Library Point is the hub of all activity in Mussoorie. This was the place you first woke up to in the wee hours of the morning if you have undertaken the bus route from ISBT (Inter State Bus Terminal), Delhi, in days of yore. It is now the most cacophonous place in entire Mussoorie. All drivers in Mussoorie appear to simply love the sound of the horn of their vehicle. Some of them lean forward, rest their elbows on the horn and doze off. Horns full blast in this video at VirtualTourist.
Straight ahead is the Mussoorie Library (from which the place gets its name), established in 1843, just below the once opulent Savoy Hotel. The first floor consists of the library while the ground floor houses a number of shops. To your left is the Bandstand, an ornate circular structure where, once upon a time, a military band would play for about an hour every Wednesday and Saturday evening.
The road to your left (Blucher’s Hill) leads to Savoy Hotel and beyond, the one to your right takes you to Happy Valley and to Company Gardens. The one, a little to your 5 o’clock, is the Mall.
As you enter Library Point from the plains below, you’ll see an arched gate welcoming you. Check out the inlaid relief of the three wise monkeys (Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil, See no Evil) on the arch. They are also known as the ‘No Evil Monkeys’, ‘Three Wise Monkeys, ’‘Mystic Monkeys, Morality Monkeys’. For more information on them you may like to follow this link:
Whatever glorious stories you have heard of Kempty Falls belongs to an era when concretisation had not taken place. In the name of improvement and facilities, this gorgeous falls has been totally ruined. A giant trolley, an incongruous temple, innumerable houses and some odd concrete platforms totally obscure the view of the falls. Do check out this video at VirtualTourist.
What is incomprehensible is the need to build facilities right up to touching distance of the falls by the authorities. The entire scene is ruined. It is like going up right close to a painting instead of stepping back and admiring the entire view. Such facilities could easily have been built on the opposite side of the falls, leaving the view uncluttered. You may get your photo but it will be of a falls hemmed in by man-made madness instead of Nature’s gracious gift formed by the Ringaul river.
All is not lost, however. As you wend you way back with a heavy heart, lean out of your left-side window and see Kempty Falls in all its glory! From an adequate distance, you will appreciate the three-tired Falls better. Whatever aberrations appear in your carefully composed photo may well be taken care of by photoshopping it. And if you wish to enjoy the Falls in the early morning light, there are a few budget hotels nearby.
As you stroll along the Mall you cannot help but notice the graceful sweep of the Doon valley stretched out below. The houses, the terraced cultivation, the road slithering and snaking down, the rolling hills, the fleecy clouds – all add to the charm of the exquisite scenery. But it is the gracefulness of the sweep that catches the eye. You feel you could take a sufficiently large piece of tin, make yourself comfortable on it and gleefully glide down to the valley below – just as you swept down the slide in your schoolyard.
As dusk falls, the magic begins. First a small light goes on in the valley below, then another, then the next. And so on, until the entire Doon is but a carpet of light, iridescent, shimmering, enchanting.
As John Northam wrote in his guide book more than a century ago:
“The eye never tires at looking down upon the Dun, with its multitude of lovely detail,
and commanding, as the visitor does, the view from an altitude of from 6,000 to 7,000
feet, the effect is charming, and, under some conditions of the atmosphere, enchanting.
Description is beyond the power of the pen.”
A trip to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) at Happy Valley, which was once the Charleville Hotel, 1.5 kms from Library point, is a must. This is the place where the future administrators of India are groomed after they are selected by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). It’s during the Foundational Course (FC) that all these youngsters get to know each other and forge bonds which last them throughout their service career and sometimes, their lifetime. The two-storeyed wooden building which houses the Director’s office is a heritage building. The full-length statue of the late Lal Bahadur Shastri as well as the bust of the late Sardar Vallabhai Patel, are both impressive. At one end of the campus, you get an uncluttered view of the hills and ranges that seem to roll on endlessly.
A walk along the mall, at any point during the day, is an exhilarating experience. The throng of tourist, coupled with the vehicular traffic, may not make your peregrinations as soothing and as trouble-free as you would like it to be. Barring these mis-adventures as you take in the ubiquitous stalls and kiosks along the way, you will find your walk rather enjoyable.
The entire stretch of the Mall, starting from Library Point and going up to the Picture Palace, is a good 2 kms walk. However, as you stroll along you will hardly feel the distance owing to the variety of life that you witness.
In one corner you may notice a barber giving a swift haircut to a hapless country bumpkin while his colleagues wait for their customer for a body massage. At another point you will see a cluster of horses with their owners urging you to take a trip along Camel Back Road to Lal Tibba. Further on, you will be drawn to a woman making fire-roasted corn-cob (‘bhutta’) edible while, at the same time, she minds her baby. If the aroma of meat meets your nostrils, look further ahead to see a man preparing chicken ‘tikka’ over smoldering charcoal kept alive ingeniously by the use of a small electric fan.
If you hear haggling, look no further than a make-shift kiosk selling woolen garments. A throng of ladies may be seen choosing the most colourful of woolen scarves, caps, sweaters and cardigans.
As you walk along, you cannot but help notice the once legendary ‘Whispering Windows’ hotel. In days of yore this was the ultimate joint to be seen in and to dine. A little further on, almost in a cul-de-sac, you will notice four famous restaurants vying with one another to entice you, ‘Nirula’s’, ‘Domino’s’, ‘Café Coffee Day’ and ‘The Rice Bowl’. If that was not enough, another Chinese restaurant, ‘Kalsang’ hits you in the eye with its bright red exterior. Next to it stands, ‘Le-Chef’, the restaurant whose tag line is ‘Indian by Birth, Punjabi by Nature’. Not to be missed is ‘Howard’, the circular revolving restaurant. As dusk falls, the Mall acquires a mystic charm. The air is pregnant with romance and expectations.
