Oak Grove School in Mussoorie

February 12, 2009

Guru Nanak Fifth Centenary School Mussoorie(GNFCS) is one of the well known schools in Mussoorie and one of the best boarding schools in India like many other Mussoorie schools. Founded in the sacred memory of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, on the occasion of His 500th birth anniversary, celebrated in November 1969. The girls are housed at Shangri La situated at 6,750 feet (2,057 m) above sea level on an 11-acre (45,000 m2) plot, wooded with cypress, cedar and oak, on the south and west, facing the snow clad Himalayan peaks, to the north. The boys are at Vincent Hill, it is situated 3 km from the Library Chowk. Surrounded by picturesque scenery, Vincent Hill comprises a campus spread over 45 acres (180,000 m2). The GNFCS prepares students in accordance with the 10+2 formula for school education, for the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (10 year course) examination and the Indian School Certificate (12 year course) examination. Oak Grove School stands out from the other notable institutions of Mussoorie because of two reasons – first of all, it is affiliated to the CBSE, New Delhi, which is rarity amongst the residential schools of Mussoorie. Secondly, it is a secular government aided school, run by Northern Railway. The school was founded in 1888 by East Indian Railway (EIR), and passed to the Indian Railways when railways were nationalised after Independence. It has got three separate semi independent wings, and is situated on two hills in Jharipani, 8 km from Mussoorie town, near the famous Jharipani fal


The Magic of Mussoorie

October 23, 2008

My romance with Mussoorie started about 10 years back ,when my family moved to Dehradun . Every morning i’d go to my roof and savour that brilliant strech of mountains .One could easily make out the houses (read hotels) sprinkled between the thick dense green forest .At Night it would look like a million little stars .

<–Spiral Mussoorie road.

It took me some time to muster the courage to go all the way to the top ,on my own .When one moves from the Rajpur Road ,the path bifurcates .Most travellers like to use the first bend but if you leave it and go from the Rajpur village ,it feels like heaven as you can see the beautiful banglows, the Sai temple and the famous rajpur’s pakore waali shop which has seen generations growing up.A 100 years back ,people used to stay overnight at Rajpur before moving to Mussoorie.

People often ask me what’s so special about Mussoorie and how it’s different from Shimla ,Nainital or any other hill station in India and I say at the risk of sounding cliched ,it is the journey and not the destination. The Mussoorie -Dehradun road (pic) is unarguably the best indian mountain road and you’ll always find a lot of people infact (around 60% traffic) in 2-wheelers.Driving at 2000 feet amidst clouds ,gives you a real high.I heard in Delhi and Mumbai we have clubs ,where one can pay upto 500 bucks to breathe Pure Oxygen and i say ,come with me buddy and we can have more oxygen then our lungs could hold. Pure ,unadultered,pristine air.

It takes about 1.5 hour to reach Mussoorie from Dehradun bus station , a cab would take around 1 hr , a personal 2-wheeler would take around 50 minutes and my best time is 35 minutes.There are certain rules that you need to follow, while driving in mountains, the most important being,Never leave your side and horn at every bend.you can spot Malsi deer park on route to mussoorie , where you can easily spot deers and a caged cheetah. On the way up you find beautiful places like bhatta fall ,ITBP academy which has a nice halipad at about 4000 feet.

Mussoorie for a first timer would appear very very chaotic ,claustrophobic and a complete mess.You will find hotels and taxis everywhere.I think it was a failure on government’s part to stop those from mushrooming .It is not even good for them as most of them have to wait ,till snow season to find the clients and then they get a chance to charge exorbitant to make up the losses.(A popular hotel– left pic).This place ranks really high among honeymooners

Places I’ve seen so far.

Gunhill – Don’t go by the name , it has no gun.But you can take a cable car to reach at the top of mussoorie’s 2nd highest peak.There used to be a gun there prior to independence ,which used to fired at 12noon so that people could adjust their time.Be adventorous and take the moutains by feet .A 40 minute walk would take you to the top where you can find a beauiful view of snow capped mountains ,on a clear day ( in winters) and a skating rink which is the largest in India

Mall Road – if you like to walk , a walk in this road is must .you can view some beautiful old building a lot of tourist in and around that area .you can find all kind of eatables at road side nuts, corn (right pic) roasted and boiled at Rs 10 which comes from surrounding villages .One can buy local made shawls and woolens at cheap prices along the roadside .It has a history too ,During British time, Indians and dogs were not allowed on the mall road. Motilal Nehru, father of Jawahar Lal Nehru, used to break this law every day, whenever he was in Mussoorie, and would pay the fine.

