Rediscovering Mussoorie

After my marriage in Dec, 06, I visited Mussoorie for the first time in my life. My wife – Priya and I were visiting my in-laws who stay in Mussoorie. I had read and heard a lot about Mussoorie’s beauty. However, on my first trip I was a little disappointed. Mussoorie seemed to be a very commercial place with hotels, shops, and other commercial establishments all along Mall Road – the main road that runs across Mussoorie.

I had arrived in Mussoorie after a relatively long trip to Sikkim which I had found to be one of the most beautiful places that I had ever visited. My trip to Mussoorie was for a couple of days which didn’t give me enough time to explore the area . Both these factors were responsible for my initial disappointment to a large extent.

However, this was something that was going to change on my subsequent trips to Mussoorie in the years to come…
…Sensing my disappointment on my first visit to Mussoorie, Priya decided to take me around her hometown. This is when I realized that there were some nice places too provided you knew where to go.

Being the nature lover’s that we are, we first went for a walk on Camel’s Back road. Camel’s Back road is a long winding road frequented by nature lovers who visit this place for their morning and evening walks. Unlike the Mall road, this was a much better place. It was calm and the views of the Himalayas were breathtaking. As the skies were clear, the snow-capped peaks could be seen clearly. Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are some of the peaks that are visible from Camel’s Back road.

Snow-Covered Peaks Visible from Camel's Back Road


Walking across Camel’s Back road, I realized how clean and fresh the air was. The smell of pine filled the air.
As we moved forward on Camel’s Back road, I saw a few telescopes lined up on one side of the road. These telescopes had been setup by some shopkeepers so that people could view the rock formation, Camel’s Back, after which this road is named.

I too stopped by for a look. The rock formation did look like a camel.

The rock formation from which the Camel's Back Road gets its name

Along the road, there are a few Victorian bandstands. These provide shelter from the weather which is very unpredictable. One can sit at these places for hours and just gaze and admire the beauty of the mountains. We stopped by at one such bandstand which had a small shop next to it. A telescope is available at this shop for those wanting a closer look of the Himalayan peaks. After having a cup of tea over here, we moved on.

All along the road, we could see monkeys playing. They don’t bother anyone as long as they are left alone.

A monkey minding its own business

Soon we reached an old cemetery that dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. As the gate was closed and entry for travellers was not allowed, we could only view the graves and tombstones on the hilly slopes from a distances.

The Old Cemetery

Moving towards the end of Camel’s Back road, we could see a lot of people enjoying horse rides.

Riding the Horses

Camel’s Back road ends at a point where it joins Mall Road towards Library Chowk. As soon as we moved from Camel’s Back road to Mall road, the atmosphere changed. We were back to the hustle and bustle, traffic, crowded shops and everything else that we wanted to avoid…

…After moving through the crowded Mall road, we reached the base of Gun Hill. Gun Hill is the second highest peak in Mussoorie with an altitude of 7029 feet. A cable car or trolley carries people up and down from Gun Hill. This journey takes about five minutes.

Towards Gun Hill

However, we decided to walk up the steep path to Gun Hill. The path was steep but the walk was worth it. Climbing up, we saw beautiful views of the Doon valley and Mussoorie.

We paused now and then to enjoy the beautiful views. It seemed crowded down below but it was so serene and tranquil as we kept moving up. Wherever you go in Mussoorie, you’ll surely find monkeys. Gun Hill was no different.

The quintessential Monkeys

After walking for around 30 minutes we reached the top of Gun Hill. I was disappointed to see that it was crowded with shops all around. As soon as we reached, one photographer after the other started coming. They wanted us to get our photographs clicked and they promised that they’ll deliver the prints the next day. Then then were several other people who were offering local dresses on rent to get photographs clicked. We somehow managed to avoid all of them and moved forward.

Gun Hill

The snow-capped peaks of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath were clearly visible from Gun Hill. Telescopes had been setup by some shopkeepers to provide a good view of these peaks and other places in Mussoorie.

Spectacular Peaks Viewed from the Gun Hill

We found a small tea shop where we sat down for some tea and snacks. While the tea was being prepared we enjoyed the views of Mussoorie and the Doon valley.

