Living up to the meaning of its name, Ranikhet (translates to Queen’s Meadow) is a delightful little hill town tucked away in the gorgeous Kumaon Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Ranikhet is endowed with enchanting coniferous forests, emerald green meadows, unending fruit orchards, and rolling hills filled with captivating flower beds.
Interestingly, it is believed that Queen Padmini, was smitten by the ravishing beauty of this region. That’s why a palace was erected by King Sudhardev in the honor of the queen and the region was then named Ranikhet. Although there’s no sign of this magnificent palace today, the pristine beauty and tranquil atmosphere of Ranikhet has started attracting lots of travelers recently. Feeling confused while planning your vacation in Ranikhet? Let us help you out to have the time of your life with our list of 10 things to do in and around Ranikhet.
If you have visited and been fascinated by the world’s highest cricket ground in Chail (Himachal Pradesh), be ready to be mesmerized by the highest golf course in Asia. The Upat Golf Course consists of 9 holes and perfectly maintained verdant lawns that are managed by none other than the Indian Army. Located roughly 5 km away from Ranikhet and resting in the embrace of the Garhwal Himalayas, this golf course is most sought-after by golf enthusiasts who want to practice the sport in a serene and picturesque setting.
If you love golf, we would definitely recommend spending a day at this beautiful golf course. While people are on their way to Upat, they also tend to stop at the Kalika Temple and seek blessings from the Goddess Kali. Not only is this temple enveloped in a divine atmosphere, but it also offers some incredible views of the distant Himalayan peaks to all its visitors.
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Captivating the attention of all sorts of nature lovers, the Chaubatia Garden is a lush green paradise sprawled across 600 hectares. Located just 10 km away from Ranikhet, Chaubatia Garden is essentially a spellbinding urban botanical garden that is a fine example of Himalayan step farming. The alluring landscape of the Garden is adorned with plenty of trees that grow fruits like apples, peaches, plums, apricots, and so on.
Strolling through the forest trails that are dotted with cedars, pines, silver oaks, cypress, and rhododendrons will certainly leave your hearts overjoyed. Don’t forget to explore the delightful fruit garden that’s maintained by the Government Fruit Research Centre. Set against the backdrop of magnificent Himalayan peaks like Trishul and Nanda Devi, the café located inside the garden will provide you with appeasing refreshments. Make sure to carry back some freshly picked fruits, juices, and pickles with you before bidding adieu to this picture-perfect garden.
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Continuously wandering around and trying to visit all the main attractions of a holiday town is certainly tiring. That’s when you need to take a day out for yourself where you just find a serene picnic spot and relax to no end. Situated a few kilometers away from the Chaubatia Garden, The Bhalu Dams attracts all such weary travelers with its ravishing beauty and tranquil atmosphere. Considered to be one of the most picturesque places to visit in Ranikhet, the Bhalu Dam is actually a man-made lake that was erected by the British a couple of centuries ago to fulfill their water needs.
Bhalu Dam is the ideal spot for enjoying a picnic and relaxing in the laps of nature. It’s surrounded by magical woodlands and offers a view of the enchanting Himalayan peaks covered in thick milky-white snow. The whistling birds, the cool breeze blowing through your hair, and the scenic surroundings all combine to offer you a heavenly experience. This dam is filled with birds of various species and is also visited by some really pretty migratory birds. Don’t forget to carry your binoculars before heading to the Bhalu Dam if you’re into bird watching.
Snuggled in the Kumaon Hill, the Jhula Devi temple is an ancient shrine that is believed to have been built in the 8th century. After enjoying an alluring 20-minute drive from Ranikhet, you’ll arrive at the Jhula Devi Temple that’s dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga. Famed for the cluster of hundreds of bells that have been hung in the verandah, this temple seats the idol of the goddess on a Jhula (cradle). The spirituality infused in the air here leaves all the visitors hazed and in a positive mood.
There is a very interesting story about how this temple came into existence. According to folklore, a shepherd guided by Goddess Durga in his dreams retrieved an idol of the same goddess. A temple was then established at the same spot from where this idol was discovered. Goddess Durga listened to the pleas of the local shepherd and this temple offered protection to them and their livestock from the wild animals. The locals believe that if you ring the bells and ask for a wish, the kind goddess always listens to your prayers and fulfills your heart’s desires.
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If you’re traveling with your kids, you will notice that they tend to get cranky if you haul them around with you for sightseeing every day. Kids do love a good theme park but imagine the joy they will feel jumping around in a theme park that's located amid tall trees and set against the backdrop of the Himalayan peaks. That’s Ashiyana Park for you! Famed for being the first and the last jungle-themed adventure park, Ashiyana Park is surely a child’s wonderland.
Also known as the Devdhar Udyan, this park has been bringing kids close to the wilderness of the Kumaon region. Decorated with perfectly maintained yards, verdant herbal gardens, and colorful fountains, the Ashiyana Park offers some unique experiences to your kids. Be ready to be hypnotized by the gorgeous views and spend some relaxing time with your family at Ashiyana Park in Ranikhet.
Established in the 1970s, the Kumaon Regimental Centre is an intriguing museum that glorifies the victories and the excellent achievements of the Kumaon Regiment. This museum also preserves the rich cultural heritage of the region and displays some of the most important cultural aspects of the Kumaon region. Wandering around the museum will lead you to discover several photographs that showcase the wars that were fought by the Kumaon Regiment.
