At over 6000 feet above sea level and surrounded by the gigantic snow covered peaks of the western Himalayas, you cannot just sit back and relax, even if you are staying at one of the best resorts in Ranikhet. Receiving snowfall in the months of December and January and covered in the natural Himalayan flora perennially, there are so many things to keep you on your feet when visiting this picturesque hill station in the Almora district of the Kumaon Hills.
The Nanda Devi Fair
One of the most noteworthy attractions is the Nanda Devi Fair. Although it is held in Almora, almost 50 kilometres away, if you are visiting Ranikhet in September, you just cannot miss this annual extravaganza held in honour of the Goddesses Nanda Devi and Sunanda Devi. This gala fair that lasts for three days is believed to bring prosperity to the people of Kumaon.
The temples tour
In and around Ranikhet, there are numerous temples that have long histories and are surrounded by folklore. Some of the famous temples are:
- 25 kilometres away is the 800-year-oldKatarmal Temple or the Sun Temple, a must-see if intricate sculpting and history are your interests.
- Only 7 kilometres from the town is the JhulaDevi Temple. Legend has it that the temple was built on the exact spot where a shepherd, guided by Goddess Durga, found her statue buried.
- Close to the Jhula Devi temple is the Rama Mandir. A monastery within the temple teaches students ancient Vedas, Vedic, and ancient mathematics.
- Situated about 19 kilometres from Ranikhet amidst pine and deodar forests is the BinsarMahadev Temple. It is believed that childless couples who visit and light a diya on the day of VaikunthChaturdeshi will be granted their wish.
- Just four kilometres from Ranikhet is the Haidakhan Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it was built by Shri HaidakhanMaharaj who was believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Other must see places
Botany enthusiasts will not be able to resist the temptations of the ChaubatiaGardens, which are only ten kilometres from the town. Filled with an extensive variety of Himalayan Flora, these gardens are also famous for their apple orchards along with its plantation of almonds, peaches, chestnuts, and apricots. There is also the garden store, which sells artisan honey, fresh fruits, and fruit juices. They are also a prime example of step farming.
The Kumaon Regimental Centre (KRC) Museum is a saga of valour and sacrifices made by the brave men of The Indian Army. An account of their war exploits in various military campaigns as well as memorabilia is proudly displayed. An army guide takes you on this grand tour of military history.
Even if you are not a golfing addict, a visit to the 9-hole golf course, which is among the highest in Asia is a must for its sheer looks. The imposing mountains encircling the lush green meadows of the course are breath-taking. If golf does interest you, then you can apply as they provide memberships for outsiders as well.
Watch the captivating beauty of the snow-capped Himalayan range drenched in varied hues of the rising sun while sitting far away from urbanisation in the lap of Mother Nature in Sitlakhet, approximately 30 kilometres from Ranikhet.
A visit to Ranikhet will almost be incomplete if you did not just go for a stroll in the fresh mountain air and carelessly soak in the mountainous slopes covered in oak, pine and deodar forests. Be sure to book well in advance in any of the hotels in Ranikhet for a comfortable stay. Also, do not forget to pack in your warm clothes.