Delhi to Ranikhet Trip
Four of us friends decided to go on a trip to Ranikhet in Uttarakhand in April 2022. In fact one of our friend (VK) who is from Kumaon planned this trip and we all jumped at the opportunity. VK knew the region well and therefore would act as our guide as well. We were all very excited to explore the natural beauty and serenity of the hill station Ranikhet. This would be my first visit to Ranikhet. We packed our bags and set off on our journey, eager to soak in the scenic views of the Himalayan Mountains and take in the fresh mountain air. During our stay in Ranikhet, we planned to go on long walks, visit local temples and markets and off course try some delicious local cuisine as well.
Delhi to Ranikhet Distance
The total distance from Delhi to Ranikhet is 376 km. The journey would be in two phases. In the first phase we would be travelling by train from Delhi to Kathgodam. In the second phase we would be hiring a cab or taxi from Kathgodam that would take us to Ranikhet. We were all so excited as this trip to Ranikhet and for that matter to Kumaon Hills would be a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives in Delhi.
Delhi to Kathgodam Train
One of the most convenient ways to go to Ranikhet is by taking a train from Delhi to Kathgodam. We booked out seats in Kathgodam Shatabdi (KGM SHTBDI EXP (12040) which leaves New Delhi Railway Station at 0620 am and reaches Kathgodam at 1150 am. Besides the Shatabdi, the other trains are Sampart Kranti and Ranikhet Express. These trains leave at 4 and 8 pm and reach Kathgodam at 1045 pm and 545 am (next morning) respectively. All the four of us reached the New Delhi Railway Station on time to catch the Shatabdi. We had a wonderful time travelling from Delhi to Kathgodam in super comfort. Food and beverages served by the railway catering service was decent.
Kathgodam Railway Station
Soon our train reached Kathgodam Railway Station at exactly the given time ie around 12 noon. Kathgodam Railway Station is located in the town of Kathgodam in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, India. This station serves as an important transportation hub for the surrounding regions, for locals as well as tourists coming to visit Kumaon region. We found the station clean and well-maintained, making it, I hope a convenient place for travelers to start or end their journey.
After making our exit from the railway station we searched for our hired Taxi and soon we were on our way to Ranikhet. We were now in Kathgodam town. One key advantage of a Railway Station at Kathgodam is its proximity to popular tourist destinations in the region like Nainital, Bhimtal, and Ranikhet. Kathgodam is therefore a convenient starting point for tourists looking to explore the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of the Kumaon region.
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Kathgodam to Bhimtal distance is only 21 km and soon we are in Bhimtal. Bhimtal is a beautiful town situated around the Bhimtal Lake, which is a popular tourist attraction here. Bhimtal is known for its peaceful setting, making it a popular destination for tourists from big cities who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Bhimtal is also known for its rich cultural heritage as the town is home to several historic temples and shrines, including the Bhimeshwara Mahadeva Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple, named after Bhima of the Pandavas, is an important pilgrimage site for devotees of Lord Shiva and is visited by thousands of people every year.
Bhimtal Lake is a large freshwater lake surrounded by lush green forests and rolling hills. It is the lake and the surrounding beautiful landscape that makes Bhimtal a popular tourist destination, attracts visitors not only from all over India but from all around the world as well. The lake offers a variety of water sports activities and makes it an ideal spot for a picnic or for a relaxing stroll.
We halted in Bhimtal for an hour or so. One of an old acquaintance of VK invited us all for tea and refreshments. His office cum residence was located just next to Bhimtal Lake and the view from there was just fantastic.
Kathgodam to Nainital
Though we did not go to Nainital as our destination was Ranikhet, the distance from Kathgodam to Nainital is only 35 km. Nainital is a beautiful hill station, much more popular than Bhimtal or Ranikhet. It is situated around Naini Lake, a freshwater lake surrounded by hills and dense forests. The lake is considered the heart of Nainital and is a popular tourist destination, that attracts tourists across India and abroad.
