Is Mussoorie still the “Queen of Hills?”

It was a pleasant evening at Rishikesh as we were sipping tea by the Ganges post the Ganga Aarti, when the name Mussoorie popped up and Dad started sharing his College trip stories to Mussoorie.

It’s funny that they visited this little hamlet only because it was called the “Queen of Hills”; since they had already been to Kashmir which was considered the “King of hills”, so someone suggested they should check out the queen next! We could see the enthusiasm build up and how excited he got recounting those young old days! I wasn’t too keen on visiting a commercial Mussoorie, but that smile on Dad’s face was more than enough a reason to quit all the other plans and head there!

Next morning, we left for Mussoorie stopping at Dehradun and Sahastradhara. Now, travelling with religious parents means stopping at temples instead of taking breather breaks at beautiful spots. But for a change, I didn’t mind that. In fact it was a different experience altogether!

The drive across the Garhwal region is an astoundingly beautiful one and good music and favorite people only make an addition to it! Driving up from the lush green blanket of deodars, oaks and conifers to rather curvaceous and steep roads is amazing! You will be thrilled to witness the landscape change so quickly and enjoy every bit of it! There’s some magic in these mountain winds, it captivates your heart and that one long breath on reaching the top sure gives you a feeling of Nirvana!

As we headed towards Mussoorie, I had a mixed feeling, while the enchanting nature kept me at the edge of my seat; the traffic sure was a turn off. I wondered what is so amazing about this “Over-touristy” town which gives her a title like that of a queen! After all Himalayas has so much more to offer than a trafficy Mussorie!

It was a Sunday evening and we were greeted by flocks of tourists all across the town till we reached our hotel! After check in, we left for a walk at the famous Library Chowk. While my Parents were shopping and enjoying sumptuous meals at fancy restaurants at library bazaar, I went for a walk at Camel’s back road when it was almost sunset time! And Boy! That road, the beauty! I was taken aback as I hadn’t expected something like this in what I considered a commercial hill town! It was one of the most spectacular sunsets I had seen in the past few months!

Evening was more of spending family time and exploring some amazing cafes post that. The next morning, I had a literal visual orgasm to witness the view from my room which I had ignored in a hurry last evening! Waking up to such views is what travelling to Mountains is about! After another sunrise walk at the Camel’s back road I was happy to discover that almost half the crowd had vanished as it was Monday.

A regular touristy day as it was expected to be, visiting the sought after “sight-seeing” destinations like the Kempty Falls, Gun Hill, Churches, some lakes and temples and a small Tibetan valley! The visit to George Everest’s House and Cloud’s end definitely stood out for me!

I am not generally a fan, but guilty of falling in love with the beautiful Victorian style view-points all across the Library Bazar and Gandhi Chowk and witnessing a sunset, sipping hot coffee from one of these points is a clichéd pleasure! The Misty fog enveloping the town by this time adds the finesse to it!

The next day was more of a surprise for me as we explored an amazing under popular Dhanaulti and Ruskin Bond’s village at Greater Mussoorie, Landour! By the evening it was time to bid adieu to this hamlet of beauty and I was drenched in mixed feelings again.

(I will soon upload a guide to the places to visit and plan a trip to Mussoorie in details.)

It was a tough goodbye for sure and at the same time I was grateful to my Dad’s wish for reminiscence which brought us here. I was definitely high on nature as I had come to a nature’s delight which I had been trying to avoid, assuming it to be commercialized and thus not worth a visit! Let alone glad to have spent amazing family time!

While we drove down the darling roads I wondered the same question again, is Mussoorie worthy of her title or is it us who have disappointed her?

I had a major realization and faced a moment of truth there, which is: Not everyone wants to unwind in the raw nature and stay at homestays. Some just prefer luxury amidst a beautiful setup and Mussoorie for sure provides them with much more than just this!

I believe it’s the law of tourism industry, once it is well explored, people will want to come, visit and experience that hamlet, and not all prefer to do it in the raw form. So commercialization will take place, resorts and hotels will come up and these ultimately help in sustaining the life there and provide a good source of income to the natives of that place! But this doesn’t take away the beauty which it is blessed with, the gem that Mussoorie is will always be!

Perched on beautiful mountains like a queen’s crown surrounded by Doon Valley and Shivalik range, Mussoorie is definitely a Queen in her own way, all we can try is to preserve its sanctity, travel responsibly and explore it without further spoiling its beauty! This queen has given us the best of it all; it is the responsibility of the travelers now to respect and preserve it.

Yes! Mussoorie indeed is still the queen of hills and it is a well deserved title!

Check out my next blog on how to plan and explore the amazing places in and around Mussorie and be stunned! (Coming soon)

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