Kempty Fall– this is a overtly crowded but pretty waterfall.There’s a stream that flows through the valley and gains maximum intesnity during the monsoons.13 kms from heart of city

Camel’s Back road– I don’t know the logic behind the name ,it is a saying that it resembles a camel’s hump.well never made sense to me but it is a beautiful walking trek and one can find people walking all seasons .
(<- Coniferous trees –right pic)

The british legacy has left mussoorie with India’s best schools. Oak Grove,St. George’s College,Wynberg Allen,Woodstock School are among the best schools in the world and their alumni are all over the world and successful.So next time you want a break from the scroching heat of Delhi,move to the Delhi’s favourite weekend hangout. Did i tell you ,it is home to children’s favourite author.Who knows,a little lazy walk at landour and you might stumble into this old man who happens to be the bond.Ruskin Bond.

and finally ..can a tree be named Majnu or weeping willow , I found it out there this is Salix babylonica .(right pic)I googled the word and found these willows are generally troublesome trees attacked by a variety of insects, have invasive roots and are poor neighbors .makes sense now.Poor majnu


Mussoorie Travel Guide And Attractions

September 17, 2008

Mussoorie is situated in the Garhwal hills. For its huge natural beauty, Mussoorie is recognized as the queen of hill stations. In the year 1820, a young captain from the British army was inclined by the attractiveness of this place and made this place his residence. This marked the base of a hill station called Mussoorie. The name, Mussoorie, is originated from plants of Mussoorie that was found in Mussoorie abundantly. After its discovery, this hill place slowly developed as a center of edification, business, tourism and beauty. Mussoorie is situated at an altitude of 2,500 meters in the green Himalayan range. For its site and beauty Mussoorie is considered as the best hill location in the northern region. The modern bungalows, malls and well built gardens that are located on the small hills around the area are enough to draw any tourist. Mussoorie is an outstanding break for tourists and people who want release from the hot humid conditions of the plains. Nature has gifted Mussoorie all which makes a place attractive. With the start of summers tourists start visiting here. As heat raises in the plains, many of tourist inflow also increases evenly. Mussoorie is extremely close to Delhi, its overnight journey and one can come back in one day. Few people come here to spend their week ends. The major Hindu pilgrimages like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Haridwar, and Rishikesh are not far away from this place.

Primary attraction in Mussoorie:

1. Tibetan Temple:

This temple is situated in happy valley area of Mussoorie. Both of them, like Company gardens and Tibetan temple can be seen in one day. They are situated one kilometer from Lal Bahadur Shastri National Administrative Academy. The Tibetan temple is support to rich Tibetan cultural tradition. This temple is definite to draw attention of tourists.

2. Lakes in Mussoorie:

Lake mist is the place that is seven kilometers on way to Kempty. Lake mist presents an ideal inactive place for tired and exhausted tourists. One has to pay Rs. 25 to go into the Lake mist. There are good lodging facilities here.

Mussoorie Lake is positioned around seven kilometers on the main road to Dehradun. The entry of this lake makes visible for the warm tourists from Dehradun. The entry charge to this lake is Rs 5 to System Tray. Tourists feel relaxed sitting on the lake and viewing the greenery of the lake.


Mussoorie: Never Ending Charm of Paharon Ki Raani

August 21, 2008

It’s that time of year again when you want to get away from the scorching heat of Delhi. This popular hill station, which was established by an Irishman called Captain Young little over 169 years ago, has changed over the last decade or so because of over ‘touristification’.

However, it still retains some of its old glory if you are ready to look beyond the Mall Road, the Gun Hill and the Kempty Fall – the three most famous and most commercialized places here.

Mussoorie, Uttaranchal ArticleThe hill station in Dehradun district, located at a height of more than 7,000 feet above sea level, has been immortalized by its most famous resident — Ruskin Bond — in his numerous books. Mussoorie is a hit with honeymooners as well as weekend revellers. No wonder it’s called ‘the honeymoon capital of North India’. However, these tourists restrict themselves to the beaten path. They do not bother to enjoy several amazing walks that Mussoorie offers. If you are one of those who like to put on their walking shoes then try its walks. Camel’s Back Road walk is one of my favourites, which provides you the view of the valley and mountains in total peace. The road starts from near Hotel Nand Residency on the Kulri Bazar side of the Mall and terminates at the Gandhi Chowk.

