For the first time since I started writing travelogues publicly, I was hesitant to share about one of my trips. First, because the places I had been to were so beautiful mainly because they are untouched. Untouched by commercialization,by chain of roadside restaurants or cafes or shops and then the crowd and of course the garbage which comes with this.Secondly, I was constantly feeling that by writing about these places, I was in a way promoting people to go visit the places. And thus, I might be jeopardizing the virginity of the place. Nonetheless, I believe my readers are responsible travelers and they will protect the charm of the place in the best way possible. Also, the places may not be so popular with everyone but definitely not unknown. It’s just the matter of time that more and more people will be aware of such remote places by some or the other source and add to “must visit places” list.
Okay,I will stop beating around the bush and tell you about this “place”. I recently took a trip to Dehradun-Mussorie with my family.The major perk of having parents in northern part of the country and staying in south is that you get to travel across the length.
Hold on! So, you will be wondering what’s so unique about these places then. Well, bear with me for few more lines and then I will come to the point.
Dehradun as a name of the city always fascinated me. I imagined Dehradun as a hill station, a boarding school town, how they show in movies. I never treated it as the “capital” city. Hence, I was totally disappointed with my first visit to capital of Uttarakhand. It’s like any other three tier which has malls, restaurants and typical hustle bustle. Seeing this, I didn’t have much expectations from Mussorie as well, our next stop.
I had booked a 100 year old British home stay for the night in Dehradun and then thought of going to Mussorie from there.It is an hour drive from Dehradun.About this home stay, reviews said that the host himself shows you around the city. So, rather than opting for private cab , we took a chance of trusting this local who said that the transportation is included in the fee he charges for showing around.
I think, this was the best decision we took in the whole trip. You will know why!
This fellow told us upfront that he is not at all interested in ticking out the typical list of touristy stuff available on web. He promised us to show the things which are worth according to local.He did give us the options available.He asked us what interests us and then planned the day accordingly. Of course , we were also looking for an experience in Mussorie than the photos at Kempty falls, Gun hill point etc and hence decided to let him be in charge.(For people who have been to Mussorie before would know the ‘points’) Only thing he insisted was to reach a sunset point in time. And our day began!
The only thing which took me closer to my idea of Dehradun was the campus of FRI- Forest Research Institute of India. It is a premier institution in the field of forestry research in India. The campus is huge and so well maintained. The bungalows in the campus, probably for the staff and professors, are still old fashioned. We got the feel of countryside seen abroad. And when we got the glimpse of the building, we absolutely felt that we were not in India. The institute also offers entry to various museums like pathology, timbre etc.
By the way this is the same college where Student of the Year was shot. Ah! now you are excited to see, huh?
It’s rare to get to see such a huge colonial style of architecture with outer Himalaya as a backdrop and set in a lush green estate spread over 450 hectares. A must visit site in Dehradun.
Day had well begun! 🙂
It was almost lunch time and we decided to have lunch in mall road of Mussorie and then spend some time there. Mussorie yet again offers you a variety of cuisines with Tibetan being popular of all.This I have observed in almost every hill station in North. The mall road is a typical market road selling artifacts, sweaters, wooden stuffs etc. The walk though amidst of shops gives you a nice vibe. The height at which it is located gives you a real high. We were roaming in afternoon but I am sure the evenings must be much more lively.
Mussorie didn’t excite me much. I am basically from Mahabaleshwar, a very popular hill station in Maharashtra and frankly speaking Mussorie seemed exactly same as M’shwar in terms of hustle bustle. I was still looking forward to the sunset as our host seemed quite excited about it.
Around 4 pm we started the ride to Landour. Landour is what I have been so secretive about. It is known to many people rather readers as home to Ruskin Bond. Also, we got to know that Tom Alter has a huge property up here.
The ride was through the tiny cramped roads. Landour is like a twin town to Mussorie. People don’t go there much because of lack of easy accessibility. Public transport isn’t available and one needs to be pro in driving through these small lanes. We were busy praying all through the drive along with praising the beauty around. It’s at height of almost 8000 ft. The higher you go the more you feel closer to mountains.
There are 2-3 road side stalls where you get coffee/tea, maggi and the trail starts from there. A walk of almost 1.5 Km will take you to a sunset point. Again, it’s just a spot from where you can see sunset clearly but not a defined touristy spot. We were lucky enough to have our host who directed us well enough that we don’t miss the beautiful sights.
The trail is through tall Deodar trees one one side and a hill on the other. The hill has few old British aged bungalows now turned into resorts and few bungalows still kept the same way. The feel is totally English. The air you breath is pure , the sights are heavenly and the peace is indescribable.
My father was absolutely thrilled to see the magnificent Himalayas and rushed in the car like a child to go farther and have a closer look of snow clad mountains.
We celebrated the evening which was going to be so memorable for all of us in the oldest cafe in Landour, The Landour Bakehouse. Forget your calorie count and splurge in the freshly baked delicacies of this cafe.
The pretty cafe!
If you ask me what’s in Landour , I would say nothing and everything. It totally depends on you and what you are seeking from a place. I was numb here. My belief that the nature is strongest power of all was proved right again. The mountains, trees stand still since the times immemorial. They have seen pleasant and tough times and stood grounded come what may. If you say trees and mountains make you feel small, imagine what Himalayas can do to you. You just don’t exist!
I felt fortunate to be able to be there at that moment and let the distant sight of Himalayas make me feel this way 🙂
Do let me know about any queries about Landour and would to know about your experience with this Indian English town.