PRIMARILY a cantonment town, Ranikhet is home to the Indian Army’s renowned Kumaon Regiment. Not surprisingly, the army is the town’s most visible presence, its many red-roofed bungalows spreading across the wide ” Queen’s Field”, a literal translation of the town’s name. Sadar Bazaar is the main market, while the Upper Mall leads away from the bazaar to the quieter part of town. Chaubatia, once a British sanatorium, lies further along The Mall and now houses the Government Fruit Garden, which grows 200 varieties of fruit.
Ranikhet’s true allure, however, lies in its untrammelled Himalayan views that offer a spectacular vista of nearly 350 km (217 miles) of the Greater Himalayan Range. The Army Golf Course, 6 km (4 miles) down the Almora Road at Uphat, is one of the country’s highest golf courses, and was originally a racetrack. It welcomes visitors who are willing to pay green fees, so take no notice of the signboard that threatens trespassers.