Another walk, much longer, is up to the Lal Tibba. Starting from near the Picture Palace cinema hall bus station this trek takes you five km to the highest point in Mussoorie. From Lal Tibba you can view some of the highest peaks of Uttaranchal (Gangotri peaks, Yamunotri peaks, Badrinath and Kedarnath) with the help of telescope stationed atop a roof. They all look so close viewed through a telescope provided you go there in the morning when sky is clear.

If you want to sample the merchandise being sold at the shops on the Mall road, taste different foods and see the hotels standing over each other, then what better then walking the two km long Mall road. If you want to get yourself photographed in local dresses then take the ropeway (gondola) to the Gun Hill, though the place looks like some crowded bazaar, it’s Ok if you want to have a panoramic view of ‘Paharon Ki Rani’ from more than 2500 metre height. This place also provides a great of view Himalayas if the weather is clear.

Another popular place is Kempty fall, some 24 km on the Yamunotri road. But this once beautiful place has lost its charm with typical tourism ills infecting it too.

If you want to indulge in some real serious trekking through among tall deodar trees then Dhanolti is the place for you. Situated on Tehri road about 24 km from Mussoorie, it has real mountain beauty. One can enjoy walks through tall deodars or can have a go at horse back riding. You can trek up to Himalaya view point from where mighty Himalayas appear so majestic.

Further ahead on the same road is historic Sarkhanda Devi temple. To reach the temple one has to negotiate the steep hike of two km from the main road. There are ponies available but it’s better to avoid using them because it’s not a very good feeling riding them on such a steep climb. The temple is situated at a peak of more than 3000 meter in height. All other places around it look so small. It is said that this temple is where Parvati’s head fell when Shiva was performing his tandav nritya (cosmic dance) with her body in his arms. So the temple has great following in this part of the hill state.

How to Reach: Mussoorie is very well connected to Delhi by road and trains. Uttaranchal Roadways runs Volvo AC buses to Dehradun from where one can either hire cabs or use state transport buses.

Where to Stay: Mussoorie has all kind of hotels suiting to every budget. Many of them are on the Mall Road itself. If you are looking for a place which is close to the Mall Road yet away from the crowds then try hotels on the Camel’ Back road.


Explore The History of Mussoorie

August 3, 2008

Mussoorie, located some 250 miles north of Delhi, capital of India, is among the most popular hill stations of India, and is called the Queen among the hill stations. It overlooks the sprawling Doon valley and the city of Dehradun, the gateway to Mussoorie and infact to the entire Garhwal.

Mussoorie, a hill resort at a height of around 7000 ft above the sea level, straddles a ridge in the Garhwal Himalayas – a region which is developing into a major tourism destination. The holy and mighty river Ganga is visible from one end of the ridge and another famous river Jamuna from the other, a stretch of around twelve miles in all, from Cloud’s end in the west to Jabarkhet in the east.

Although Mussoorie, as a hill station was established only as back as in 1823, it has quite an intriguing past.

Mussoorie was never an official summer capital unlike Simla – a hill station in the state of Himachal pradesh which was the summer capital of the British Indian government and even unlike Nainital – the summer capital of the united provinces government in British India. Mussoorie always remained unofficial – for the affairs of heart. It has always been a gossipy place – with an air of informality and a tradition of romance – The Honeymoon capital of India.

An idyllic stroll through any of the meandering mountain roads of the town on a clear and sunny day will bring you to some of the well known and not so well known spots – each having its own tales to tell – Landour Bazaar, Chaar dukaan, Lal tibba, Gun hill, the Camel Back cemetery, the Mussoorie Library, and of course the hotel Savoy – an historical edifice in itself. You may be able to recognise any or all of the old houses and estates or you may meet some descendant of any of the many well – known families of Mussoorie.

Apart from its own quiet charm, Mussoorie also boasts of spectacular views of the Himalayas. Hill ridges, irregular in shape and partly wooded, form layer after layer to the horizon, where snow peaks are visible as if you can touch them. From west to east, the mighty peaks of Bandarpoonch, Srikantha, the Gangotri group and the Chaukhamba.

