Lansdowne: A Tryst With Nature

7th Jan 2020
Day 1

After the Delhi Lansdowne road trip the night was spent peacefully amongst the peripheral wilderness! Next day I woke up to alluring sound of whistling thrush and Himalayan bulbul!! The humming of birds was so soothing that I could feel the harmony of many species of butterflies ,birds staying together without disturbing each other!! Something we humans should also learn..!!A small stroll around and a breathtaking sight of sunkissed Himalayas was perfect start to the morning! Sipping a cup of ginger tea  sitting in  small lawn of my guest room surrounded by overlooking pine trees I wondered how British found these idllyic hills and turned them into retreats! My husband seemed to read my mind and exclaimed ..those  white skinned British used to turn red with rage of sun in Indian plains and found escapeds in these mountains !! He was right almost all hillsations in our country have a colonial connection!Thanks to them here I was having the most surreal experiences of my life in this untouched place tucked away in foothills of  Himalayas away from commercialization!! This place is not a tourist frequented habitat where people flock in herds ,click photos ,buy souvenirs and  leave!

The place has an air of self indulgence , introspection which is ideal for a traveller or an explorer and not a tourist! One should visit Lansdowne to relax and unwind,to stand and stare at nature's bounty.The trees are painted in myriad of colours  ranging from yellow to shades of green to crimson  hues! The weather here is like mood swings of a women..when you think it's going to be bright sunny day becomes windy and when you are ready to face the chills the mist flows in making everything hazy!!

Apart from being a beautiful hill station ,Lansdowne has glorious past! The Garhwal Rifle Regiment moved here in 1887.It was previously known as "Kaludanda" and was renamed after then viceroy of India Lord Lansdowne.The place boasts of possessing one of the best kept Army Mess In Asia. "The Garhwali Mess" is an impressive victorian structure with creeper covered stone walls, cobbled roads, rustic slanting roofs and wooden floors.Once you enter the mess you literally imagine walking through beautiful  promenade with horse drawn carriages ferrying those stern British officers and their beautiful memsahibs😜.It definitely takes you back in time of British Raj!But...A Word of caution :One must be dressed in formals and should have prior permission to visit this place.You cannot laze around in shorts and flip flops!!

Apart from the mess there are many other vintage bungalows which are no less than archaical marvels!!

There are many other places of historical importance as well!The shatabdi dwar or centenary Gate,A Regimental war memorial which is a mark of respect to our martyrs in whose memory it stands and also a Regimental Museum which hosts rare and prized collection of war trophies.

The place has something for everyone !! With a backdrop of snow clad mountains and thick vegetation of oaks and pines the place is perfect for nature walks and trekks!

If you are a wild life lover you have wild life safari through kalagarh forest reserve .For the birding enthusiasts you have magpies and wagtails as regular visitors.Its also a bikers paradise..every hour one can hear those not so royal and very common Enfields thundering their way through woods!!

One can also visit "Bhula Taal" a manmade lake with boating facility and "Tiffin Top " a sunset /sunrise or whatever point!! A typical tourist attraction which every hillstation has!! Though I never found  clicking photos with rising or setting sun very romantic but yes one can always enjoy the scenic view of valley with steaming hot momos and Maggie with loved ones!!

This blissful silence can be perfect place for meditation too though people prefer to wear bright coloured clothes and click pouting selfies and disturb nature's harmony!! 😉 

But that's part and parcel of tourism development in the state and no one is complaining as long as it generates revenue😜😜

The place has come up with lot of resorts ,hotels and restaurants.In order to keep up with times some of them have come up with the concept of Saturday nights and  DJs!! But frankly this place doesn't need all this.The place is itself  enthralling with scenic beauty ,serenity , simple culture and humble people!!
-Ketki !

Photo of Lansdowne: A Tryst With Nature by Ketki Ketan Gokhale