In the unrelenting heat of the harsh Indian summer, hill stations provide a relief from the hustle and bustle of the plains. And then there are the Raj –era hill stations which are iconic, and always worth a visit. If you plan to spend your summer holidays in comfort, savouring the beauty of the hills and relaxing in a cool climate, head for the “Queen of hills stations”, at an altitude of 6170 ft, up in the Shivalik ranges, blessed with a salubrious climate. Far away from the maddening crowd, Mussoorie is the place to be in.
Mussoorie was founded in 1827 , by the adventurous military officer Captain Young ( yes .. a very typically British name ! ) on the lines of many other Raj-era hill stations, as a summer destination. The name comes from a derivation of “ mansoor”, a shrub that grows in the area. It is referred to as “ Mansoori” by many localites.
Originally intended as the intended terminus of the Great Survey of India that began at the southern tip of India ( which was ultimately based in Dehradun), Mussoorie is today the major hill station of Uttarakhand, and is in close proximity to Delhi, Ambala and Chandigarh, well-connected by a motorable road to these cities.The adjoining town of Landour and the townships of Jharipani and Barlowgunj, are considered to be a part of ” Greater Mussoorie.”
The main promenade in the town is The Mall, extending from Picture Palace at its eastern end to the Public Library (shortened to ‘Library’) at its western end. The Mall, which also locates many of the lodging places including the lodge of the GMVN ( Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam), offers a spectacular view of the plains below. Driving is not allowed on the mall. Indeed , it is pleasant to note that Mussoorie has taken several environment- friendly measures such as restrictions on vehicles, and banning of plastics.
Another must-do walk is the Camel’s Back Road, which derives its name from a rock which is shaped like a camel’s back. One is offered a beautiful view of the green valleys below, and the snow-clad mountain ranges in the distance. There are a lot of interesting houses, some lodges and also a Raj era cemetery ( Mussoorie Cemetery..dating back to 1829) on this road. One can take a horse ride on this road, or walk .Walking would be a pleasure, since this is the quietest, most laid- back part of the town.And if you are fond of orchids, you can buy some from the local nursery.
A must-do is the Cable Car ride from the mall to Gun Hill, at a height of 8300 ft, from where one has a good view of the Himalayan ranges. A steep walkway also leads to this point, for those who are arduous enough to try it.
Mussoorie is considered to be an ideal place for a honeymoon, or even to have a love affair, due to its salubrious environment. And surely, one can see a lot of people taking advantage of this. It is also patronized by creative people; such as the famous author Ruskin Bond and the actor Victor Banerjee, who have made this place their abode. One would definitely imagine that a picturesque place such as this would stimulate creativity.
Regardless of whatever be your motive for taking a break, head for the” Queen of hill stations ” to beat the city blues.Enjoy yourself in this most picturesque hill station, and come back fully relaxed and rejuvenated.
> Nearest rail station :Dehradun, 32 km away
> Nearest airport: Jolly Grant, 55 km away.
> Regular buses and cabs are available from Dehradun , from the bus-stand , rail station and airport.
> 290 km away from Delhi- regular bus services are available from the Kashmiri Gate ISBT ( Interstate Bus Terminus). Taxis can also be hired from Delhi.
> Freezing cold from December to February
> Monsoons last from July to mid-September
> It is best to visit from March to June or September to December. During these months, Mussoorie enjoys a cool climate ; however, light woollens would be required.
> GMVN hotel :www.gmvnl.com
> More info on hotels :
Some of the better known hotels are Hotel Savoy, Country Inn Mussoorie, The Golden Palms Hotel and Spa
Places to see
> Lal Tibba : A hill, 5 km uphill walk from Picture Palace to the highest point in Mussoorie (7510 ft)
> Kempty Falls : Around 15 km from Mussoorie -it is a popular spot which can be reached by car or by cable car.You can visit Lake Mist on the way, 5 km from Kempty Falls.
> Dhanaulti : Around 24km from Mussoorie – it provides a spectacular view of the Himalayan snow clad peaks.The main attraction is the Ecopark, which houses a wide range of Himalayan flora.The Mussoorie Forest Department has built eco-friendly tourist huts for staying here.On the way, the Surkunda Devi temple, 8 km from Dhanaulti, is a worthwhile diversion.
>Happy Valley: A well-known Tibetan settlement, 5000 strong, which would be a worthwhile excursion
> Company Gardens: A man-made park with fwaterfalls and fun rides. Several tourists take pictures here in the local attire. It is accessible by road , around 5 km from the Mall.Rickshaws are available from Gun Point.
> Landour : This cantonment town retain a lot of its old world charm. Be sure to look for home-made chocolates and other delicacies.
> Mussoorie is ideal for walks.One of the popular routes is- Library point to Landour Market via camel’s back road. It is still free from noise and offers some very beautiful views along with echo-point.