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3048 metres. On the top of this peak, local villagers come here to offer their PUJA (prayer) to Nag Devta (Snake God) for the protection of their castles. The trek starts from Dhanaulti on a forest track up-to Morina Dhar. This place is situated on a saddle and the sunrise from. this spot is a beautiful sight to watch, the sun peeping from behind the mountains. From Morina Dhar the trek is on a ridge, most of the time parallel to the Garhwal Himalayan ranges from Swaragrohini to Nandadevi ranges. This part of trek is very rich in flora and fauna. Only a few villages come enroute and even those are abandoned during winter months. From Nagtibba to Nainbagh is a downhill trek to the picturesque village of Panwari, gay with life and presenting the culture of Jaunpur. (For further details see page no. 16. [PMc's Note: Actually HERE])
Rising as a horse shoe shaped foot-hill that overlooks on the one side, the great plains sweltering in their pestilential heat with the Holy Ganga, oiling its way through slowly, sluggishly across them, on the other, the vibrant magnetic, silhouette of the Himalaya, is Mussoorie where the mountains go gay and the nobility mingles with the elite, when they sojourn there for the summer, as they did in the past and as they shall continue to do so in the future.
Post independence Mussoorie, unlike some other resorts still maintains the old world charm and way of life, the gay camaraderie of kindered souls mixing in a mental freemasonry, the maharaja, sportman or businessman, making the town gay, friendly, and cosmopolitan. Such was the town in its glittering past and such it still remains.
In 1827, Captain Young, accompanied by a hunting party, stayed into the mountainous regions of the Doon Valley, he spotted the area now known as Landour, 274.5 metres (9(10 ft) higher than Mussoorie, which was first developed as a military station but gradually became an integral part of the hill resort. In India, they say, the British discovered their hill stations for them; it was not a ritual but had become a second nature for them to escape from the pestilential heat that surrounded the sweltering victims, and spend a mere week-end or weeks of leave and leisure away from the perspiration ridden turmoil of the plains. They invaded the sanctuaries of snow and silence - the haunts of hermits and hill-men, bringing to the solemn solitudes a spirit of cultured ease and gaiety mixed with a dash of Anglo Saxon frivolity.
Captain Young, responsible for founding Mussoorie, fell in love with the spot he had strayed into, besides the scenic stance and splendour, the weather was bracing, the climate salubrious - the situation of the locality offered [++Page 9] immense possibilities. Military efficiency combined with an analytical mind produced immediate results in implementing the idea that had formed in his head. The very same year, 1827 saw the first building that came up in the area to be used for the summer sojourn. In splendid condition,it is now the premises of Mullingar Hotel. Almost instantly the stream of visitors began to pour in, buildings appeared in sporadic outbursts all over the hill - the architecture, Elezabethan English. All most overnight a bit of Europe had been transplanted in indict - another hill-station had been born, Among the first of the elite to join the caravan were the Indian Maharajas who contributed immense palaces on the hills, built to look like the country seats of British aristocracy.
In the early founding days, the only access was 11 km trek from Rajpur either on horse back or on a 'dandi' carried by porters. The rigours of the journey were quickly forgotten on reaching the idyllic spot. However, in 1920, the first car arrived from Dehra Dun, the connecting motor road had been completed almost as soon as the motor car made the scene in India. Coiling like a snake the road rises from 640 metres (2,100 ft) to an altitude of 2,005 metres (6,600 ft) within an hour and a half.
Gay, friendly and cosmopolitan, Mussoorie, with its spirit of mental free-masonry welds in a 'hail fellow' well met camaraderie' the Maharaja and the magnate, the prince and pauper or any kindred soul. The spirit of gaiety pervades everywhere in the twenty-five square miles area, making the town a good mixer. The infectious, holiday spirit has resulted in establishments that cater to the every whim of pleasure seeking society, be it dancing, riding, theatre and cinema going, skating and sporting events, etc. For the nature lover seeking sylvan bliss there are easy to reach beauty spots.
Mussoorie caters, also to the sporting set, the Polo grounds holds annual tournaments, the rink stages a boxing tourney while at the Savoy there is a dog Show every September. In summer, the Happy Valley Club, with 13 courts, holds tennis matches. The best Ball Rooms are at the Savoy and Hackman's hotels. Billiards rooms are in the rink, Happy Valley Club and Picture Palace while two [++Page 10] Skating rinks, in Kufri and Library Bazar cater to the skating set. The season lasts from March, 15 to October 31st. A beauty contest elects 'The Queen' who reigns Mussoorie all through the season.
