Mussoorie… explore the queen of hills, beyond the Mall road…. these summers
Mussoorie well known as the queen of hills is a popular getaway for most of the urban dwellers around in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Delhi.
Despite the fact that Mussoorie, always felt like an overcrowded Hill station, not in my list of to visit places, we did visit it decade ago while my kid was still a toddler, and we were looking for just a getaway, so September seemed to be an offseason, and a respite from crowd, which brought us some good memories from Mussoorie. But the memories were limited to my kid and just the beautiful lonely Mall road of Mussoorie, which then suited the traveler mom in me.
Mussoorie came to my travel list again a few days ago, when I received a wedding invite from a cousin, and we were directed to the Queen of hills, but this time, I was looking for some fresh air, and feel good vibes from this yet again not so desired destination.
While writing this post, the traveller in me, wanna bring forth, how the way you live in a place, how you treat the place, would change the whole outlook and the place treats you back with all its goodness.
Mussoorie to me is now a beautiful getaway, which nests some great cafes, some great hiking options, and beautiful weather.
For the regular travellers, this article might bring some surprises and some nostalgia, but for first-time travellers, this is a sure shot guide to a beautiful holiday, in the queen of hills, Mussoorie.
Mussoorie has a long stretch of forked road, like most of the Indian Hill stations, popular as The Mall Road, which extends from the Library Chowk to the Picture Palace ( Cinema ) Chowk, which is a good walk of about 1.5 km from the cable car point till the Public Chowk or the Clock Tower.
The road is buzzing with shopping options and the Tibetan market ( located in the beginning of the road, near the cable car point, or Hackman Hotel).
Stay in Mussoorie
While We stayed in our tried and tested Club Mahindra property in the middle of the Mall Road for the first half, and then experienced the lavish Savvoy ITC and Fortune Grace ITC for the wedding do’s its a complete choice and availability of a perfect place which helps you decide amongst many properties in Mussoorie. Landour has some beautiful cottages which keep you away from the crowd but requires advance online booking.
Cafes in Mussoorie
Before I start with Mussoorie, the cafe First gear needs a special mention, as its location made the food worth a little detour up the hill,, as the cafe by the road on the way to, might serve the regulars on the menu, this cafe, serves some good Chinese and potato wedges, and pizzas. So actually it’s here where I realised that my Upcoming trip is gonna be a complete excitement.
Right from the Maggie stalls at every meter on the Mall, to the European style cafes, Mussoorie has it all.
An amazing cafe right in the middle of the Mall Road serves some of the best burgers and Sandwiches. Each and every time we went back, it just felt so comfortable, with whatever been ordered turned out to be the next favourite. The banana chocolate shake, the herbal infusions of tea, the chicken burger, the sub, all delicious, and special mention to the chef Kavita, and an all-women staff. I am sure no matter how confused u are looking at the menu, u can just keep a finger on the menu with your eyes closed, and the food would surprise you.
It’s a new cafe next to the famous Chic Chocolate dessert cafe, But it kept catching our attention, every time we crossed by. a small modern Asian Restaurant, serving some of the best flavours , Khao Suey, Pad Thai, the Massaman curry, all were so good and so unusual to have tasted such food in the hills. The portions are just right.
Its a dessert bar come cafe, popular for its ice creams and desserts like apple pie, and serves some great pizzas. The chocolate brownie fudge can bring out the child in you.
Oh this cafe felt like God, known by all, accessible to some, till the last day when we could finally find a seat to ourselves, as we always found it full, as it was a long weekend, and the menu was so inviting, and top of it this is one of the very few places which serves wine and beer. Finally, on a Sunday afternoon, we found it welcoming enough with a roadside seat waiting for us. And Boy, we just fell in love from the courteous staff to the beer mugs, and the elaborate menu.
Finally enjoyed some great chicken wings, potato wedges, the Ragi Pizza, and the crispy chicken burger. Worth each penny ( actually pounds) we paid.
Cafe Lama, Cafe Clock Tower, and Cafe Kalsang are other highly recommended cafes ( as suggested by fellow traveler friends) but I could not get lucky to try these and a few cafes where we had a brush and go experience due to less time, sometimes long waiting, sometimes a long distance to walk up to.
Trip( read Hike) to Landour, Lal Tibba, and Sisters Bazaar.
Landour is a calm, serene green ahead of Mussorrie, known for the highest viewpoint of the area called Lal Tibba. Usually, the tourists take a cab or self-drive to this point, but the fun of hiking to this point early in the morning takes about 40-50 minutes walking leisurely, enjoying the silence and the beauty of the mountains. And as we timed ourselves well, we reached at about 8:30 just before the sun got strong, and to find one of the best Bun omelets, and pancakes, at Anil Cafe.
This point is called Char Dukaan, simply because it is a hub of four cafes serving almost similar food, same price, same feel, just to enjoy wherever you can find a place. Cafe Anil opens a bit earlier than others. They entertain you well and at their own pace. We enjoyed a ginger honey lemon tea, also after a hearty breakfast.
The viewpoint Lal Tibba little ahead, with a cover charge to reach the top point on a cafe @Rs 50/- Is no great excitement, except that you get to see snow laden popular peaks( with no assured authenticity). But just the excitement of sitting at the highest point sipping another ginger honey lemon Tea ( overpriced) is good enough after a long hike.
Sisters bazaar is another short 500 meters walk from char dukaan, famous for Landour Bakehouse, which invites you from a distance with its aroma from freshly brewed coffee and fresh bakes. The handicraft shop is another attraction for the shopping freaks.
A hot plate of jalebi at the Chandan sweet shop next to the cable car point was my evening treat, though the hot Kulhad milk was SM’s choice.
Trek to Jharipani
On a recommendation, we traveled down the road towards Dehradun, and reached a by road leading to Barlowganj, Where one can park the car and hike downhill to this unexplored Waterfall, but the hike upwards became a bit of a task in sun, and the waterfalls, are unguarded and can be a safety concern if you are all alone as it is secluded.
So brave this only if u are a bunch of adventurous travelers and plan an early morning visit, especially in peak summers.
Other places of Interests
Company garden, Gunhill point, etc are some of the regular sightseeing options, which I prefer to leave for the travelers to choose for.
Regular places like Kempty Falls can be good for first-time travelers, but I did not bother to make an attempt, this time, as by now Mussoorie has given me enough good memories and experience, to bring back and share.