The weather is generally bright and clear – except during the three months ( June to August) of Monsoons,- when mists envelope the mountain slopes and paints the sky in a mauvish glow and the woods around – of pine, cedar, birch, oak, rhododendron and deodar – turns greener. There usually is a bright Christmas and the breathtaking view of the snowclad Mussoorie gives it the name – the Queen among hill stations.

There are popular picnic spots in and around the town – Kempty Falls in the west and Dhanolti, further up beyond the town.

History of Mussoorie: It was due to the conquest of the Garhwal and the Dehra in 1803 by the Gurkhas, under Umer Singh Thapa that indirectly Mussoorie came into being. It was natural after that that at some point of time the interest of British security would have clashed with the expansionist policies of the Gurkhas and although the immediate cause of the war was different, the war, inevitably broke out on November 1, 1814 and the Dehradun proper was evacuated of the Gurkhas by 1815 and was annexed to the district of Saharanpur by 1819.

The present site of the town of Mussoorie, before the British came, there were only shepherds whose animals grazed on the ‘Mansur’ shrub which gives the town its name. It is natural to suppose that the officers locate the hills and eventually climb them here and there in search of sport and recreation. The first house erected on the ridge of Mussoorie was a small hut built on the Camel’s back as a shooting box by Mr. Shore, the then Joint Magistrate and superintendent of revenues of the Doon and Captain Young of the Sirmur Rifles in 1823. Soon Captain Young built his large residence called ‘Mullingar’ as his residence as the Commandant of Landour. The splendid climate and the good sport obtainable gradually attracted other Europeans. As the Doon and the hills to the north became better known in 1827, the Government established a convalescent depot for European soldiers at Landour. The town grew rapidly and a hundred years on it had grown into a major settlement of the home – sick British, away from the heat and dust of the plains. Social life had also become hectic. There were balls and parties in Landour cantonment and Polo, fetes and Riding in happy valley where the Charleville Hotel stood, the present site of LBSNAA academy.

Houses & estates of Mussoorie: Mussoorie has some lovely and charming old houses and estates, usually with names derived from the native places of those who built and lived in them. Today these old houses and estates are owned by well – to – do Indians , many of whom, follow the life styles of their former colonial rulers. In most cases, the old names , have been retained. Some of these old graceful houses are — Captain Young’s Mullingar Mansion, the oldest existing building in Mussoorie, Houses of Irish pioneers – Tipperary, Killarney, Shemrock cottage and the Tara hall, the houses of Scot pioneers – Scottsburn, Wolfsburn and of course the houses of the English rulers – Connaught Castle, Grey castle, Hampton court and Castle hill. There evidently were a lot of fans of the legendary writer Sir Walter Scott as we find old estates of the name of Kenilworth, Rockeby, Waverly and also Abootsford – the name of Sir Scott’s own house in England.

Well known families of Mussoorie: There are quite a few well – known families in Mussoorie, who over the times have become a part of the history, culture and the landscape of this place : the Rajmata of Jind, Princess Sita of Kapurthala, the Gantzers, the Badhwars, the Barrettos, the Skinners, the Keelans, the Alters, Lala Banwarilal, Ram Chander and brothers, Pooranchand and sons and P.C. Hari’s family. Most of the shopkeepres of Mussoorie and Landour Bazaar are descended from the merchant who first came here with the british soldiers and settlers over 160 years ago.

Camel Back Cemetry: Thousands of British graves cling to the steep slopes – a constant reminder of the British presence in Mussoorie. Here lie the hill stations’ first pioneers and settlers as well as Generals and common soldiers, memsahibs and their infants, schoolmasters, revered gentlemen and brewers. Here also lies John Lang, the first Australian born novelist who was Charles Dickens’ India correspondent and Fredrick Wilson, better known as ‘Pahadi Wilson’, who married a girl from Harsil. He was the first man to float timber down the Ganga river who lived a life which would have been the envy of kings. One also finds Alfred Hindmarsh, resting here – a survivor of the charge of light brigade during the Crimean War and many other famous names and not so famous names.


Reach Mussoorie in different ways

July 8, 2008

Air :
The nearest Airport to Mussoorie is 60-kms away from the place. The airport is called Jollygrant Airport but there are no regular flights to this place.
Mussoorie does not have a direct rail link. Dehradun Railway station serves for Mussoorie too. This station is linked which Superfast trains to other major cities in country.

From Dehradun one can hire a taxi or take a bus to Mussoorie. The queen of hill stations is well connected with roads with other major cities. There are regular bus services from various metros and other tourist destinations in Uttaranchal as well as from out side the state. Bus services are provided by State transports. There are conducted tours to Mussoorie too.

