November 28, 2017
I see many people asking on the group or in DM about Mussoorie. Thought I'd write a quick guide to Mussoorie. I love the city and I’ve been there about 10 times in the past two years
(PS: If you are familiar with someplace, please make a post like this for your city/town on the group using this hashtag so that it can be easily found)
There are two ways in which you can explore Mussoorie - in 3 days and in 5 days. While I always recommend the latter, I understand many of you don't have that much time at hand. It is an amazing place to go solo, but also fun in small groups. You could bike your way to Mussoorie too.
How To Reach:
I'll assume you're at Delhi.
From Delhi, you can either catch a bus or a train to Dehradun. Buses run every 30 mins from about 5am to 11:30pm from ISBT Kashmere Gate. I suggest taking the last bus.
A number of trains go from Delhi to Dehradun (Including the Mussoorie Express). I find it convenient to travel via the early morning Dehradun Shatabdi.
Trains would take somewhere between 6 to 10 hours to Dehradun. The last bus will drop you at the Dehradun ISBT at 4:15/4:30 in the morning from where you can take a shared tempo to the Mussoorie bus stand (Yes, they're available at 4 in the morning too).
If you reach Dehradun by train, just outside the railway station you'd find the Mussoorie Bus Stand - from where buses go to Mussoorie every 30 minutes.
First Bus to Mussoorie leaves at about 5:30 AM and the last bus at around 6:30 PM.
A Little Background Info:
For those planning to visit Mussoorie, it is strongly advised to visit only Mussoorie and ignore Haridwar and Rishikesh even though they’re on the way. It is tempting to go, but Mussoorie is amazeballs and demands all your time.
What you must know is that the city is broadly divided into two parts:
On one side you have Landour, Sisters Bazar and Laal Tibba.
On the other side, you have Happy Valley, Company Garden and Kempty Falls.
And then there’s also Dhanaulti. I don’t count it in two parts, but if you’re going to Mussoorie this is one place you must not miss.
Where to Stay:
Now, this is something that is a personal choice and depends on your budget.
If you’re in the mood to spend a moderate (about 2500 to 3500) amount of money, Option 1: Stay at Hotel Padmini Niwas. They’re amazing, the food, the service, and the location are awesome. Option 2: There’s also hotel Knauk Inn - which charges about 1500 to 2500 but Padmini Niwas is way better.
For those looking forward towards an affordable place to stay - Option 1: check out Hotel Castle View: There’s no castle and the view is okayish, the costs are jaw-dropping low. About 300 to 500 per night on GoIbibo. Option 2: Hotel Jain Regency - Another nice and clean hotel that you could get for about Rs. 500-800 on GoIbibo.
If you’re in the mood to splurge then there’s Walnut Grove by JW Marriott and a number of other high-end players such as The Savoy, Rokeby Manor (which is incredible) and a number of other high-end chains.
Where To Eat:
There’s nothing special ‘pahadi’ about the city and the food you get is pretty much the Delhi junk food. You can eat at almost any place and it won’t really matter. Mussoorie is all about the cafes though.
Here’s a list of my favorite places (There might be many more awesome places too but these are the ones I’ve been to and I liked)
Cafe Ivy (Best Honey Ginger Lemon Tea, Pasta).
Cafe By The Way (Try out the cold stuff here)
The Tavern (Alcohol)
Uphaar (Best Veg Food in town)
There’s also mom’s kitchen which is a little hard to find - but they make tasty, home-cooked food: their Rajma Chawal was too damn good. The list is endless and there are a gazillion choices. Most hotel kitchens to make decent food in Mussoorie. The food is a little overpriced but you can’t really help it because their economy runs on it.
How To Spend 3 Days in Mussoorie:
Day 1: I’ll assume you’ve reached Mussoorie and checked-in by 4PM
Head straight towards Landour: It’s about an hour’s walk from the mall road and about a 30-minute walk from the clock tower (depending on where you’re staying). Don’t worry about walking so much - Mussoorie me you won’t feel time pass once you begin walking. It’s a magical place.
Keep walking you’ll reach Doma’s Inn. Right next to Doma’s Inn you’ll see a flight of pink steps. There’s where Ruskin Bond lives. It is best advised not to disturb him or intrude his privacy even though he is very nice and welcoming to fans.
Keep walking and you’ll reach chaar dukaaan - it should be about 5 by now - have some food and coffee there and start walking back. Get accustomed to walking on the first day - there’s a lot to explore if you keep your eyes and ears open. Everyone there seems to be living in a fantasy world. You’d be back by 6:30/7. Make sure to sit and rest on the covered benches made on the corners of the hill. They give you a good view of the city.
