Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain !

9th Jun 2019
Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Last year in June, we went to Mussoorie for a short family holiday. As my brother always say, "Even a bad trip has good memories", and for us it was true to every words. The happening road trip - the okay hotel stay (though it was expensive ... side effect of peak season) - the morning walk on Camel's Back Rd. - the grand walk to Lal Tibba - roaming around on the Mall Rd and so on. We actually wanted a peaceful - non-rush type stay !

Day 1:

We are all ready to go ...

Photo of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India by Sharmila Ray

Food at Cheetal Grand ... Didn't like it at all !

Photo of Cheetal Grand, Dist, Khatauli, Uttar Pradesh, India by Sharmila Ray

View from the Camel's Back Rd.

Photo of Camels Back Road, The Mall Road, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Sharmila Ray

One fine happy day !

Photo of Lal Tibba, Library Bazar, The Mall Road, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India by Sharmila Ray

Let me start with the road trip. We’re out on the road by 6 am – late by an hour – yet we’re all happy and cheerful in our hired Traveller …. clicked lots of photos n shared them on social media – actually it wouldn’t be wrong to call ourselves an Insta & FB family – so we always take great priority on taking lots of great photos. Even the slow-moving traffic at that time of the morning didn’t hamper our happy mood. We had in fact planned to make ‘Travel Videos’ for YouTube, but there was a little surprise waiting for us just after crossing Muzaffarnagar.

My Maa posting photos on FB !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

In the meantime, we stopped at the ‘Cheetal Grand’ for some yummy food – like most people traveling on that road do. Had Idli – Masala Dosa – Samber, but it wasn’t that good. In fact Dosa masala was way too salty – the coconut chutney was rubbish and Samber was just – eatable !! Whereas I’m not a fussy eater at all.

After finishing it somehow, we got on the road again … but soon we had to stop again.

At first, we thought the driver was getting the UP road tax formality done – but soon we got to know that we were stopped by the ‘Bank People’ [they’re the people who retrieve due payment on behalf of the bank – by hook or by crook]. The installment for the Traveller (we were traveling) had not been paid on time and a large amount was still unpaid. They won’t let the vehicle go … all they could do for us was book another vehicle from Muzaffarnagar or we could wait till another vehicle was send for us from Delhi.

What had happened was – the man from whom we normally hire cabs (for long-distance) is a reliable man, but he didn’t have a Traveller … so he asked his known person to rent his Traveller to us. The reliable man didn’t know about the other person’s dark bank background. So to cut a very long story short – we had to wait for nearly 5 hrs. by the roadside. The bank person was kind enough to let us wait in the A/C Traveller (Thank God) – otherwise, in that scorching hot weather, we would have become roasted chicken … sorry we’re a vegan family – so we can’t be chicken but roasted Beans n Nuts – Ha Ha Ha !!

Finally around 2pm – Innova arrived from Delhi. We hurriedly transferred our luggage and ourselves in the new vehicle. Once again we’re on the road and moving – (I personally liked the Innova over the Traveller).

We were sure by that time that we won’t be able to reach Mussoorie before sunset. Yet very soon we all became comfortable and the happy mood was restored again. Once again, we began to enjoy the road journey – the sugarcane field – the canopy created by the roadside trees over the road – the eye-blinding dusty road – and so on. Actually, we took a different route after Muzaffarnagar – not the usual NH 58 – the road was smaller yet scenic and reached Roorkee without crossing Purquazi.

The landscape on the road ...

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Soon after crossing Roorkee – the vegetation changed to tall trees on both sides of the road – giving it a jungle-like feeling. Then it changed to curvy n bending road winding up the hills. Excited to reach the higher mountains -not that we have not been to the mountains before and yet we felt a thrill. Very soon we’re stuck in a long traffic jam in progress of some road construction work.

... and the long traffic jam !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Slowly but steadily we reached Dehradun town which is situated in the Doon valley. Surprisingly the roads were straight and not winding – at some distance mountains were visible. Soon we’re bending left n right on those curvy roads that lead to higher mountains. The road conditions were not bad neither good. My brother was sceptical about its safety. At many places, those big boulders which are supposed to act as safety guards were missing. We were driving slowly and safely but there are others who seem to be always in a hurry (God knows where for) might end up with fatal misfortunes.

Being creative while stuck in the jam ...

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Tragic and misfortune incident does happen every year due to over tourism and rush driving. This not only putting our life but other people's life at risk too. We heard this sad news while staying at the hotel in Mussoorie : a car fell into a gorge near Kempty Fall in Mussoorie -killing 4 people including a 4 yrs old child. What a terrible disaster ! Later i came to know through social media that around that time of the month (9 – 12 June) Mussoorie – Shimla – Nainital roads were facing severe traffic jams. As cities in the plains were affected by the heatwave … people started to flock to the nearby hill station. People should be more careful and attentive.

