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Mussoorie City Guide
Mussoorie is known as one of India’s best loved Hill Stations, often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Hill Stations’. Mussoorie is a green and luscious town; from its panoramic position it looks out towards the Himalayan snow ranges and across the vast Doon valley. Due to its fairy-tale position high on a ridge Mussoorie has often been thought of as the honeymoon capital of India, with newlyweds flocking here to make the most of its breath-taking views, including those from the majestic Jwalaji Temple on Benog Hill. As any Mussoorie city guide will tell you the town was founded in 1823 by the British. The city echoes with the past influence of the British Raj, including sights such its wide Mall. However, today the city is a popular destination for everyone and Mussoorie tourist information stations bustle with people from all walks of life.
Things to do in Mussoorie
One of the main things to do in Mussoorie is enjoy the beautiful surroundings. A trek up to Lal Tibba, Mussoorie’s highest point, is a great way to enjoy the awe-inspiring mountainous view. If you’re not up to a 5km trek you can take a cable car up to Gun Hill, Mussoorie’s second highest point for an equally beautiful view. A hugely popular thing to do is visit the nearby Kempty Falls. The stunning thin white waterfalls are a great place to bring a picnic, it’s also possible to swim in some of the pools surrounding the falls and there are changing rooms available. Nearby Lake Mist is also a must-see with the traditional hill station boating activities on offer here.
Things to see in Mussoorie
In the town itself, the fairly newly built Jawahar Aquarium is one of the things to see in Mussoorie if you’re feeling like an indoor day. It has a lovely selection of fish, including some red piranhas. George Everest’s house, the founder of Mussoorie, is on the outskirts of the city and also boasts some fine views. Happy Valley, a few miles walk from the main mall, is the home of 5,000 Tibetan settlers and a place of cultural interest. The Dalai Lama settled in Mussoorie briefly after first fleeing Tibet. In this area there is a beautiful little Buddhist temple called the Shedup Choepelling Temple that is well worth visiting for its intricate wall paintings and peaceful atmosphere.
Mussoorie’s nearest airport is at Dehradun. Flights generally come direct from Delhi so wherever you are flying from you will have a stopover in Delhi. You can then catch a bus from Dehradun to Mussoorie. Alternatively it is possible to hire a taxi from Delhi to Mussoorie; it’s a 6 hour drive between the two. The best way to deal with Mussoorie transport is to do it yourself so to speak, it is a beautiful region to hike around. Taxis can be hired to get to places like Kempty and Happy Valley and rickshaws are available in the town centre.
There are a few fantastic Mussoorie events that are worth visiting at certain times for. The Autumn Festival is celebrated with fireworks, sporting events and displays at Mussoorie’s famous roller skating rink. There is also a Summer Festival which is a cultural and educational event with many seminars, folk dance performances and cultural parades. There are a number of religious festivals in Mussoorie throughout the year, such as Uttarani and Basant Panchmi celebrated in January and February. The Bhadraj Fair is organised by the local Bhadraj Temple in August and is a great way to experience local culture.
Restaurants in Mussoorie
Mussoorie is full of delicious Indian food, with many restaurants offering local specialities, sometimes known as ‘hill food’. Due to the large Tibetan population there are also a number of popular Tibetan restaurants in Mussoorie. I suggest picking up some tasty paranthas or trying some of the locally grown basmati rice. When searching for somewhere to eat generally the Mall is a good place to start. The long stretch offers many different varied eateries, including hole-in-the-wall bakeries and delicious traditional Indian sweet shops.