Views of Mussoorie

Clouds Over the Doon Valley

Soon the tea was ready and I must say that it was one of the best ginger tea that I have ever had. Maybe the atmosphere, the surrounding, the cool breeze and the beautiful view of the setting Sun made it even better. After spending sometime on Gun Hill, we started our walk back to our house. The changing hues of the evening sky were amazing.

Changing Hues of the Sky during Sunset

It didn’t take us much time to reach Mall road. Next morning, I had to leave Mussoorie for Delhi. But, I knew that there was a lot to be explored in Mussoorie and I would be back for more…

28 Comments

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    • amit.gupta says:

      Thanks, Manu! I am glad you liked the post and the pictures. You are right…Mussoorie looks beautiful during and after the rains…Lots of greenery, clear blue skies after the rain, great views of Himalayan peaks etc. make it a wonderful experience.

      I’ll surely share more experiences and photographs in future!

      Regards,
      Amit

  • vinaymusafir says:

    Well clicked photographs, great narration.
    Last weekend I was in Mussoorie, soon I will post the story.
    I couldn’t go Gun Hill, is there any tracking path to Gun Hill.
    I saw only Company garden & Mall Road there, what else Could I see?

    • amit.gupta says:

      Thanks, Vinay! For Gun Hill, there is a path starting near Jhoola Ghar rickshaw stand on the Mall road.
      There are many more places that can be visited. If you like offbeat places and don’t mind walking, you can go up to Lal Tibba through Landour. Lal Tibba would be approx 4 kms from Picture Palace. On the way to Lal Tibba, you can visit Char Dukan, St. Paul’s Church, Sister’s Bazaar…The walk up to Lal Tibba is excellent after Landour market as you get excellent views of the Himalayan peaks.

      You can also visit places like Dhanaulti, Kempty Falls, Yamuna Bridge etc.

  • Ramesh S says:

    Amit, I have enjoyed with the wonderful photographs and the nicely written article. Really a great start and looking forward for more…

    Ramesh S

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Welcome to Ghumakkar, Amit. You have made a spectacular debut with Mussoorie serving as a beautiful backdrop. You have a way with words and an artist’s eye which is essential for producing great images.

    Your insight about commercial interests ruining natural beauty is spot on. Hopefully, with eradication of poverty and illiteracy, we will also learn to respect our precious heritage and be responsible tourists.

    Looking forward to many more delightful posts from you.

    • amit.gupta says:

      Thanks for your wonderful comments! Comments like these will surely motivate me to write more. :-)

      Sadly, for Mussoorie and other places, the educated and well-to-do are equally responsible for the mess. Each morning you’ll find garbage (empty cups, packets, bhutta etc) strewn on the Mall Road. People have no respect for the place they are visiting.

      Even people from Delhi and other places buy property and setup business in Mussoorie without bothering if it ruins the local system…They just mint money during the season and go back each year.

      • D.L.Narayan says:

        Amit, if you noticed, I have used the word illiteracy and not education. A majority of the noveau literate are yet to inculcate in themselves the sensibilities one expects of the educated. Hopefully, the next generation will learn not to litter or scrawl graffiti and to give due respect to heritage and environment.

  • Vipin says:

    First of all, many congratulations Amit ji for your first post and welcome to Ghumakkar family !!!

    The photos are absolutely stunning and the narration is equally attractive. This leaves us no choice but to visit this heavenly land very soon……keep travelling & keep sharing……

  • Monty says:

    Dear Amit,

    you wrote extraordinary about ordinary hill station mussorie. I went here when i was very young. I found one common thing in between you and me that is ‘CAMEL BACK’. Relay it is very beautiful. One more thing if you go “CAMEL BACK’ at 5:00 to 6:00 early morning you will find it breathtaking.

    whatever you reached to excellence in this post….

    i enjoyed a lot..

    thanks

  • Welcome to Ghumakkar with a bang…………………..Dear Amit………………..

    A very well written wonderful description with breath taking pictures have made this post pleasant..

    You have great potential to be a very good writer in Ghumakkar.People will really enjoy your posts .

    So please write more and continue here forever……………………..

    Thanks for taking us to Mussourie……………………

  • ???? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ????????? ?? ????? ??? ?????? ??, ???? ?????? ????? ???, ??? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ?????? ?????, ???? ????? ?? ????? ???? ??-?????? ???? ????? ???? ???? ?? ??? ???

