Visit to Lansdowne – A journey unforgettable

Lansdowne is a small cantonment town in the Garhwal Himalayas. It is approximately 280 kms from Delhi. Nearest railway station is Kotdwar. Lansdowne is 40 kms from Kotdwara on Pauri road. I have been to Lansdowne three times. Or, should I say, I have had flavor of Lansdowne in autumn, winter and summer; and would visit during next week for a flavour of Lansdowne monsoon.

For the benefit of all Ghumakkars, my Lansdowne experience is here in one story. Any suggestions, feedback, critic are welcome.

Lansdowne – love at first sight
(Account of my first visit to Lansdowne during October 2009)

On 25th Oct morning my wife simply dropped the name of a place called Lansdowne that one of her colleagues has mentioned as a place worth visiting. I don’t know why but it stuck to me like super glue and the first thing on reaching office was to google Lansdowne. Within 10 minutes I had decided that our weekend destination would be Lansdowne and not Rishikesh as they are at the same distance from Delhi. Having decided upon the destination, the problem was to find suitable accommodation at Lansdowne. I found there are not many options. The only good options are – Oak Grove Inn, Fairy Dale, Blue Pine and some Jungle Resort called Ananda (good?).

After realizing that neither Oak Grove nor Fairy Dale nor Ananda had any suites left, I booked a family suite at Blue Pine Resort. The contact person at Delhi Mr Dharmendra surprised me by confirming my booking even before the payment! “Sirji, main booking conform kar raha hoon aap par bharosa kar ke bas aap booking cancel mat karna”. And in next 5 minutes, Blue Pine Resort Voucher was there in my gmail inbox . Thanks Dharmendra for your help and Bharosa which I hope I did not break.

On the D-Day we started at 10.30 AM from our home and thanks to some perpetual construction work of Delhi and savings done by MCD and other authorities by not putting navigation / sign boards, we could get out of the city not before 12.15 PM. The joy was short-lived as another major traffic jam was waiting for us at Modinagar. This traffic jam took us more than an hour to cross Modinagar.

Post Modinagar, our journey was not very eventful for some time…because I realized the mistake later only. After Modinagar when we reached Meerut, thinking that I might save some time bypassing the city, I made a mistake that cost me 25 km extra run and maybe 40 minutes more. My mistake was actually accentuated by Google map as it showed the route via Khatauli, which is actually a longer route than via Mawana. I thought it was futile to repent the mistake and enjoy the journey irrespective of the route. All roads lead to Rome. Via Mawana or via Khatauli, you can reach Lansdowne any way. From Khatauli we have to take right and after railway crossing move on Meerapur road, which is a 20 km drive from Khatauli. On both sides there were lush green fields and road was really good. Moreover, there was virtually no traffic on the entire stretch upto Meerapur. From Meerapur we have to take left and after moving about 200 mtrs take right at the crossing where Monty Millions restaurant is situated.

Since we had already lost much time as already mentioned and we were carrying our food, we continued our journey on Bijnor road. This point onwards our journey was really pleasant as the road is really good and traffic volume is low. Our beloved Santro touched 120 kmph many times on this stretch. However, there was a bottleneck at Najibabad due to construction work of a fly-over. That was a really bad patch of road to negotiate, especially with a car. From Najibabad upto Kotdwar the journey was largely uneventful, except occasional view of monkeys and other wild animal.

Around 5 PM we reached Kotdwar. Lansdowne is only 40 km from Kotdwar. We were wondering – where is the hill station? There was no sign of any hill landscape and we were only 40km from Lansdowne. But then, we had not even crossed Kotdwar and suddenly the landscape changed. We felt as if under a magical charm. The plains have transformed into hills!! This was the first of many ‘wow’ moments during our Lansdowne visit. You feel like standing at a threshold where you see plains on your back and the hills next to you! Awful… we embarked upon the roller-coaster from Kotdwar to Lansdowne.

Garhwall Himalayas view

As you start ascending from Kotdwar the landscape changes dramatically. The Garhwall Himalyas begin to give glimpses of their majesty. Road is exceptionally good, owing to the presence of the Garhwal Regiment. While we were about 10 kms from Lansdowne, the Garhwall Himalayan Hills started unfolding their magic and mysticism. All of a sudden we found ourselves engulfed by clouds and visibility was hardly 5 meters! Looking down the valley filled with clouds I felt at the door of eternity.

Amidst the clouds and the valley

There was nothing beyond this point except white and grey thick volume of clouds. I could have never imagined that such a place existed so close to Delhi. By the time we reached Blue Pine Resort, 3 km before Lansdowne, the clouds had receded into some unknown oblivion and the visual spectacle of the hills and valleys was restored.

At the resort Mr Jitendra the manager welcomed us. We were quickly taken to our family suite on second floor which was a spacious and comfortable room. After negotiating minor glitches of housekeeping, soon we were enjoying tea in the balcony. A good thing about Blue Pine Resort is that all its rooms are valley facing. I inhaled fresh air which filled my lungs alongwith the aroma of butter chicken! Yes, our room was above the kitchen exhaust. While having tea, we again found ourselves in the midst of clouds and the valley again transformed into the door of eternity. Soon the clouds again receded. The clouds were playing hide and seek with the hills and the valley. Nature was demonstrating its jubilation. Welcome to Lansdowne. This peculiar phenomenon gives this otherwise non-assuming place its distinct character.

