Ranikhet: A natural haven!Destinations, Features, India — By Shweta Dravid on January 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Ranikhet, popularly known as the “Queen’s Meadow”, is nestled in the lofty mountains of Kumaon, mesmerizing visitors with its unspoilt and unparralled beauty. Letsgo takes you on a tour Ranikhet’s endless panorama of scenic wonders- a romance with soul-lifting nature itself. A secluded and serene hill station discovered by the British, it lies in Almora district in Uttaranchal.
The lush green forests, ancient temples majestic and breathtaking undulating hilly terrains make Ranikhet a much sought after holiday destination. Located at an elevation of 1,829 mts. Above sea level, Ranikhet has everything to pacify the nerves of an avid city dweller.
Ranikhet literally means Queen’s meadow and legend has it that a Queen Padmini of Kumaon visited this place and was amazed by its beauty. To oblige his queen, King Sudhardev made a palace here for her and named it Ranikhet or Queen’s field. In 1869, the British made it the headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment and used it as a retreat from the heat of the Indian summer.
Temples a plenty
Ranikhet is known for its temples. People visit the temples from far flung places every year. The most popular is the Jhula Devi Temple, built in the 8th century, dedicated to Goddess Durga. The locals of Uttaranchal have a strong belief in the temple as it has protected them from man-eating tigers. The spectacular feature of the temple is the majestic cluster of beautifully made bells. The clang of the bells can be heard at a long distance.
Binsar Mahadev Temple was built in 9-10 century A.D. and it is believed to have been made in a single day. Women visit this temple on Vaikunth chaturdashi and light a lamp on their palm to fulfill their desire for a child. The temple is known for its architectural finesse. It is adorned with Ganesh, Har Gauri and Maheshmardini.
Katarmal Sun Temple is the second important Sun temple in the country after the Konark Sun Temple in Orissa. Built in the 9th century, the temple is known for its architecture, artistically made stone and metallic sculptures and intricately carved pillars and wooden doors.
Chaubatia Gardens- A Green Retreat
Ranikhet is renowned for its luscious apples, apricots, peaches and various alpine fruits. The Chaubatia Gardens located about 10 kms from Ranikhet is flooded with these fruits. You can also buy fresh juices and honey here. The picturesque views of the snow capped peaks of the mighty Himalayan range add to the beauty of the gardens.
Bhalu Dam- A great picnic spot!
Bhalu Dam is an artificial lake set amidst the majestic Himalayan range. It is an ideal place to spend a day with lots of good eats and fabulous company. Many visitors even camp here overnight relishing the enchanting mountain peaks and the pristine blue water of the dam.
Kumaon Regimental Centre- A must visit!
KRC (Kumaon Regimental Centre) Museum was established by Kumaon Regiment of Indian Army in 1970s and depicts the historical importance of Garhwal and Kumaon regiments. It displays Rani Jhasi’s silver scepters, documents and pictures related to Kargil War, a wireless field telephone used in World War –II by Japanese and Chinese rifles captured in1962 war, amongst other interesting things.
The museum gives a better understanding of the bravery of Indian soldiers and their dedication in the war fields.
For all those Golf lovers, you can enjoy a day playing your favourite sport at the second biggest natural golf course of the country. This nine hole course is one of the prime attractions of Ranikhet with a lot of tournaments organized here every year.
So get ready to cool off this summer in the salubrious climate of Ranikhet. Enjoy the whiff of cool air, lofty mountain peaks, and green meadows and make the most of your time with nature.