» Dehradun – 34 kms
» Haridwar – 90 kms
» Dhanaulti – 26 kms
» Chakrata – 26 kms
» Gangotri – 250 kms
» Rishikesh – 77 kms
» Shimla – 276 kms
» Delhi – 278 kms


Places of Interest in and around Mussoorie

May 15, 2008

Mussoorie has a beautiful nature walk known as “Camel’s Back Road“. This road takes its name from mountain outcrop in the shape of a camel’s hump. Along the camel back, a beautiful cemetery is located about mid-way on the loop. There is also “Gun Hill” where cannons were kept for the defense of Mussoorie. Gun Hill is accessible by the cable car on the Mall road. The oldest Christian church in the Himalayas, St Mary’s, is situated above Mall Road, and is currently undergoing restoration. Kempty falls is a nice picnic spot. Company Garden is popular tourist destination. During season, the Company Garden has beautiful collection of flowers and plants. Happy Valley has a small Tibetan temple. This was the first Tibetan temple built in India. The temple was constructed in 1960 by the Tibetan refugees. Lal Tibba is another tourist spot of Mussoorie. Beautiful Dhanaulti is about 24 kilometers from Mussorie. Mussoorie also had India’s largest roller skating rink. lake mist

About 5 km before kempty fall on Mussoorie-Kempty road it is a newly developed good picnic spot with accommodation and restaurant facilities, boating is also available.

Municipal garden

It is picnic spot having a beautiful garden and an artificial mini lake with paddled boating facility. It is located at a distance of 4 km by rickshaw cycles, pony or by a car and 2 km via Waverly Convent School road on foot.

A newly developed picnic spot build by City Board & Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority, is situated at 6 km on Mussoorie-Dehradun road having a facility of pedaled boats. It offers a enchanting view of Doon Valley and nearby villages. View during Night is marvelous.

Children lodge

Highest peak of Mussoorie near Lal Tibba, it is situated at 5 km from the Tourist Office and one can go on horse back or on foot. The view of snow-clad mountains is exhilarating.

Bhatta Falls

7 km from Mussoorie on Mussoorie-Dehradun Road near Bhatta Village. Accessible by car or bus up to Bhatta from where the fall is 3 km by foot. A fall with different ponds for bathing and water amusements, ideal place for picnic.

Jharipani Fall

Located at 8.5 km from Mussoorie on Mussoorie-Jharipani road. One can go by local bus or car up to Jharipani from where the fall is about 1.5 km on foot.

Mosey Fall

The fall is surrounded by a dense forest and is 7 km from Mussoorie. One can go there via Barlowganj or Balahisar.

Sir George Everest House

The place called Park Estate where building and laboratory of first Surveyor General of India Sir George Everest after whom world’s highest peak Mt. Everest is named stills stands. It is 6 km from Gandhi Chowk and vehicle can go right up to the place. The place provides an enchanting view of Doon Valley on one side and view of Yamuna Valley and snowbound himalayan ranges on the other. An ideal place for picnic and trekking.

Nag Devta Temple

An ancient temple dedicated to Snake God Lord Shiva and is situated on Cart Mackenjee road is about 6 km from Mussoorie on way to Dehradun. Vehicles can go right up to the temple. This place provies a enchanting view of Mussoorie and Doon valley.

Jwalaji Temple (Benog Hill)

Situated at an altitude of 2104 m is 9 km west of Mussoorie. It is situated on the top of the Benog Hill surrounded by thick forest having an old ideal of Goddess Durga provides a marvelous view of Yamuna Valley.

Cloud End

The resort is surrounded by thick deodar forest. The bungalow built in 1838 by a British major was one of the first four buildings of Mussoorie has now been converted into a hotel. The place provides peace and calm and is full of flora and fauna.

Van chetna kendra

At a distance of about 2 km on Tehri bypass road, this place is developed as picnic spot and has a park surrounded with pine forest and flowering shrubs, and is approachable by foot or taxi/car. The main attraction is the wildlife of the park like Ghurar, Kakar, Himalayan peacock, Monal etc.

Benog Mountain quail sanctuary

11 km to the south of library point lies an old sanctuary established in 1993 and covering an area of 339 hectares. It is famous for the extinct bird species Mountain Quail (Pahari Bater), which was last spotted in 1876.