Surrounded by hills, and overlooking the Doon Valley, the gay summer resort is mantled in snow for winter bursts inviting all year round. The Delhi Road to Mussoorie runs between golden sugar cane and wheat fields interepersed with deep lichee and mango groves, giving way to the densely forested Siwalik Hills leading to the rail-road junction of Dehra Dun in Doon Valley. Winding past Rajpur, dotted with monastic ashrams, the road imbs along the terraced fields of Bhatta into the mountains with red roofed houses clinging to the wooded kills, in the distance in the tinkle of Himalayan cow bells.
The hill-folk of Mussoorie are simple and hardy, living in tiny villages scattered over the surrounding hills. Cheery and honest, their main occupation is agriculture. There houses are built of cut rocks roofed with heavy beams strong to stand the winter snows. The journey from Dehra Dun terminates at Kincraig, the roadways station atop a rock jutting out of the two hills of Mussoorie. On hand are coolies, dandies and rickshaws. Soon almost overnight Mussoorie becomes one of the most popular hill stations in Northern India famous for its inherent scenic beauty and gay social life.
The heart of Mussoorie
Stretching from the Landour Clock Tower to Library,the bazar leads to the Post Office, Himalaya Club, Picture Palace and the Jubilee cinemas. The fashionable avenue, the Mall, runs through the Kulri Bazar terminating at the Library.
Happy Valley - Tibetan Township
Meandering Charlville road leads to pine-scented Happy Valley and the Tibetan Township, and enchanted world where prayer flag flutter in the breeze against a chortan (Tibetan stupa ) and a temple cringe to a precarious perch on a cliff while inside priests turn the bronze prayer wheel amids scripture-reciting acolytes. Inside a saffron draped room reposes a large tome, turned to the page last read by [++Page 11] the Dalai Lama on his visit. Shops are filled with exotic Tibetan ware, the unpretentious restaurants serve the inimitable Chang (rice and barley Beer) along with steamed dumplings called Mo Mo and noodles mixed with fried carrot, cabbage or mutton liberally seasoned mixed with vinegar and 'soy saucea'. In the long Himalayan twilight monks blow the long trumpets just before prayer - way down below twinkle the lights of Dehra Dun.
Gun Hill - Erstwhile time-keeper of a town
In the earlier days, gun used to be fired from this hill at precisely 12 O' clock noon to denote the time. Though the practice was discontinued and the gun removed, the ghost of the name clings to the hill. The hill is 2,143 metres (7,029 ft) above sea level and 400 metres away from the town. Two ropeway trolley buses ply from the Jhulaghar on the Mall to Gun Hill, covering the distance (1,312 ft or 400 metres) in four and half minutes. Swinging high above the hills in the aerial ropeway one gets a wide angle view of the snow Himalayan mountain peaks and down below the winding serpentine valley. Easily accessible, an uphill road start on the fashionable Mall,opposite the chic restaurant, Hackman's one of the oldest established rendezvous of the elite. On top of Gun Hill,now, are water reservoir that feed the town. On a clear day a magnificent view of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Nanda Devi and Bandar Poonch present itself to viewer atop this hill 609 metres (2,000 ft) tall. Atop too, is a picture of a glamourous queen, symbolising Mussoorie, that replaced the gun, when beauty scored a victory over brawn. There is a cafeteria for the thirsty visitors.
Municipal Gardens and Park
Near the library on the Mall, when one tries of brooks is a footpath leading to the blooming Municipal Gardens four kilometres away a glow with gay flowers, velvety lawns, deodar and pine trees, set of by an artificial lake. Besides a children's park there is a cafeteria to cater to the needs of thirsty visitors. The park, a plateau, slightly over three kilometres away from the gardens is noted for its excellent simultaneous view of both the Himalayas and the Doon Valley.
Camel's Back Road
An ideal place for horse riding, the road starts from Kulri behind the Skating Hall ending at the Library Bazar. On the Mall 2.4 kilometres in length on this road, a foot path goes to Bhilaru pumping station, an interesting place to visit.The Hawa Ghar is one of the several resting places on this road, curving round a mountain looking like the back of a camel. The European style shops are situated on the MallKuiri and Library Bazar alongwith the elegant hotels, where even now, the call after midnight is "On with the dance". The Indian Bazar is in the area of the Landour.