Chill nearby for a bit, have dinner and go to sleep.
Day 2: Spend your second day exploring the other side of town.
Walk to Gandhi Chowk or take a cycle rickshaw. From here take a cab and go to George Everest’s monument - it’s a nice place - spend some time exploring both the sides. This is a paradise for those who like to get their pictures clicked. Trust me, you could get a lifetime supply of your profile pictures here. Just don’t be stupid enough to fall off the hill while clicking selfies. (PS If you’re on a bike, remember that the road to George Everest is very dangerous for bikers. I’ve seen a couple of accidents happen here so please be careful, especially during monsoon)
On your way back, have the cab drop you off at the Buddha Temple. (Have them drive you all the way to the temple and not in between as it’s a long walk to and fro. They may charge you a little extra). At the Buddha Temple, visit the monastery and then climb up the stairs to the top of the Dalai Hill where there’s a giant Buddha Statue.
Walk back out to the main road. As soon as you climb out of the Happy Valley, you’ll see the Charleville book cafe. You will be exhausted by the time you come out - so get to this cafe and have some refreshing soda or something. There are a number of books that you can read and buy.
Now start walking back all the way to the mall road. It’s a really long walk and you’d presumably be exhausted by the time you reach your hotel. Even more so if you live in Landour. Show your legs some love and rest for the rest of the day - hang out nearby and chill.
Day 3: Assuming this is your last day here and you’ll be out by the evening - here’s the best thing to do:
Walk back to Chaar Dukaan
Chill at Cafe Ivy
Next, walk towards Laal Tibba - climb up and check out the valley. Have coffee there and soak in the fresh mountain air.
Then don’t turn back and keep walking on the road that curves ahead. This road goes all the way to the Landour Cemetery. While this isn’t going to be the most attractive part of the journey, it is a very nice, calm and peaceful place. Stand there for a couple of minutes. Observe the graves around you. Some of them date all the way back to the 1800s. It’s a nice and quiet place where dogs chase butterflies mountain breeze soothes you.
Then keep walking ahead till you reach a major crossroad. Downhill will take you back to Chaar Dukaan. Don’t go there and keep walking straight towards Sister’s Bazaar. Over there, Check out Prakash’s store - buy his Jams and Peanut Butter. I don't really recommend the Cheese. Peanut Butter is a must-buy from there. He makes the jams and peanut butter himself.
Next to Prakash’s Store is the Landour Bakehouse. Grab a coffee and pastry here and munch through the afternoon. They make the best coffee in Mussoorie. You can also buy a Life is good in Landour T-Shirt here.
Now that we’re done with this, walk back downhill, pack your stuff and head back to Dehra - catch your bus and go back to where you came from.
However, if you decide to spend an extra two days:
Go to Kempty Falls. You can take a cab from Gandhi Chowk, or you can take a sharing cab if you keep walking forward towards Kempty.
By this day your legs would be destroyed from all the walk. Kempty should be refreshing.
Return from Kempty and chill at the Mall or at Landour. There’s the little lama cafe and the clocktower cafe in Landour and there are the Honey Hut and a number of other small shops at the Mall.
Take a cab to Dhanaulti.
Halt at the Jabarkhet Nature Reserve on your way. It’s just a little ahead of Woodstock school and Hanifl center. Here you can go on 3-4 treks - you’ll need to be slightly fit for this. It’s fun and you can see leopard footprints and leopard poop. Given the right kind of whether you’d be able to see a number of flowers and mushrooms growing there. (PS: Don’t eat them).
At Dhanaulti there’s an eco park where you can trek a little on a forest trail - it is quite fun and an easy climb for anyone remotely fit. When you reach on top you’ll see miles of step farming hills. On top of Dhanaulti, you can chill with some Maggi and corn. Another place where you can go on a photo-clicking spree. There are zip line, flying fox and a couple of other similar adventure sports on your way - you might as well want to check them out. On your road to Dhanaulti, you’ll see mountains like never before - you’ll be able to see Badrinath/Kedarnath and a couple of other major mountains.
This should consume pretty much all of your days.
PS: I’d advice switching Day 4 to Jabarkhet Nature Reserve instead of Kempty and giving the entire next day to Dhanaulti so that you can catch a bus/train in the evening. Kempty sucks. But if you enjoy waterfalls do give it a shot.
PPS: On most Saturdays, Ruskin Bond signs books and meets fans at the Cambridge Book Store at about 2PM.
POST CREDIT: WORAH (my facebook friend)