Once you fall in love with Mussoorie, there is no falling out of it. It’s a place that I have frequented since childhood being only 290 kilometres up north from Delhi, yet every time I go back, the magic holds strong. Though commercialization has gone up, nature’s beauty has not been diminished at the hands of mankind. So far.
The Mussoorie that one would know as a tourist is in many ways different from the one known to the locals. It’s always a great decision to not go to the popular tourist spots to actually get to know the city. Travel as a local, not as a tourist, and always on foot, that’s my motto when it comes to travel. I am always surprised with the rare finds that come my way in this manner.
- Of Landour, Winterlines and Schools
Landour’s pristine beauty, steep upward slopes and treks through the hills can be like walking on clouds. Literally. Don’t be surprised if you get wet, passing through wet cloud after wet cloud.
One of nature’s marvel is Winterline, which can be observed when the sun is setting on the horizon. The sky turns into various colors you have probably never seen before. This rare phenomenon happens only in two places in the world i.e. Mussoorie and in places in Switzerland. This natural phenomenon can be observed from October to January.
Also, you will be surprised by the schools that occupy entire hills here. Imagine the grand vistas of a school that spans multiple hills.
Travel tip (TBOR Recommends)
Plan your visit in the off season, to cherish this beautiful place. I went in January to make the most of my Mussoorie experience.
It should not amaze you much too much, if you run into celebrities here. Sachin Tendulkar and Arshad Warsi were here for their winter break too, during my visit this January 2015!
(Gossip such as this travels very fast in hills, just small chit chat with shopkeepers will do the trick!)
Carry an umbrella at all times, for it may pour unannounced or even snow (in winters) if the weather gods have their way!
- Antique shops
On your walk from Landour to Picture Palace, you will be amazed to find quaint shops that sell vintage products. The things you find here will make you want them all. Most of the items you find here are from the British Raj period, when a lot of English residents lived in Mussoorie, or just after, when they left and sold their belongings. One of the first antique shops that you will find in this narrow lane is easy to miss if you are not on a lookout for it. It is called Saabri. It is the antique selling shop which will sell you products at good prices and the shopkeeper here is extremely helpful, knowledgeable, genuine and not the kind who would dupe a tourist.
Travel tip (TBOR recommends)
It’s best to check out three or four shops on this steep narrow pathway and make your purchase on your way back, to be sure of the average price range. Polish your negotiation skills beforehand.
- Cambridge Bookstore
I am a full fledged book lover. The kind who behaves like a very bad girl at a bookstore. Especially if it’s a bookstore which offers weekly visits from the favourite author of her childhood, Ruskin Bond. It’s incredible isn’t it? You can be sure to find him on Saturdays between 4-6pm at Cambridge Bookstore.
Travel Tip (TBOR Recommends)
Check and confirm with the owner if Ruskin Bond will be making the visit at the time of your travel.
If you are one of the unlucky ones who missed him by few minutes, then you can still buy signed copies of Mr. Bond’s books which are readily available at the book store.
- The Mall Road
The Tibetan Market dotting the Mall Road can be a paradise for souvenir hunters. Also the steamed corn is delicious here. Various stunning views of the Doon Valley are guaranteed.
Travel tip (TBOR Recommends)
Go here during the evening time.
You can also take a slight detour to Camel Back Road for a picturesque secluded walk, away from tourists, in the lap of nature.
Alright, this is undoubtedly the fun part! Trying, testing and tasting is definitely one of my most favourite things to do, primarily to fall in love with the place, so that I keep coming back. Secondarily, of course, for survival!
Must eat at (ranked in order of preference)
#1 Char Dukkaan , where you will strike gold with everything you order. Waffles, pancakes, Mocha coffee, Masala Maggi, Garlic and cheese pizza, the list is endless! There were originally four shops here; however, now there are six shops here which collectively still call themselves Chaar Dukkaan.
#2 Clock Tower Cafe, is a cafe with a view! We chose a cosy spot for two, in close proximity of vintage framed posters of Audrey Hepburn, overlooking the green valley. To give us company were age old Archies and Jughead Comics. It was good to read them while waiting for our order to be served! Caramalized onion and spinach pizza here had my taste buds drooling, since I am trying to be a vegetarian for a while now (because of all the swine flu and bird flu scares), I also tried the veg burger here which too is worth a mention, along with the peach flavoured ice tea!
#3 Kalsang Friends Corner is the place to go if you are craving for Chinese food, you will find this place full at most of the times, and will have to wait for a take away too, such is the popularity of this joint!
#4 The Llama Cafe is just a six month old cafe, whose owners are a lovely couple from Delhi. Their White chocolate latte is to die for! Loved all their beverages.
#5 The Tavern is the place to go to for live Bollywood and pop music, in the otherwise quiet and peaceful Mussoorie!
Travel Tip (TBOR recommends)
Anil’s Cafe is the oldest and the best shop at Char Dukaan. Walk down to Anil’s Cafe at Chaar Dukkan to build your appetite so that you can eat, eat and eat. Siwtch off your phones and sit here for hours for a wonderful detox amongst clouds.
Aim to get the couch opposite the window facing the hills, when at the Clock tower Cafe
It would be ideal to take away one of the beverages from the wide selection at The Llama Cafe, while you are heading down to the picture palace.
The Tavern is one of the few restaurants with a bar in Mussoorie.
Why, Rokeby Manor of course! Simply for it’s close proximity to Chaar Dukaan, Ruskin Bond’s house, antique shops and everything else that you may miss otherwise if you stay in any other part of Mussoorie!
Travel Tip (TBOR Recommends)
Emily’s is their nice and cosy romantic restaurant, adjacent to a tea garden and is a must visit.
Hope you plan one of your coming long weekends to Mussoorie, if you haven’t already decided where to go for the upcoming long weekend that includes January 26, 2015!
Good vibes only!
Leaf from the travel diary of your ever loving faffer,