A Trip to Mussourie

During my summer vacations me and my friends decided to go to Mussoorie for the weekend which is at a distance of about 35 km from my hometown— dehradun. Mussoorie is over 2000 m above sea level with a total area of 65 sq. Km. The best time to visit this town is between April to June and then from September to November as the greenery here is in full bloom.

There are regular flights from Delhi to Doon Valley (Jolly Grant). From the Jolly Grant airport, taxis and buses ply to Dehradun, from where they go up to Mussoorie (2¼ hours, 60 km). The overnight Mussoorie Express links Delhi to Dehradun, the railhead for Mussoorie.

Delhi to Mussoorie is 290 km by road. Dehradun to Mussoorie is 35 km. There are direct buses from Delhi to Mussoorie, along with private taxis. Buses ply every half hour from Dehradun to Mussoorie. Private taxis and shared taxis are favoured by a majority of visitors.

We started on Friday afternoon and decided to take a cab instead of a bus (a common mode of transportation).

Our first halt was at Shiv Mandir which is a very popular temple devoted to lord Shiva. We had some tea and then resumed our journey to the queen of hills. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the hill station. Even though I had been to Mussoorie a lot many times, I was never bestowed the opportunity to stay overnight.

We had already got our reservations done in the Garhwal Terrace, a known hotel at the mall. We decided to take some rest before setting on a shopping spree.

In the evening people had thronged the mall. As we decided to have some coffee before we return to our hotel, we came across Ruskin Bond, the famous author, who resides in the town, his abode away from the frenzy of the cities. The night was cold and fortunately it was a clear sky with stars twinkling. We went to the terrace and looked down at the thousands of houses stretched out like a galaxy of stars. That was my city; instantly I was filled with a reverence and totally awe-struck by what I had seen. I could almost feel a tear hiding in the corner of my eye.

I got up at dawn the next day and decided to take a walk while my friends lay snuggled in their warm quilts and cosy beds. I went towards camel’s back road where the Camel’s Rock with a life like resemblance can be seen from the spot near Mussoorie Public. The panoramic view of the snow-capped Himalayas, and the sheer grace with which they stood in front of me, exhilarated me.

After having had some breakfast in the hotel we intended to go to George Everest. Sir George Everest House is around 6 kms from Mussoorie. The Park Estate of Sir George Everest, First Surveyor General of India, Who had his office and residence here, is approachable by road. The highest peak in the world, Mount Everest, is named after him.

The bungalow built in 1838 by a British Major was one of the First Four buildings of Mussoorie. The bungalow has since then been converted into a hotel called Clouds End, and is situated at the extreme west of Mussoorie Hill, 8 kms from Library. The resort is surrounded by thick forest, offers a wide variety of flora and fauna. On our way back the weather turned bad and we had a thunder storm to confront. As the road was very narrow and not in a good state we had to halt somewhere. The area was very forlorn but we managed to find a small house. The family living there gave us a hearty welcome and offered us lunch. The staple food of the region is fish curry and rice and that is exactly what we got. It was absolutely amazing. We thanked them for their generosity and then started for Mussoorie.

In the evening we decided to have omelettes at the omelettes centre, one of its kind .It was beginning to get very cold after the unexpected rain shower but the enthusiasm of the other tourists kept the town awake until midnight. After a long day which was filled with exploration, we easily went off to sleep. The only thing now that we were really keen on doing was to take a ride in the ‘Ropeway’: the cable car that carries visitors from the Mall to the heights of Gun Hill. Around its flat top are snack stalls and over a hundred photographers who snap visitors in glittering ‘hilly girl’ costumes. We did not forgo the chance and got a lot of pictures clicked in the regional costumes. But quite apart from these ‘souvenirs’ of the Mussoorie visit’, Gun Hill also offers excellent all-round views of Mussoorie, Dehra Dun, the eternal snows of the higher Himalayas and the wooded slopes of the sister- town of Landour.

The people of Mussoorie, the breathtaking sites and everything about this place was so moving. We were totally mesmerised by this town. The next morning we were supposed to start for Dehradun. My friends insisted on taking a bus as they wanted to experience a bus journey. The bus as usual was in a miserable state totally crowded but we didn’t budge. We fought our way to the seats and then it was a journey to remember.

As we descended the slopes I felt something heavy inside me. I had grown so close to this place. I kept looking back trying to catch a glimpse of the city that has given me memories that would always beckon me to return.

Aakriti Ahuja