Mussoorie, "The Queen of Hills"
Considered as one of the most suitable places for newlywed couples for honeymoon and vacations, Mussoorie, the “Queen of Hills”, is a hill station near Dehradun in the Uttarakhand state of India. Because of its extremely beautiful sights, pleasant and calm weather it is also called “Pahadon Ki Rani” or “The Queen of Hills”. Known for its snow-capped Himalayan mountains, lush green landscapes, calm and gentle breeze, Mussoorie is 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 meter and comes under Dehradun district of Uttarakhand 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. 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 and 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. 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.
Why Visit Mussoorie:
Mussoorie “The Queen of Hills” offers tremendous greenish views, fantastic weather and a beautiful view of the Himalayas, which makes it the favorite among tourists. Apart from being an extraordinary hill station, Mussoorie is also famous education hub of India. Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration where IAS and IPS officers are trained is situated here. The place provides amazing and distinct views of the Shivalik Ranges and the Doon Valley.
Brief History of Mussoorie, the Queen of Hills:
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. 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. 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 Mussoorie 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, as it is only a drive away from here. It is one of the favorite places for the tourists to visit during summer and winter vacations.
The hill town bustles with activity all around the year and offers an enticing view of the splendid hill queen. A long drive from Doon to Mussoorie wouldn’t cost you much and will give you an opportunity to seek peace and tranquility amidst nature. Travelers from Delhi, Dehradun, Chandigarh, UP and Haryana visit here during the peak season, to beat the heat of the scorching summers.
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) and Convent of Jesus and Mary Hampton Court. Other prestigious schools in Mussoorie 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 in Mussoorie, the Queen of Hills:
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 Café’s in Mussoorie: 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 in Mussoorie: Funjabi Tandoorz at The Mall road, Seagreen Café at Hathipaon Junction en route Cloud’s End, Mom’s Kitchen at, 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.
Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Mussoorie: 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 in Mussoorie: 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 Queen of Hills:
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, as the streets are engulfed in thick snow, which hinders the movement. 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, the Queen of Hills is located near the major cities and towns, it remains jam-packed with traffic and tourists, who throng here in winters.
Famous Government Offices and Training Centres in Mussoorie:
Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, a training institute for officers of the Indian Foreign Service, 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 one of its offices in Landour, Mussoorie. The Indo Tibetan Border Police Force Academy, formerly known as the ‘High Altitude Defence and Survival Academy’ is also located here.
Mussoorie as an Unofficial Erstwhile Summer Capital:
Initially, Mussoorie was inhabited by a shepherd community who grazed their cattle on a local shrub called ‘Mansoor’ found on the hill slopes. When Lt. Frederick Young of East India Company visited here for a shooting game, he was smitten by the Hill Queen’s beauty. Young and his accomplice FJ Shore built a hunting lodge on the Camel’s Back road.
It is believed that the hill town of Mussoorie was founded by Captain Young, 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, where ONGC’s Tel Bhawan stands in utmost pride.
Unlike Shimla, Mussoorie was not developed as a summer capital by the British, but it became an erstwhile summer retreat. The pleasant climate of Mussoorie, the Queen of Hills, offered relief to the English people from the hot summers of India. Many elite Englishmen, women and their families would live here. 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, the Queen of Hills serves as a home ground to the celebrated Children’s Book Writer, Ruskin Bond who goes by the name Rusty in his books. The author lives in the suburban area of Landour with his adopted family. 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 that began at the southern tip of India. Although unsuccessful, then Surveyor General of India George Everest wanted to have the new office of the Survey of India in Mussoorie. As a compromise, the office was set up in Dehradun, where it still is.
- India’s first beer brewery was built in Mussoorie in the year 1850. By the year 1894, 22 breweries were set up in India producing 6 million gallons a year.
- It is believed that the name Mussoorie is derived from the Mansoor shrub indigenous to the hill station. Hence, the town is nicknamed to as ‘Mansoori’ or ‘Masuri’ by most Indians.
- It is said that Mall road in Mussoorie strictly prohibited the entry of Indians. Racial slurs could be seen 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, who broke the rules often. The Nehru family including Nehru’s daughter (later Indira Gandhi) were frequent visitors to Mussoorie in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.
- During the Tibetan Rebellion of 1959, the Central Administration of the 14th Dalai Lama was first established in Mussoorie, before moving to its present location in Dharamsala, Himachal.
- The Central School for Tibetans Mussoorie (CST Mussoorie) is the first ever Tibetan school in the country. It was established 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 which is only visible 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. It is visible only from the mountain areas with long, clear valleys towards the west.
Winter Line in Mussoorie usually appears in the mid-October and lasts till January. A grand Winter Line Carnival is hosted here, which usually starts from 25th December. The carnival is organized by the state government to lure more tourists towards this amazing place. The photography competition is also held during this carnival.
Accomodation in Mussoorie:
As Mussoorie is one of the most visited hill-stations of India, finding a place to stay in Mussoorie is not a problem at all. There are hundreds of budget as well as luxury hotels and lodges in Mussoorie. Mall road and Landour region have a lot of high-end and budget-friendly hotels. All hotels are listed on online advance hotel booking websites. Almost every hotel provides modern facilities and has an option of accepting payments with debit or credit card. We recommend booking a hotel in advance as during New Year and Christmas, Mussoorie 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. There is a significant amount of traffic on Mussoorie-Dehradun road during New Year and other occasions.
December to January: During these months, the queen of hills witnesses a great amount of snowfall. This might be the best time to visit Mussoorie for honeymooner to enjoy snowfall with their life partners.
September to November: During these months, summers get over in Mussoorie and weather remains calm and pleasant.
April to June: This is the peak time as many people visit Mussoorie because of the pleasant weather and sight-seeing.
Flora and Fauna in Mussoorie:
Because of the rich and vibrant flora and fauna, 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. There were a variety of trees such as rhododendron, oak, and deodar. After this, the Landour Sanitarium was built.
The Benog Sanctuary is the place where the extinct mountain quail was last seen during the 1970s. Forests of Mussoorie have leopards, rabbits, Himalayan black bear, wild rodents, barking deer, jungle martens, and pheasants. 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 Mussoorie if there is less traffic. During New Year Dehradun-Mussoorie road witnesses a lot of traffic, which significantly increases the time to reach there. 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 to Mussoorie. 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. This airport has regular connectivity with New Delhi and flights are frequent.