Last Updated: November 29, 2020 Pawan Kotiyal
Nestled in the lap of Kumaon Hills in Almora district of Uttarakhand, Ranikhet is a beautiful hill station that attracts umpteen tourists every year. According to local folk tales, this is the place where Rani Padmini fell in love with Raja Sudhardev and later chose this picturesque valley as her home. Also, during the British rule in India, Ranikhet was the summer capital for British before Shimla. Colonial charm, splendid beauty, salubrious weather and untouched serenity of this place makes it a perfect destination to spend some quiet time with Mother Nature. Apart from being a wonderful holiday destination, Ranikhet is also an ideal place to go for some trekking, mountain climbing, camping, and rappelling. In this blog we are providing you information on major things to see and do in Ranikhet, which will in turn help you to plan a perfect trip.
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Spend Few Hours at the Chaubatia Garden
One of the most famous attractions of Ranikhet, the ‘Chaubatia Garden’ is known for their exquisite orchards of apples, plums, peaches and apricots. Located at a distance of 10 km. from the heart of Ranikhet, these gardens are an ideal spot for picnics and day outings. These gardens are also one of the best examples of step farming in the Himalayan region.
Spread across an area of 600 acres with trees of oak, cedar, pine and rhododendrons dotting the walking trails, these gardens give you ample opportunities to capture nature’s craftsmanship in your memories for lifetime. Views of the Garhwal Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nilkanth from these gardens seem to unendingly captivate you with their magical charm.
Enjoy the Serene Settings of Bhalu Dam
Located at a distance of approximately 3 km. from Chaubatia Gardens, ‘Bhalu Dam’ is a small artificial lake in Ranikhet, which was built as a source of drinking water for British soldiers around 200 years ago. Tranquil settings of the lake with overlooking Himalayan peaks, chirping birds and fresh mountain air; make it a perfect spot for picnickers, nature lovers and bird watchers.
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Seek the Blessings of God at Various Temples in the Vicinity of Ranikhet:
- Jhula Devi Temple – An ancient temple dating back to 8th century, the ‘Jhula Devi Temple’ is one of the major tourist attractions in Ranikhet that is located near the Chaubatia Gardens and at a distance of 7 km. from the city centre. Situated on the Kumaon Hill, amidst the serene and tranquil settings, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga who sits here on a wooden ‘Jhula’ and therefore, the name ‘Jhula Devi Temple’. According to local folk legends, idol of Goddess Durga was discovered by a shepherd on the guidance of Maa Durga herself in his dreams; thetemple is situated at the very spot where the idol was found. As per local beliefs, Jhula Devi guards the villagers and their livestock from wild animals in the surrounding forests. It is also believed that whosoever ties a bell on the temple wall, is granted with his/her wish; therefore many tourists come to the temple to seek blessings of the Goddess and to get their wishes fulfilled.
- Binsar Mahadev Temple – Located at a distance of 19 km. from Ranikhet, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that lighting a diya on the day of Vaikunth Chaturdeshi in this temple can fulfil the desire of a child. Many pilgrims and childless couples visit the temple during their vacation in Ranikhet. Situated in the heart of thick forests of pine and deodars, with fresh water springs flowing in the area, makes this temple a must visit for people seeking solitude.
- Mankameshwar Temple – Built by the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army in 1978, the temple is situated amidst picturesque surroundings. Housing the deities of Radha-Krishna, Ma Kalika and Lord Shiva, the temple is visited by many locals as well as tourists.
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Try Your Hands at Some Golfing Fun at the Upat Golf Course
Upat is a small town nestled in the lap of Garhwal Himalayas, at a distance of 5 km from Ranikhet. The town is known for its 9 holes Golf Course maintained by the Indian Army. This Golf Course is also considered to be one of the highest in Asia. If you are a golfing freak, you can definitely try playing a game here. Another major tourist attraction near Upat Golf Course is the ‘Kalika Temple’, dedicated to Goddess Kali. Located at a distance of 1 km. from Upat, in the town of Kalika, this temple is visited by many tourists coming to Ranikhet.
