Mussoorie is an eventful hill station, and is amongst the most well-known travel destinations in Uttarakhand. It is a popular getaway in North India because of the easy access from Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi. This town is spread over a long narrow stretch of a ridge on a hill. The best view to look out for in this town is of the snow-covered peaks of Garhwal Himalaya. You also get commanding views of the Doon valley from various places in Mussoorie. This town was a favourite hill retreat of the British and the affluent Indians during the colonial period. The bungalows constructed by them still stand to give you a glimpse of the bygone era.
Attractions in Mussoorie
The Mall is the heart of Mussoorie town. This 2 km long pedestrian-only path is lined with shops and eating joints. This path extends from Library Bazaar – also known as Gandhi Chowk – in the west to Kulri Bazaar in the east. While the mall is best for leisurely walks, you can also get a seat for you on one of the benches by the road and observe the life of Mussoorie. The Mall wears a different look at night when it is lit by the wrought-iron street lamps.
Gun Hill can be reached either by a cable-car or an uphill walk. Walking up is quite tough, you can board the cable-car from the mall. There are fantastic views of the Doon Valley from up the hill. It is called Gun Hill because in colonial times a cannon placed here was fired every day at noon. At the summit, there are restaurants, souvenir shops, and photographers, who are eager to click you in the traditional wear.
Camel’s Back Road
This road is favourite amongst walkers and couples for the seclusion it offers. It has been named after a uniquely shaped rock. As you walk along the path, don’t forget to take in the splendid vistas. You can also do this trail on a horseback. You’ll need to hire the horse from Gandhi Chowk.
This old Gothic church overlooks the mall. It is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Himalaya. The William Hill organ in the church is about a hundred years old. It is reached by a short uphill walk from the Library.
A pleasant 2 km path from Library Chowk leads to this Tibetan settlement. Happy Valley is considered to be the first Tibetan settlement in India after Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet. It has a school, several stupas, and a bazaar. Here you can shop for Tibetan artefacts, pickled vegetables, and woollens. You can also stop by at one of the shacks to try hot momos.
Situated 1000 ft above the mall, Landour is a peaceful area which was once a sanatorium for the British soldiers. Due to the restrictions on construction activities in the area, Landour has preserved much of its old world charm. There are a few shops there that sell snacks and provisions.
You can either hike up to this point or board a taxi to reach here. Lal Tibba is the highest point in Mussoorie. For a small sum, you’ll be shown snowy Garhwal peaks from a telescope here.
This house, now in ruins, was once the residence of George Everest – the first Surveyor-General of India. World’s highest mountain, Mt. Everest is named after him. It is 6 km from Library Chowk, and the walk is pretty enjoyable. Birdwatchers will get to spot a few birds on the way.
Company Bagh (Municipal Garden)
Situated at the end of the Happy Valley Road, this place has an artificial waterfall and a lake. Hawkers and dhabas (food shacks) are present to cater to the crowds. This place is as touristy as it can.
Excursions from Mussoorie
Kempty Falls is the most favourite excursion of domestic tourists to Mussoorie. It is 12 km away from the town on Chakrata Road. The waterfall forks out into five parts, the highest one cascades down 40 ft. It cuts its way through the large boulders and falls down the rock faces. If you want to bathe under the fall, you’ll have to walk 2 km down the slippery rocks. This place attracts hordes of tourists. It is suggestible to book the taxi from Mussoorie for to and fro journey because it will be hard to find any means of transport from Kempty Falls. Traffic jams are common on this road.
Dhanaulti, a small and lesser-known hill station, is 24 km from Mussoorie. It is covered with the dense forests of deodar, oak, and rhododendron. Situated at a height of 2286 m (7500 ft), Dhanaulti enjoys good atmosphere round the year. When in Dhanaulti, don’t miss to visit its two nature parks: ‘Amber’ and ‘Dhara’. There are a few hotels in Dhanaulti and some campsites have also sprung up.
Kanatal is a hamlet situated on the Dhanaulti-Chamba Road; it is 38 km from Mussoorie. With its lake surrounded by the forested hills and opportunities for short treks, Kanatal is emerging as a travel destination. It has hotels, though few, suited for every budget.
This temple, about 34 km from Mussoorie, is one of the ‘Shakti Peeths’. Dedicated to Goddess Sati (the previous incarnation of Parvati), this temple is situated at a height of 2757 m (9045 ft). You can drive until Kaddukhal on Dhanaulti-Chamba Road; from there it is a steep 1km trek up the hill.
Chakrata is 73 km north-west of Mussoorie and is about 100 km from Dehradun. This small hill town is perched at a height of 7000 ft and is situated in between the Yamuna and Tons rivers. The oak and rhododendron forests of Chakrata offer an abundance of nature trails. There is a cantonment in the town which was originally established by the British in 1866. Though there are a few hotels, most of the visitors to Chakrata are campers who carry their own tents.