July 4, 2008

Mussoorie- The Queen Of Hill Stations

Kaveetaa Kaul

Just returned from a trip to Mussoorie

Mussoorie, the proverbial Queen of Hill stations, as professed by the British gentry who evaded hot, desultory summers of  Delhi and Kolkata by spending time here, has been an almost inveterate part of my life. Our family home was in Dehradun whereby Mussoorie by default was the summer spot.

Not much has changed over the years on the Mall Road, unless you consider a sprouting of shops of every hue and variety dappled all along the narrow streets. Being of a disposition that treasures seclusion and quietude over crowds and thronging merry makers, we had over the years minimised our annual trips. The spirit of Mussoorie seemed to have lost its sheen having been buried in commercialisation that annoyed by virtue of its almost ubiquitous presence, no matter how deep one imagined  having travelled, away from the madding crowd.

This time however, we were hell bent on discovering another side and destination in Mussoorie. The weather rainy, romantic, right for some travel adventures. So we set on, with just one goal to drive up high into the mountains and find a tea shop that would afford us the inimitable pleasure of ‘chai and pakoras’ that is a must on a rainy afternoon.

We had no idea just what was in store. Not wishing to get into Mussoorie proper, through either the Picture Palace or Library entrance, we proceeded to drive up to Landour. Having been to Dhanaulti on several occasions, a trip to Landour was long overdue.

The drive was excruciatingly steep, with blind turns and hair pin bends. Not one for daring drives, I imagined I might have turned stone white, or so says hubby, who seemed to be reveling in his expertise behind the wheel. My nails biting into the arm of my son since hubby was to be left undisturbed lest his concentration waver, I recited the Hanuman chalisa, much to the amusement of the rest of the caboodle.

Having crossed Sisters Bazaar, a remnant of the sisters (nuns) at the chapel, we suddenly arrived at this almost perfect picturesque spot called ‘Char Dukaan’ or Four Shops. I yelled out in pure delight. You would have as well. I mean what more could I ask for! It even had a tea shop! A dream come true.

Pictures speak a thousand words. There is no way I could have explained the ethereal, divine scenery that greeted us. It was as if the rain gods had decided to gift us just enough rain to keep the semblance of the monsoon intact whilst simultaneously shutting off the showers once we had reached atop.

Actual sunlight..around 6.00p.m

Can you see the raindrops glistening? At such times its kinda okay to have a professional

as a hubby

We were surrounded with fog at 3.00 p.m. and the aroma of waffles wafted through from the tea shop. Hot cups of coffee with grilled sandwiches, omelette buns, which I might have avoided like the plague ordinarily were hungrily devoured. Topped with chocolate waffles generously smothered with Maple syrup.

The owner of the Tip Top tea shop, Vipin Prakash became a friend. His simple, unobtrusive, hospitable demeanour won me over totally. He single handedly manages his little empire consisting of a Kitchen table with wife handling the chopping jobs. It was so quaint, so unassuming and so delightful. Just what the Doctor ordered.

For whom do these flowers bloom? Quite a lesson in life..

How I love ferns! And these are just randomly growing on the hill slope!

Can you believe this is 8.00 p.m? Its as if Nature blessed us with light to maximise our joy!! The sun refused to set.

I have no idea just why this pic refuses to get enlarged..the guy in the pic was a delightful fella who merrily posed for us.

This is Sonnys attempt at capturing nature into a curd glass

May I also inform you that Landour is home to Ruskin Bond the erstwhile and much respected author, who has spent his entire life in these hills. No wonder really.. given a choice I’d happily settle there amidst the flowers blooming unseen on the hill slopes, silence greeting you at every corner, colours of the sky as if being painted by the Divine Creator Himself..never repeating a shade. was just so awesome.

Victor Bannerjee, a good friend of hubbys Tom Alter and lately Prannoy Roy have proven how smitten they are with Landour.. they all have villas here. Whew.. just how do they go up and down the hill!

Just how did this vehicle make it to the top? If only for its sheer ingenuity, the pic had to be posted. We spent a good 45 minutes trying to figure out just how it might have arrived with guesses ranging from ..’its never been down’.. to ” its a show piece”.. till we finally manged to locate the owner who stated simply ” Nahin jee..roz neeche jaati hai aut phir upar aati hai”..Maruti ought to use this as their strongest ad

Vipin gleefully informed me that Sachin Tendulkar was at his tea shop a while ago, along with another restaurateur friend Sanjay Narang. Vipins family has been here since the time of the British, almost 80 years ago, when his father was a postman here. The family knows no other life and are well ensconced in  living this Oh so quaint life.

