Mussoorie, "The Queen of Hills"
Mussoorie is considered as one of the most suitable places for newlywed couples for honeymoon and vacations. Nicknamed as “The Queen of Hills”, it is a hill station near Dehradun in the Uttarakhand state of India. It provides extremely beautiful sights, pleasant and calm weather. This is why, it is also called “Pahadon Ki Rani” or “The Queen of Hills.” It is known for its snow-capped Himalayan mountains, lush green landscapes, calm and gentle breeze. These qualities make Mussoorie one of the most visited hill stations of India. Mussoorie is also known as the gateway to the important religious sights of Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Mussoorie, the Queen of Hills, is perched at a height of 1880 meters. It comes under Dehradun district of Uttarakhand. The region is situated on the foothills of Garhwal Himalayas. It is about 35 km away from state capital Dehradun. There’s another town just next to Mussoorie known as Landour. Moreover, Landour is a military cantonment, which is a part of the ‘greater Mussoorie’, an extension of Mussoorie.
The highest point of Mussoorie is “Lal Tibba”. It is snuggled in the Landour area. It is perched at an altitude of 1,830 meters above sea level. Since the place is surrounded by the lush green beauty, it makes it a popular tourist attraction. Additionally, Newlyweds and couples often visit this place to witness the mesmerizing sunrise and sunset. It is an ideal spot to soak in the beauty of the hills and to indulge in photography.
Mussoorie, “The Queen of Hills” offers tremendous greenish views, fantastic weather and a beautiful view of the Himalayas. This makes it the favorite among tourists. Additionally, apart from being an extraordinary hill station, Mussoorie is also a famous education hub of India. Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration where IAS and IPS officers are trained is situated here. Moreover, the place provides amazing and distinct views of the Shivalik Ranges and the Doon Valley.
Brief History of Mussoorie:
The name “Mussoorie” of the place came from the plant known as Mansoor Shrub found in this region. History of this hill station starts from the Gurkhas. Gurkhas ruled this region for a long period of time.
In 1803, Umar Singh Thapa and Gurkhas conquered Mussoorie and extended their kingdom. After this, the region came under the Britishers like all other regions of the state. Furthermore, in 1825, British military officer Frederick Young constructed a shooting lodge here.
In 1832, it was the intended terminus of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India that began at the southern tip of India. By the beginning of the 20th century, Mussoorie witnessed a lot of changes and development. For example, it started to grow not only as a major tourist destination but the growth of population and other businesses.
Mussoorie as a Weekend Getaway:
The charming vista of Mussoorie beguiles the wanderers to throng here for exploring the Hill Queen. Since this beautiful place is blessed with nature’s quintessence, it has become one of the best places for sightseeing and vacationing. The hill station is revered for being the best weekend getaway for Doonites and Delhites. It is only a drive away from here. Furthermore, it is one of the favorite places for the tourists to visit during summer and winter vacations.
Mussoorie- A famous Educational Hub in the Country:
The hill station has some of the best educational institutions in the country, imparting education to the scholars since pre-Independence. The famous British era schools include:
- Woodstock School (1854)
- The Convent of Jesus and Mary, Waverly (1845)
- St. George’s College (1853), Oak Grove School (1888)
- Wynberg-Allen (1888)
- Guru Nanak Fifth Centenary School (1869)
- Convent of Jesus and Mary Hampton Court.
- Other prestigious schools are Mussoorie International School (1984), Mussoorie Modern School, Tibetan Homes, CST Mussoorie and St. Clares Convent School.
Places To Visit In Mussoorie :
Camel's Back Road:
Camel’s back is a 4 km long street that connects with the mall road at one end. The name of the road so because of a natural cluster of rocks that are shaped like a camel’s hump. Early morning walk on this street in a lush green environment is a whole new experience. The beautiful Garhwal Himalayan mountain ranges are visible from the street. Read More
Lake mist is a beautiful little lake that comes on the way to Kempty falls. It has become a popular picnic spot. There are many accommodation and restaurant facilities near lake mist. This tiny lake offers boating in calm and peaceful surroundings. With the Kempty river flowing through it, Lake Mist has many small waterfalls made by the river.
Lal Tibba :
Lal Tibba is the highest point of Mussoorie, located in the Landour area. It sits at an altitude of 1,830 meters. It is famous for the travelers who wish to see the large view of mountain trails. Kedarnath, Badrinath and many other beautiful places can be spotted via telescope from Lal Tibba. While peacefully sitting here looking at mighty Himalayan peaks you would realize that Mussoorie is crowned as “Queen of Hills”. Sometimes this place is surrounded with clouds which affect the visibility.
Kempty Falls :
The Kempty Falls is located around 15 km from Mussoorie on Chakrata Road. This place located nearly 1,360 meters above sea level. Kempty Falls is a beautiful cascading waterfall. The water comes to the ground from an altitude of 40 feet. Surrounded by high mountain cliffs, Kempty falls is a major tourist attraction in Mussoorie. Water coming from 40 feet height forms a place to play for young couples and children. Though swim costumes are available on rent. Ride of a cable car to reach kempty fall and come back is also available.