While at the Mall you cannot miss the Central Methodist Church at Kulri, established in 1885. Built sturdily of stone, this massive edifies is an oasis of peace from the throng of the tourist trampling up and down the Mall.
Authentic, period furniture, British-style, is available aplenty in Mussoorie. The reason could be the wholesale departure of the English residents of the town after Independence.
Whatever the reasons, there are quite a few shops dealing in antique furniture as well as antiques. One treasure house is just beside ‘Omi Sweet Shop’ in the Landour region of Mussoorie. Called ‘Ancient Palace’, you lose yourself in this shop if you like antiques. Some of the items are so old and uncared for that even the owner (Irfan Ahmed) or the shop helper can’t tell you much about them.
The other shop is near the Clock Tower area and doesn’t appear to have a name. The owner, Vinod Kumar, is a bit more knowledgeable. He judges your interest and only pulls out the real treasures if he feels you are truly interested and not just shielding yourself from the rain or the cold. A pure silver tea pot, milk pot and sugar pot, were a bargain. So also were a 100-year calendar (1950-2049) paper weight from Stanley, London, a sand timer (5-minutes) and an antique clock.
If you have a sweet tooth and you’re in Mussoorie, head straight for ‘Omi Sweet Shop’ at Landour. They have been in the sweet business for a little more than a century and a half (1860 onwards). From the Mall as you walk towards Landour, the shop is to your right-hand side.
Besides an array of mouth-watering delicacies, a number of different types of ‘namkeens’ (salted savouries) are also on display to entice you. You could pick up some chilly hot ones also for your sundowner. A few tables are also set aside for guests who may not want to wait too long to taste the sweets.
A type of sweet produced here that defies logic is chocolate ‘burfi’. These square-shaped dark brown sweets may be kept in your house for almost a month without it getting spoilt. And it’s not too sweet either.
The owner of the shop (Ashwani - +919897491821), is a knowledgeable person. You ask him about the town and he’ll tell you how to get there, when to go and whether it’s worth it or not.
A veritable feast.
Kempty falls is 40 feets in hight,it is considered very beautiful however when we went the water was diverted as the construction was going on.It was simply waste of time for us.However in its former avatar,as described it looked lovely.
The Kempty Falls are a major attractions of Dehradun and Mussoorie. The falls are situated mid way between the Dehradun-Mussoorie path. Set on the hilly terrains, the Kempty falls are stunningly beautiful. The water cascading down from an altitude of 4,500 feet and splitting further into five cascades, the water falls from a height of 40 feet giving the appearance of water jumping and playing on the rocks before falling down. This place was developed as a tourist destination by John Mekinan, after 1835. The name Kempty is derived from 'Camp-tea', as the Britishers would organise their tea parties here
Gunhill is the second highest point in Mussoorie. To access Gunhill, there are two ways. The first one is to begin trek from court complex on the Mall road. This path takes you to Gunhill in about 20 minutes. Now Gun Hill also has a ropeway.
This is also one of the best view point of the town. There are telescopes here you can see the mountain peaks from very close range with the telescope. The British had placed a large firing Gun there during 1857 ( time of Sepoy Mutiny) to prevent them to access Mussoorie. After independence it became a place for tourist attraction. But the Gun was removed in the 70's and this place is now have water supply tank of Mussoorie.
Whatever it is you will enjoy the place. It has many souvenier counters, view point, Telescopes, tea & Snacks stalls.
This is also a Mussoorie tip. Anywhere in Mussoorie you go, you will find photographers are ready with this Hill dress of Queen or King to dress you and take photographs. For a small sum of money they will take your photograph as King or queen and send you by post. The charges are forpost card size Rs.40 or about USD $1 in India. Bigger size will cost more. They earn their bread with this. Not a bad idea.
Like any other Hill Station the Main throughfare of the town is called The Mall. Mussoorie too is no exception. The live here revolves around The Mall. The Mall here has numerous hotels, Cafe, Shopping plazas( small), restaurants, Revolving Restaurant, Ropeway, Offfices and what not. For Mussoorie The Mall is life and life is Mall.
When the British came here in India, they made all better schools in the Hill Stations only as probably they felt theIndian heat will be too much for their children. They left but over the years the Indian Gentry send their wards to the better schools in the Hills.Mussoorie too has very good schools.
Like in all Hill Station Mussoorie also has a beautiful Botanical Garden, where they have also made a Nursury. They have also created a small lake for boating. A good place to see those are flowers and plants.
Gone are the days when December used to bring snow at Mussoorie! Our dream of having lot of snow and perhaps even try our hand at skiing at Mussoorie is shattered. We learnt het due to global warming there is no snowfall in an around Mussoorie for quite sometime. But snow falls in February & March if the weather is bad or if it rains!!
We also learnt that now snow is not there in 6/7000 feet but it is there at 10000+ feet. Global Warming!!!
We could see little bit of snow while going to Kempty Falls, we had to be satisfied with that only. Here are the pictures.
Now Kempty Falls also has Capsule Ropeway to make our visit more comfortable. It takes about 6-8 mts to get down and Up. Fare is Rs.50/- or USD 1.20 for up and down. But choice of geting down by foot always remains open. Since, we are from plains we prefered to use the Ropeway as we had three children with us.