Mussoorie: The Queen of Hill Stations of Uttarakhand
Snuggled amidst the mighty Himalayas, Mussoorie, a breathtakingly beautiful hill town in Uttarakhand, is unquestionably the queen of hill stations. Located in the foothills of Garhwal Himalayan range, Mussoorie offers a picturesque view of the Doon valley and a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Image Source: martinlascols (flickr)
Often referred to as the ‘queen of hill stations’, Mussoorie is a well-liked holiday destination by the travelers of all tastes and preferences. Over the years, several hill stations in Uttarakhand have risen to prominence and attempted to dethrone the ‘queen of hill stations’. But, the British charm from yesteryears and spectacular locales of Mussoorie continue to attract tourist frenzy.
Located at the mid-altitude Himalayas, Mussoorie usually does not experience snowfall. However, the view of snow-clad mountain peaks around the hill town is exhilarating. The town sits on a 15-km long horseshoe-shaped ridge with Tehri Garhwal and the mighty Himalayas on its North, and Doon valley and Shivalik ranges on its South.
Once a superabundant forest, the fertile land of Mussoorie was home to lush green shrubs such as Oak, Rhododendron, and Deodar. In fact, the town of Mussoorie is named after a shrub called ‘Mansur’ which grew in abundance in the region.
The thick plantation of the area also provides habitat to a significantly heavy population of Himalayan birds, leopards, rabbits, deer, wild rodents and Himalayan black bears. The Benog Hilltop in Mussoorie, which is also popular for the Jawalaji Temple, provides a breathtaking view of the Himalayas and the presence of avifauna in abundance make it the perfect place for bird watching.
Location & How To Reach
At an altitude of 1,880 meters, Mussoorie is located at the foothills of Garhwal Himalayan range in the Dehradun district of Uttarakhand.
Nearest Railway Station: Dehradun (35 km away)
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun (60 km away)
Distance from Nearby Cities
Mussoorie to Dehradun: 34 km (1 hr)
Mussoorie to Delhi: 308 km (7 hrs)
Mussoorie to Nainital: 317 km (8 hrs)
Mussoorie to Dhanaulti: 60 km (2hrs)
Getting around in the city
Just like most hill stations, Mussoorie is also best explored on foot. However, for longer distances, tourists can hire local taxis and autos. App-based taxi services are not available in the town.
Things to See & Do In Mussoorie (Within 50 km)
The small hill town is an ideal location to loosen up and rejuvenate your senses, and once the tranquility of Mussoorie has helped you de-stress, it is time for you to see and do things around the town. Although there is easy availability of different modes of travel, the town is best explored on foot.
The Mall Road
The colonial charm of Mussoorie will leave you spellbound when you visit the Mall Road. Decorated with lamp-posts and intricately designed benches, the Mall Road is a throwback to the period when India was under the British Raj. Interestingly, the Mall Road is located at the heart of the town which makes passing by the Mall Road area at least a few times a day unavoidable.
The Kulri Bazaar deserves as much attention as the Mall Road. Popular for its commercial, tourist and social activities, the Kulri Bazaar area gives you a unique shopping and entertainment experience. So, once you are done admiring the colonial charm of the Mall Road, get on the Gun Hill Ropeway and enter the Kulri Bazaar. You will come across variety of hotels and restaurants at the Bazaar where you can satiate your taste buds and a wide range of clothing and fashion outlets to give you a little retail therapy. For your little ones’ entertainment, head to any 1980s-style video game parlor or take them to the skating rink at the Silverton.
Located 400 ft above the Mall Road, Gun Hill is the second highest peak of Mussoorie providing a panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges. To experience a breathtaking view of the hill town and the snow-clad mountain peaks surrounding it, hop on for a ropeway ride which will cost you Rs.55 for a round trip. At the top, there is an uncountable number of restaurants for you to enjoy a meal while you adore the natural beauty around. The visiting hours for Gun Hill are between 9 am and 10 pm.
Around 6kms downhill from the main town of Mussoorie are located the beautiful Jharipani Falls. To reach Jharipani, you can take the St. George’s School road up to Jharipani main market. From this point, it will be a 30-minute and about a 1.5-km walk to the falls.
Mussoorie offers several day treks to tourists. A hike to Pari Tibba, Hathipaon Estate, Benog Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Cloud’s End will give you an adrenaline rush. And, if you are an adrenaline junkie, take the longer trek to Nag Tibba.
Best Time to Visit
To witness the best climate of Mussoorie, plan a trip during Summer season which lasts from March to June or during the Autumn season which lasts from October to early December.
Skip visiting from June-end to September-mid to avoid rains.
Mussoorie winters are extremely cold and every 3-4 years, the town witnesses snowfall anytime between December and January.
Mussoorie has lodging options for every budget and need — luxurious 5-star stays and pocket-friendly budget hotels. A night at any 5-star property in Mussoorie will cost anywhere between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 20,000 (prices can vary depending on the tourist season).
Budget hotel chains OYO and Treebo also run several properties in the city. A stay at these budget hotels costs anywhere between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 3,000.
For travelers on a very tight budget, Mussoorie also has Bunk Hotels which offer a night’s stay under Rs. 1,000 in a shared room.
Where to Head Next? (Within 50-300 km)
(60 km, 2 hrs)
Its close proximity to the capital and several other towns in Uttarakhand has made Dhanaulti a popular destination among tourists. Located at an altitude of 2,286 meters above sea level, the small hill town offers a breathtaking view of the mighty Himalayas. Dhanaulti receives heavy snowfall during winters and that is the peak tourists season at the hill station.
Image Source – draskd (Flickr)
(49 km, 1-2hrs)
Located at an elevation of 8,500 ft above sea level, Kanatal remains a relatively less explored destination. The small hill town receives heavy rainfall during winters, which makes it a perfect destination for winter camps. The popular Surkanda Devi temple is also located at a very short distance from Kanatal.
Image Source – bugyalvalley (Instagram)
(77 km, 2-3 hrs)
Located on the ghats of river Ganga, Rishikesh is the perfect destination for adventure activities and camping. From river rafting to cliff jumping, Rishikesh has a plethora of activities for adrenaline junkies. For tourists in search of some peace and quiet time, Rishikesh is home to several temples, yoga ashrams, and serene ghats.
Image Source – Alan Hilditch (Flickr)