in the Garhwal hills at 6,578 ft, on a ridge 34 km north of Dehradun,
Mussoorie is a land of immense natural beauty. Once a favourite outpost of
the British, Mussoorie was famously called the 'Queen of the Hills'. The
times have changed and the British have long since left India but
Mussoorie's popularity has not faded. Its sylvan valleys, majestic
mountains, pure, invigorating air, sulphur springs and panoramic views draw
visitors to its embrace from far and wide.
The journey to Mussoorie starts in earnest once you are on the 34 km drive
up from Dehra, steep winding roads, with innumerable hairpin bends are quite
exhilarating. The uphill climb allows one to witness a dramatic change in
scenery, the sal trees give way to oak and pine and the air acquires a
palpable nip, the valley below spreads out in a chequered play of grey and
green. Along with its verdant beauty, Mussoorie also offers an exciting
range of activities to its visitors. From horseback riding through pristine
mountain trails to hiking, boating and even a wide variety of video game
parlours and an amusement park for children, Mussoorie has something to see
and do for people of all ages and interests.
The tourists love to promenade along the Mall, relax in plush hotels, drive
out to the Deodar laden Dhanaulti or picnic at the gorgeous Kempty falls.
Getting photographed in a variety of costumes at the Gun Hill, visiting ice
cream parlours and video game shops are just some of its many well loved
Mussoorie's promenade, the Mall extends from the Library Bazaar or the
Gandhi Chowk and ends at the Clock Tower where the Landour bazaar starts.
Laden with shops selling trinkets, wood decoratives and gift items, one can
also find brass statues, wooden boxes, Tibetan prayer wheels and ceramic
vases here. The showrooms also stock good quality woollens and exquisite
pashmina shawls. The hand carved oakwood walking sticks sold here are also
popular among tourists. The mall also contains some of Mussoorie's famous
eateries, cafes and restaurants which serve a wide variety of cuisines.
15 Kms from Mussoorie, these gushing falls are set amidst the picturesque
surroundings of high mountain ranges, these pretty falls cascade down from
an altitude of 4,500 feet and split further into five small cascades. The
tumbling water and its fine spray creates a mist over the lake into which it
falls, the lake is a popular swimming spot for tourists and a dip in these
cool waters surrounded by lush greenery is a delightful experience.
The Lal Tibba has the distinction of being the highest peak in Mussoorie.
The first houses built by the Britishers in Mussoorie were constructed on
this hill. Still inhabited by the locals, it contains some gorgeous old
bungalows, beautiful churches, an ancient cemetery and a rich historical
legacy of the colonial past. A horse ride up the hill offers panoramic views
of the snow covered peaks of the Himalayas up ahead.
The second highest peak of Mussoorie and its most popular the Gun Hill
overlooks some of the highest Himalayan ranges namely Bunderpunch,
Srikantha, Pithwara and the Gangotri cluster. This point also provides a
bird's eye view of Mussoorie's little town and the Doon Valley spread out
below. The adventurous can walk upto the hill while the rest can take the
equally thrilling 400 m ropeway ride to land at this vantage point. A small
market atop the hill includes various eateries, video game parlours, and
stores that rent out elaborate Gharwali costumes in which one could get
Mussoorie's other attractions include the curvy Camel's Back road, the
Algar River, Happy Valley, Tibetan Temple, Hathi Paon and the various walks
through its many slopes laden with rhododendrons and clad in Deodars.
Mussoorie has a pleasant and cool climate for most part of the year,
however winter can get very cold with light snowfall in December and
January. The rains between June and August are best avoided. After the rains
however the hills are at their verdant best, fresh and green and flowers and
shoots sprouting everywhere make October to early December and again March
to June the best times to visit.
The Jolly Grant in Dehradun is the nearest Airport.
At a distance of 58 kms from Mussoorie, it takes about one and a half hours
to drive all the way up. Taxis from the airport to Mussoorie are easily
available and cost Rs 1000 approximately.
The nearest railway station again is in Dehradun,
34 kms and a one hour drive away. Taxis charge Rs 400 to take you to
Mussoorie in an hour.
Good motorable roads and a variety of buses and
taxis ferry people to and fro from Mussoorie. Much of the vehicular traffic
comes through and from Delhi, it's 6 hours from here via sugarcane and mango