This beautiful lake is recently built by the city board. It is located at 6 km before Mussoorie on Dehradun – Mussoorie road. One may enjoy paddled boating here with mind-blowing views of Dehradun valley.
Gun Hill is the second highest peak of Mussoorie after Lal tibba. Its height is about 2025 meters. The ride of a cable car to reach the top of the Gun hill is a major attraction. Gun Hill is one of the best vantage points in Mussoorie that offers a panoramic view of the resplendent hills. One can access this place by using cable car from Mall road. On a clear day, Srikantha, Bunderpunch, Pithwara and Gangotri group of peaks are clearly visible.
Places to eat:
Being a popular hill station, Mussoorie boasts some of the finest places to dine in. The hill station offers a wide variety of eating options from small cafes, buffets to fine dining restaurants. You can reserve your seat at the place of your choice. And sip a glass of the finest drink by sitting near the window, glancing at the distant peaks.
Don’t worry about your budget as the street food of Mussoorie. The Queen of Hills, is equally enticing. An array of local dishes are also available at restaurants run by the local people. If you are here then don’t forget to finger lick the mouth-watering Pahadi food. Check out the list of some of the famous places to eat in Mussoorie-
Popular Restaurants and Cafes:
- Momos Tibetan Restaurant at the Mall road
- Aggarwal Vegetarian at Kulri Bazaar
- Urban Turban at the Mall road
- Kalsang at the Mall road
- Anil’s Café Char Dukan at Char Dukan Landour Cantt
- Little Lama Café near Union Church
- Café de Tavern at the Mall road
- Casa Mica at the Mall road etc.
Best Budget Restaurants:
- Funjabi Tandoorz at The Mall road
- Seagreen Café at Hathipaon Junction en route Cloud’s End
- Mom’s Kitchen
- Bindra’s South Indian Restaurant near SBI opposite Railway out Agency
- Big Bang Bite at Gandhi Chowk
- The Grand Dining Hall at Library Bazaar etc.
Fine Dining Restaurants:
- Trout House Grill & Bar at Kempty Fall road
- JW Café at Kempty Fall road
- Wisteria Deck at JW Marriott Mussoorie
- Walnut Grove Resort & Spa
- The Writer’s Bar at Library Bazaar Gandhi Chowk etc.
Best Street Food:
- Lovely Omelette opposite Methodist Church Kulri Bazaar
- Chaar Dukan near St. Paul’s Church- Landour
- Chaat Stall Opposite Chic Chocolate- Mall road
- Gupta Fast Food Corner at the Mall road etc.
Snowfall in Mussoorie:
The favorable climate and geographical location of Mussoorie make it susceptible to snowfall. The hill station receives snowfall from mid-December to February. Sometimes heavy snowfall in winters causes a ruckus. The streets get engulfed in thick snow, which hinders the movement. Above all, snow babies must visit here around New Year or when it snows.
If you are somebody who dislikes the crowd, then you shouldn’t consider visiting here during fresh snowfall. As Mussoorie is located near the major cities, it remains jam-packed with traffic and tourists. Furthermore, travelers throng here in winters.
Famous Government Offices and Training Centres:
Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, a training institute for officers of the Indian Foreign Service is situated here. Indian Administrative Service and other civil services is based in Mussoorie. The academy is situated at around 2 km away from Gandhi Chowk.
The National Survey and Mapping Organization of the country, the Survey of India has a office in Landour, Mussoorie. Additionally, The Indo Tibetan Border Police Force Academy is also located here. Moreover, it was formerly known as the ‘High Altitude Defense and Survival Academy.
Mussoorie as an Unofficial Erstwhile Summer Capital:
A belief goes that Captain Young founded the city of Mussoorie. But there is not a single memorial to commemorate Lt. Frederick Young in Mussoorie. However, one can see a swift road meandering in Dehradun called Young Road. Here ONGC’s Tel Bhawan stands in utmost pride.
Unlike Shimla, Britishers did not declare Mussoorie as a summer capital. But it became an erstwhile summer retreat. The pleasant climate of Mussoorie, offered relief to the English people from the hot summers of India. Many elite Englishmen, women and their families would live here. Additionally, one can still see the remnants of the British Raj in the vintage building structures and churches built here.
Mussoorie, the Home to Ruskin Bond ‘Famous Children’s Book Author’:
Mussoorie, serves as a home ground to the celebrated Children’s Book Writer, Ruskin Bond. Bond goes by the name Rusty in his books. The author lives in the suburban area of Landour with his adopted family. Furthermore, if you drive through this area, you can see his minion house glowing under the mountain sunshine.
Come to Cambridge Book Depot, if you want to meet him in person or want to get your favorite book signed by him. The writer visits here every Saturday from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Make sure to confirm the day and timings from the bookshop owner.
