Package Name: Ramgarh, the “Fruit Bowl of Kumaon”
While in Dev Bhoomi Uttarkahand on the way to Mukteshwar in Nainital District comes the rich and charming village of Ramgarh – the Fruit Bowl of the Kumaon. Being the most abundant region of Kumaon, Ramgarh is known as the horticultural haven of Uttarakhand. Lush green, beautiful surroundings and fir, oak and walnut trees cover the entire landscape. Ramgarh is lovingly called as the ‘Fruit Bowl of Kumaon’ owing to its rich orchards of plum, apricot, peach, pear, strawberry and apple most of which find their way out of India for export. The best time to find these fruits are in May, June and July. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to pluck peaches from the roadside?
Ramgarh is perched at an elevation of 1789 m above sea level and it is a biker’s, camper’s and a nature lover’s delight. The place is serene, non touristy, and in the middle of no-where. Landscape artists should carry paints and brushes to this picturesque locale. The night sky is so clear that every constellation from the geography book comes alive! And the mornings arrive with chirping of birds and the wondrous sight of the majestic snow capped Himalayas from the bedroom window of your guest house. This is one of those times when you will want to keep your headphones and watsapp away.
Ramgarh was once the cantonment of the British Army and till today the old British Bungalows are well preserved. In fact, the Neemrana Group of Hotels has renovated these old mansions to give visitors a taste of the old world charm and luxury. Most of them have their own private orchards with fruit laden trees. This is one of the best ways to unwind and connect with nature. The friendly staff in these cozy guest houses makes for a homely experience with local food preparations and the warmth of their “pahari” hospitality. And of course, you get a lot of the fresh fruit jams for breakfast! The Old Bungalow -1830 and the Writer’s Bungalaow -1860 are heritage structures that once housed the British and Indian officers and their families who travelled on horseback and palanquins!
Ramgarh is a great place for bird watching, treks and hikes along fruit orchards, and jungle walks through the oak and rhododendron forests overlooking the enchanting beauty of the Himalayan peaks. For the more adventurous traveler, excursion tours can be made to Nainital, Mukteshwar, Bhimtal, Ranikhet and Almora. If you are a skilled rider, mountain-biking is an enjoyable experience here and you could go off-roading to the mountains, either straight up or straight down!
Surroundings of Ramgarh are a perfect place for camping and adventure sports. Hotels can help you with permits and recommendations along with trained instructors and can organize rock-climbing, rappelling, nature walks, bird-watching trails and river-crossing activities. Besides, you can choose to just take it easy and soak in the village life by watching and/or participating with the villagers while they herd their goats and milk their cows. You can work in the farms and experience how to plant potatoes, zucchinis, strawberries or “rajmah” while listening to distant tinkling of cow-bells in the grassy meadows.
Many people who have visited Ramgarh in the past settled here for long periods to take inspiration from the sheer beauty and peace of the land. One such great personality was Rabindra Nath Tagore who established his ashram here. Also the great spiritual leader Narain Swami established his ashram in Ramgarh. The famous Hindi poetess Mahadevi Varma was inspired to write the famous story “Lachma” in the hills of Ramgarh.
Ramgarh is 26 km from Nainital. As soon as you cross the Gagar pass, you descend to Ramgarh. You could stop alongside the river near the Khairna Bridge which offers many sandy coves that make for a perfect picnic. Here, leopard pugmarks are found in plenty and wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy a stroll around the place.
Fishing Permits from the Forest Department are arranged by hotels in Ramgarh if you wish to go angling in the Mahseer laden Kalirao and Kosi rivers.
Ramgarh..where to stay
Ramgarh has accommodation for every kind of budget and need. But the best experience are the hill-top cottages with sprawling views of snow-peaked mountains and forested hills while you dig into a sumptuous breakfast laid out in the gardens. You could even find a comfortable home-stay in one of the little kothis lined with apple trees. One must also try the local delicacies served in the dhabas, such as, ghot ki daal, aalo gutka, bhang ki chutney and sisaa saag.