We could have gone from Kathgodam to Nainital and stayed there for a day and proceeded to Ranikhet from there. However, since we had specifically planned Ranikhet tour, we decided to skip Nainital.
After thanking VK’s friend for the hospitality, we were on our way for the next destination. Next stop on the way is going to be the famous Ashram of Neem Karoli Baba at Kainchi Dham. Distance from Bhimtal to Kainchi Dham is only 20 km and the natural beauty on the way was simply mesmerizing. In no time we reached Kainchi Dham and stopped here for darshan.
Neem Karoli Baba
The temple at Kainchi Dham was was established in the 1960s by Neem Karoli Baba, who was known for his spirituality and selfless service to humanity. Neem Karoli Baba is called Maharaj ji by his followers and devotees. Maharaj ji’s teachings were simple and universal. He often said, “Sub Ek” — All is One and also taught to “love everyone, serve everyone, remember God, and tell the truth.
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram
The temple complex consists of several shrines and temples dedicated to various Hindu gods and goddesses. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Pilgrims can visit the temples and offer prayers, light incense, and seek blessings from the deities. The temple is located amidst lush green forests and is considered a peaceful oasis for those seeking spiritual renewal and inner peace. We spent almost an hour and after the obeisance at the main temple we went for a tour around the complex.
After soaking in the spiritual experience at the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram at Kainchi dham, we were on our way to Ranikhet. Kainchi Dham to Ranikhet is 38 km and took us about one and half ours. Ranikhet is a picturesque hill station surrounded by dense forests, rolling hills and stunning mountain landscapes. Located in the Almora district of Uttarakhand, India, it is one of the most beautiful and serene places in northern India. Ranikhet was established by the British as a hill station in the 19th century. Since then it has since been a popular holiday destination for both Indian and foreign tourists.
Ranikhet weather is always pleasant. You can expect snowfall during December till February and the monsoon stretches over from June end to August. During summer the maximum and minimum temperature hover around 30 and 8 degrees celcious. In winters the temperatures can remain sub zero from – 3 to -7 degrees. Notwithstanding the weather, Ranikhet is one place which can be visited throughout the year.
Places of Interest in Ranikhet
There are many places of interest in Ranikhet. Some places which we were able to visit during our stay of two days here are as follows.
Kumaon Regiment Ranikhet
The headquarters of Kumaon Regiment is located in Ranikhet which makes Ranikhet a cantonment area. The Kumaon Regiment was established in the year 1813 and it has a rich history of serving the country in various wars and operations. The regiment draws its personnel from Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttarakhand. This has given Kumaon Regiment a distinct cultural and regional identity, which is reflected in its customs, traditions, and dress.
The regiment is renowned for its bravery and valor. The regiment has served the country with distinction in various wars and operations, including the First World War, Second World War, Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the India-Pakistan Wars of 1965 and 1971. The Kumaon Regiment war museum is a must visit place.
Rani Jheel in Ranikhet is a scenic lake situated in the midst of lush green dense forest, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The lake is a popular tourist spot for both locals and tourists, who come to enjoy its peaceful setting and serene beauty. Visitors can enjoy boating, bird-watching around the lake, or simply relax and take in the stunning views. There is a temple near the lake called the Rani Temple, which is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga. We really liked this lake and spent couple of hours enjoying boating and clicking pictures.
In addition to its colonial heritage, Ranikhet is also known for its natural beauty, including the Majkhali Forest, which offers majestic view of the snow capped Himalayas.
During our stay we also went to the Ranikhet Bazaar which has various shopping and dining options. What tried street food including jalebi and local Bal Mithai. After two blissful days in Ranikhet we left for our next destination ie Someshwar and Kausani. The only thing we regretted was not spending few days more in Ranikhet.
Where to Stay in Ranikhet
We stayed at the Kumaon Regimental Center Guest house. Ranikhet has scores of options hotels catering to both budget and high end travelers. This should not be a problem. Unlike other hill stations Ranikhet isn’t that crowded and that makes the trip worthwhile.