Memos from Asia

8 Memorable Things to Do in Mussoorie, India

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Top view of the famous hill station, Mussoorie, India

Famously known as “Queen of the Hills,” Mussoorie is a beautiful hill station situated at a distance of 290 kilometers from New Delhi. As a popular tourist destination in Uttarakhand, it attracts thousands of local tourists every year, who typically visit Mussoorie to get away from the harsh hot weather during the summer months.

Located at an approximate elevation of 2005 meters, Mussoorie promises a serene atmosphere where one can enjoy nature and escape from the chaos of modern life.

With many an activity on offer in and around Mussoorie, there is never a dull moment to spend. From scrumptious foodie delights to thrilling adventurous moments, here are some fun activities to do in Mussoorie during your memorable vacation.

Meet Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond is undoubtedly the most-loved author in the whole of India. He is also a resident of Landour, a small cantonment town further up from Mussoorie. For book lovers of all ages, one must-do activity in Mussoorie is to meet Ruskin Bond. To do that, you have to plan your trip over a Saturday afternoon. That is when the author comes down from his home to spend time with his fans at Cambridge Book Depot.

The bookshop is on Mall Road and carries most books by the author that you can get signed. Do keep in mind that many book lovers come here at this time, so reach the bookshop at least an hour before the author’s arrival, if you want to be the first to meet him.

Ruskin Bond, the most-loved author in India

Walk the Mall

Everything in Mussoorie happens on the Mall. The famous promenade runs from the legendary Mussoorie Library all the pay to Picture Palace. A leisurely walk from one corner to another can easily take a few hours as you stroll, admiring the stunning valley views on one side. Along the route, there are quaint cafes to sit and nibble on snacks, stores with local handicrafts, and the odd street food vendor selling hot popcorn and tea.

Mussoorie Library

Visit the Corn Village

A true-blue hidden gem near Mussoorie is the corn village of Sainji. A short drive from the center, the people of Sainji typically grow corn, rice, and wheat. However, the village’s uniqueness is that its residents use corn as a way of decorating their houses.

Visitors will find that every home has batches of corn hanging on the outside walls. While they are placed there to dry, it is also a form of status symbol, with more corn depicting a more affluent family. A quiet and otherwise uneventful village, make sure you strike up a conversation with the locals who might just invite you for a lovely homemade meal, made with corn, of course.

Go Paragliding

One of the most thrilling activities in Mussoorie that anyone can do is paragliding. There are a few tandem paragliding options available, which means you can fly with a professional pilot. Before every flight, there is a session explaining the entire process, along with any instructions and precautions.

Your trip’s flying time ranges from 10 to 20 minutes, which is more than enough to soak in some spectacular views of the valley. When you book a paragliding tour in Mussoorie with an operator, transportation to the cliff and back is included in the price.

Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India

Head Over to Landour

Landour is a charming hillock near Mussoorie, where tourists go to spend a few hours. Among the attractions in Landour is Lal Tibba, a viewpoint from where you can see the Himalayas on a clear day. Food is also a prominent attraction in the area, with a few noteworthy eateries.

Lal Tibba View Point, Unnamed Road, Naya Mohalla, Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India

Chaar Dukan is an iconic location that consists of four (now six) shops serving street-style food. However, the best place to have a yummy treat is Landour Bakehouse. Here, you will find tasty pastries, fresh bread, sandwiches, and hot coffee in a quintessential café like environment.

Old car in the front of the Landour Bakehouse in Mussoorie, India.

Take the Gun Hill Ropeway

A fun thing to do in Mussoorie for the whole family is taking the cable car all the way up to Gun Hill. As the second-highest peak in Mussoorie, the views from Gun Hill are genuinely magnificent, so make sure to take the trip on a bright and sunny day. There is always the possibility hike the 1.5 km distance, but with the Ropeway costing around $1 per trip, you might as well spend the extra time on top admiring the views.

Rope way in Mussoorie which is used to reach Gun hill point.

Look for Birds and Panthers

Spending a day hiking in Benog Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect way to appreciate Mussoorie’s flora and fauna. This natural paradise is 11 km away from the city and is considered a mecca for birders, so don’t forget your binoculars and zoom lenses.

Tourists taking a full day trek in Benog are likely to come across panthers, Himalayan deer, leopards, plenty of Himalayan goats, as well as red-billed blue magpies and white-capped water redstarts.

Benog Mountail Quail Sanctuary Uttarakhand (Photo Credit: Dr. Raju Kasambe, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Take a Refreshing Dip Under Kempty Falls

The most popular thing to do in Mussoorie is to take a dip in the natural wonder that is Kempty Falls. Admittedly, during peak season, the base pool of the falls is jam-packed with tourists. However, if you go during the off-season, the water might be colder, but you can admire the beauty of these falls in peace.

If you in search of an offbeat experience, opt for the lesser-known but equally pretty Mossy Falls. It is closer to Mussoorie than Kempty Falls, is considered as a pleasant picnic spot, and due to its location inside a forest, is much quieter.

Kempty falls, Mussoorie, India

Conclusion

The last few decades have seen over-commercialization in Mussoorie, resulting in traffic jams en-route and parking problems, especially during the summer school breaks. An alternative is to visit Mussoorie in the rainy season. However, there are chances of landslides making it not entirely safe.

Nevertheless, busy or not, Mussoorie remains an enchanting destination where you can shop till you drop, go skating, partake in adventure sports, or sit in your hotel balcony with a cup of hot tea and enjoy unforgettable mountain and valley panoramas.

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