As the night unfolded there was an absolute and divine serenity and silence in the vicinity. You can have effortless meditation at this place. The silence was broken abruptly by a Punjabi Pop and we were astonished to see the DeeJay (DJ) with its complete paraphernalia on the terrace of the resort. This was unbelievable. Have we come this far from Delhi to listen to this creep and bear this DJ? I called the manager in utter irritation and anger. But his answer rendered me speechless. “Sir, we never knew in our life what a DJ is. It was on the insistence of tourists from big cities (read Delhi) that we had to arrange for it. We ourselves do not like it. But tell me what we can do when the group bookings are made only after extortion of assurance of DJ?” I can only sympathize with these people who are so unfortunate that they do not know what to do with this blissful silence other than breaking it. This DJ drama starts at 7 PM and runs upto 10 PM. There goes your quite evening. There and then I took the vow – never ever to stay at the Blue Pine Resort. This was my simple escape because I cannot expect these people to change. May be it is the only way they can enjoy. Anyway, two shots of Fuel and the food somehow calmed the temper. Food was really good and the buffet is very reasonably priced too. This place however has no bar so better you carry your booze. We were so tired that never realized when felt asleep.

Next morning we woke up with a magnificent sunrise which filled the valley with its warmth and i lluminated the hills with its golden rays. I reminisced beautiful lyrics of a Sufi song – ‘aj din chadeya tere rang verga’. I realized how fast paced our life has become that we have no time to take a pause and absorb the beauty and serenity of nature. The terraces of houses nestled in the valley were reflecting sunrays which created illumination of gold. Wonderful.

Enroute Tarakeshwar

The first item on our itinerary was visit to Tarakeshwar, a 600 years old Shiva Temple approximately 40 kms from Lansdowne. After quick tea at 8.15 am we began our journey to Tarakeshwar and decided to have breakfast on the way. The first left turn on Lansdowne-Kotdwar Road is the road to Tarakeshwar. The road is very good for its surface, again thanks to the Garhwal Regiment, but very tricky and testing for any amateur driver from plains. A bright sunny morning, fresh air and the company of my little angel, my son Chaitanya, made it a wonderful drive. We stopped near a knoll which provided good vantage point to see the thin line of the river flowing at the bed of the valley. After some pics and absorbing serenity of the place we resumed journey to Tarakeshwar. Suddenly there appeared a wild fox on the road. It was baffled to see us curious onlookers and after following us for a while vanished into the forests. Soonafter we crossed a small kasba ‘Sikandi’. There is only one small eatery and at that time the smell of hot samosas compelled us to stop. I quickly got samosas packed for all of us. We were so hungry that we devoured all samosas within no time. Those were really tasty samosas – less spicy, very lite and fresh, just like good home-made ones.

Moving on from Sikandi, we reached a signboard for Tarkeshwar 5 Km left. At this point you have to depart from the main road and turn to left on a very fragile earthen road. At many places there is virtually no road. The track is so narrow that two vehicles can not cross simultaneously. The Murphy’s Law makes the life further miserable on this track. I came across another vehicle from opposite site at the most difficult of curves I have ever negotiated. One needs to very cautious, patient and vigilant on this stretch to Tarakeshwar. At a point of time I was cursing myself for giving such harassment to my beloved Santro. But this beauty from Hyundai stable proved its mettle again and negotiated this stretch with élan. I reminisced our Himachal trip in December 2008 when our Santro took us comfortably from Delhi to Chail, Fagu, Narkanda, Shimla and back to Delhi.

At Tarakeshwar, you have to park vehicle about 100 mtrs from the temple where you start descending amidst dense forest of Deodars. Soon we were standing at the gate of Tarakeshwar temple. The impregnable canopies of Deodars do not permit any sun rays to touch the ground, even though it was a bright sunny day.

A unique divine serenity surrounded this place. Such an elegant expression of divinity rendered me numb and speechless. Beyond doubt this is an abode of the Shiva. Visiting Tarakeshwar is a life time opportunity for rendezvous with the divinity expressed as nature. This was a spiritual experience of highest order and it would a travesty to try to explain it in words.

While ascending to the parking there is a small ‘Maheshwari Ashram’ where we had tea. The caretaker of the Ashram Mr Kamal Dev was quintessential of Garhwali simplicity and hospitality. You can have your lunch organized at this place if you intimate the Ashram in advance. Also, it is only at this Ashram you can find a toilet. There is no other toilet in the temple complex and unlike the rest of India you are not allowed to relieve in the open.

Mesmerized with Tarakeshwar, in terms of both the roller-coaster ride as well as the wonderful spiritual experience, we started journey back to Lansdowne. A Garhwali woman asked for lift upto ‘Sikandi’. She opened a new window to understand the life of the people of this place. She talked with us about her village, fields, crops, livestock, relatives, issue of migration, her spiritual guru, et al. This was an entirely different perspective on life for us urban people. No wonder this region produces the bravest soldiers and hardworking people. What we need to learn the most is that they do not crib on trivial infirmities of life. These simple yet strong and composed people of Garhwal are the best exponents of the prayer that we often make but seldom do –

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

It is the connect and acknowledgement of the interdependence with the nature that enables these people negotiate life in hills with humility and grace. Compared to them I feel myself so down at the pedestal.

