On April 29, my wife, who was at her mom’s home, called me up in the evening and expressed her wish to see Lansdowne. As Lansdowne is not so far, so it was easy to plan this trip, also I disparately wanted to be there. But while hiding my eagerness, I showed that I was going there only for her.
Next day, I woke up at 2:55 AM and wait for my mobile to sing the alarm tone, which was set for 3:00 AM. After discontinuing that I took a shower, packed my bag and left home for Lansdowne at 4 AM in Ritz. It’s always pleasant to drive on roads with no traffic and red lights. I crossed Delhi with in few minutes, but one mistake I made was, I couldn’t fill the fuel tank in Delhi, which I did in Ghaziabad, and got petrol Rs 3 costlier. Well no regret, at speed of 70 Km/h with loud music in car, it took 4 hours to reach Nazibabad. I had some work to do, so stayed for some time there, had breakfast. On my way, I already had picked my wife along with her brother, Ashwani.
Hills in Kotdwar welcomed us with warm and nurturing love. We bought some fruits and moved on. We crossed Sidhbali Mandir and Durga devi Mandir on our way, about these two temples I have written in my previous post. Url is :- Kotdwar’s temples
While driving up, we saw the sign board, indicating that the Lansdowne was 22 Km ahead. I didn’t know that the driving in hills could be so adventure. We stopped for a moment, had some photographs, admired the beauty of hills, and drove on.
Facts about Lansdowne: Lansdowne is the less known, small and beautiful hill station. It is situated 45 km from Kotdwar on the route Kotdwar-Pauri road in the Pauri Garhwal district, Uttaranchal. Lansdowne was Originally known as, Kaludanda, after Kalun (Black) and Danda (Hill) in local language and is surrounded by oak and blue pine forests, the hill station of Lansdowne is a place devoid of the hustle and bustle of other hill stations. Lansdowne was founded and named after then Viceroy of India, Lord Lansdowne in 1887, and by 1901 it had a population of 3943. Lansdowne was developed by the British for catering for the Recruits Training center of the Garhwal Rifles. Lansdowne was a major place of the activities of freedom fighters from British Garhwal during British period. Nowadays, the famous Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army has its head-quarter here. They have maintained the hill station very well and the place is still an ideal place to be with near and dear ones.
Coming back on my travel story…The temperature was very pleasant that day. Ashwani told me that he was there last winter with friends and it was severe cold then with snowfall and temperature below zero, they enjoyed a lot as everywhere was covered with snow. After a one and half hour pleasant drive, we finally reached Lansdowne. We found army people everywhere; they were very much openhearted and guided us well. An army man showed us the way to Bhulla lake and other places to see.
Bhulla lake was our first visited place in Lansdowne . It is a small man-made lake and is maintained by the Indian Army. Bhulla in Gharwali means younger brother. The lake has boating facilities, a small amusement park making it an ideal place for picnics. It also has a pair of duck, who always swim together. Garden in the area was maintained so well, that you would love to come again & again.
For an even more spectacular view, we went ahead towards a point called Tiffin Top. Tip-in- top or Tiffin top is at the summit of Lansdowne and that was established by Britishers. Air was completely peaceful and mountains were looking divinely and we were sitting on the Tiffin top looking milky white far shining peaks. There were 2 Huts near to Tip-in-top arranged by GMVN.
Then we drove ahead to Santoshi Mata temple, which is also the highest point in Lansdowne. It had a few steps to climb and some bells were tied on its way. We spent some time in temple and sang Santoshi maa arti. There were all the main music instruments used in bhajans, for visitors.
St John’s Catholic Church was our next destination, which was closed that time. It’s an old church established in 1936. I could wait till it opened, but none of others wished so, so we moved on.
Then came Darban Singh Sangrahalaya, also known as Garwhal Regiment museum. The time to visit is 8 AM to 12 AM and 4 PM to 6 PM in summer, and 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM in winter. Entry fee was Rs 35 only, and photography was restricted. Area around the museum was very well decorated with the different varieties of flowers. Nearby was an old cemetery of the British Raj era. We spent some time reading tombstones over there. Few meters ahead there were Sadar bazaar, a nearby gurudwara, and a mosque, where we couldn’t go.
The whole Lansdowne was clean and well maintained by army there. Parking was everywhere and for free. We found all the people having welcoming nature. There are some good hotels for accommodation like Blue Pine Resort, Fairydale Resort, Hotel Mayur, Jadali Guest House, Kasnag Regency, Shanti Raj Hill Cave Resort, and I heard The Anand Retreat is the best there and Hotel Mayur is the great choice for food. We had to come back on same day so we decided to leave Landsdowne, then here I made a promise to come back again but this time at the presence of snow.
While coming back from Lansdowne, we made a video. Watch it, its a real fun to drive in the hills of Lansdown on its zig-zag roads. The url for video is below:-
Summary:- People from Delhi NCR can make to Lansdowne in week-ends. I drove Maruti Suzuki Ritz, spent Rs 2,200 for petrol, left Faridabad at 4 AM and could reach Lansdowne by 10 AM, if didn’t stay at Najibabad for 2 hours. Lansdowne is 295 km from Delhi, 95 km from Haridwar and 150 km from Dehradun. The Road route from Delhi to Lansdowne:-
Delhi -> Ghaziabad -> Modi Nagar -> Meerut -> Mawana -> Meerapur -> Bijnaur -> Kiratpur -> Nazibabad -> Kotdwar -> Lansdowne
The nearest railhead for Lansdowne is Kotdwar, which is well connected by buses. Lansdowne is also linked by a motorable road to almost all the important cities in Uttaranchal. There are two main trains from Old Delhi to Kotdwar :- Missouri Express, Garhwal Express.