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Witness the Culture of Kumaon Region During the Nanda Devi Fair
One of the most significant attractions of Ranikhet, the ‘Nanda Devi Mela’ is held at the ‘Nanda Devi Temple’ in Almora, located at a distance of 50 km from Ranikhet. Organized in the month of September to honour Goddesses Nanda Devi and Sunanda Devi, this fair is believed to bring prosperity to the people of Kumaon region. The gala affair lasting for 3 days, sees hordes of pilgrims from all across the country.
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Soak Yourself in Scenic Vistas of Majkhali
Majkhali is a small charming village located at a distance of 13 km from Ranikhet. The place is known for its enchanting vistas of Mount Trishul and Nanda Devi that can be best viewed from here. If you are a nature lover and scenic panoramas give you a feel of inner peace and relaxation, then Majkhali is just an ideal place for you.
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Visit the Sun Temple at Katarmal
Located at a distance of almost 25 km from Ranikhet, the Sun Temple at Katarmal is dedicated to Sun God and holds a second place after the Sun Temple in Konark. Built around 800 years ago, intricate carvings on the temple walls, doors and panels and a magnificent architecture, makes you appreciate the exceptional skills of the artisans of the bygone era. If you are in Ranikhet, a visit to this temple should definitely be on your itineraries.
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Watch the Rising Sun at Sitlakhet
Located at a distance of approximately 30 km from Ranikhet, Sitlakhet is a lesser known heaven for nature enthusiasts and holiday makers. Mesmerizing beauty of the snow-capped Himalayan range soaked in varied hues of the rising sun in Sitlakhet, cannot be described in words. If you want to spend a peaceful holiday in the lap of Mother Nature and away from commercialization of touristy hill stations, then this place is perfect for you. The only accommodation at this place is the KMVN guest house. Serene settings of the guesthouse surrounded with orchards of apples, plums and peaches, make your stay even more wonderful and memorable.
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Take an Excursion to Dwarahat
Located at a distance of almost 35 km from Ranikhet, Dwarahat is a small picturesque villageknown for its ancient temples. The ‘Dunagiri Temple’ in Dunagiri near Dwarahat is the most famous of all the temples in the region and is visited by many tourists coming for their vacations in the nearby areas of Ranikhet, Kausani and Almora. Considered to be one of the powerful Shakti Peethas, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga and is located on a small hillock amidst the Kumaon Hills. Visitors need to climb a stairway of 500 steps to reach the temple. Myriad surroundings of the Himalayan peaks and dense forests give you a feel of inner peace and solace.
Tourists visiting Dwarahat can also visit ‘Pandavkholi’, one of the secret places where Pandavas of Mahabharata spent some time during their exile. Located amidst the Dronagiri Hill ranges, Pandavkholi caves offer scintillating views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks. To reach Pandavkholi, one needs to ascent a small trek from Kukuchina that can be reached through a taxi from Dunagiri.
Another must-visit attraction in Dwarahat is the ancient ‘Vimandeshwar Temple’, dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to Puranic legends, Vimandeshwar Temple is the second home to Lord Shiva after the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. Many pilgrims who are not capable enough of travelling to Kashi for the divine darshans of Lord Shiva, come to the Vimandeshwar Temple to seek blessings of the Lord.
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Take Part in Some Adventure Fun
If you are an adventure freak, then indulging yourself in some exhilarating experience of paragliding, jungle trekking, mountain biking and night camping is must for you during your stay in Ranikhet. Various tour operators organize these activities; you can contact one of the reliable tour operators in the area to satiate your adrenaline rush during your vacation in Ranikhet. Hope the above list of activities and things to do while your travel to Ranikhet, helps you plan a memorable holiday of your lifetime. If you feel some activity or attraction is missing, do share with us.
Published: 06 Feb, 2016