Lansdowne is a weekend getaway, what will you do there for five days?
But the question is … what if I don’t want to do anything and just take it easy for a few days. Then, I guess, Lansdowne is perfect because there is not much to do.
Still five days is too much!
Before I left for Lansdowne, this was the usual conversation with people who had already been to Lansdowne or who had heard stories about Lansdowne. And every time someone said this, my resolve got stronger that I am doing the right thing.
What people didn’t know, and I didn’t bother to explain, was that the five-days trip was divided in two parts. First two days were supposed to be a retreat as I, along with a friend, had decided to go during the weekdays. And the others would join us over the long weekend.
We wanted to be away from city madness and enjoy the peace and solitude for a while. Going during weekdays and just before a festival helped in achieving that.
But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t explore Lansdowne. The difference was that we did it at our pace and not trying to cover everything in one day. Lansdowne has three main tourist spots – Tip N Top point for a clear view of Himalayan range and Sunrise, Army museum and Bhulla Taal, the man-made Lake.
So, we covered one location in a day and rest of the time, we spent walking around or just sitting and enjoying the beauty of the place which was enhanced by clouds and rains.
The first two days, we stayed at GMVN Tip N Top Resort, which as the name suggest is on the tip of the mountain. We got a clear view of the Himalayan peaks from our hotel room.
The Sunrise point – Tiffin Top was just 100m from our hotel and Sunset Point at Santoshi Maa Temple was 500m away approximately. So, we spent day one exploring these two spots for a couple of hours.
Rest we were at the hotel enjoying the blissful space. And not to forget taking many photos and time-lapses.
Next day we experienced the Independence Day Celebration of Lansdowne which is also the Army. cantonment area.
The entire population of Lansdowne comes to the main market area to be a part of this spectacle.
After that we went to Bhulla-Taal amidst rain and spent a couple of hours there soaking in the man-made beauty and boating in the small lake.
It was quite fun to use the paddle boat after ages.
After that we decided to explore the area on foot and we kept exploring the bungalows, hotels, looking for walking trails.
We also kept clicking pictures with the trees, on road and wherever possible.
After spending half a day walking around, exploring Bhulla Taal, experiencing the Independence Day celebrations and finally having Hot samosa-Chhole in the sadar bazar corner shop, we came back to our hotel and lounged around for rest of the day.
In the evening, we ordered dal-chawal and local Garhwali Maduwa roti, which was the repeat order of day one of our stay. Lovely cool weather, soft breeze and hot-fresh food is an ultimate combination. So much so, that we didn’t even touch alcohol on both days, despite being fully stocked.
The third day, our friends arrived, and we shifted to the Army Officers’ Mess as one of the friends is an officer himself and managed to get us the booking in the lovely British-era compound which still retains the old-world charm.
We spent the day there enjoying the lovely rains, sitting and catching up with each other in the lap of nature. Also the Officers’ Mess has protocols to follow and designated spots for drinking and smoking, which helped in curtailing people from going away for drinks and smokes.
Fourth day, we went to Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple which is approximately 40km away.
This is one place that cannot be described in words and no photo can do justice to it. It must be seen to believe the beauty of the nature at its best. The temple is decorated with bells everywhere.
After coming back, we were still soaking in the beauty of the place.
So much so, that I went totally quiet and just wanted to spend time with myself. So, I went down for a walk in the light drizzle an amidst moving clouds, and just sat at a point without thinking about anything. I just felt content being with myself there. Sometimes its good to enjoy one’s own company.
For dinner, we went to the Lansdowne Market, which was 200m from our place of stay. Going down the 200m was easy but coming back uphill right after the dinner was a killer task. Everything got digested.
The food in Lansdowne is basic North-Indian cuisine. Nothing Local makes to the menu. My suggestion is to stick to veg basic food. The non-veg on both the days was a disappointment.
We had kept last day for visiting the Army Museum and watching movie in the only picture hall of Lansdowne since 1946 called Aggarwal Cineplex.
But rains had other plans. It rained heavily on last day, so much so that we were stranded in the room the whole day. It seemed as if the water was overflowing everywhere.
Getting a cab to reach Kotdwar Station, 40 km down from Lansdowne, seemed impossible at one point due to rains and landslides. But luckily one cab driver agreed to drop us as he had to go back to Kotdwar anyways.
So, we reached 4 hours earlier from our train’s scheduled time of around 10 pm. Not being able to see army museum and Aggarwal Cineplex are the things kept for next trip to Lansdowne.
And if you thought our journey got over as we reach station, you are in for a surprise. Despite reaching 4 hours earlier, we almost missed the train because my friends mistook our train, Mussoorie Express, for a passenger train. And we rushed last minute as the mystery was solved.
So, the quite trip to Lansdowne ended with a bang and a great welcome in Delhi the next morning right into the grind.