Okay back to my story. We must have reached about halfway up the mountain – when my niece started having stomachaches. She is a pretty happy little kid – but all of a sudden felt uneasy and crying badly. We tried hard to calm her down n eventually, she somehow fell asleep [Thank God] – we felt a little relieved.

The hotel we were staying ... was okay type !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Our hotel was on Camel’s Back rd. so we had to reach the ‘Picture palace’ point. We parked the car at the parking place – [ it’s safe there, one has to pay for the parking]. We got a coolie to carry our luggage up to the hotel. We too walked our way to the hotel – hence finally reached Nand Residency Hotel.

There are two important & unique things to mention here.

First : [For private car owners i.e. white plated vehicle] If your hotel has parking -well n good – park your car there … but most hotels don’t. Also after a certain time [after 4 pm – till 10 pm], certain roads are closed for vehicles. Also, the roads are narrow with pretty sharp bends here n there – so it is wise to park the car in paid parking n roam around the town on foot – be it shopping & eating on Mall Rd. or walking n enjoying the nature on Camel’s Back Road. The parking here is expensive but a better option.

[For non-commercial cars ie. yellow plated vehicle] – they do not have any option other than park the vehicle in paid parking as non-commercial vehicles are not allowed into the main town.

Second : The ‘Coolie Union’ has a very strong hold in Mussoorie. If you think or request the hotel to send their car or staff to get your luggage to the hotel – the Union doesn’t allow that. Even the hotels bring their daily requirement stuff by these coolies only. So you have to hire a coolie to get your luggage to your hotel and back to the parking area. Of course, these coolies are super reliable and honest. On top of that, they don’t charge much. A coolie at Delhi railway station would charge three times more than what we paid the coolie there.

View from the hotel room ...

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

It was past sunset when we reached the hotel. Our rooms were on the second floor. The view from the balcony was awesome. We looked around and tried to relax and settle down. As we were all tired and weary – we ordered our dinner in the room. After dinner – we sat and chat for a while – enjoyed watching other guest and people on the hotel terrace below. We didn’t stay up late that night – Oliva my niece was little irritated – so we said Good Night to each other and went to sleep.

We had planned a trip to Dhanulti – but since Oliva was feeling mountain sick (as i call it) … we cancelled that plan and decided to walk around the town itself.

Day 2:

Next morning we woke up late – had a quick breakfast – then went out at around 11 o’clock. Our hotel was on Camel’s Back Rd. so stepping out of the hotel meant – we were on Camel’s Back Rd itself. The road got its name from a rocky outcrop in the shape of a camel’s hump which unfortunately we couldn’t notice … but of course what’s in a name? Had it been called by a different name, it would still have been just as beautiful.

A hot sunny day with clear blue sky ...

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

I was told that the Camel’s Back Rd. was a quiet road with nearly no vehicles running on it. That day – there were many vehicles on the road and many were parked by the roadside – making the narrow road narrower. There were hotels and ashrams on both sides of the road. One can get the view of the valley and the mountain -but somehow they didn’t really attract me much. Enjoyed family time but couldn’t enjoy nature.

A little patch of green !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Maybe when my brother described the place to me – I somehow imagined it to be like heaven on earth – hence so much disappointment. Last time when he went (in the same month) there were clouds floating in the valley – so obviously not his fault and neither mine (in imagining the place). When I go to any hill station or place – I love to observe and absorb the tranquility and its natural flora n fauna … and seeing so much man-made stuff made me sad.

I felt that the place was overcrowded [I agree – June month is the peak season for tourist to visit Mussoorie] by tourist and ultimately ruining the natural beauty (which I seek the most) and creating many more serious problems like – water scarcity – parking shortage – removal & collection of garbage to name a few… leave alone other problems like : high hotel tariff rates – higher parking rates – expensive eat-outs and many more.

Well let’s get back to my story: we came back to the hotel around lunchtime. It was getting pretty hot with the lovely bright sun up in the blue sky.

My mom clicking picture at Mall Rd.

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

In the evening we went for a walk on the “Mall Road. It’s just a minute walk away from Nand Residency Hotel. Walking on Mall Rd. was more fun and enjoyable than on Camel’s Back Road even though it was crowded. Mall Road stretches from the ‘Picture Palace’ to ‘Public Library’ (ie. from east to westward) that has all sort of shops on both side of it: cafe – Indian Street food stalls – fruits shops – jewelry – handicraft and many more. My favourite shop was the ‘Cambridge Bookshop’.

... and a book from the mountain !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

I had told my brother about it before coming to Mussoorie that whatever we do – wherever we may go – I want to go to that book shop. I had read that author Ruskin Bond visits this book shop on every Saturday – from 3 pm – 5:30 pm. We missed it but that’s fine. I’m not an autograph fan type person anyway. I love his books so I bought two books (not that day – went there the next day) for myself and one for Oliva.

