A master piece never fails to enthral you, each time you look at it. Each and Every time you end up admiring it and rarely does one get bored of it. I have been to many a hill stations in Uttarakhand and in spite of having been to Mussoorie a gazillion times, the place never fails to surprise me. Be it the lush green surroundings or the fairyland atmosphere, this quaint little hill, situated some 6000 feet above sea level makes sure you are always cool. Pleasant breeze will instantly rid you of your slumber dome.
From the famous Doon school in the surrounding neighbourhood Dehradun to majestic falls in Kempty, there are a lot of scenic places to feast on. Forget about gymming, the fresh weather ensures that you do your share of trekking and exercise on the clean treacherous roads of Mussoorie, which is also referred to as the ‘honeymoon capital of India’.

Mussoorie is conveniently connected by road to Delhi and other major cities of India. If you take the Shatabdi at 7 a.m. in the morning, you reach Dehradun at 12.40 p.m. the same day. Dehradun is 37 kms or roughly an hour drive from Mussoorie. This is perhaps the best option if you want good travel experience plus safety without shelling out a bomb from your pocket, as the ticket ranges from Rs.465 to Rs.1020 per head. Shatabdi’s sister, the Jan Shatabdi also provides for similar travel .The train starts at 5.10 a.m. in the morning and reaches destination Mussoorie at 11.05 a.m. There is also the Mussoorie Express, which if you board starts at 10.15 p.m., takes you not to Mussoorie but Dehradun at 8 a.m. the next day. Quit fretting about sleep, if you go in buses which start from the ISBT stand at Kashmiri Gate regularly, every half an hour for Mussoorie. The journey could last anywhere between 6-9 hours and can take a toll on your knees and back, not to mention the buzzing mosquitoes under the rigid seats, but the sheer thrill of the ride is memorable. If you happen to take the bus as I did on 22nd of June, make sure you don’t take seats immediately next to that of the driver’s, as sleeping there is strictly prohibited. If you want to enjoy the luxury of a car, but don’t want to ruin the suspension of yours, take a taxi which can be conveniently booked as and when you require one. It takes nearly 6 to 9 hours depending on various conditions and booking starts at around Rs. 3500. This is perhaps, the most luxurious deal money can buy though its not the safest, as some drivers may be ill-equipped to drive in such conditions. The constant havocs created by many a DL number plate cars justify this fact.

After waiting for nearly 2 hours, the group started from Kashmiri Gate at 10:20 pm to spend some 5 days in Dehradun, as part of a camp organized by an NGO called ‘Discipleship Center’. Upon reaching at 7 o’clock, in the morning, I looked like a zombie, deprived of sleep and much-needed rest. The group stayed at a Christian missionary cottage inn called ‘Deodars’, located at Lal Bahadur Shashtri Academy. It’s a 10 minute ride from the focal point, the Mall road in Mussoorie. The place reminds one of old British architectural grandeur with mahogany tables and a giant piano placed in the hall. Each room provides a home like feel. Windows of each room give a peek of the beauty around. The staff pays attention to the smallest detail, whether it be the cleanliness, the warm water or the occasional doughnuts with hot tea. For this, they charge Rs.1500 per person for roughly 4 days and 3 nights. I assure you that you can spend a whole day sitting in the beautiful garden set before this cottage. There are many things to cover your itinerary with, for the other days. One can enjoy a rope way ride to Gun Hill, the second highest peak of Mussoorie. It can also be negotiated by bridle path which forks off the Mall road near Kutchey and takes about 20 minutes to reach. From the Deodars, the Mall road, the busiest place for shopping, is 3.5 km and is at 1 hour walking distance. A picnic spot called Municipal garden having a beautiful garden and an artificial mini lake with boating facilities is located at a distance of 2 kms by foot from Gun hill. There is something called a Childer’s Lodge. Its the highest peak of Mussoorie near Lal Tibba. It is about 5 kms from the tourist office and one can go on horseback or foot. Snow view from this point is exhilarating. Kempty Fall is 15 kms from Mussoorie on the Yamuna off- road. At an altitude of 4500 feet, it has the distinction of being the biggest and the most magnificent waterfall located in a beautiful valley surrounded by high mountains. Camel’s Back Road starts from Kulri Bazaar, near Rink hall and ends at Library Bazaar, covering a total distance of about 3 kms. The main charm of this road is horse riding and walking. Camel’s rock with a life-like resemblance can be seen from the spot near Mussoorie School. Jharipani Fall is 8.5 kms from Mussoorie on Mussoorie-Jharipani Road. Visitors can go by bus or by car upto 7 kms to Jharipani, from where the fall is 1.5 kms on foot. For devotees, there is the Nag Devta Temple, an ancient temple situated on Cart Mackenjie Road is about 6 kms from Mussoorie. Vehicles can go right up to the spot. It provides a charming view of the Doon Valley as well as Mussoorie.

At a distance of about 3 kms on Tehri by pass road, there is Van Chetna Kendra. This place has been developed as a picnic spot. The park is surrounded by pine forests and flowering shrubs and is approachable by foot or car. The main attraction is the wildlife of the park like Ghurar, Kankar, Himalayan Peacock etc. Six kms away, there is the Park estate of Sir George Everest called Sir George Everest House, the First Surveyor General of India who had his office and residence there. The highest peak, Mount Everest is named after him. Nine kms to the west of Mussoorie on Benog hill at an altitude of 2104 meters, is the Jwalaji Temple. It has an idol of Durga Mata in it. The temple is surrounded by thick forests and offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas, the Doon Valley and the Yamuna Valley.

There is nip in the temperatures – so make sure you pack some warm clothes, whether it’s January or June. Make sure you also catch a glimpse into the wild lives of many a primate that live in surrounding areas, but be careful as their acts can get aggressive any time.

Commanding a wonderful view of extensive Himalayan snow ranges to the north-east and glittering views of the Doon Valley and Haridwar to the south, the town is famous for its scenic beauty. From the glittering night sky to the guilty ice-cream treats and the enchanting view of pine covered hill slopes and snow-capped mountains, Mussoorie leaves an indelible impression on one’s mind.

Divya Masih