Mussoorie in the Sky

Tripoto
2nd Sep 2018
Photo of Mussoorie in the Sky by Shiva Kumar Bashetti

The Doon Valley is shrouded in mist and like a new lover, teases me with a few subtle glimpses of the riches on offer as the road climbs higher to the hill station of Mussoorie. I open the window of my room as soon as I walk in and a steady gust of wind carries white mist with it. I rejoice; my heart sings. As a traveller, nothing makes me happier than being in the midst of nature and breathing clean and pure mountain air.

Photo of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Shiva Kumar Bashetti

This is a walk only road as vehicles are not allowed during the day; it begins near the Picture Palace and ends near Library Chowk (Kulri Bazaar) through Camel’s Back. This road takes its name from a rocky outcrop in the shape of a camel’s hump. We pass the skating rink that is housed in a hotel. There is a cemetery that looks like a church; apparently it is more than 150 years old!

Away from the hustle and bustle of mall road, we see the delights of Uttarakhand. Water chestnuts vie for our attention, while we walk among the load bearing Nepalis. It must have been the salubrious air of this pretty hill town that attracted the British. The day had begun with a mist so fierce that someone might have felt it would never ever clear. But like life’s troubles get over with time, the sun too makes an appearance and breaks through the clouds and shoos them away.

Plenty of rain falls in these parts lending the pavements a generous coating of moss. We see various kinds of oak and rhododendron trees devoid of the flower that the tree is more widely known for. Brightly coloured houses peek through the lush greenery and are sometimes hidden from view until I am directly in front of them. A smattering of dhabas and chowmein joints informs that we have reached Camel’s Back.

Photo of Mussoorie in the Sky by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
Photo of Mussoorie in the Sky by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
Photo of Mussoorie in the Sky by Shiva Kumar Bashetti

I don’t usually believe the touristy shenanigans but am pleasantly surprised to spot a rock shaped as a camel’s back. School kids vrooming on their new scooters is the only traffic we encounter. Peace messages adorn signboards when we pass the Nirankari Baba Ashram. Various viewpoints called ‘Hawa Mahal’ have been installed at many points along the road; it is a great place to sit and enjoy the sights at your own pace.

On the other side of the valley, clouds rise like cotton balls amidst the few houses nestled among the greens. Dusk falls and incredible sunset colours dominate the sights. The snowy peaks give us a brief chance to see their splendour. Near Library Chowk the trail joins the Mall Road, families jostle to buy tickets at The Ritz (Mussoorie’s only movie theatre). We pass the famous little eatery – Lovely Omelette Centre at Kulri Bazaar; it has already downed shutters for the day.

The cable car that takes visitors to Gun Hill is to our right, along with a pretty stone structure with statues of Freedom Fighters. Lights at the mall road glitter while we walk back in the serenity of darkness

Photo of Mussoorie in the Sky by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
Photo of Mussoorie in the Sky by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
Photo of Mussoorie in the Sky by Shiva Kumar Bashetti

The car drops us in the middle of a path that ends abruptly in the dense forest. We are supposed to walk towards Haathi Paon near George Everest House (Mt. Everest was named after him.) Sir George Everest was the first Surveyor General of India and was largely responsible for a big section of the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India.

It is the perfect weather for a leisurely stroll while breathing in the aroma of the forest. Moss is a dominating feature on the trees and the dark shade of green is a delight for greenery starved eyes. It is only fitting that in this fairytale kind of weather, we come upon the sight of a wishing well! Legend has it that if a coin falls directly in the water without hitting the walls, the thrower’s wish was fulfilled.

Photo of Mussoorie in the Sky by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
Photo of Mussoorie in the Sky by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
Photo of Mussoorie in the Sky by Shiva Kumar Bashetti
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