Hill Stations near Delhi -Ranikhet

by admin on April 2, 2012

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Ranikhet near Delhi

Beautiful Scene of Ranikhet

Heat, dust and grime were killing my spirit and soul in April. I desperately needed to get away from it all (I was not the only one I think) with the long weekend coming up. Meandering mountain streams, divine meadows along with refreshing mountain air minus the madding crowd was all I thought.  Then it struck me!  Ranikhet, the ‘Queen’s Meadow’ I thought. It is just 350kms from Delhi. I hopped on to the express train to Kathgodam and then hired a car to Ranikhet in Uttarakhand. Might as well live up life a little I reflected, and booked into the one and a half century old Hotel Chevron.

Legend has it that queen Padmini fell in love with this dainty little hill side place long time ago and her husband, King Sukherdev wanted to oblige and appease her by calling this sylvan hillside place Ranikhet.  Located at 1829 metres above sea level this place was re-discovered by the British who set up a cantonment and Headquarters for the celebrated Kumaon Regiment. Today, it also houses the much feared Naga Regiment. I set off to the Kumaon Regimental Museum located on the main road. I learned that India’s first Param Vir Chakra was awarded to Major Somnath Sharma of the Kumaon Regiment.

I brought one of the famous tweed shawls from the KRC Widow’s Association and was enthralled by the magnificent British built bungalows. Famous among them was a retired British officer’s bungalow named after William Holm for initiating the first tea plantations in the area.

ranikhet India

Small Waterfall near Ranikhet

I was thunderstruck by the view of the Trishul (or three pronged) Peak standing at 23,559 ft and wondered if anyone had scaled those incredible heights or if I would catch a view of the leopards that were supposed to hang around there.   To take a peek of the snowy peaks from another angle and get among the refreshing mountain streams under the pine trees, I hiked to Majkhali along Almora Road. It was a long walk and I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw. I took a lot of awesome shots with my camera.

The next day I was off to visit the Gandhi Kutir at Tarikhet located about 8km from Ranikhet. I saw the undersized hut where the Mahatma once stayed.  Orchards and tall coniferous trees abounded in the magnificent backdrop.  While I was dithering with the choice of either trying my hand at the Army golf course located 5 km from the bus stand or go fishing at the Bhalu Dam located 3 and a half km away, I decided against both and set off the next day for the famous Syalde-Bikhoti Mela which is held from April 13-15th every year at Dwarahat. The 38 km bus journey made me dog tired but I was mesmerized by the 55 ancient temples built by Katuri Kings. 27 Km away were the caves of Pandukholi, a place where the Pandavas of Mahabharata fame were supposed to have spent time after their 14 years of exile. Further down, at the confluence of the Nandani and Saraswati rivers was the Vimandeswar temple where Lord Shiva was supposed to have stopped for a marriage.  Before leaving this lovely little piece of paradise I savoured a little of the Bal Mithai –it was really delicious.  Being a bit distressed at leaving all these breathtaking scenery behind I thought I would extend my holiday a little and go off to Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh.

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