Ranikhet was first established as a cantonment town by the British Raj in 1869 and is the only cantonment in India to enjoy heritage status. It remains an important army town and is the headquarters of the Kumaon regiment. The vestiges of the colonial era are still clearly apparent in this neat and tidy settlement with various heritage hotels from that period and old churches, including a couple that are no longer in service but have been converted into tweed and shawl mills with hand operated looms.
The original Windsor Lodge was a hunting lodge built in 1909 amongst the thick and untamed forests of the region that were then teeming with wildlife. This retreat remained a prime favourite with the British and Indian upper strata of society till 1948, when a devastating fire reduced it to ruins. After half a century of neglect, renovation began on the Lodge in 1999. Painstaking efforts were made to restore the Lodge to its original architecture and hauteur, with solid blocks of stone in the rough hewn walls and liberal use of solid timber. Modern comforts were woven into this period style to maintain the best of both the old and new centuries and worlds.
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