They used to say, ‘Don’t go to Mussorie over a weekend. You’ll bump into so many Delhiites, it’ll seem like you are in Karol Bagh’. Well, they still say the same. But can Delhiiites ever stop rushing to the Queen of Hills every time they get an extended weekend?
There’s something about Mussoorie that hooks you from the first visit itself. Maybe it’s the colonial charm in the form of old buildings and churches, the picturesque view of the hills when you take a rickshaw ride on the camel back road. Or Maybe it’s simply the fun of bumping into your neighbour’s family while gobbling up hot paranthaas and steaming chai at the famous dhabha-style eateries on the Mall road. Mussorie, as I said, hooks you. It’s with this sentiment that I made my umpteenth visit to the hill station. Invited to check out the newly built tower complex of the Jaypee Residency Manor, I was also looking forward to seeing some of the same old tourist spots, with different eyes.
The snobs can cringe all they like, but while the Kempty Falls, 15kms from Mussoorie on the Chakrata Road, are indeed in desperate need of some hygiene standards, they continue to remain as picturesque and stunning as waterfalls can be, especially in foggy winters. Open for visitors round the year except in the rainy months of July and August, the falls have become a melting ‘picnic’ pot for families of all shapes and sizes, from various parts of India. Perhaps the one place where women do not hesitate for more than five minutes, before getting into the ‘ready-to-rent’ conservative swimsuits and jumping into the chilly waters, mostly with a safety tube around them. And they are able to do this only thanks to the pakka ‘family’ atmosphere around them, complete with shrieking kids and excited teenagers. The steaming tea and Maggi served at various dhabas that line the road around the falls, can not — and should not— be missed. For those wanting to enjoy the thrill of the falls more, and longer than just a visitor, there are accommodation huts.
Camel’s Back Road
Perfect for a morning walk after a long, fun night of live entertainment and delicious food at the happening lawns of the Jaypee Manor, is the 4km stretch of the Camel’s Back Road. For those wary of walking, even a rickshaw ride promises a stunning view of the snow-capped mountains.
The New Year season continues to be a favourite time for winter-lovers to visit the Queen of Hills. Hence, the inevitable rush in hotel bookings, which thankfully come with special deals and promises of lively entertainment-filled evenings. An advice: If you decide to book your stay at Jaypee, ask for the ‘old building’ if you love partying, and the ‘new block’ if you enjoy peace and quiet.
(The writer’s stay was sponsored by the Jaypee Residency Manor, Mussoorie)
Mussoorie under snow: a view of a resort at Mussoorie after a snowfall in Uttarakhand. (PTI Photo)