A QUEEN'S FIELD The ancient Aryans had designated the region of the Central Himalayas as the Celestial Land - the Dev Bhumi; the coloring of the foliage has to be believed. March and April is flower time in the foothills, while June and July bring the wild flowers to the upper regions, where the dwarf rhododendron bushes resplendent with pink and mauve blooms the region in all their glory. The flowering plants amaze and confuse, when; different branches of the same plant yield flowers of different colours and varying fragrance. European tourists, over the centuries have, enthused ecstatically over its valley, meadows, cliffs, hills, snow-capped mountains, serpentine rivers and crystal clear rivulets here and there displaying the rainbow. The hill station, idyllic in its charm, Ranikhet with its majestic pine trees, is 59.5 kilometers from Nainital.
Here amidst the rustling and encircled by dazzling white peaks, glistening in the sun, once camped a beauteous Queen of legend and lore, giving the town its name-Rani (Queen)-Khet (Field) falling in love-with the beauty of the place, she decided to stay and built a palace near what is now the Ranikhet Club. Discovered and built entirely by the British in 1869. On a visit here, late Prime Minister Nehru commented, "I wish more of our people living in plains below, would visit the Himalayas... They can have their fill of flower and noble trees in primival forests. They can breathe the free unattained air, which invigorates and they can return strengthened in body, mind and spirits. Weaving an instant spell on the visitor, Ranikhet does not witness the paradox of a "madding" rush of visitors with the onset of summer and the corresponding departure with the summer's end, but draws visitors all the year round.
THE ENCHANTED VICEROY
Acclaimed as a 'heavenly hill station', and one of the best in the world, it won the heart of Lord Mayo, who was the Viceroy of India from 1869-72. Enchanted by the scenic setting, he gave serious thought of shifting the Army Headquarters from Shimla to Ranikhet. The hill station offers the pleasure of golf and well-equipped club, besides the long and short walks and beautiful picnic spots. The residential club offers temporary membership to tourists providing them all the benefits of the tennis courts, excellent golf links, indoor recreational facilities and use of the club's rooms and excellent cuisine.
Nanda Devi Mela is a fair of great religious and cultural significance. It is held at Nanda Devi Temple in September to commemorate the memory of goddesses, Nanda and Sunanda. Upat and Kalika With one of the best 9-hole golf links in the country; Upat is a boon to the enthusiast. With the added attraction of private orchards, it is 5.6 km away. Just one kilometer from Upat is Kalika with its famous temple to the Goddess Kali. It also has good forest nursery. A beautiful snowcapped mountain peak is available on the other side of the golf link at Upat. Chaubatia as the name implies, these are four, fruit gardens, with a Government Fruit Research Centre, complete with a fruit sales depot and cafeteria. It is 10 kilometers from Ranikhet.
Bhalu Dam Main Source of the town's water supply comes from the Bhalu Dam, 3.2 kilometers from Chaubatia. It is famous for its fishing. Majhkhali on the Ranikhet - Almora road, 13 km, is a spot of entrancing, celestial beauty. Here is an awe-inspiring view of the majesty of the Sonya peaks. The U.P. Government Agriculture Farm is situated here.
Co-operative Drug Factory
Three kilometers down the road to Ramnagar, is unique venture. Here are manufactured, on co-operative basis, Ayuvedic drugs from local herbs. The factory deals with the drugs from the research stage down to production.
Nainital A lovely hill station surrounded by mountains on three sides once called "Chakta" or the land of 60 lakes.
Sat Tal Picturesque spot where nature reigns supreme in all her beauty, Sat Tal, or Seven Lakes is 21 kilometers from Nainital. Here are seven small but exquisite lakes; including Panna, Nal-Damayanti, Sita, Government and the Sukha Tal Lakes in the midst of thick tall, pine oak trees. Here, too, is a tiny wild life sanctuary Ashram run by Dr.Stanley Jones of America. The Nal-Damyanti Lake is loaded with a variety of fish. Bhim Tal Named after one of the Pandava brothers, this, the largest lake in the district, is 1701 meters by 454 meters making it 265 meters longer than Naini Lake. Situated at a level of 1371.6 meters it is 22 kilometers from Nainital. Known for its robust majesty, Bhim Tal has an exquisite gem in the middle of the lake - an is let situated within the range of temple bells, which have been chiming for the last 300 years in the 17th century edifice, beneath the shadow of the towering mountain as it rushes precipitously down to the emerald green of the lake. The island, situated close to the northeast side, is only 91.4 meters from the shore.
Naukuchia Tal (1218 meters)
A haven for the fishing enthusiasts, this fine lake, with nine corners, is four kilometers to the northeast of Bhim Tal. Tarakhet Beloved of Gandhi On the same road, 8 kilometers away, is the spot; Mahatma Gandhi fell in love with and stayed for a length of time during the days of the Independence struggle. Here, he came for peace of mind, which he always found. Now a developing town ships, the house Gandhi stayed in, GandhiKuti, and Prem Vidhyalaya are the chief attractions. There is a good Rest House, built in beautiful surroundings. Khairna and Bhikiasen they are situated on forest road, 22 km and 53 kilometers from Ranikhet respectively - famous for fishing. Mainla only 13 kilometers from Bhikiasen and 66 km from Ranikhet, out of which 13 km are negotiated by a bridle Path; lead to beautiful Mainla, in the midst of the mighty mountains.
Bhowali (1706 meters)
Eleven kilometers to the east of Nainital, Bhowali is an ideal spot for those in search of fragrant pines, for a day's outing, weekend, or even the whole summer. Enclosed by a pine forest, the crisp, salubrious air makes it an ideal spot for the finest T.B.Sanatorium in the state. It also has a Rest House and Tourist Bungalow, besides a few ordinary hotels. Hanuman Garhi and Observatory an ecstatic spot reputed for its glorious sunset, the Hanuman Temple, has turned lately into a pilgrim centre as well. Near the temple are U.P. Government Astronomical Observatory and the Satellite Tracking Centre well worth a visit.
HOW TO GET THERE
Rail: There is a railhead situated at Kathgodam, 84-km away from Ranikhet.
Road: Buses from all over Kumaon, including from the railhead Kathgodam.
Local Transport: For local transportation within the town jeeps, taxis and local buses are available.
PLACES TO STAY
Being one of the famous hill stations of the state, Ranikhet is well equipped with both luxury and economical budget accommodations.