Does he have any idea just how lucky he is ?


  1. Dear Kaveeta
    I am writing this from Denmark, which I came 2 months ago and will be back in 15 days. And I am mentioning this because just now I came back from a casual visit to neighbouring places and was intrigued as to how much natural beauty surrounds this place. And then I opened your blog page. I have visited my own country only a little, so am blissfully unaware of the beauty present there itself. So your pics were a wonderful revelation and made to content that I don’t need to feel that India is devoid of natural beauty. And I got the link of your blog here itself(I googled on nitish katara), and have been glued to it. And I return to your link sort of 3 times a day to see some new posts; though I have read very few the older ones. Hope to benefit from heavily from it. They are extremelly nice; both intellectually as well as in their charm. It commands respect as well as love.


    Comment by prabhat — July 4, 2008 @ 11:55 pm | Reply

  2. really remarkable snaps.You transported us there with you.My stints have been more with the South belt. But now Mussoorie and landour is a must see..thanks

    Comment by Dilip — July 5, 2008 @ 11:28 am | Reply

  3. Oh so thts where you have been..was wondering. Some people have all the luck 😦 I simply love the hills..the pics were awesome..tell hubby

    Comment by Neha — July 5, 2008 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

  4. Dear Prabhat,

    I extend a warm welcome. Your kind words are like the cool mountain breeze on a dry summer day 🙂 Oh Yes India can boast of nature spots which as if reinstate our faith in the divinity at work. I have travelled all over the world and most parts of India. The thing is that fortunately natural beauty is not the monopoly of a single country. Wherever you go, there is an element of nature that takes you by surprise and leaves you wonder struck.The landscape even in arid Israel is so full of beauty, as much as the coastline of Greece and other Mediterranean regions.

    Indian hill stations are incomparable.. whether the innocent almost virginal beauty of Sikkim or the hills of Almora, in Ranikhet and the far off Chakori, where peach trees abound, and the population is , believe it or not, a solitary ONE. I love to travel to places which are as yet untouched by the throngs of masses. It as if leaves them drained and corrupted, devoid of the spirit they originally possessed. Oh I can go on.. there is plenty in India.. the Coorg Valley, Nilgiri Hills is a place I havent been to and look forward to going there. So glad you enjoyed the snaps.. these are only a few of the 200 or so we clicked.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — July 5, 2008 @ 1:56 pm | Reply

  5. Thanks dilip.. Oh I have been concentrating to the North of India more by chance than by design.. but would love to visit the South. We plan to drive down since we are great lovers of extempore programmes, where you can stop at a little hut y the wayside for a meal and spend the night in a place which gives you a whiff first hand of what life really is in that region.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — July 5, 2008 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

  6. Neha.. just iamgine yourself in a hill station, actually feel the wintry air and the comforting silence and life will arrange for you to go there soon.. Its true.. it does happen. My trip was asolutely unplanned.. there was no indication of it even a week before.. but I guess, my angels blessed me 🙂

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — July 5, 2008 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

  7. kaveetaa this is absolutely delightful. Cannot grudge you the break from sachiniti was well spent.I have been to Mussoorie once about 7 years back . We stayed in the Savoy. But yes The Mall was full of shops and activity. Since it was during winters the crowd was not as maddening. But wish we had gone to landour. Maybe next time…great snaps.

    Comment by Krishnan — July 5, 2008 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

  8. Wonderful snaps. had been to mussorie long time back.. its a nice place to go.. Did you go to kempti falls.. They are gorgeous specially in summer when the ice melts..

    Comment by Rajeev — July 5, 2008 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

  9. Krishnan.. its so strange you mention the Savoy.. I stayed there plenty of times myself.So unique.. The British Raj in all its glory as if personnified there.Such huge rooms an lovely breakfast. The owner was a relative of my fathers..I think his name was Rai Bahadur Kirparam.. his wife is the most dignified lady I had met.. I have snaps with her even as a kid.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — July 5, 2008 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  10. Hi Rajeev.. Yes have been to Kempty Falls..even bathed there in the icy waters 🙂

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — July 5, 2008 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  11. Hello Kaveeta,
    we spent a week in Nainital 2 years ago and had very similar feelings about the beauty of the landscape and the people we met on our way. We loved it very much.
    Gina from Germany

    Comment by Gina — July 6, 2008 @ 11:42 am | Reply

  12. Hi Gina..Nainital has a unique flavor. The drive from Delhi into the heart of Almora hills is breathtaking. Ranikhet is another destination where the Kanchanjunga Hills in all their majesty loom up large.I guess we are all moved by Nature and Her beauty. Nice hearing from you 🙂

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — July 6, 2008 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

  13. These are all places I aspire to visit in my rediscovery of my homeland. The closest I have been is to Rishiskesh and Haridwar and they both were simply “heaven”… but the universe has an interesting way to give with one hand and taketh from the other… it will be a year or more to wait before my rediscovery can launch again and this time with my two little yoginis.. I must say this heaven reminds of a little one I live in myself at 1500 feet… but I crave for that is where my soul lives.