Starting from, Mullingar, the first hotel and building upto Landour Clock Tower, the bazar is about a mile (1.6 kilometres) long in Mussoorie. Near the Clock Tower there is the Gurdwara. Exclusively an Indian bazar, from the Mullinagar Hotel the road goes up towards Landour Depot the other end lead down to Jabarkhet and Tehri. This is exclusively the Indian marketing centre; the rents of the houses are cheaper.
Dapot Hill and Lal Tibba
The first site to present itself to the gladdened heart of Capt. Young was Landour, and was the first place of sojourn for the heat embattled troops stationed in the Doon Valley. As time went on and the hill-station grew fast into a ritizy resort at a lower level, the invigorating air of Landour resulted in the construction of a depot for invalid and convalesent soldiers. The highest point in Mussoorie and five kilometres away from the town, Lal Tibba, the peak of Landour, or Depot Hill is at an altitude of 2,438.4 metres (8,000 ft). Here, with the aid of an electric, coin operated binocular, one can get a bird's eye view of the Gangotri, Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi and Sri-Kanta peaks. Gangotri, the authentic source of the Ganga, is within trekking distance, the scenery, at every point, is magnificent as canyons, cascades and rushing rivulets leap to the eye at every turn. Ten thousand feet (3,043 metres) up in the sky, Gangotri rears its famous temple on the right bank of the river, dedicated to the Goddess Ganga. On the other side are asectics, dwelling in small huts, their life, [++Page 13] an escape from the turmoil of the world, devoted to unravelling its mysteries.
Six kilometres [3.73 miles] from town, reached by road crossing a private estate, are the Mossy Falls, one of the most picturesque picnic spots near the city.
Benong Hill and Observatory
10 kilometres away from the library by motorable road or pony bridle path, is Benong Hill, one time home of an observatory. It is still an excellent look-out place, commanding as it does a good view of the Himalayas above and the Yamuna 5,000 ft down below.
Situated on the Mussoorie - Dehradun road near the Bhatta Checking post, two kilometres away are the Bhatta Falls, where two huge water tanks store water for supply to the Galogi Power Station. Excellent for picnics, the falls are twelve kilometres from Mussoorie [6.4 km] by bridle path] the first ten kilometres are by motorable road to the check post, the two are either by foot or on the back of a pony. The Falls are small in comparison to the Kempty Falls.
Kempty Falls - prettiest spot in Mussoorie
Fifteen kilometres away on the Mussoorie - Chakrata road is the most beautiful spot in the Mussoorie, attracting scores of people every day. Gushing out of the mountains the majestic waterfall splits into five distinct falls one on top of the other, the highest one over forty feet [12.19 metres]. During the summer the water falls only on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday on the other days of the week it is diverted and used for irrigation. The Falls are accessible by ponies and rickshaws. There is charming restaurant and a Forest Rest House about 15 kilometres away. [reservations are obtained from the D.F.O., Yamuna Division, Mussoorie]
Situated to the north-west of Vincent Hill are the hard to reach Hardy Falls.
Mussoorie is connected by motorable road with Tehri, about 80 kilometres away. A picturesque spot high up in the neighbouring hills Tehri leads to a number of trekking routes. On the Mussoorie - Tehri road itself there are a number of attractive picnic spots, among them are:-
Twenty-four kilometres on the Mussoorie - Tehri road with glossy glens as picnic spots, it also commands a good view of the Himalayas.
Surkanda Devi Temple
Reaching for the gods at 3,048 metres [10,000 feet] the temple Surkanda is the highest point around Mussoorie. Besides peace of mind, it offers a glorious view. To get to this temple one drives 45 km (1.25 hrs) from Mussoorie and then walks up 3 km to the hill top which offers a spectacular view of 200 miles of the snow capped Himalayas. The temple itself is the mythological site where the head of Shiva's consort fell when it was cut off to stop his tantric cosmic dance which was rocking the universe
For the complete angler, trout fishing is a must at the Yamuna Bridge - 28 kilometres from Mussoorie.
Sir George Everest's House
7 km - 20 minutes drive from the Library, Mussoorie Known as Park Estate, this is the site of the Residence Office and meteorological buildings of the first Surveyor General of India, Sir George Evereat after whom the highest mountain in the world is named. It is also an excellent example of East India Co. architecture with a "Bibi Khana" out houses for the Indian consorts of Englishmen. The earliest land revenue records, dating back to 1839 show Col. Everest as the owner of this property. The property commands a good view of the Doon Valley and the Himalayas. Unfortunately, it is now in ruins.
