Ranikhet, which means Queen's meadow in Hindi, gets its name from a 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 no palace exists in the area. In 1869, the British established the headquarters of the Kumaon Regiment here and used the station as a retreat from the heat of the Indian summer. At one time during British Raj, it was also proposed as the summer headquarters of Government of India, in lieu of Shimla. In 1900, it had a summer population of 7,705, and its corresponding winter population was measured in 1901 as 3,153. Geography Ranikhet is located at 29°39′N 79°25′E29.65°N 79.42°E. It has an average elevation of 1,869 m (6,132 ft).The climate of the village is very cool. The cantonment is spread across two ridges, the first, called the Ranikhet ridge, is situated at an elevation of 5,983 ft (1,824 m) and the second, the Chaubattia ridge, is at an elevation of 6,942 ft (2,116 m). Climate Ranikhet becomes very cold in the winters and remains moderate in summers, and is best enjoyed from March to October. Ranikhet gets snowfall in the winter season, mainly in the months of December, January and February. Flora and fauna The pine, oak, and deodar forests host an array of wildlife including leopard, leopard cat, mountain goat, barking deer, sambhar, pine marten, Indian hare, red-faced monkey, jackal, langur, red fox, and porcupine. Demographics As of 2001 India census, Ranikhet had a population of 19,055. Males constitute 61% of the population and females 39%. Ranikhet has an average literacy rate of 83%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 87%, and female literacy is 76%. In Ranikhet, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age. The local languages are Hindi and Kumaoni.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Dwarahat » 37kms. from Ranikhet, the once principal seat of the Katyuri Rajas is Dwarahat. A part from temples it is full of ancient sculptures. It is also known for its Syaldeh Bikhoti fair ( 13th to 15th April every year).
Bhikiasain » 55kms., from Ranikhet is famous for its Maha Savitri fair.