On top of the mountains and beneath the stars…
A quaint little town nestled in Uttaranchal. A place perfect to do just Nothing!
We visited Lansdowne in February and it was freezing cold!!! It’s just a perfect weekend destination if you want a break from Technology & Social Media. Most importantly NO Mobiles and surprise surprise; it’s one of the closest hill stations from Delhi !!!
The drive lasts about 6 hours, at a total distance of 260kms. Plan to leave early morning so that you can cross Morinagar – Meerut road and avoid the horrible traffic on that belt. Don’t tell us, we didn’t warn you !! Once you have crossed that it’s a pleasant drive ahead.
The route that you would follow would be Delhi – Ghaziabad – Meerut – Mawana – Bijnor – Kotdwar – Lansdowne.
Lansdowne is essentially a cantonment area and that’s evident as soon as you enter. The town has superior road quality, is clean and has and has a law and order which can only be found in cantonment towns. Lansdowne is primarily a non commercial hill station which has great weather, excellent views of the mountains, a tiny lake and good pakodas.
There is a bit of sightseeing which combines the Tip N Top, which is a small point with fantabulous views of the Himalayan ranges on a clear day, but the area is quite deserted so you can’t really spend a lot of time there because there’s actually nothing to do apart from a good view. There is also a small lake which has boating and a few ducks as well. Adjacent to the lake is also a small kiddies park and a café for some basic coffee or tomato soup and chips, a good way to break the monotony of doing nothing at all. You can explore the entire town on foot and get a local feel of the area which is very charismatic.
There are just about 3 hotels there which operate without many frills. The GMVN Tourist Bungalow and Fairydale Resort are most popular and almost always sold out weeks in advance. We stayed at the latter and it’s definitely worth recommending (not that there’s a wide choice, but nevertheless). It’s a simple resort with basic facilities. The hotel is approximately half a km from the main market.
The main market itself is nothing great a long stretch of a small road with shops on either side selling all the local clothes, food and vegetables. So don’t expect to really find anything there in terms of shopping. There are a couple of decent restaurants in the main market as well which dish out some delectable fresh stuff.
The Fairydale is actually an old residential bungalow. They also have a family room which has 2 bedrooms shared with one bathroom. A total of 6-7 rooms are available. The rooms are generally sold out on weekends round the year, so it’s a good idea to actually plan well in advance to avoid disappointment. The hotel has a small log hut type of a restaurant called “The Pines” which is a few steps down from the reception area and it’s actually a good idea to eat there, cos more often than not the food will get cold by the time it reaches your room.
The bathrooms are big and they have no geysers, so we actually froze in the winter chill!!! They provide hot water buckets in the bathroom upon request, within minutes. Each room has a private sit out too, which is good so that you can sit out and enjoy the warm sunshine, while you read, chit chat or the kids play and enjoy the outdoors.
The food available is this region basic, nothing extraordinary. The menus offer plenty of options but its best to stick with the basic dishes and not experiment too much. You can comfortably ask what fresh for the day and they would be happy to assist you on the same. Anything particular that you want to be prepared has to be informed well in advance.
There is no provision for alcohol whatsoever (so people please carry your own stuff…same goes for cigarettes too). The army area has a liquor shop but it’s strictly available to only those having an army id card and no localite favors you on this!!
To summarize the whole thing it’s a gratifying place to visit and you’ll surely come back a calmer person wanting to escape to this composed haven at the next available opportunity!!