Mussoorie is a popular hill station situated in the Dehradun district of Uttarakhand, India. Also known as the "Queen of the Hills", it is located at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level and is known for its scenic beauty, pleasant weather, and breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
Our planned trip to Mussoorie was from 5ᵗʰ August to 9ᵗʰ August 2017. We had planned to spend the first day exploring Dehradun, but we missed our flight and wasted a day. We quickly rebooked the flight and arrived in Dehradun on 6ᵗʰ August around 1745 hrs.
Our hotel, Dancing Leaves - A Sterling Holiday Resort, was a 60 km, 2-hour journey from Jolly Grant Airport. The road was scenic as we drove through Dehradun City, but the true beauty started once we crossed Dehradun. It was drizzling past 7 pm so we couldn't see much. However, the road to the resort was quite adventurous, full of hairpin bends, and driving through that road was really a skill. We saw a lot of Maggi joints throughout the way and, for a moment, thought of quitting our jobs and starting a Maggi joint at that beautiful location. We wondered how difficult it must be to drive in winters when the road is covered with snow and in monsoons when the road must be slippery and visibility is super low.
We visited in the non-peak season, late monsoon. A few weeks before our planned trip, it had rained heavily in Dehradun and Mussoorie. Our driver mentioned that we had visited in the wrong season and should have come in winter or summer when there is almost a 5 km traffic jam on the road. However, coming from Mumbai, we were glad we went in a non-peak season as we didn't want to witness a traffic jam during our vacation.
The resort was away from the town and at a higher elevation than the Mussoorie town, so we could see the night lights from the town as we approached the resort. We reached around 2030 hrs, freshened up, and had dinner at the restaurant. The receptionist told us we could enquire about local sightseeing the next day. The hotel could arrange a guided tour, or we could hire a full-day cab and design our package.
After dinner, we went back to our room. We were warned not to keep the balcony door open as monkeys could enter the room. We had a beautiful view of the town from our balcony that night.
The next day, August 7th, I woke up early and went for a leisurely stroll around the resort. The resort location was fantastic, and the property was huge. I could see dense fog and clouds down the valley.
Later we booked tour no. 1, which included Kempty Falls, Santura Devi Temple, Lal Tibba, and Budha Temple. Our driver mentioned Kempty Falls is always crowded, and as it was still drizzling, visiting Kempty Falls would be risky. We decided to skip it.
Our first destination was Shedup Choephelling Temple, a Tibetan Buddhist temple located in Happy Valley, where almost 5000 Tibetan refugees have settled. In April 1959, the arrival of the young Dalai Lama in Happy Valley marked a significant event in the history of the Tibetan government in exile in India. A year later, he departed for Dharamshala, another hill town in Himachal Pradesh. From the temple, we saw a clear view of the valley and mountains, including the mountain range Hathipaon, where Park Estate, or the house of Sir George Everest, is located. We also saw Tibetan schools from the temple.
Later we went to Santura Devi Temple, located on a hill. The view from the temple was breathtaking. It was extremely windy at the top. After spending half an hour at the temple, we headed for Lal Tibba.
The route till Lal Tibba was again full of hairpin bends and narrow lanes, but it was worth it for the view. Lal Tibba is famous for its sunset. The Himalayan peaks are clearly seen when the sky is clear in winter and summer. Unfortunately, the sky was cloudy, so we couldn't see the peaks. In fact, it started raining. We decided to stay until sunset and took a break at Lal Tibba Scenic Point, enjoying some Maggi.
The next day, we decided to explore the town. We booked a cab to Library Chowk, a famous landmark, and strolled on Mall Road. The library is a historical Raj-era library that opened way back in 1843. Unfortunately, as the entry is restricted only to members, we couldn't explore it. We did some shopping in local stores and left for the resort.
On the last day, we left Mussoorie early and reached Dehradun by noon. We bought some biscuits and pastries from the famous Ellora's Bakery, but unfortunately, I couldn't find any vegan items. With this, our memorable trip to Mussoorie came to an end.
As we left Mussoorie, we couldn't help but reflect on our trip. Despite missing the flight and the rainy weather, we had a wonderful time exploring the town and its surroundings. We realized that Mussoorie is a destination that can be enjoyed at any time of the year, each season bringing its own charm. We left Mussoorie with a sense of longing and a promise to return again one day, perhaps in the summer or winter, to experience its beauty in a new light.
View from the resort.