On 23rd of September I went out for the first hill ride of my life on a bike. The place I chose for this was Landour- A place 4.5 km above Mussoorie.
Since I saw the pictures of this place on Flickr(see them here), I was fascinated and intrigued to visit this place. This summer, I asked my parents to allow me to go there on bike but was denied. After that the thought of visiting Landour was preoccupied by other things in my life.
The past two months of my life gave me a very hard time. Most of my friends know this. It was the worst experience of my life. And to add to this 7 hours a day at university plus sarcastic remarks that I usually get over there.I started feeling difficulty in focusing on my studies. Because of this I decided to take a break. Another motivation of making this trip came as I joined BCMtouring, few days prior to this trip.
At 7:30am on 23rd of September I was riding alone on my 125cc bike (barely comfortable for daily commute). After refilling at fuel station of Ranipur More it started raining. I was in no mood of canceling this trip so I stretched bike’s throttle to escape that rain. And, on reaching Rishikesh-Dehradun diversion the weather was dry but it was still cloudy.
While comfortably doing 60-75kmph, I reached Dehradun outskirts in 45 minutes. From there I took Mussoorie bypass just to skip the city’s traffic signals and also because I find it difficult to understand this city’s complex road network.
Within the ten minutes of ride on this road I was struggling with gears-shifts, getting line right for turns and corners, not to talk about the steep hairpin bents. The very next moment a thought struck in my mind— Wow! I’m riding a bike on a hill!
Few minutes later I caught the first glimpse of scenery in the valley. It was Bhattafall, and it was time to stop to take the first pic of the day. I took a couple of shots over there but all were disappointing due to the fog in the valley. Even after a lot of post processing I’m unable to make that waterfall visible from the RAW files. So, here’s only one pic worth uploading.
I chose the wrong day for this trip. A sunny day is the best form a photography point of view.
Getting there in Mussoorie was bit of adventure. The earliest I could get there was at 9:30am. I reached Mall Road from its east end and parked my bike above Bhutia market. Then I went down in the Bhutia market which was still opening so decided to walk for a while on mall road, which was boring. It was so because of the cold weather and the market was not opened up completely by that time.
Within a few minutes of walk on Mall road I found it’s useless to stay here and looked at the fuel gauge. It said clear no to my thought of visiting Landour- a place at a distance of which I was not sure!
But to make this trip productive I took the risk and decided to ride up to Landour. After confirming at 2-3 shops about the path, I rode up more than 1km and stopped to take third pic of the trip.
Next stop was at Lal tibba which was close at that time.
There with the help of a Chinese tourist I managed to get a pic of me.
I went up to the Sister’s market and turned back, stopped at Kellogg’s Church.
The state-owned broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio have repeater stations atop Lal Tibba hill, at over 7,700 ft., the highest point in all of Mussoorie-Landour. The transmitter of this station is an Eiffel Tower Paris- inspired, with orange and white color. This is the most recognizable feature in all of Landour.
The Kellogg Memorial Church was built as a Presbyterian church in 1903 and was also the home of the Landour Language School where British people were taught Hindi at that time. The church was named for Rev, Dr. Samuel H. Kellogg (1839-1899), an American Presbyterian missionary active in Landour who wrote the best 19th century grammar of Hindi in English. The Language school is still being run today.
British forces occupied this region of Garwhal following the Gurka wars in the second decade of the 19th century. Colonel Fredrick Young, an Irish officer in the east India Company army constructed the first permanent dwelling at Mullingar (named after a place in Ireland) in 1825.
Landour takes its name from Llanddowror, a village in Carmarthenshire in southeast Wales. During the British Raj, it was common to give nostalgic English, Scottish, welsh or Irish names to one’s home, reflecting one’s ethnicity.
In 1827, it became a convalescent depot for British troops suffering from malaria and other tropical disease. Those who were not survived are buried in the cemetery on the north side of the hill.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a British Military Hospital was established and remained open until 1947. The hospital building currently houses the Defense Ministry’s Institute of Technology Management.
Sister’s Bazaar acquired its name from the nursing sisters who live nearby the hospital.
Some of the other early buildings include St. Paul’s church, built in 1840 by Daniel Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta on his second visit to Mussoorie; and the original Landour Cantonment Post Office at Char-Dukan.
While riding down I stopped by Char-dukan and after some refreshment went inside St. Paul’s Church. There talked few minutes with Ranbeer Singh, a servant there, and he showed me Ruskin Bond’s house from there. He also told me that Mr. Sanjay Narang, a local resident had took the charge of complete restoration of this church’s building and also of the future maintenance.
On reaching Ruskin’s place I found he was not at home, so decided to ride back to home.
Situated at an altitude of 7,500 feet (2286 meters) above sea level, the top of the Landour ridge is the highest point in Mussoorie. This also remains the most secluded and beautiful area of town, with spectacular views from snow clad Himalayas, dense deodar forests and peaceful slopes.Landour is a fabulous place to visit though the only thing you can do over there is to take a long walk. It’s a quiet place. There are no teeming tourists. May be because it’s untouched or may be because it’s a cantonment town. This place is awesome in mornings. No families tugging kids, no couples looking apprehensively like you’ll disturb their privacy. Just long empty road. It’s inspiring.
And at 3:45pm I was in my place. The whole ride was 215km.
But there is still something that I missed over there and want to cover in my next trip:-
- View of Landour from Gun Hill. (like this one)
- Castle Hill and the Castle. (see here)
- A sunny day photography in Landour.
A few more pics from there:-
And using this Use-me as a tripod stand I got a picture of me by self-timer mode.