We dropped the mother Garhwal at ‘Sikandi’ and she gave my son a Garhwali kheera – the biggest cucumber I have ever seen. After mutual thanksgiving we parted our ways and headed for the same ‘Khantwal Restaurant and Tourist Hotel’ where we had picked samosas in the morning. After a simple yet very tasty lunch – Dal (mixed lentils and kidney beans), sabzi, rice, chapati and Thums-up we headed for Lansdowne and by 2.30 pm we were back at the Blue Pine Resort.

Since we had to leave for Delhi next morning we decided to check the town before day end and defer visiting other nearby places for next visit. Lansdowne is 3 km from Blue Pine Resort. At around 3.30 we started for town. Suddenly I realized that the indicator of my car’s fuel tank was limping leftward. I should have topped up the fuel tank at Kotdwar which is the nearest petrol tank from Lansdowne at a distance of 40 km. I wished I could get just 2-3 liters petrol to raise my comfort level. We decided to try luck in the town.

As we reached the entry point of Lansdowne the boards, hoardings and a huge commemorative Garhwal Regiment wall welcomed us. Moving little further I saw a parking sign board indicating to the left. I was amazed as the road connecting to the parking ground – more appropriately a pit – was in very bad shape. Somehow I managed to park the car but as I came out towards the regiment gate I realized what a blunder I have committed. The sentry at the Regiment gate told us that it is the abandoned parking whereas town in far ahead and you can drive down up to the last point of Lansdowne!!! Hi, hope you had never seen such a big idiot! Thanks sentry! It was with great difficulty and able navigation of my wife and son that I could come out of that parking pit… with car of-course. Be careful, if anybody listening.

Next we reached ‘Bhulla Lake’, which a good place for ‘point-to-point tourists’ – a term coined by my wife for tourists anxiously hoping from one place to another without bothering to absorb or connect with any place fully! So at Bhulla Lake, an ordinary artificial water body dug by trainee soldiers and maintained by the cantonment board, you can do boating, buy herbal plants, climb the tree house, have a snack and coke / coffee at the café while your kids / brats enjoy swings / slides / jumps. That is all… Bhulla Lake for you.
To be honest we were more anxious to leave this place as our mission was to somehow manage a couple of gallons of petrol. We asked three different persons – an army jawan, café manager and a curious onlooker – Can we get some petrol here anywhere in Lansdowne? Threesome gave the same reply – go to sadar bazar and ask for Guptaji’s Chakki (Flour mill). This was really quintessential of our transparency. A secret known to everyone that where you can get petrol in black market. Necessity necessitates necessary necessity!!! If there were any petrol pump in Lansdowne, there would have been no market for black market. It is simple lifenomics. As we started from Bhulla Lake towards Sadar Bazar we saw a family – a middle aged couple with their daughter – waving hand for lift. With pleasure we obliged and welcomed them in our car with the question of the day – where to find petrol? Swift came the same reply- the Chakki at Sadar Bazar. The gentlemen told that they were going to Kotdwar to attend a wedding. Soon we reached Sadar Bazar and we found a cab ready for Kotdwar. But wait, another example of Garhwali generosity was in store for us. The gentleman let go the cab and said first let us get petrol for you and then they will proceed to Kotdwar. He led me to the Chakki and I could make out our savior was a well known person. For Guptaji obliged us with five liters of petrol at almost market price. We thanked them and filled the belly of Santro. It was 6.45 pm and we decided to call it a day and retire to Blue Pine.
Next day…


Booking.com


Last day of the first visit to Lansdowne

Having accomplished mission petrol, we called it a day and reached hotel by 7 PM. We had to leave for Delhi next morning. We decided for 9 AM start-off.

Next morning I woke up at 6.30 AM. I had to fulfill the promise made to Chaitanya – take him for trekking. Leaving other members to recuperate from yesterday’s journey, I and Chaitanya hit the trek to Lansdowne which passes through the hills above Blue Pine Resort. The morning mist and fog welcomed us. We felt transported to a different world. Chaitanya aptly described as if surfing on clouds.

Chaitanya enjoying his trip

Slowly but steadily we kept moving enjoying wonderful scenic beauty. This trek is not so easy to negotiate for a six years old boy. But my little brave-heart moved on with little but firm steps. Chaitanya’s company is always a learning opportunity for me. Seeing the world from his perspective is an eye opener many times. I had some lessons in the art of observation as he pointed out some beautiful wild flowers which might be peculiar to this region. Chaitanya has a sharp memory. He recalled that we had never seen such flowers in the plains and not even in the Himachal at the places we have visited so far. I reminisced how we had lost the way during a trekking in Himachal last year and it was only due to clues left by Chaitanya we could find the way back. Keep it up buddy.

On the way up-hill we came across some local people who must be daily commuters. It is the vantage point that makes the world look different. We were trekking for fun and joy; these people were trekking to negotiate day-to-day life!