... though the Nand Residency had a beautiful dining room !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Enjoyed a lovely evening on busy Mall Rd. Got back to the hotel – had dinner on the open terrace with the cool relaxing breeze – and Oliva repeating in Bengali,”Oliva beru-beru jabe”. Loosely translated as – ‘Oliva wants to go for a walk’. We had to quiet her down by saying that she will go tomorrow – right now she’ll eat her food. That night after dinner we sat for a while and planned for our next day trip … ie. we’ll wake up early and see the sunrise. We all agreed and went to bed.

Important Information:

Mussoorie is well connected to Delhi and major cities by road [we took the Rajnagar Ext. – Modi Nagar – Khatuali – (a little diversion before Purkaji) – Roorkee – Dehradun – Mussoorie.

The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun – anyone interest in reaching Mussoorie faster can opt for this option too.

Indian Railways is another option for train-ride lovers … the nearest railway station is Dehradun – 34 km from Mussoorie.

Day 3:

The valley looked beautiful in the morning light ...

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

This is how the Mussoorie valley n town looks like is the early morning. I was very sure that no one is going to wake up early the next day as promised the night before. Me & my Maa went for a morning walk. I was really very happy to see those crowded roads so empty and the surrounding was very calm n peaceful. You would have the time to stop and see the actual beauty of Mussoorie without bumping into aother person. Yes loved the morning walk and i would recommend it to everyone going to Mussoorie – it was really good !

... and a peaceful morning walk on Camel's Back Rd.

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

After coming back from the morning walk … we didn’t do much. Lazily went for breakfast after which we all wanted to go for a long walk but it was too hot n sunny. Maa and i went out for half an hour as i wanted to buy books of one of my fav. author ie. Ruskin Bond. After we came back, we all sit together in the balcony of the hotel room – drank hot chocolate with soya milk n ate peanut butter bread sandwich – and chit-chat on things in general.

The walk to the Lal Tibba was great fun. Actually almost everyone drive up to the top … very few (and i mean very few) like us walk all the way to the Lal Tibba and back. The road was superb as you can see in the pic. above. We walked slowly and steadily and of course clicked many photos on our way.

Not only us even little Oliva had a awesome time and kept us entertained as well. She was mad about her Humpty-Dumpty … when ever Oliva sees a rock or a elevated foot stepping place – she would insist we pick her up and put her in that place and sing Humpty-Dumpty rhyme and she would jump (pretending falling like Humpty) and we have to catch her. So yes we all had tons of laughter n fun.

The famous "Char Dukan"

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Enjoying some yummy food and drink !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Yummy momos and lemon tea - which was the best thing i had that day !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

And there is this famous “Char Dukan” … they are four shops selling eateries. There were cafes too [just on the left and hence out of my frame] but we preferred these four shops. That day, I had the most delicious lemon ginger tea – ever ! I normally do not drink tea (or coffee as a matter of fact) but after having a sip – i could not stop myself till i finish the whole cup and i could have drank another 3-4 cups of it … i liked it so much. And yes … the momos and maggie were good too.

The church was just before the “Char Dukan” … we actually didn’t go inside as we were hungry and wanted to eat. But of course the church did look inviting and we still skipped it.

The church was inviting but didn't go - short of time !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Major disappointment : Lal Tibba which is the supposed to be the highest point in Mussoorie. There were two small private cafe type shops – selling overpriced juice and food items. There were sitting arrangements on those shop’s rooftops where they kept telescopes too. One is supposed to pay an extra Rs. 50/person even after purchasing eating items from them to go to the rooftop to get a good view of the mountains. That was not all -you were not allowed to go upstairs if you didn’t buy anything … seriously that was disappointing !! In my opion there should be something like a "view point" by the state authority so that every one can enjoy the view if not the food at least.

Enjoying the peaceful nature !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

When we reached Lal Tibba … the sun was about to set. We had a slight bad luck as there were big dark clouds in the western sky. So we could not see a marvelous sunset but still what we saw was great … i guess sunsets in general are always mesmerizing no matter what may come.

... also a beautiful sunset !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

It was getting dark and we had to walk all the way back to Picture Palace point. So we took the same road that we had taken up hill otherwise we could have gone around that mountain and made a circle at “Char Dukan”. That day we realized, climbing down hill was faster but very tiring for the legs.

After reaching the hotel … we ate dinner – sat for sometime discussing how the hotel and its services was and how it has changed from the last time my brother has visited it. As a whole the hotel tariff was costly and food service wasn't up to the mark.

Then again we made plans to go for a early morning walk the very next day …

Day 4:

... and the morning sky - black clouds and more black clouds !

Photo of Mussoorie - Good short family Trip #VisitAgain ! by Sharmila Ray

Next day the Rain God had something else for us. The next morning we heard a storm … we even did not dare to look outside as it sounded so scary – like someone was hampering the tinned rooftop. Laying in that cozy bed I felt safe (of course) and at the same time a bit thrilled without even going out.

The return journey was non-happening as always. I would love to go back to the family trip to Mussoorie but a month later ie. we went in June but would like to visit it in July or September. So that there are less people on road and more clouds in the valley !!