It was the last week of March 2009. One day, my wife complained to me that I always go alone for travel and never took her with me.
My wife “You travel to Amarnath Ji every year but never took me, this year I will go with you”.
I asked “who will keep our kids. Shagun (my younger daughter) is yet to complete two years and we cannot take them to Amarnath Ji”.
My wife “Ok then, take us to some another hill station where we all can go and this place should be new, which I have not visited earlier.”
So verdict was given and now it was my duty to search a hill station for visit with condition applied. I zeroed-in on Mussoorie as it is not far away from Ambala and can be covered in just two days. As our journey dates were near Baisakhi, so my mother advised me to return via Rishikesh and have a dip in Holy Ganges on Baisakhi day. We extended our journey by one day to include Rishikesh and decided to leave for Mussoorie on 11 April 2009 for three days.
Now for Mussoorie, we have to reach Dehradun and it is accessible by road as well as by train from Ambala. By train, it is 213 KM and the only direct train between Ambala and Dehradun, 14632 ASR DDN EXPRESS, goes via Haridwar and takes 06.30 hrs to reach Dehradun which is long enough. The road distance between Ambala and Dehradun is just 150 KM but bus journey is very pathetic, especially between the Yamunanagar and Saharanpur. So we decided to go by train up to Saharanpur (80 KM) and by bus from Saharanpur to Dehradun (70 KM). There are number of trains between Ambala and Saharanpur.
On 11 April 2009, my wife got up early in the morning. She prepared and packed lunch for us and I packed the entire luggage. While leaving for any journey I always prefer to take one time home prepared meal with me. After getting ready we left for Railway station to catch the Train Ganganagar-Haridwar Express whose scheduled departure time from Ambala was (is) 10:35 AM. The train arrived on time and we boarded the train. The train took just 1:30 hrs to reach at Saharanpur. We left the train and came out of the railway station. Bus stand of the Saharanpur is small and like Ambala Cantt, it is just opposite the railway station. Buses for Dehradun and Haridwar were readily available. We bought some fruits from there and took the bus for Dehradun. Road condition was good and some last part of the journey was through hilly terrain. We reached at Dehradun bus stand around 2:00 PM. We enquired about the bus or taxi to Mussoorie from the counter. The person sitting at the counter replied that there is another bus stand in the Dehradun called Mussoorie bus stand from where we can get buses and taxi for Mussoorie. We hired an auto for Rs. 50 to reach there. Frequency of buses for Mussoorie was not sufficient and it was mere one per hour or even less but there were plenty of taxies. There may be some understanding between the taxi operators and UP roadways. Less number of buses means more business for taxies. Anyhow, we booked two seats @ Rs. 100 per seat (or 120 not remember now) in a shared taxi from prepaid counter. It was Ambassador Nova car and I sat on front seat between one co-passenger and driver and my wife along with our daughters sat on rear seat with two another ladies.
The road distance between Dehradun and Mussoorie is 35 km and it takes approximate one and half hour to cover the distance. Average elevation (altitude) of Dehradun is 1387 feet and of Mussoorie is 6155 feet. First 10-11 KM of this road passes through planes of Dehradun and after then hilly area starts. It means that in a short span of 24 KM, elevation increases by 4768 feet, 200 feet per KM!
It was very hot in Dehradun and around 14.30 hrs taxi started and after 15-20 minutes running on crowded, dusty and polluted roads of Dehradun, it entered in hilly area. Bends were sharp and after falling on each other on each bend for one long hour we reached Picture Palace Bus Stand Mussoorie. There are three bus/taxi stands in Mussoorie.
Picture Palace bus stand: From here tourist can get taxi for Mussoorie and other palaces. Have very good taxi services as well as Bus Service. From here tourist can get Bus Services mainly for Dehradun. It lies on Dehradun side and is at the Confluence point for launder market road and the mall road near the Nagarpalika office. Phone number of Picture Palace bus stand is 0135-2632259.
Library bus stand: It is at the other end of town. It was known as the Library Chowk due to the presence of town library in the vicinity. This is the beginning of Mall road and lies on Kempty Falls side. The library bus stand is the centre for all processions, really crowded during peak season (Apr-Jul end, Dec). Confluence point for Kempty fall road, Municipal Gardens, The Mall road and Mussoorie-Dehradun Road. Phone number of Library bus stand is 0135-2632258.
Kempty Bus Stand: It is near the library Chowk .Buses and taxies for Kempty falls are available from here.
Before reaching Mussoorie, the driver asked me at which stand he should drop us. This was a new question for me. I had already come to this place twice but both times for one day trip by bus directly to Mussoorie and was not familiar to this. I asked him that what is better. He replied if you want to visit only Kempty fall then go at Library bus stand and if you want to stay here and love to roam in mall road market then picture place stand is better. From Library bus stand, you will need to hire rickshaw each time you want to come in the mall road market, gun hill pint, Jhula Ghar etc. So we decided to stop at Picture Place stand.
After reaching there I looked 3-4 hotels and finally checked in one of them. I forget the hotel name now but it was near parking area on launder market road. (Actually when we went there, I have never thought, even in dreams, that one day I will write down this travelogue.)
After some rest in the room, we ate the packed lunch and then I enquired from the hotel reception about conveyance to Kempty fall. The receptionist advice me to visit the Kempty fall next morning as it was already 4 PM and we could not reach there before 5:30 PM and also, it will be difficult to find shared Taxi or Bus from Kempty bus stand in the evening.
I was in a fix. As per the initial plan we have to visit Kempty fall today only. We had no other way out so we decided to have a walk on the Mall road. Weather was little cold so my wife covered our daughters with sweaters. At around 1700 hrs we came out of the hotel to roam around the area. As our hotel was near Mall Road, we started walking on Mall road. Mall Road is full of Hotels, Branded show rooms, Restaurants, eatery and gift shops. It was full of tourists.
Atmosphere was very pleasant and the tourists were enjoying it while roaming on the mall road. We kept on walking towards Liberty Chowk and enjoying the pleasant cool weather. At the end of market we came across a place named as Jhula Ghar. There were many swings and eateries shops at that place. The place was full with tourists and children were enjoying on swings.
There were also some photo shops where one can get their picture clicked with the traditional dresses. Cycle Rickshaws are available from this point for Municipality Garden, Library Chowk, Kempty bus stand etc. These Rickshaws are not allowed in market area beyond this point .Horse riding is also available from this point and it was allowed in market area also. We took some snacks there and after spending some good time there we start returning to our hotel through same market again.
Rush had increased in the market then. All the shops in the market were glowing with lights. The cold air was blowing and as both of us had not wear any woolen, we were feeling the cold air more. On our way back to our room we took hot Jalebis and hot milk from a sweet shop to keep our bodies warm. Due to late launch, snacks at Jhula Ghar and a dose of milk-jalebi combination, no appetite /desire was left for dinner. We came back to room at 20:30 hrs and that finishes our day 1.
(All the photographs are taken with mobile and some snaps are of not good quality. Please bear.)