Witch's Hill or Pari Tibba
Hiking in the Garhwal Himalayas (1998)
p. 40-41 (Also
exerpt from Ruskin Bond)
Pari Tibba (Witch's Hill)
By Jon Derksen
Witch's hill is a good destination for anyone seeking to do a short day
hike in the Mussoorie area. It is close to Landour Bazaar and located just
below the Woodstock School dormitories.
To get to Witch's Hill, descend from Tehri Road by way of a steep
stairway and path just below the Woodstock School Quadrangle. At the bottom
of the staircase and at the top of a long ramp, is a sign indicating the
Sagar Estate. Follow the ramp down until the road splits. Ridgewood
basketball court and dormitory will be on your right. Take the left turn
down an exceedingly steep cement road through gentle forest as far as the
Dhabi Ghat (washerman s village). Just above the village looking south, you
will see a clear trail winding up the side of Witch's Hill. Follow this up,
passed a small abandoned mine (on your right) until you reach a low saddle.
Take the path on the right zigzagging up the further of the two hills until
you come out onto a flat grassy area surrounded by trees. On clear nights
the view of the Doon Valley is Christmaslike, and it is a great place for
picnics, or if you just want to get away from things for a few hours. On
stormy nights, it's advised that you stay clear of Witch's Hill, as it
seems supernaturally prone to lightning strikes, as several burnt and
twisted trees on top make obvious.
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[To Page 41-]
Why Pari Tibba should be struck so often by lightning has always been
something of a mystery to me. Its soil and rock seem no different from the
soil or rock of any other phenomenon; or perhaps it has something to do
with the fairies.
'Why do they call it the Hill of the Fairies?' I asked an old resident,
a retired schoolteacher. 'Is the place haunted.'
'So they say,' he said.
'Oh, people who have heard it's haunted. Some years after the site was
abandoned by the settlers, two young runaway lovers took shelter for the
night in one of the ruins. There was a bad storm and they were struck by
lightning. Their charred bodies were found a few days later. They came from
different communities and were buried far from each other, but their
spirits hold tryst every night under the pine trees. You might see them if
you're on Pari Tibba after sunset.'
There are no ruins on Pari Tibba, and I can only presume that the
building materials were taken away for use elsewhere. And I did not stay on
the hill till after sunset. Had I tried climbing downhill in the dark, I
would probably have ended up as the third ghost on the mountain. The lovers
might have resented my intrusion; or, who knows, they might have welcomed a
change ..Even the most ardent of lovers must tire of each other.
(From Rain in the Mountains by Ruskin Bond)
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