Ranikhet – as the name suggests it means a Queen’s meadow. It is a beautiful hill station situated in the lap of majestic Himalayan ranges at a height of 1829m from the mean sea level in Almora district of Uttarakhand.
The name Ranikhet derives its name from a popular local legend which states that it was here, that Raja Sudhardev won the heart of his queen, Rani Padmini, who subsequently chose the area for her residence, giving it the name – Ranikhet. Though today as no such palace or ruins of it exists in the area.
In the local folklore it’s believed that the dense jungle near the Jhula Devi temple was once full of wild animals which were vulnerable to local villagers. The villagers prayed to Goddess Durga for protection. To protect them,the goddess came in a shepherd’s dream and advised him to excavate her idol and construct a temple at the spot. Since that daythe goddess has been protecting the villagers.
Ranikhet had been ruled by intrepid Gorkha rulers of Nepal after their invasion of Kumaon in 1790. The Kumaonis won it back under the leadership of their able General Kashi Nath Adhikari with the help of British at around 1816. To commemorate the victory and honouring the general, the town of Kashipur was named after him. Once Kashipur was the gateway to the Kumaon hills and today is now an educational and institutional hub.
In 1869, the British visited Ranikhet as a summer retreat and developed it into a hill station for their troops and established the headquarters of the valiant Kumaon Regiment.This place is populated with ancient shrines, verdant green hills, undulating terrains along with the majestic view of the Nanda Devi peak and sprawling 9-hole golf course. Kumaon regimental centre museum boasts of the bravery and holds the heritage of undaunted soldiers of the regiment. A visit to this Museum is must when going to Ranikhet. One gets a strong feeling of patriotism when visiting this museum.