Serene landscape

On reaching the top we stopped short of Lansdowne town as we had to start-off to Delhi. There amidst the dense forest, looking down serpentine roads and breathing fresh air we felt rejuvenated instantly. In that serenity and silence I and Chaitanya paused to offer a prayer to Mother Nature. That blissful moment can not be relived through words.

We reached hotel around 9 AM. We had enough time for a quick round of the town before starting-off to Delhi. We passed through the town and headed for ‘Tip-n-top’ which provides a good vantage point for Garhwall Hills. On a clear day you may have a glimpse of Garhwall Himalayas as well. There is a cafe and tourist bungalow run by GMVN. We, however, had no time to check that.

Last stop at Lansdowne

We bid adieu to Lansdowne with a promise to come back and started for Delhi at around 10 AM. Road to Kotdwar was familiar now. We stopped at a place and descended for our first ever rendezvous with a hill river. This beautiful shallow river was flowing at the bed of the valley, sustaining life in small houses on both its banks. After spending some time with the river and collecting an array of pebbles we resumed our journey.

This being Dussehra day, traffic volume was low and the journey uneventful. Midway we stopped at Monty Millions, which is a good place for both food and to freshen up. After a sumptuous lunch, we took Mawana road and passing through Meerut and Modinagar we were home by 6.30 PM.
We had both hands full – overwhelmed by the beauty and majesty of Garhwall Hills and richer in experience. Indeed, Lansdowne will now be one of our favourite holiday destinations.

Lansdowne Travelogue
(Account of my second visit to Lansdowne in December 2011 and third visit in June 2012)

This was our third visit to Lansdowne. But this journey (9-10 June 2012) was special in many ways.
It was our first venture of overnight driving. I love to drive but strictly follow the ‘sun-rise to sun-set’ rule while driving on highways and in the hills. However, there is always a first time.

We started from Sarita Vihar, and took the following route – Sarita Vihar-Noida-NH24 Bypass Hapur Road-Modinagar-Meerut-Mawana Road-Bijnor-Najibabad-Kotdwar-Dugadda-Jaiharikhal-Oak Groove Inn. Upto Najibabd it was a routine highway drive except for that it really gets spooky at times while driving in the night. However, after Najibabd the road is nicely paved with fluorescent markers which make you feel that you are driving through a river of bright earthen lamps (Mitti Ke Diye) or you are on a run way. All my driving fatigue vanished. It was a beautiful experience which was possible only due to night drive.

We reached Kotdwar around 3.30 am. It was too early for petrol pumps to open but we woke the guards at 4-5 petrol pumps of Kotdwar albeit without success. Disappointed but we started uphill drive. This was the most beautiful part of this journey. At 4 am, the hills were looking wrapped in serenity basking in the bluish grey light of gibbous moon. As we drove further, shades of blue changed gradually and then quickly and finally merged into bright shades of dawn. Added to this, the songs of birds would make this a divine morning raga. This was an experience no words can describe. We reached Oak Groove Inn at 5 am and called Pradeep who received us with a smile (despite that we woke him from sweet early morning sleep), showed our room and obliged us with hot ginger tea, quintessential of Oak Groove Inn hospitality.

At the Oak Groove Inn

It was 5.30 am by the time we settled. Chaitanya and I went to the ‘Hang Out’ to listen to and watch birds. At this quite hour we could spot many beautiful birds which are difficult to spot at any other hour. We went for a leisure walk across the village and had soft and sweet buns with yummy omelette in a village café at 6.30 am. Though we drove the whole night, my mind was fresh and rejuvenated. We returned to our room and took a nap of 3 hours. I woke up at around 10 am and it was time for breakfast, extended one for me and Chaitanya after our early morning buns and eggs.

After breakfast we met our hosts, Mrs and Colonel Rawat who welcomed us with the same warmth and joy with which your parents welcome you. It did not seem like visiting them after six months. It was like we resumed our conversation from where we had stopped last time. One more attraction at this place is that a visit to Pahari village could be organised if you request to the hosts in advance.

At Pahari Village

On our previous visit, we had visited Holi Talli (village at foothill) and had first-hand experience of village life, hospitality and delicious local food. It is an innovative way of the hosts to engage local people in tourism initiative whereby the locals may earn extra income as well. A piece of advice – do visit a Pahari village, if ever you get an opportunity, you would return richer in experience and humble in attitude towards life.

An aerial view of the Pahari VIllage

By 1 pm we were ready to leave to Tarakeshwara, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, 40 kms from Lansdowne. Road to Tarakeshwara is very scenic and even during this peak of summer the amount of greenery on the hills was amazing. A lot of credit for this should go to the Garhawal Rifiles which have a centre here and their presence has contained rapacious exploitation of nature for tourism purpose. The charm of Lansdowne, in fact, is its being laidback. It is a calm, serene and clean place. A heaven for nature lovers.

We reached Tarakeshwara around 2.30 pm. This is a place which is probably the best place for any Sadhana, a place where meditation is effortless. Apart from the spiritual experience at Tarakeshwara, there are two more unique features. One, there are pine and oak trees abound everywhere in Lansdowne but this is the only place in this area which is endowed with Devdars.
Secondly, it is only here I have seen Devdars’ stems splitting like a Trishul as we can see in the picture. How one does interpret this is individual choice but for the believers like me this is an indication of presence of Lord Shiva at Tarakeshwara.

