The small and deliberately undeveloped hill station of Ranikhet (1824m), 50km west of Almora, is essentially an army cantonment, home to the Kumaon Rifles. New construction is confined to the Sadar Bazaar area, while the rest of the town above it, climbing towards the crest of the hill, retains its peacefully pleasant atmosphere in the shade of tall pine woods. Forest trails abound, including a shortcut from the bazaar to the Mall (something of a misnomer, as it’s a quiet road with few buildings apart from officers’ messes), which starts just above the town and continues south for 3km along the wooded crest of the ridge.

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