Interesting Facts on Mussoorie, the Queen of Hills:
- In the year 1832, Mussoorie was the intended terminus of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India. It began at the southern tip of India. Although unsuccessful. Then Surveyor General of India George Everest wanted to have the new office in Mussoorie. As a compromise, they set up the office in Dehradun, where it still is.
- India’s first beer brewery was built in Mussoorie in the year 1850. By the year 1894, government set up 22 breweries in India producing 6 million gallons a year.
- They say that people derived the name Mussoorie from the Mansoor shrub indigenous to the hill station. Hence, most Indians nicknemed the town as ‘Mansoori’ or ‘Masuri’.
- People say that Britishers strictly prohibited the entry of Indians in Mall road. The wrote the racial slurs at the hotels, restaurants, and motels, barring Indians and Dogs from entering. But this didn’t deter Motilal Nehru, the father of Jawaharlal Nehru from visiting here. He broke the rules often. The Nehru family were frequent visitors to Mussoorie in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Additionally, Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi visited Mussoorie very frequently.
- During the Tibetan Rebellion of 1959, the Central Administration of the 14th Dalai Lama was first established in Mussoorie. The they moved it to its present location in Dharamsala, Himachal.
- The Central School for Tibetans Mussoorie (CST Mussoorie) is the first ever Tibetan school in the country. They established it in Happy Valley, Mussoorie in the year 1961. The Happy Valley serves as an abode to the Tibetan community, with more than 5,000 Tibetans happily residing here.
Winter Line- An Imaginary Horizon that can only be seen in Mussoorie and Switzerland:
Every year during winters, Mussoorie showcases a meteorological wonder known as the winter line. This phenomenon, one can only witness in Mussoorie and Bern in Switzerland. This beautiful haze is basically a vertical red line, with a hint of orange that runs across the blue sky. This rare phenomenon occurs as a result of the refraction of sunlight at a particular angle. Additionally, it is visible only from the mountain areas with long, clear valleys towards the west.
To illustrate, Winter Line in Mussoorie usually appears in the mid-October and lasts till January. The city hosts s grand Winter Line Carnival, which usually starts from 25th December. The state government organizes the carnival to lure more tourists towards this amazing place. Additionally, the city also organizes a photography competition during this carnival.
As Mussoorie is one of the most visited hill-stations of India, finding a place to stay here is not a problem at all. There are hundreds of budget as well as luxury hotels and lodges in this hill station. For instance, Mall road and Landour region have a lot of high-end and budget-friendly hotels. Furthermore, all hotels are listed on online advance hotel booking websites.
For example, almost every hotel provides modern facilities. They all have an option of accepting payments with debit or credit card. However, we recommend booking a hotel in advance. During New Year and Christmas, the city witnesses a large number of visitors.
Best Time to Visit Mussoorie:
One can visit Mussoorie, the Queen of Hills, in any given time except Monsoons. If witnessing snowfall is not the priority then summers are the best time to visit Mussoorie. However, there is a significant amount of traffic on Mussoorie-Dehradun road during New Year and other such occasions.
- December to January: During these months, the queen of hills witnesses a great amount of snowfall. In fact, this might be the best time to visit here for honeymooner to enjoy snowfall with their life partners.
- September to November: During these months, summers get over in this hill station and weather remains calm and pleasant.
- April to June: Of course, this is the peak time as many people visit this place because of the pleasant weather and sight-seeing.
Flora and Fauna in Mussoorie:
The region has rich and vibrant flora and fauna. So Captain Frederick Young and Sir F.J. Shore decided to build the first shooting lodge near the Camel’s Backstreet. The Mussoorie ridge used to be a dense lush forest. Additionally, there were a variety of trees such as rhododendron, oak, and deodar. After this, they built the Landour Sanitarium.
The Benog Sanctuary is the place where the extinct mountain quail was last seen during the 1970s. Additionally, forests of Mussoorie have leopards, rabbits, and Himalayan black bear. Furthermore one can see wild rodents, barking deer, jungle martens, and pheasants. For example, the flora includes Chestnut, Quinn and Pear and medicinal plants such as Pudina, Himrai, and Gingko Biloba.
How To Reach Mussoorie:
Mussoorie lies at a distance of 35 km from Dehradun. Dehradun is 290 km from Delhi. From Dehradun, it takes more than 1 hour to reach here if there is less traffic. However, during New Year Dehradun-Mussoorie road witnesses a lot of traffic. This significantly increases the time to reach there. Furthermore, buses from ISBT Kashmere Gate, Delhi are easily available to Dehradun.
Dehradun railway station, at a distance of 35 km is the nearest railway station. In fact, this is a very active railway station with regular connectivity to New Delhi.
Jolly Grant is 22 km away from Dehradun and 57 km from Mussoorie. Of course, this airport has regular connectivity with New Delhi. The flights are frequent.