The last 10 years, living and grinding within the corporate whirlpool of this sleepless city, we never recall wearing a sweater; well, well, may be a sweat-shirt or at the most a half-jacket in late December is the ultimate winter gear. The long jackets & pullovers hanging along in the wardrobe as if shriek out loud, “wear us also” and to wear them, where better than to walk in the Himalayas.
On the way to Ranikhet you will have a reliving Ruskin Bond kind of a feeling.The peace in this little cantonement town will really strike you. Pretty Victorian buildings against the backdrop of Pine ,Oak and Deodhar and you have the quintessential hillstation of Ranikhet. Ranikhet means a “Queen’s meadow “ and true to its name its beauty wont escape your attention.
A recce of the mall road and we can find beautiful accomodation in the Ranikhet Club or the Goverment Guest House. The government guest house is also a beautiful place with its well manicured gardens and long grape vines around each cottage. This small town has a remarkable English touch to it.The British had the Kumaon regiment summer retreat here. Today the Indian Army has the Kumaon regiment and the Naga regiment’s stations here.
Walking is the favourite past time of those dwelling in the mountains so you can just have a leisurely walk on the mall road or on the Golf course road.A perfect rejuvenation for your tired senses.who knows you might end up doing some inner reflection. The mountain air is crisp with the smell of burning pinewood. The market place is abuzz with the locals and the tourist alike. You will find it quiet resplendent with various vibrant hues.
A 35 Kilometers beautiful ride with the forest’s known to house a variety of wild life like Leopards, Jackals ,mountain cats, red fox etc ,will lead you at Sitlakhet. Here you can have a panoramic view of the mystic Himalayan Ranges .Its a must to stop at “The Cafe” which is a bistro which has been very tastefully done up .The cuisine is very typically English and delicious. Bon Appétit !!.
You would love to go back to this place and soak its peace and beauty again and again. They say this is what cheerful dreams are made of.
Have a Visit
1. Chaubatia Gardens – Located at 10 kilometers from the main town, these gardens have a large plantation of peaches, apricots and chestnuts. However, they are most widely known for the apple orchids and the amazing panoramic view that they offer of the snowcapped mountains of the Himalayan range.
2. Bhalu Dam –This place is located at a further distance of 3 kilometers from Chaubatia. It has a small man-made lake which is the reservoir for the Bhalu Dam built on the Kosi River. This supplies water to Ranikhet and neighboring areas. It is a very scenic location that leaves a lasting impression.
3. Jhula Devi Temple – Whether you are looking for spiritual blessings, or are fond of rich history, this temple is the place for you. This temple houses the idol of Goddess Durga, who as history says, protected the villagers from the dangerous wildlife in times of need. People from all over the country flock to this place to make a wish to Maa Durga and whenever it is fulfilled, they come back to tie a bell to the temple. These innumerable bells are the characteristic of this temple, and it is well-renowned for this too.
4. Kalika Golf Links – This 9-hole golf course is located just a little outside the main town, and it is maintained directly by the Indian Army. It is open for professional as well as recreational purposes, which makes it a great place to have some fun. The Kalika Temple, housing the idol of Goddess Kali, is also found very close to the Golf Links.
How to Get There
Ranikhet, because of its location, cannot be reached directly by air or trains. The nearest railway station Kathgodam is 89 kilometres and airport Pantnagar which is 119 kilometers away. However, this hill station has great connectivity by road. Hence, a road trip with friends or family from places like Delhi, from where it is 350 kilometers, would be a great way to reach Ranikhet. The scenic drive all throughout is sure to leave you spellbound.