Set on a horseshoe-shaped ridge 6,600 feet above sea level in the Garhwal foothills of the Himalayas in Uttaranchal, the delightful town of Mussoorie is a medley of sensations. It’s where exuberant tourists rub shoulders with adventurous trekkers headed for the Himalayas and pious pilgrims on their way to the holy sites of Gangotri and Jamnotri. You’ll find houses across town with the curious prefix of Glen — these once belonged to British folk from Scotland who identified the Himalayan meadows with their glens (long, deep, U-shaped valley typically with a watercourse running through it) back home! Names like Connaught Castle, Grey Castle and Castle Hill remind us of the British love for the cooler climes of the hills and their yearning for home. Mullingar House, the oldest building in Mussoorie, was the home of an Irishman called Captain Young from Mullingar, who commanded the first Gurkha battalion here. According to popular lore, the ghost of Captain Young visits his home on moonlit nights. Lal Tibba, the highest peak in Mussoorie at 7,510 feet, is a restricted area because of the presence of the Indian Military there. Lower down, in Mussoorie town, you can find the schools and settlements of Tibetans who fled after the Chinese took over their homeland. Mussoorie offers a variety of options for visitors. Entertainment arcades like mini Appu Ghar and the skating rink at Kulri Bazaar are perfect for families and kids. For nature lovers, there’s the Benog Wildlife Sanctuary, and bargaining in the Himalayan and Tibetan curio shops is a shopper’s delight. The more adventurous will enjoy trekking and horse-riding through the forest-rock terrain. It’s a brilliant mosaic encased within the awesome beauty of the Himalayas.
- Area: 65 sq km
- Altitude: 6,600 feet above sea level
- State: Uttaranchal
- Distance from nearby towns/ cities: Dhanaulti (25 km), Dehradun (34 km), Haridwar (90 km), Rishikesh (77 km), Delhi (278 km)
- Take away: Tibetan prayer wheels, metal ware, antiques, hand-carved walking sticks, cane baskets, embroidered wall hangings; Ladakhi, pashmina and jamawar embroidery shawls
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The months between April and June and September and October are the most pleasant. Kempty Falls is closed during the winter and can be visited from the months of March through July.
ATTRACTIONS & EXCURSIONS
ACTIVITIES IN MUSSORIE
Camel’s Back Road and the route to Children’s Lodge are popular places for horse-riding.
The rink at Kulri Bazaar and Disco Skating Rink near Tourist Office are great places to enjoy skating.
MINI APPU GHAR
This place has games and entertainment rides for kids as well as adults.
With a permit from the Divisional Forest Officer, you can go fishing in the Aglar and Yamuna rivers that are filled with mahaseer and trout.
The road that rises and falls to Dhanaulti past Surkanda Devi Temple is a popular biking route. The landscape is lush green and abounds in pine, oak, apple and pear trees.
Don’t forget to click photographs in the Garhwali dress available at most photo studios
HOW TO REACH
The closest railhead is Dehradun, 30 km away.
Mussoorie is well connected by road to all major cities of India.
The closest airport is Jolly Grant Airport (on the outskirts of Dehradun), 55 km away.
Summer: 10°C – 30°C
Winter: –1°C – 10°C
Monsoon: Jun to Sep