At 3.30 we started from Tarakeshwara to Lansdowne. Mid-way we had lunch at Sisaldi at Khantwal Bhojnalaya. It was simple Dal, Chawal and Subzi in Pahari style but very tasty and light. We also picked some bakery products which are supplied by bakery at Dugadda and found these products (biscotti and rusks) very fresh and delicious. They were very reasonably priced too.
Around 5 pm we reached Gandhi Chowk, the central market of Lansdowne. It is a small bazar with many eateries and also a Cineplex. We had local soft ice-cream and it was yummy. Having spent some time at Chowk we proceeded to Jaiharikhal and reached Oak Groove Inn before sunset.


Booking.com


We went to ‘Hang Out’ and watched sunset. It was a beautiful sight and with hot and tasty pakoras with Chai it was a wonderful evening. After sunset, we set there and had a long chat with our hosts over snacks and drinks. We met a senior couple who had hired a cottage for one month. It was their third month long stay at Lansdowne. It was wonderful meeting with them and their exuberance and positive attitude to life is inspiring.
Dinner was simple home style tasty food. Non-vegetarian food is also cooked on prior notice. We called it a day at 10.30 after dinner and having biscotti, bought at Sisaldi, for desert.
Next morning we woke up late and hurried up packing as we had to leave after breakfast. We bid farewell to our hosts and left to Delhi at 10 am. On the way we met the senior couple whom we had met last evening and had tea with them at their beautiful cottage, which is an extended property of Oak Groove Inn. We discussed an array of topics over tea but more importantly for us it was their resolute passion for hills, travel and life, which we would want to imbibe.
On the way we saw a river stream and went down. It was motorable upto last 100 meters of river bank. We, especially Divya and Chaitanya, enjoyed the natural jacuzzi in local river and spent almost an hour. Water was cool, clear and fresh. Schools of fish shining in bright sun light added to the charm. A long standing wish of Chaitanya was fulfilled. After lots of masti at river we proceeded around 1 pm and after negotiating traffic jam at a temple on a hair pin band, which was caused by irresponsible parking of touris vehicles, we reached Kotdwar. At Kotdwar we tanked up petrol and had refreshing ice-tea and proceeded to Delhi.

We had lunch at Kwality Restaurant at Bijnor and we would definitely recommend this place for its Butter Nan and Shahi Paneer as well as excellent service. This place is towards the end of Bijnor on left hand on Delhi road. After negotiating legendary traffice jam at Modinagar which consumed 45 minutes this time we reached home by 9 pm. One more wonderful visit to the hills which leaves you physically tired but emotionally rejuvenated. We have been to Lansdowne in winter and summer and now we will go to Lansdowne in Monsoon. Amen.

63 Comments

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Welcome aboard Upendra. You have a knack of expression, please do write more.

    Real meaty and comprehensive post of your multiple visits to Lansdowne. I have visited this place twice but both were more than 8 years back. You have covered each and every place in great detail and this Maha Post would help tremendously anyone who is planning a visit.

    Look forward to read more stories from you.

  • JATDEVTA says:

    ???????? ?? ???????,
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  • Warm Welcome to ghumakkar.com Upendra,

    You have a a great ability to express which is a quality very less authors have. Wonderful travelogue. Your description is one of the best as far as new entries are concerned. Each and everything was written in details.

    Only thing that was missing was number of pictures. You could have added probably 4 or 5 more pics I feel.But overall the post was very good and classy read.
    Thanks and keep sharing more travelogues in ghumakkar.com

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Best place to stay in Lansdowne is GMVN hotel & for lunch / dinner , Mayur hotel is best (its my personal opinion)

    As Vishal said I too missed pictures especially Tarkeshwar temple.

    I have been to Lansdowne around 3 years back , if you get time go through the post , link is given below :-

    http://www.ghumakkar.com/2009/06/21/dehradun-lansdowne-gurgaon/

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Dear Upendra,
    Very well description and Photos also good. DJ is essential for Young generation, who has money, some shots then enjoy. Guptaji’s Petrol looks good, but safety aspect and may be Guptaji’s buying this petrol from unauthorized sellers. Will wait for your next post.
    Thanks and regards

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Welcome to ghumakkar, Upendra. Your debut post was a pleasure to read and most of the pictures were beautiful too. However, I am in agreement with the view expressed by others that you should have posted more pictures. A picture, as the saying goes, is worth a thousand words.

    It was distressing to read about the peace and quiet of a serene hill station polluted by loud “music”. Mrs. Sharma was spot-on when she referred to “point-to-point” tourists. You will find that Ghumakkars are different; we are travelers, not mere tourists.

    Hoping that you will keep writing regularly here.

  • rajesh priya says:

    ur lansdown yatra inspire me to be there in coming october.hope i will be there with my family.one thing which is missing in both of ur post ,photographs of tarkeshwar mandir & road which leads to mandir. as earlier u wrote that road condition to mandir was bad,what was ur experience this time?

