts of people since very long back in time. Ranikhet to Nainital distance is about 57 kms which is almost a 2 hour drive. If you haven’t visited Nainital yet, don’t miss out.

Kausani:

You’ve caught a glimpse of Kausani previously. Guess where? In Hrithik Roshan’s blockbuster ‘Koi Mil Gaya’. The movie was mostly shot in Kausani, Bhimtaal and Nainital. Kausani is known by a lot of names like ‘Switzerland of India’ for example. One can spend a few peaceful days here while doing new things like spotting rare birds, enjoying one of the best Panoramic views of the Himalayas, going for a hike or enjoying the local village vibe. The distance from Ranikhet to Kausani is around 57 km.

Best time to visit Ranikhet

Best time to visit Ranikhet hugely depends on your preferences. If you like pleasant weather, not having to wear layers of clothes and summer fun is your thing, then summer is the best time. Monsoons transition the landscape into lush green but it is risky to travel while it is pouring in the mountains. The winter months can be really chilly and you might (very less chances) get to witness the Ranikhet snowfall, but overall no risk for winter travellers! 

By now, you know probably everything you need to know about Ranikhet, India. Ranikhet is the Himalayan escape you didn’t know you needed. So go that adventure, have an amazing journey and stay safe.

Know about Ranikhet, India with history, the best places and time to visit, how to reach, things to do around, weather, temperature, and all

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