  • Deepak says:

    Hey Amit, A great post on Mussorie. Even I am from Lucknow, and hope to settle in the Hills someday. I too love the mountains and like you, even I was quite disappointed after my first Mussorie visit. We had visited it in June, probably the most humid time of year and the trip was a disaster from the beginning. First, 1 out of 4 persons cancelled, 3 replacements also cancelled, so finally the three of us went. That time, we chose to take a train and it was damn humid and the train stood still more than it moved. Even at Mussorie, the first driver was not good, he wasnt happy if we wanted to stop en route, the places that were shown to us did not have any charm and the guides took us up and down Mussorie for every next “Spot”. We didnt feel Mussorie and any good spots, because the spots were like an artificial lake that was more like a pond, the garden which was not looking good at that time etc. Even Kempty falls was littered with trash and although we had a good sprinkle in it, it was dampened due to the ill maintenance. While coming back, we saw Sahastradhara and it was okay and we again had a row with the driver, because mid way he bailed out and handed us over to another driver, who again did not give us proper information and because of which we missed FRI. :p
    However, later on one of my friends (he was with us in my trip to mussorie) went to Mussorie again later, at the right time and he immensely enjoyed. So, I believe, due to excessive commercialization etc. Mussorie should be enjoyed only at the right time and more offbeat locations should be sought after and guides etc should be avoided. Its best if we can befriend some locals for advise or have any relatives who could either take us to proper spots, the hidden jewels or at least tell us where to go. This, you seem to have done and thus bring the charm back to Mussorie. I will also give it another chance some day (probably around the monsoons) and my expectations remain high from the Queen …

    • amit.gupta says:

      Thanks, Deepak! The artifical lake and Kempty falls are two places that I have never visited despite visiting Mussoorie several times in the last few years…Reason being the crass commercialization that has ruined these places…I have passed by Kempty Falls while on my way to Yamuna Bridge…The place seemed to be in a total mess and is best avoided…

      However, there are several places in Landour or towards Hathi paon that can be visited…Do visit Mussoorie when these is less crowd and visit off beat places…You’ll surely enjoy…

      Feel free to ask me about any place that you would want to visit in Mussoorie… :-)

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Welcome aboard Amit.

    I had the similar feeling about Mussorrie but after I visited it a couple of times, it changed. There is a lot to discover there. I have never seen the ‘Camel Back Rock’ so many thanks. The pics are your forte for sure. Some of them are simply out of the word (as what Manu says).

    Hope to read more from you and wishing you, Priya and the little one loads of Ghumakkari and good times ahead.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Amit,
    A warm welcome to Ghumakkar family. The post was very beautifully written adorned with mesmerizing pictures. I specially liked the pictures Clouds over Doon Valley and Gun Hill. Your entry at ghumakar was dashing.

    I hope you’ll take us to some more beautiful places through your travel stories on ghumakkar.com.

    Secondly, like we all regular authors and readers at ghumakkar read, and appreciate the posts of other authors you also are requested to read the stories of other authors and motivate them through your regular and valuable comments.

    Some authors are there on ghumakkar who come to ghumakkar only when their post is published, they gather comments and appreciation from the readers, enjoy this praise and then disappear for a long period…….. and they again come to ghumakkar only when their next post gets published …and again disappear for months to come.

    I hope you will prove yourself a good critic and commentator on ghumakkar rather than enjoying only the post of self, collecting claps and getting disappeared.

    Thanks.

    • amit.gupta says:

      Thanks for your wonderful comments! I’ll surely try to get involved and comment on other posts.

      In my subsequent posts, I’ll surely take you to some more beautiful spots in Mussoorie and other places. :-)

  • Sanghamitra says:

    loved your post..I’ve been to mussoorie long time back when i was a kid…i just remember it to be a very misty and serene plce..i’m sure it has changed a lot in those years..but noone can take away the age old charm associated with these places

    • amit.gupta says:

      Sanghamitra, glad that you liked it! It has changed a lot in the past few years with commercialization taking its toll…However, it still is misty especially during monsoons. :-)

  • Robin says:

    thanks for valuable guidance about mussorie….really its soothing to see the snaps .i saw a cable car trolley how isit?? is it safe for old & kids too,n what r the charges , your advice will be highly apprreciated.

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