When one hears the state of Uttaranchal or Uttarakhand is often referred to as ‘Dev Bhumi’ in the local dialect, which translates to ‘a godly creation’ or ‘land of gods’, it comes as no surprise for this is one State where Mother Nature has been truly generous with her blessings… where tourists can enjoy some breathtaking locales with excellent views of the Himalayan range, valleys filled with exotic flowers, lush meadows, dazzling falls and more. Of its many attractions here, one such mesmerizing destination in  this state is the idyllic hill station of Mussoorie often referred to as the ‘Queen of Hills’.

A favorite getaway, located at an altitude of 2,000 m, the best time to visit it is between April to May and September to November. Not only does this scenic hill station overlook the Doon Valley and the city of Dehradun but it is also the gateway of the Garhwal region in the Himalayas.

A city that derives its name from the Mansur shrub found here, Mussoorie is known for its rich variety of flora and fauna.

Of the several attractions here, the prominent ones are Gun Hill, so named  as this was the place a cannon was fired every mid-day to indicate the time. Not only is this place known for its enchanting view of the great Himalayan peaks, but one can also get a bird’s eye view of Mussoorie from here. An added attraction here is the various costumes photographers lend tourists here. At a height of about 400 ft above the Mall, one can enjoy the ropeway or the roadway that gets you here; today Gun Hill is home to Mussoorie’s water reservoir.

The Camel’s Back road is another interesting attraction here where one can find rocks in their natural layout in the shape of a Camel’s hump back. A 3 km road from Kulri Bazaar to the Library, it is an ideal location where kids can enjoy pony rides, while adults can catch some picture perfect sunsets. When looked at from the Mussoorie Public School, the road is shaped just as a camel’s hump.

Want to feel on top of the world? Try Cloud’s End – the end of Mussoorie that is covered with thick jungles, and known for its breathtaking views of the valleys below and the Yamuna River. It is a wonderful place for honeymooners; a little ahead is the Benog Wildlife Sanctuary where tourists can enjoy some exciting trekking trails.  A bird watcher’s delight this sanctuary (part of the famous Rajaji National Park) is home to the Red-Billed Magpie, the White Capped Water Redstart and the Blue Magpie. The mountain quails that were once part of this sanctuary are now considered extinct. Apart from these exotic birds, this sanctuary is also home to leopards and deer.

A short trek ahead of Cloud’s End another attraction is the Jwaladevi Temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. From here one can get some scenic views of the valleys below, the Shiwalik range on one side, and the Yamuna on the other.

One of Mussorie’s most frequented attractions is the dazzling Kempy Falls, the largest of the falls here, gushing down from about 40 feet.  Though crowded, a trip to Mussoorie is incomplete without a trip here; another dazzling falls here is the Jharipani Falls 6 km from here and Bhatta Falls.

Standing at an altitude of 8000 meters above sea level, Lal Tibba or Red Hill is Mussoorie’s highest point, where one can catch some breathtaking views of the Himalayas. One can also find the All India Radio and Doordarshan tower here.

The Childer’s Lodge here is an ideal place for a picnic; the trail to this lodge being a beautiful one covered with wild flowers, pine and deodar trees. As there are no restaurants and shopping malls here it is an ideal place for nature lovers to laze back and rest! If you’re looking at picking up some souvenirs and peanut butter which Mussoorie is famous for, then the Sister Bazaar and the Landour Market here are the right places to do so.

Situated in upper Mussoorie, Landour is known for its beautiful cottages that date back to the British days; other landmarks here include the Woodstock school, St. Paul’s church and Landour Language School.

Also known as Company Bagh, the Municipal Garden here is a wonderful attraction for its lake, where one can enjoy boating, waterfall, and beautiful plants. The Yamuna Bridge is a great place for those who are interested in angling, while Nagtibba is a perfect spot for trekkers.

The Christ Church built in 1836 is one of the oldest churches in the area built for the British community that once resided here. It is known for its old world charm and ageless architecture. An ancient temple about 7 km away is the Nag Devta Temple, where one can get some great views of the Doon Valley. Other known temples here include the Surkanda Devi Temple, well known for its fair organized in the months of May to June on the event of Ganga Dussehra, and theBhadraj Temple.

Mussoorie also being home to thousands of Tibetan refugees, has many Buddhist Monasteries. Happy Valley or ‘Mini Tibet’ is where the Dalai Lama first established the Tibetan government-in-exile after fleeing Tibet in 1959. It was later moved to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.

The Buddhist Temple and Tibetans Homes Foundation not just showcase their extraordinary talent but also a great place to pick up Tibetan handicrafts and help Tibetans rebuild their lives after they settled here.

Last but not the least no mention of Mussoorie’s attractions is complete without mentioning ‘the Mall’. Situated at the heart of the city, it is known for restaurants, a skating rink, shopping malls etc. Try the Kulri Bazaar and the Library Chowk of the Mall that are very famous and frequented by tourists.

Looking at what to pick from Mussoorie? One can find many unique items here like Tibetian metal works, antiques, decorated walking sticks, handicrafts, beautiful local jewellery, books, baskets made of cane  and other wonderful items.

Barely 34 km from Dehradun, getting to Mussoorie is no problem as it is well connected to the rest of the country by air (Jolly Grant Airport), rail and road.

From wonderful nature walks to colonial styled bungalows, breathtaking views of the nearby snow-clad peaks, wonderful climate and more, Mussoorie is truly one mesmerizing hill station  that will leave you with many cherished memories!

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