Now that summer is here, it is time to renew your acquaintance with that old faithful, Mussoorie. With an imperial past when viceroys and princes maintained retreats to enjoy the warmer months, this hill station is a paradise for relaxation.
Today, it offers to the visitor a lot of activities, keeping up at the same time the old-world charm that earned it the now famous title ‘Queen of the Hills’.
Here we come
We took the early morning Dehradun Shatabdi from Delhi and then drove down from Dehradun. I would recommend that people looking for a good holiday, peace and solitude should spend it away from the hustle and bustle of the mall road. Stick to the leisurely walks and picnic areas around town that command a brilliant view of the mountains. Kempty Falls in the west is a little too popular, but Dhanolti, further up beyond the town, is a great place to spend an entire day.
On the first day, we went to Kempty Falls, following it up with a visit to Landour Bazaar for a dekko of the Mussoorie Library and, of course, the hotel Savoy — an historical edifice in itself. We began the second day by stopping by at Chaar Dukaan for some Garhwali chai — the place was full of phirangs — then moved on to Lal Tibba, Gun Hill and Camel’s Back Road (a 4-km stretch that is a natural layout of rocks shaped like the camel’s humped back).
Bond, Ruskin Bond
The renowned author Ruskin Bond is one of the most famous residents of Landour. Actors Dev Anand, Tom Alter and Victor Banerjee also own homes here. Victor Banerjee’s house, The Parsonage, is known to have a rich history. The rather amusing sign at Banerjee’s door reads: ‘Beware of rabid thespian.’
We took a pizza break at Dev Dar Hotel, heading up from Char Dukaan. The pizza was burnt, but the waiter coolly claimed, “That’s the specialty.” You had better look elsewhere for a snack. At Sisters Bazaar, which is named after the nuns who served as nurses in the British dormitory in this area, try the wonderful cinnamon rolls, biscuits and the local cheese.
Hop to the Nirankari Mandal Canteen on Camel’s Back Road for parantha and halwa. At the mall road, Madras Café serves good South Indian fare. Do pick up peanut butter, pickles and jam from Prakash’s shop at Sisters Bazaar. You’ll be licking your fingers long after leaving Mussoorie.