Not only this, but this museum also displays many other interesting artifacts. Flags of the enemies captured during the wars, uniforms, and weapons used by the soldiers, the bravery medals received by the members of the regiment, stone tablets that talk about past wars, and the Param Vir Chakra are all that you can see here. To add that, you’ll also come across some pictures and documents related to the Kargil War, silver scepters of Jhansi Ki Rani, captured Chinese rifles, and wireless field telephones belonging to the Japanese. The vivid historical collections housed in this museum will surely leave you awe-spired.
If you’re into ancient historical structures, the Katarmal Sun Temple is an unmissable destination. Holding massive significance for the followers of Hinduism, the Katarmal Sun temple is the second-most important sun temple (just after the Konark Sun Temple) in the country. Located 25 km away from Ranikhet, this architectural masterpiece was built way back in the 9th century by Katyuri King Kattarmalla.
The temple is dedicated to the old Sun God named Vraddhaditya. The temple complex is adorned with the sculptures of Vraddhaditya along with some other deities. The pillars, doors, panels, and walls all sport intricately detailed carvings that enhance the beauty of the temple.
The prime shrine along with the 45 smaller shrines are the main attraction of the site. There are numerous exquisite sculptures (stone and metal) and paintings sacred across the temple premises. The carved doors and panels are now preserved at the National Museum in Delhi due to the robbery that happened here some time back.
What’s the point of visiting a Himalayan hamlet if you aren’t planning to spend some time gazing at the gorgeous, snow-clad peaks of the Himalayan mountains? Ranikhet is renowned for its sunset points from where you can view the sun dipping into the horizon that’s made of the Himalayan hill ranges.
If you’re in Ranikhet, don’t forget to witness an incredibly breathtaking sunset from Machkali. Sandwiched between the Transit camp and Ganiadeoli, Machkali offers you some of the best views of the snow-clad mountains. Do consider visiting Ranikhet from November to February when you can witness some of the best sunsets.
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If you have some extra time on your hands, just take a cab and visit the charming little town of Dwarahat that’s located about 35 km away from Ranikhet. Known for its picturesque landscapes and ancient temples, a day’s excursion in Dwarahat certainly offers you some interesting experiences. The first place you must visit in Dwarahat is the Dunagiri Temple. Seated at the top of Kumaon hillock, this temple is dedicated to the worship Of Goddess Durga and is considered to be one of the most divine Shakti Peethas in the country.
Apart from that, you can trek through the Dronagiri Hills and explore Pandavkholi which are a bunch of caves where the Pandavas secretly stayed during their exile. These caves offer some picture-perfect views of the Himalayan hill ranges. Lastly, don’t forget to offer to seek blessings from Lord Shiva at the ancient Vimandeshwar Temple. Considered to be the second home of Lord Shiva, this divine site attracts Hindu pilgrims from all corners of the country.
Attending the grand celebrations of a festival of a particular region is the best way to acquaint yourself with the culture of that region. Organized in the month of September, the Nanda Devi Mela is an important festival of the Kumaon region that is hosted at various locations in and around Ranikhet. Celebrated in the honor of Nanda Devi, these glorious celebrations have been happening since the Chand Kings started ruling the Kumaon region.
This festival holds an important place in the hearts of the natives as it signifies the cultural as well as the economic prosperity of the Kumaon region. The locals, filled with electrifying energy, participate in a beautiful procession in which they carry a palanquin (dola) around the Nanda Devi Temple. The natives dance vigorously and sing melodious songs throughout the procession. The fair consists of stalls that sell locally handmade handicrafts and other products. Engulfed in a vibrant atmosphere, this Mela attracts locals from all the nearby regions.
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These were the few things to do in Ranikhet. Now that you know what all is in store for you, pack your bags and be prepared to be enthralled massively during your vacation in Ranikhet.
How Many Days Are Enough For Ranikhet?
In order to discover the wonderful attractions of Ranikhet at a leisurely pace, you would need to spend at least 3 days in Ranikhet. Do ensure that you visit some of the best attractions of Ranikhet like the Upat Golf Course, Jhula Devi Temple. Tarikhet Village, and so on.
What Can We Buy From Ranikhet?
You can find some of the most delicious sweets in Ranikhet. You should certainly purchase the Baal Mithai and Singaudi while you are Ranikhet. Apart from sweets, you can also choose to buy some beautiful shawls in Ranikhet.
Is There Snowfall In Ranikhet?
No, it does not snow in Ranikhet. Snowfalls are extremely rare here and it might just snow for about 2 days once in 3-4 years.
How Can I Travel From Nainital To Ranikhet?
The best and fastest way to travel from Ranikhet to Nainital is by cab. You will take roughly 1.5 hours – 2 hours to reach Ranikhet from Nainital by cab.
How Far Is Ranikhet From Delhi?
Ranikhet is 372 kilometers away from Delhi.
How Can I Reach Ranikhet?
Ranikhet is well connected to the rest of the places in India by road, air, and train. Here’s how you can reach Ranikhet easily.
By Air: Located about 115 km away, the Pantnagar Airport is the nearest airport to Ranikhet. Once you reach there, take a cab or a bus to Ranikhet.
By Train: You will first have to take a train to Kathgodam Railway Station which is located about 88 km away from Ranikhet. This station is connected to most of the major railway stations of the country. From here, you will simply have to take a cab or a bus to Ranikhet.
By Road: Ranikhet has excellent connectivity to the places in the Kumaon region, Garhwal region, and the rest of the major cities of the country. You can easily take a cab or a public bus in order to reach Ranikhet.
Is Ranikhet Located Above Nainital?
Ranikhet is located 57.6km from Nainital and has an elevation of 1,869m while Nainital has an elevation of 1,938m.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Ranikhet?
The best time to visit this hill station is either during the summers (March - July) or the winters (October - January). The weather is cool and pleasant for exploration and sightseeing during these months.