My never-ending exploration of Landour began with the summer holidays being spent at my Dadi's hilltop home near 'Ghanta Ghar' - a chaotic-rackety house filled with nerve-shaking children. It was my favorite time of the year, I was the only girl in the house surrounded by my cousin brothers, and being pampered all the time.
My Dadi used to take us on these long strenuous walks to Lal Tibba or Sister Bazar and I must say she was far more energetic than all of us (we were one-sixth of her age or less). On our way, we used to take so many stopovers because someone or the other just stopped us to greet in the village (back then everyone knew everyone - I am talking about 15 years ago in the memory lane). Even though as times have passed and all of us have become busy in our life and we no longer stay in Landour - our memories of the wonderful time spent there, keeps coming back to me.
I wanted to re-live my days once again, so I decided to go back and spend a few days in Landour. This time I took my friends along to share and make them resonate with each of my memory. However, the village had transformed itself. It was not the same quaint neighborhood that my childhood was vary of. It was a town in itself with bustling roads filled by cars and traffic jams. Well, not a picture I wanted to show my friends. Nevertheless, I still wanted to make this a memorable, reminiscing experience.
We stayed at Ivy Cottage which is right next to Dolma's cafe (Inn) and Ruskin Bond's house. A beautiful, serene place that offers you the vast expanse of hills that the "Queen" (Mussoorie) possess. Ivy Cottage also has an uber cool cafe - Ivy Cafe at Char Dukan. It is designed keeping the hills in mind and the aroma of the place will help you connect with English/British culture. As I took my friends on this journey of traveling back in time, exploring every place that had a slightest connection to my childhood and overwhelmingly describing the essence of the place, it led me to realize that "Hey, this is where my roots are and will always be". It is (and will always be) hard for me to put into words how unfathomable my emotions had become at that moment.
As I dwelled deeper, I realized my roots are still strong and I have ingrained the "pahadi" in me since childhood. It has become perfectly okay for me to live in the hills/mountains. The simplistic way of living a quality life!
A walk in Landour - converse with the locals and the tourists (who are willing to :p); stroll to Char Dukan and pounce on the maggi and pancakes; spend some time at St. Paul's Church consuming my thoughts; wander further to the bakehouse, grab the mouth-melting cheese and peanut butter from Prakash General Store; most of all enjoy the very existence of life.
Immerse myself in the smell of mountains, Get closer to life.
If you are looking for a quintessential, writer's retreat kind of gateaway then go explore Landour. It is open to so many interpretations and will leave you with a lot of thoughts when you actually explore the unknown in the woods.
Closing this with a thought and a lot of pictures (scroll further).
Not until we are completely lost or turned around...do we begin to find ourselves - Henry David Thoreau