Mussoorie with its beauteous scenery, good roads, pony trails and conveniently placed rest houses and dak bungalows is a trekkers paradise. Forest Rest Houses abound as stage follows stage, making the 204 km (126.7 miles) track to Gangotri a pleasant experience. The trekking routs via Dhanaulti-Kanital-Thangdar-Bhaldiana-Dharasoo-Uttarkashi. Motorable upto Lanka.
174 km via the same route as Gangotri up to Dharasoo, and then Dandalgaon-Gangnani-Hanuman Chatti.
1st day: After an early breakfast, drive 71 km via Kempty falls to Kuwa, the road head from where one crosses the Yamuna river by trolley to the camp site on the banks of the river near Lakhamandal Temple.
In the afternoon there is an excursion to Lakhamandal Temple. There is an one kilometre climb from the campsite to the temple.
2nd day: After an early breakfast drive back 15 km from Kuwa to Nainbag from where the trek starts. Night halt is at the picturesque Pantwari village, 9 km from Nainbag and on the banks of a stream.
3rd day: Trek steadily up hill 6 km from Pantwari to Nag Tibba Rest House - now in ruins (2,656 metros), for the night halt in a mixed forest of oak and fir.
4th day: Trek (14.5 km) from Nag Tibba Rest House,via Nag Tibba (3,022 metres) for a panoramic view of over 200 miles of the Himalayas to Goriaph Dhar (2,435 metres) on the ridge for the night halt.
5th day: A trek of 13 km down hill from Goriaph Dhar to Thethyur in the valley for the night halt on the banks of the Aglad tributary of the Yamuna river.
6th day: After a leisurely breakfast with time off for bird watching, drive 30 km from Thethyur to Mussoorie in time for lunch.
A trek to the virgin and untouched coniferous, green valley. Located in the western range of the Garhwal Himalayas, it is a view-point of the glittering snow-capped peaks of Bundar Punch to Swarga Rohini. This area has the best Pine and Deodar forests in all over Asia, full of rich wildlife which serves as a paradise for birds watchers and nature lovers.
Drive from Mussoorie to Naitwar, travelling past the Kempty Falls and the Yamuna river. You will be visiting remote, historical and cultural places of Jounsar Bawar, Rawai, Jounpur and through some villages where polyandry is practiced. To the legendary and mythological temples of Lakhamandal (the exile of Pandavas) with ancient sculptures of the 8th century A.D. to Mahasudevta temple of Naitwar,with its rarewood carving.
The trek will start from Naitwar travelling along the upper bank of Supin river in the shade of the thick pine forest upto Taluka village, the people of a diverged culture and worshippers of Duryodhana.
From there to Osla and then to Har-ki-Doon the trek is through terraced mountain fields, lush green grassy land and coniferous forest and ultimately reaching the beautiful multicoloured flower-ridden meadows of Har-ki-Doon.
Starting from Mussoorie by motorable road and passing the scenic and historical places like Kempty Falls, Lakhamandal, Naugaon, Barkot, Gangani upto Hanuman chatti all along the right bank of the beautiful Yamuna river. The trek commences from Hanuman chatti along the pilgrim route upto Yamunotri through the green and lush forests.Yamunotri is at a height of 3,185 metres and offers you an enchanting flavour of the religious shrine with its breathtaking hot sulphur water springs. Then you go down up to hanuman chatti and then to Dodital via the beautiful Anicha pass. The glitter of the morning sun on the snowy peaks and wide panoramic view of the Himalayan giants.
Now you will reach Dodital which is at an altitude of 3,024 metres. Its crystal clear water is full of the rare species of the Himalayan trout fish (angling can be arranged). Dodital to Uttarkashi will be an easy trek down through the woods, fields and villages of Agoda, Kalyani and Gangnani. Uttarkashi is a well known religious and upcoming Himalayan township, famous for its old temples, shrines and meditating Yogis and Sanyasis. Leaving Uttar-kashi by motorable road will bring you back to Mussoorie via Tehri, Chamba, Dhanoulti and Surkanda Devi.
Nagtibba is situated on the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayas. This place is on a saddle and the sun rise from this spot is an enrapturing sight of the great Himalayan range. It gives you a touch of natures' sanctuary, with the singing and chirping of birds, the thick forests and grassy patches. On the way you will pass by the rocky river Aglar. Now move towards Devalsari, through the thick Deodar forest with its pleasing natural odour. From Devalsari to Nagtibba the colour views of the terraces is enchanting.
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