    • Upendra says:

      You would enjoy the visit. Road condition to Tarkeshwar temple is excellent. There is good mettle road from main road to the temple, a distance to about 5 km. If travelling ex Delhi, my advice is you may start early (say 5 am), you would reach Lansdowne by 12 noon, go straight to Tarakeshwar, you would reach there by 1.30 pm, have lunch at Sisaldi on the way, spend an hour at the temple, by 4 pm you would be back to Lansdowne and check in wherever you choose to stay. Don’t forget to inform your hotel about late check in, if you have already booked for your stay. It may be a little hectic but you will make best use of time and would still have the evening. This is the way I would prefer to do. You may do as per your preference and convenience. It is just a suggestion.

  • Welcome aboard. An wonderful post…

    We must thank the Garhwal Rifles division of the Indian Army (or the God of Nature) to save a place like Lansdowne or Kasauli from becoming another concrete jungles.

    I will love to go just to relax and no ‘NOTHING at these places. The best thing one can do in Lansdowne is go for long and leisurely walks. and if you love to dig nature…color…beauty? Then you should revel in the natural beauty of this place, with the air smelling of pine and . The truth is that the whole hillside is covered with pine, oaks etc.. You name anything…oaks, rhododendrons, devdars and other deciduous trees.. you get to see it.

    It is really sad to know about your experience of DJ in Lansdowne, one of the quietest hill stations of India…we are spoiling everything…

    Look forward to read more from you,

    • Upendra says:

      Thank you. Yes, Garhwal Rifles have done excellent job in saving the natural charm of place like Lansdowne. You are right, long and leisure walks are perhaps the best part of Lansdowne.

  • Virag Sharma says:

    Lovely writeup , enjoyed reading. Trek with son gonna memory of life.

  • venkatt says:

    Welcome aboard, Upendra. A really nice narrative style in your debut post. I could imagine your plight suffering through a DJ for three hours, for all places at Lansdowne. Please include more photos in your future posts.

  • Kabir says:

    Nice write up , i too have been their multiple times. Always love the drive and the place and also would like to suggest readers and travellers that i stopped at a hotel for Lunch called PALM GREENS just before Bijnor and since then have enjoyed lazy lunches at this place everytime i went to Lansdowne.

  • Pragya Sharma says:

    loved it bhaiya…

  • Sanand R says:

    Hi Upendra,

    It’s a pleasure to read your post on your visits to Lansdowne. I have not visited this place but after reading your post, I think I shall do so soon. This post would help tremendously anyone who is planning a visit so I am sharing it on Facebook too. Looking forward to reading more comprehensive travel stories from you.

  • prayags says:

    Thank you for the post. I too have fallen in love with Lansdowne. I have visited it twice and I never a miss post on Ghumakkar on Lansdowne

  • prayags says:

    A personal tip for all the would be visitors to Lansdowne. Try to cross Najibabad before 10:00 A.M. There are are two railway crossing on the highway to Kotdwara and the queues of vehicles on either side can be pretty long.

  • Biswajit Ganguly says:

    Dear Upendra, what a lovely description of a place which was never considered to be among the major travelling spot for tourist in Garhwal region. Your natural abilities of penning smallest observations with uncanny accuracy and showing honest adulations towards mother nature is highly praiseworthy. Your description of the narrowest stretch towards the end of Tarkeshwer temple is almost similar to my Kali temple visit at Chhail which is also the highest peak of that region. I believe inspite of their difficult manueverability nobody till date had met with any unfortunate happenings, perhaps one has to believe the Raksha Kavach provided by the deity of these places really protects us. Some of the phrases that you have used are truly magical and very appropriate and never read earlier. fabulous post with superb narration and classic photographs (Chaitanya seemed to have real good time with caring papa ). Keep writing…………God bless you Biswajit Ganguly

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  • Karan says:

    Hi Upendra

    Loved Your review!!!! You should write more. Even I went to Lansdowne in Aug and ready for my second trip in late december… You can check out photos of Lansdowne on my blog. My be you might decide to go all over again…

    Karan
    http://karantraveller.blogspot.in/2012/12/home-stay-in-true-sense-prem-sadan.html

  • A. Dayal says:

    Hi Upendra,

    Thanks for the nice post. My husband and I are planning to drive from Delhi to Lansdowne on June 15th, 2013 (Saturday). I was wondering if you could help us with some critical information:

    1. My husband has never driven in the hills. How difficult is the drive from Delhi to Lansdowne? Would an absolute novice in hill driving be able to able to negotiate it? We will be driving in an Alto.

    2. Since you say Blue Pine Resort is not the best choice of a hotel, is there any other place you could recommend?

    3. We are planning to stay there for 3 nights. Is that too long a time? We are not really into visiting temples (despite all due regard for the same) and such like. Is there much to do in Lansdowne? If only for sake of relaxing (which is the primary motive of our trip), would 3 nights and 3 days be too long a time? I understand it is a rather subjective opinion but still…

    4. We also has Kasauli on our list of places to visit this summer. If you have been to Kasauli, in terms of ease of getting there and things to do + places to stay in, would you recommend Kasauli or Lansdowne?

    Any help in this matter would be highly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ A. Dayal,

    Here are my suggestions.

    1. There is always a first time. Go slow and steady, do not overtake on turns, give a good boost to horn, drive in day time and you are all set.