    Comment by The Yogi — August 26, 2008 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  14. Hi There,

    A real nice post u have there and amazing pics! i was jus wondering if you’d have any info on budget guest houses / home stay options in Mussourie?

    Comment by Shereen — August 26, 2008 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  15. live up in the mountains? wow!!! Whereabouts?

    Shereeen..there are options available for all budgets. Accomodation is aplenty ..though id suggest that during the months of October and april may june..advance bookings are essential.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — September 1, 2008 @ 11:37 am | Reply

  16. Breathtaking pics Kaveetaa..I am a student and am doing my MBA from the US. I wonder.. how anyone can resist falling in luv wid this place? My bf is from Ddun but he did his schooling from Mussoorie and thr is nothing in this world that he wants more than to b able to spend his life there. I can only pray to god to keep it this pretty. I can’t wait to b back with him in his heaven.

    Thanks a ton!!


    Comment by K — September 1, 2008 @ 11:15 pm | Reply

  17. Hi K..
    Oh I am not at all surprised that your BF wants to spend the rest of his life in Muss. Given a choice I’d happily buy a small cottage up in the hills and retire…if only wishes were horses..sigh..

    Concretisation is making its advent..sad but true. While Muss proper has undergone a radical change, Landour , mainly I guess due to its inaccessibility remains virginal more or less.


    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — September 2, 2008 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

  18. Beautiful memories there…Sure looking forward to going there again…that was the first time even I had gone there n everytime i see those pics…i fall in love with the place all over again!! Ddn has its charm n Muss…well.. all the more!!!

    Comment by Prarthana Oberoi — December 26, 2008 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

    • Hi just dont know how lucky you are to be living so close to paradise. make the most of it and do remember us when you visit heaven again 🙂

      Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — December 28, 2008 @ 6:31 am | Reply

  19. hi,
    the photo graphs uploaded remind me the sense of the patnitop , and gulmarg kashmir

    love to vistit these places


    Comment by Anil — December 26, 2008 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

    • Hi Anil..Its been so long since I have visited Patnitop and Gulmarg. Would simply love to go there again. Life on a hill station can be so fulfilling but I guess for those who live there without a choice the plains seems alluring. Human mind.. always looking for the unattainable..desires, desires, desires 🙂

      Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — December 28, 2008 @ 6:33 am | Reply

  20. hi kaveeta
    it is indeed such a pleasure to know sombody who is also in love with this heaven……….landour.
    just dont have much to say about there is alot to feel about this heaven …..i surely someday will own a
    piece of this cake someday….will share my captured moments there with you


    Comment by manmeet bhatia — February 17, 2009 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  21. hi kaveeta
    it is indeed such a pleasure to know sombody who is also in love with this heaven……….landour.
    just dont have much to say about there is alot to feel about this heaven …..i surely someday will own a
    piece of this cake ….will share my captured moments there with you


    Comment by manmeet bhatia — February 17, 2009 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

  22. May your wishes come true Manmeet. Looking forward to your sharing the ‘captured moments’.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — February 17, 2009 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

  23. I would like to come Mussoorie for 20 days. I need accommodation in govt Guest house because I annot afford an expensive stay.Pl. let me know if it is possible or not.

    Comment by Mes Sudha — July 21, 2009 @ 11:45 am | Reply

  24. The view of Landour is overwhelming. It would have been good if the details of the accomodations in this place was given

    Comment by S.Sudha — May 12, 2010 @ 1:13 pm | Reply

  25. hi,

    this is pushpendra soni,..I see ur pics of Mussoorie,.. can u send me a best time to visit.. here.. I’m newly married..thats y..

    Comment by pushpendra — October 6, 2010 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

    • If you wish for uncrowded environs and can brave winters then November to Feb. Or else April to july. Monsoons are heavy and you will be stuck in your hotel room. Although personally I loved it in the monsoons as well.

      Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — October 18, 2010 @ 8:12 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: