• Aashay Bhogte

5 Places to visit on your next trip to Mussoorie

If you’ve been to the northern parts of the country, you’ve probably witnessed how the geography and the terrain change with every northward step. The in-roads play a game of hide-and-seek in the hills and valleys. They get narrow as one moves up the latitudes, and the valleys get steeper too. But like a “cherry on top” (inappropriately so), sit some of the most beautiful hill stations whose mesmerizing sights and gleaming beauty vanquish any fatigue or discomfort from the rough and scuffling road travels.

After barely scraping through the mid-semester exams on campus, my friends and I had a backpacking trip planned to relax and unwind. Not so restful, however, was the journey to Mussoorie which was the nearest and most convenient hill-station to hop overnight from my university in Pilani. But the unrest was mainly due to the exhaustion from sleepless nights in the past couple of weeks, including the one on the day of the travel. And it was a cakewalk for Mussoorie to relieve us from all the enervation. The weather was magnificent since it was just before the onset of winters in October. To sum up one of the best trips I’ve experienced, I have jotted a list of five places from Mussoorie:

1) Bhatta Falls: Unlike the Kempty falls which is very popular and sprawling with tourists left and right, Bhatta falls is located on the outset of the Mussoorie town, off the Mussoorie Dehradun highway. There’s a ropeway facility which is only operational during the peak tourist season. Bhatta falls also has some amazing shacks which are run by the locals who let you dine at the waterfall. But what’s best is the private experience one can enjoy here. A part of the waterfall, unlike any other, can be climbed using the stairs constructed along the falls. And one can enjoy a peaceful dip in the steady waters at the source of the fall. It was the first place we visited after our tiring travel which did magic to our fatigue while also cleansing us all in its sparkling cool waters. (P.S. This location is best enjoyed with warm, freshly served Maggi ❤)

2) Mall Road: Stepping outside our cottage located near the Bhatta village, we drove to Mussoorie town. And of course, the first destination that comes by is The Mall Road. Like almost every other hill station, the mall road is lined with vendors selling jewelry, toys and food stalls selling momos, street-side chat, and much more. What’s famous here is the Tibetian market. It also offers some beautiful views of the Dehradun city from atop. Mall Road is also lined with some notable restaurants such as Kalsang and popular bookstores which are also graced by Ruskin Bond who occasionally visits there. All in all, Mall Road can be regarded as one of the most buzzing destinations in the hill station of Mussoorie. This also means it is crowded with pedestrians and tourists. Walking here, however, is surprisingly not so tiring given the cool and clean Mussoorie weather.

3) Chaar Dukaan: The next day, we decided to walk all the way from where we left off the previous day (Yes, we came there again) and walk upwards from the streets of Mussoorie to Chaar Dukaan. The distance was not short by any means, and a greater portion of the walk required us to climb uphill. However, the destination was true bliss. Chaar Dukaan is famous because as the name suggests, it has four old shops which have existed there for years. They serve an amazing range of desserts that are best had on a hilltop. We tried the apple cinnamon pancakes with some warm cinnamon tea. The experience was a delight. However, be careful to not visit there with a growling stomach since each shop has only 2 tables (do the math- just 8 tables!) and consequently, the waiting time is quite long.

(View from Chaar Dukaan)

4) Lal Tibba: Walking ahead and up the hills from Chaar Dukaan, one reaches the Lal Tibba. This is a point similar to Chaar Dukaan where one can eat peacefully atop the hill. But being located higher, it has a point that offers some truly mesmerizing views of the snow-capped Shivaliks (Lower Himalayas). This point also offers some fun games for the enthusiastic such as shooting balloons, winning prizes, and such.

(View from near Lal Tibba point)

5) Kellogg Memorial Church: After completing an almost full circle of the sprawling Landour hill area, we decided to visit the rather quiet and peaceful Church atop the hill. It stands beside the Language School and offered a rather solemn welcome, away from the hubbub of the tourists.

Of course, there are a lot more splendid places and things to do in Mussoorie. But the part we traveled is best experienced on foot. I believe that this also holds true for every hill station since walking down the roads of a hill-station is not something so common for many of us. The cool breeze and the glimpses from every nook of the valley are truly relishing and rejuvenating especially after a series of tantalizing weeks of work.

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