Cool off at Lansdowne!
It has been some time since I traveled to a place for the sole purpose of relaxing. Finally the wait was over and I had a great weekend at an unheard (just came to know about it 2-3 days before I decided to explore it) place called Lansdowne. Precisely it’s a hill station in Uttarakhand which not many of us would have heard of. I am putting this down for a couple of reasons:
- Share my experience
- Serve as a guide to anyone planning to give it a shot
Some history and geography of Lansdowne before we move ahead (collated from the web):
“Lansdowne is the one of the closest hill station from Delhi, just 260 kms away.
Unspoilt nature, bracing air and a magnificent view of the snow-covered peaks inspire peace and tranquility. If you dream of the romance of the mountains then Lansdowne is the perfect place.
Surrounded with the world’s highest and most beautiful mountain ranges – the Himalayas, naturally Uttaranchal Hills are endowed with extraordinary beauty and most of it is unseen in the outside world. This makes Lansdowne an ideal location for eco-tourism. A clean fresh and invigorating environment makes Lansdowne a preferred destination to relax and unwind and it is a truly rejuvenating experience.
Lansdowne was originally a popular hill station with the Britishers. Attracted by its salubrious climate and natural beauty, they established a cantonment here. It was founded by Lord Lansdowne in 1887 A.D., thus the place has been named after him. The famous Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army also has its command office here.
Lansdowne is situated at an altitude of 1,706 m enroute Kotdwar-Pauri road, 45 km from Kotdwar, engulfed by thick oak and blue pine forests. It is a very charming place for a quiet holiday as it is devoid of the usual hustle and bustle of hill stations.”
The route is very simple. Delhi-Meerut-Bijnor-Najibabad-Kotdwar-Dugadda-Lansdowne. After reaching Begum pul in Meerut, take a right turn to Bijnor, state highway starts from here. From Kotdwar, the hilly drive starts for around 45 km. After 30 km uphill once you reach Dugadda, the journey becomes more beautiful and views more breathtaking and memorable. You will be literally driving in Pine forests.
Nearest railway station is Kotdwar. Trains are easily available from Delhi. The best option is to take Mussoorie exp. from Delhi at around 2300 hrs, it will drop you to Kotdwar at around 0600 hrs in morning. From there, you can hire a cab for 400-500 rupees to Lansdowne, just a two-hour journey.
There are amazing mountain views of the Western Himalayas from a number of vantage points in Lansdowne like Snow View and Tiffin Top. Like other hill stations in north India, Lansdowne too has its fair share of temples and shrines, most of them devoted to the various forms of the Mother Goddess. While you are in Lansdowne, make a wish at Jwalpa Devi, 47 km from Lansdowne on the Pauri-Kotdwar Road, or visit the Durga Devi temple (24 km from Lansdowne) and the Tarkeshwar Mahadev (30 km) with its special Shivlinga. This temple is one of the oldest Sidhpeeths in India.
Things to pack:
Light woolen clothing for summer and heavy woolen garments for winter. Carry rain protection gear in all seasons.
Some of the places to stay:
- Retreat Anand
- Fairydale Resort
- GMVN Tourist Bungalow
I stayed at Fairydale resort. The location and ambiance is superb. Rooms are decent, however, a bit damp. Food was nice. Hospitality was great. It was not very expensive. The overall experience was good and I would recommend it.
While the above should serve as a guide to plan a trip, I would highly recommend one to consider Lansdowne for a cool and relaxing break. What I loved was the drive from Kotdwar to Lansdowne. I witnessed all types of weather in a couple of hours! Sunshine, rains, fog, clouds, mist…you name it and it is highly likely that you will encounter all of this during the visit. Most importantly Lansdowne is not yet commercialized. There is a very relaxing aura about the place. It feels untouched, unexplored. You are bound to forget the everyday work hassles. I didn’t go for any activities like trekking etc. Still I could appreciate the place.
Interestingly my mobile connection (Vodafone) didn’t seem to work there! It was a pleasant change not to receive any calls and SMSes for a couple of days! I realized how intruding mobiles have become to us. Airtel works intermittently. Not sure if anything else works over there. So be prepared for this.
Also, there is no fuel station at Lansdowne! So if you are driving down, ensure that you get your vehicle refueled at Kotdwar. In case you run out of fuel, ask for ‘Chakki ki dukan’ in the ‘market’ at Landowne. You can buy petrol/diesel at a premium (not sure about the purity). However, try to avoid this at all costs.
Once again, apart from the stay at Lansdowne, what was so refreshing was the drive to and around the place. It was just out of the world. The only thing which was a bit irritating was a landslide which held us back for about 4 hours while returning. On the positive side, that gave me an opportunity to capture some breathtaking surroundings through my new camera.
Seeing is believing:
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Lansdowne is a photographer’s delight. Look for some of the ones I captured over here.