A recent trip to Mussoorie exposed me to one of the lesser known spots in the hills of Uttarakhand, Landour, home to Ruskin Bond, the place immersed in an old world charm that tends to transport you to another era. Unlike Mussoorie, the place doesn’t experience much footfall, apart from locals and foreigners who frequent the place to access its Hindi Learning Centre and it’s famous delicacies, and thus has its own charm which manifests itself in its soothing atmosphere, far from the madding crowd.
The place is home to beautiful architecture, that is palpable through it’s unique archetypal churches, houses and alleys that are reminiscent of those present in pretty little European cities. Walking through the area that encompasses Landour, you are surrounded by the tranquil hills on one side and beautiful cottages, schools, graveyards on another. The walk is almost 3 kilometres long, and is carved in a circular fashion. Many people opt for a car ride instead of covering the distance on foot, but I would recommend against that as you fail to gauge the beauty of the place while riding the car. Despite the distance you will barely register the long walk with serenity and a picturesque view as your companion’s.
Along the path you will encounter ‘The Lal Tibba’, the highest point in Mussoorie, giving you access to the most breathtaking view of the city and the Himalaya’s by peering through the telescope’s. Trudge ahead and you will be greeted with sights of dandelions planted around the magnificent St. Paul’s Church, with roads leading upto it lined with beautiful cottages that will almost make you want to give up the city life and move in to one of them. The circular pathway is lined with player flags overhead waving from the light frosty breeze , a symbol of the delightful cultural traditions of tibetans that reside in the hills, adding to the serenity of the environment and ahead lies a symmetry presenting a juxtaposition to the prayer flags as well as celebrating the secularity of the natives.
As you near the end of the walk, you circle back right where you started from, a delightful alley lined with little shops known as ‘Chaar Dukaan’ the shops are famous for its sumptuous pancakes, waffles and omelettes. Our little trek had left us starving so we bought each of one a Nutella Banana Pancake, Cinnamon Waffle and a cheese omelette and devoured each of those within seconds, along with a steaming hot cup of coffee and settled into the little seats outside with a magnificent view, light music in the background and a chilly breeze making it almost the perfect evening.
Once we were done, and it was time to set down the path to home, we did it with a heavy stomach and a light heart, watching the place recede away in our rear view mirror with broad smiles on our faces.