    2. I have heard good reviews for ‘Oak Grove Inn’. Here is a link of an old review (http://www.ghumakkar.com/2009/05/09/oak-grove-inn-lansdowne-review/) but should give you a good flair of the place. I do not think they would have any space for June 15 (or for that matter any good hotel , since it is too close a date) but ask Col for his advice. Wishes.

    3. I guess 2 nights and 3 days would be a great balance. If you have more time, then you can drive to ‘Rishikesh’ on the way back and stay there for a night.

    4. Lansdowne is under 6 hours from Delhi-UP border. Kasauli is under 7 hours from Dli-Haryana border. Depending on where you stay, take your pick. Kasauli is more hep, Lansdowne is more quaint. If I have to pick, I would pick Lansdowne since Kasauli would be bursting with people from Dli and Chd. You can find lot of logs on Kasauli here.

    Good luck.

    • A. Dayal says:

      Many thanks for the help, Nandan Jha. We decided to postpone the journey to a later date due to a personal emergency but we will surely be planning a trip to Lansdowne/Kasauli in the next season. Your inputs would continue to remain helpful. Many thanks again!

  • V Kumar says:

    Hi Upendra,

    I am planning a trip to Lansdowne from Delhi. I have never driven in the hills and I’ll be driving a safari. I want to have an experience of driving on hills and my friends suggested that this place is not that hilly to reach. So, my question is will it be difficult for the first timer to drive a tata safari (With huge turning radius) on that road?

    Thanks.

    • Abhishek says:

      Hey V Kumar ,

      How was your trip to Lansdowne with Safari? I am also going to Lansdowne on 15th Aug by Safari to just wanted to check your experience driving Safari in hill area.

      Thanks
      Abhishek

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ V Kumar – You are right, the hill section is less for this circuit. But you must be extra cautious since Safari is a big and powerful car. As long as you are watchful, go slow and take your time, there is no problem and you would enjoy the drive and the feeling of making to Lansdowne. Wishes.

  • hemant says:

    hi upendra ‘ u have given such a wonderful account of your trips to lansdown that even without being there i felt as if i was myself there with u.please do give more such travellogues for the benefit of people like me who may not have enough resources to see these places.god bless u.

  • Manish says:

    Dear All,

    We are planning to visit Lansdowne soon next week. Please let me know if there are any economy hotels / guest houses available in Lansdowne. Also, if we go without advance booking, will there be any rooms available in these economy guest houses / hotels.

    With regards,

    Manish

  • Tarun says:

    Hi Upendra,
    Its a wonderful post. Details that you have provided is all that is required. I am planning a visit to Lansdowne this October. However, am looking forward to book a family suite at the Oak-Grove-Inn. If possible, can you please share details such as how to book and whom to contact(with number) for exact avilability of the suites? An indication about the suite fares will be much helpful.

    • Manish says:

      Dear Tarun,

      Lansdowne is a wonderful place to visit, please go ahead. Please book in advance to avoid any inconvenience. Details of ‘Oak-Grove-Inn’ are available on their website.

      Email: rawatbik@yahoo.com, Mobile: +91-9412934858 or +91-9410948282, Phone: +91-1386-262359.

      Watch out for rains as it is raining very heavily in hills these days.

      Have a good time….. Cheers…..

      Manish

  • Tarun says:

    Hey Manish,

    Thanks for the advice about the rains. I had not considered that earlier in my plans.

    I will visit Lansdowne in the first week of October and am hopeful that the rains would stop by then. If not, I would have to reconsider my visit as I will drive by my own, with family. Also, I have never driven to a hill station earlier so.. would be difficult of the rain continues.

    • Manish Katoch says:

      Dear Tarun,

      As 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Oct. are holidays.. I will again recommend to please book your stay in advance. In August…. 15th, 16th & 17th were holidays and one of my friend had to cancel his visit as there was no rooms available in any hotel in Lansdowne. I would like to mention here that Lansdowne is a very small place with limited Hotels……

      Driving on your own will surely be a pleasure for you (especially after Kotdwar)……

      Yes … I also hope that rains will stop by the first week of Oct……

      Do share your experience when you come back…… All the Best…..

      Manish Katoch

  • sakshi says:

    hello all

    Upender ji
    The way you have described the place is just wow..am happy we planned for Lansdowne for oct 1st week
    We are going by Garhwal express…hope the train is good. We will be staying at GMVN,any reviews about this.
    How cold will it be in oct first week. N hows the local transport for sightseeing? Many queries …actually bit apprehensive as my daughter is less than 2 yrs. Thanks.

  • Manish says:

    Dear Sakshi,

    Welcome…..

    Yes … you have made a right choice to go to Lansdowne…. but only if you want to relax and enjoy the nature…… (Sunrise, Sunset, Trekking etc.) …. as Mr. Upender has described in his post…..

    GMVN… I have no idea… but seems good on their website…… I HOPE YOU HAVE MADE ADVANCE BOOKING……

    Regarding Garhwal Express and local transport … I cannot help because we have gone in our own car…….

    Since you have got small children … pls take some woolen with you… and watch out for rains …..

    All the best…. and please share your experience when you come back…..

