Mussoorie sightseeing - places of interest
Places of Interest
Though known primarily for its natural beauty and cool climate, Mussoorie has something to offer everyone. Trekking, hiking, waterfalls or a quiet stroll along wooded pathways, the brisk excitement of Kulri Bazaar or exploring the corners of the older Landour Bazaar, enjoying an exhilarating sunset at the Lal Tibba or a family picnic at the Company Garden, horse riding down the length and breadth of Mussoorie or simply taking in the divine beauty and crisp, clear mountain air, there is a lot that one can do in this charming hill town.
Mussoorie is famous for India’s largest roller skating rink, heritage hotels like the Charliveli and Cloud’s End and for St. Mary’s Church, which is one of the oldest Christian churches in the Himalayan range. It is also home to author Ruskin Bond, who has been living here for several decades and has captured the charm of the hill town in many of his works.
Camel's Back Road
This is a 3 km stretch which begins from Kulri Bazaar and ends at the Library Bazaar. It is an ideal place for a leisurely walk or a horse ride, with the Himalayas for a backdrop. Come by in the evening and enjoy a beautiful sunset. This road is named after a rock which has a life-like semblance to a camel’s back and which can be seen even from a distance. It was the British who developed the town of Mussoorie and their mark has been left behind in the form of the scores of graves at the Camel’s Back cemetery.
This is the biggest waterfall and one of the most popular tourist spots of Mussoorie. If you visit during the summer, this is one place you simply have to go to because what can be better than going into a refreshingly cool waterfall on a hot summer day? At an altitude of 1,370 meters, the Kempty Falls are 15 kms from Mussoorie on the way to Yamnotri. The waterfall is located in a valley and the surrounding mountains provide not only a picturesque background but a feeling of being cocooned in the mountains.
This is a newly developed tourist spot, which provides hotels and restaurants. It is a good picnic spot and has boating facilities available on the beautiful lake. Fairly close to Mussoorie, it comes 5 kms before the Kempty Falls on the Mussoorie-Kempty Road.
This is one of the most popular picnic spots in Mussoorie, at a distance of 4 kms, which can be reached either on foot or by car. It has a beautiful garden, an artificial lake with boating facilities and several restaurants and curio shops. The Ferris wheel here is a favourite with visitors, as are the photo galleries which rent out traditional costumes for visitors to pose in.
Another newly developed tourist project, the Mussoorie Lake boasts of a spectacular view of the Doon Valley and the several small villages on the mountainside on the way to Mussoorie. It has a lake with boating facilities and is 6 kms away on the Mussoorie-Dehradun highway.
Smaller than the Kempty Falls and with fewer visitors, the Bhatta Falls is nonetheless equally beautiful. On occasions, it is a better option than the Kempty Falls which can get too crowded. So if crowded places are not your thing but you still don’t want to miss out on a waterfall, this is just the place for you. It is 7 kms from Mussoorie on the Mussoorie-Dehradun Road. Bhatta Village can be reached by car or bus and then it’s a 3 km stretch on foot to the fall.
Cloud's End was a bungalow built by an Englishman in the 1830s, one of the first four buildings of Mussoorie. It is located at the edge of a cliff, with a sheer drop which gives the house an impression of being at the end of the clouds, hence the name. The bungalow has been converted into a hotel called Cloud's End and is one of the heritage hotels of the town. The resort is located at the western end of Mussoorie, 8 kms from the Library, surrounded by dense forests. It also commands an impressive view of the snow-covered Himalayan peaks and the Yamuna river flowing through the Doon Valley.
Lal Tibba is the popular name for Depot Hill, the highest peak in Mussoorie. On a clear day, one can get an unparalleled view of the Himalayan range. This is the best place to get a view of the snow covered mountains and valleys; a visit here must be planned carefully, as a cloudy and misty day can play spoil-sport and not allow the mountains to be seen.
Gun Hill is the second highest peak of Mussoorie and overlooks the Bunderpunch, Srikantha, Pithwara and Gangotri ranges of the Himalayas. A number of viewing points are set up on the hill, where for a small charge, one can view these ranges better through a telescope. A number of snack stalls, photographers and curio sellers complete the festive picture of this extremely popular tourist spot. It can be reached by road as well as by the Ropeway ride, which is a distance of 400 meters and provides a spectacular view of the hill ranges and the valleys.
Happy Valley is a Tibetan colony where Tibetans fleeing the Chinese invasion of their homeland came and settled. These exiled people came here when the Dalai Lama fled from Lhasa. This is also where the Tibetan Temple is located. It is on the far west side of Mussoorie and a pleasant walk from the Library. It's an aptly named place, decorated with prayer flags, where one can find authentic Tibetan handicrafts for sale. Tibetans selling their wares, like woollens, knick-knacks and handicrafts, set up their camp-bed stalls close to the town, just off the Mall, on the way down to Hampton court.
This is the old bazaar of Mussoorie, where many of the first buildings and settlements first sprang up. It is close to a 150 years old and served as a recreation place when British soldiers needing a break and rest were sent to the Landour convalescent depot to recover. Not as lively as the newer Kulri bazaar, it is bustling in its own way, with both old and new shops selling everything one might need. The mile-long bazaar has several silversmiths, well-known for their silver nose rings, earrings, bracelets and anklets.
Vinog Mountain Quail Sanctuary
This is a bird sanctuary established in 1993. Spread over an area of 339 hectares, the Vinog Mountain Quail Sanctuary lies 11 kms from the Library Point. It is famous for the Mountain Quail (Pahari Bater), a bird species thought to be extinct and last spotted in 1876.
Mussoorie is all about getting close to the wonders of nature, and Dhanolti is one of the best places to do just that. Located 24 kms from Mussoorie on the Mussoorie-Tehri Road, it is the perfect place to unwind in, go for long walks in the wooded hills, enjoy a breathtaking view of the hills and plains. Accommodation and guided treks are available.
Nag Devta Temple
On the way up to Mussoorie from Dehradun on the Cart Mackenjee Road, 6 kms before Mussoorie is this ancient temple devoted to Shiva. Conveniently located on the way to Mussoorie, it is a very popular temple for both regular devotees as well as visitors, who make it a point to stop here on their journey to and from Mussoorie.
Surkanda Devi Temple
On the Surkanda peak, 33 kms from Mussoorie on the Mussoorie-Tehri Road is the Surkanda Devi temple. To get here, one has to go to Kaddukhal village and from there it's a 2 km trek up the mountain to the temple. Not only is this temple of great religious significance, it also commands a fantastic view of the Himalayas. Each year, on Ganga Dussehra, in the months of May-June, a fair is held near the temple.
The Bhadraj Temple is devoted to Lord Bal Bhadraj, brother of Lord Krishna and is located 15 kms from Mussoorie. It is on the extreme western side of Mussoorie and is a very good trekking spot. Though it can be reached by road as well, the walk till here is a memorable experience. All along the way, one can get a good view of the surrounding hills. At the temple itself, one can get an excellent view of the Doon valley, the Chakrata range and Jaunsar Bhabar.
Yamuna Bridge is a beautiful fishing spot located on the Chakrata-Barkot Road about 27 kms from Mussoorie.
Note: It is advisable to visit the waterfalls during the summer months and refrain from going there in the monsoon time because temperatures may be low and there is the additional problem of leeches which can be a nuisance; moreover, stone surfaces tend to become slippery with moisture and algae. However, if you are feeling adventurous go ahead but do take necessary precautions.