    Best regards,

    Manish

  • Shiv says:

    Hi Upendra,

    Nice depiction of ur visit to Lansdowne, you have convinced me to plan my 1st trip now.
    I am planning in 1st week of Apr, I have 2 kids-daughter 6 years old & son 6 month old.

    Pls suggest me weather & any special thing which needs to be taken care.
    Plus suggest me a decent stay option as I haven’t booked as yet.

    Regards

    Shiv

    • Manish Katoch says:

      Dear Shiv,

      Please book in Advance and keep warm clothes for Children. Watch out for sudden rains……

      All the best….. and please share your experience after coming back.

      Regards,

      Manish Katoch

      • Mohit says:

        Dear Friends,

        Any body who ever stayed at Lansdowne in tree house, kindly inform how to book and whts the price for one day, actually we are planning to make a trip in the mid of April.

  • Kuldeep says:

    hi Upendra….u literally expressed ur trip very nicely……I would like to ask for the proper route for Lansdowne from Delhi!!
    I wish to reach there at 10 so will it be fyn for me to start leave at 4am??
    I will be going via my pulsar….n I’m planning to visit there at the end of nov or starting of Dec….will it b fyn??

  • sunny says:

    thnx for deatil

    i m planing to go landsdwon by car i just wondering that how road like coz i never drive but i knw driveing as well so can anyone tell me thats road safe for drive or risk to get there by car w8 for your reply

    • Manish Katoch says:

      Dear Sunny,
      On Highways and on Hill roads one has to be an expert driver, so if you are an occasional driver (as it seems from your post) then it will be better to take a driver along with you. If you are going from Delhi, you have to take Ghaziabad, Meerut, Bijnor, Najibabad, Kotdwar route, which is a very busy route. After Kotdwar the Hill roads will start and if you are not an expert driver, it will be a tiring job for you and you will not be able to enjoy the beauty of the place.
      Hope you have booked hotel in advance. Enjoy…. and pls share your experience when you come back.
      Best Regards,
      Manish Katoch

      • sunny says:

        thnx for reply dear manish katoch ji

        your advice helpful for me. see i m living now in Dubai n i hv a car but automatic n here are plan n simple simple long road without single turn n i always want to drive in hill road its give me excitement but reason is if i go there some one go with me so i cant take any risk for her/him n after your reply i got a second thought that what about massoori its road coz i can drive on hill i knw that but there not much traffic so can u tell me were are much traffic massoori or landsdown….

        • Manish Katoch says:

          Dear Sunny,
          Since Mussoorie is more commercialised than Lansdowne, the traffic on Mussoorie route will be more…… and there is a huge huge huge .. difference in the conditions of the roads and traffic in India than Dubai…… so plan accordingly…..
          Regards,
          Manish Katoch

  • V Gupta says:

    Hi,

    I don’t have experience in hill drive but would like to get exposure and trying to ZERO-in place. Lansdowne was looking one good choice and atleast reading the whole post, quite motivated to tried in coming long weekend of 25th March.. can you guide me for following:

    1) I have verna car so is it safe to drive using Verna in hill area
    2) How’s the road condition from Kotdwara to Lansdowne? Is it 2 lane road? steep and sharp turns etc? I am afraid of Jam situation specially during steep slopes where cars moving in very slow pace.
    3) If I will go to place without booking an hotel, do some options available before or after Lansdowne for family stay with car parking options?
    4) whether any hired taxi option available to travel locally in lansdowne?

    Answers to these questions will be really helpful and remove the uncertainty.

  • Manish Katoch says:

    Hi V Gupta,

    I will try to answer your questions:

    1. There is no problem in driving Verna in Hill Area.
    2. From Kotdwara to Lansdowne road is single lane but in good condition. Steep and Sharp turns are there. Jams will not be there on that route.
    3. Yes, there are few Guest Houses available on the way from Kotdwar to Lansdowne with car parking. But I again insist that you book in advance as it is a long weekend and many more people will be planning to go there and these Guest Houses also gets full.
    4. Since Lansdowne is a small place covering only 6-7 kms, you have to check with the hotel if local hired taxis are available or not.

    Hope I have answered your queries. If you need any other information, please let me know. All the best.

    Warm Regards,
    Manish Katoch

  • I have traveled to lansdowne in my car twice and have not faced any issue. Lansdowne is a small town where you can spend few days in peace. you can travel in your own car locally.

    • R M Aggarwal says:

      We have already planned and reserved our 3 nights in the 2nd week of October 2016.
      This post shall be highly beneficial in organizing. Thanks to all.

  • deepak saroha says:

    Hi All,

    I am planning to visit lansdowne in november(2nd week), Would it be safe to drive in own car(ciaz) or i should take other means(train). If road is safe then please share the best route. Also i am planning for 2 nights stay in lansdowne, please suggest if it is enough. i am also planning to visit tarkedhswar temple.

    Also please suggest some pocket friendly hotels.
    Your suggestions will be highly appreciated.

    Thanks in Advance.

  • tbasnet says:

    Nice, I am planing to go lansdowne by coming weekend. This blog is very informational for me.

  • Gulab Singh says:

    This story is similar to my story.

  • Mallika says:

    Is it safe to visit Lansdowne in July end as my family says too many landslides happening nearby. Anyone who has gone recently and can advice would be a big help.

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