Mussoorie Musings

When I started exploring on places to visit in and around Haridwar I came across the term gharwali food. First, I thought that gharwali food must be homemade food as 'gharwali' means homemaker in Hindi. Then I stumbled upon Gharwal range of Himalayas! This intrigued me and further reading led me to Mussoorie.

Gharwal pronounced as ghaduwal refers to ethnic people who live in and around Gharwal or Mussoorie range of Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Mussoorie, locally pronounced as Masuri is a beautiful hill station nestled in the Gharwal range, which is part of Shiwalik range of Himalayas and the Doon valley. Allured by these geological factors and tempted to try the new gastronomical delights, we decided to visit Mussoorie along with our Haridwar and Rishikesh trip. 

Mussoorie is just about 35 KM from the Uttarakand state capital Dheradun. Due to the rough terrain, the roads leading up are very narrow with some sharp hairpin bends and takes about 2 hours to reach the town. The drive is through one of the best scenic routes in India, which covers lush green forests, valleys and endless mountain ranges.   

View of Mussoorie 
Mussoorie happens to be on the Indo Tibetan border and oversees the Doon valley and the altitude is about 6000+ ft., so the weather is cool throughout the year with chill winters. We reached Mussoorie around 3.00 PM and it was very cold with low visibility, still I was able to capture decent pictures of the beautiful Doon valley.

There are few tourist spots, but we had planned just a day, so we were interested only in a couple of spots. Out of the two, first we went to the Mussoorie Lake, which turned out to be a big joke. About 5 minutes of trekking down through steep steps led us to a minuscule dirty pond with few ducks and pedal boats. Since morning, we had driven for more than 6 hrs., that too via poor roads. Therefore we decided to call it a day and relax.    

Mussoorie lake/pond
By 5.00 PM, it started getting dark and we headed to our resort, which was another 4 KM uphill. We followed the Google map towards the resort. To our dismay, we were stuck in the traffic. All the cars were trying to reverse due to a roadblock ahead. By then it was completely dark and our mobile signal was too weak and GPS refused to load the map. We were unable to locate the alternate road that the resort help desk told us. Finally, resort staff agreed to come down and get us. Our room was very cozy and had a great bay window, but we could not see anything, as it was pitch dark. We ordered Gharwali food, Phari Rajma and Phari fish. The food was too good, tangy and spicy. Next day, we woke up very early and while sipping hot tea, we watched a beautiful sunrise from our bay window. Slowly, the Gharwal Range came into view and it was a bliss! 

Gharwal Range view from the resort
Our plan was to go to Lal Tibba (red mountain) in Landour area, which was another 7 km uphill from Mussoorie. The roads were too steep and narrow. Twice we faced roadblocks and had to retrace the way up. It was all worth, because the views were breath taking!

Lal Tibba is the highest point in Mussoorie and it has the Indian military base station. At the viewpoint, military base has installed telescopes to view the majestic Himalayan peaks. 
Gharwal Range in the foreground
A friendly volunteer helped us to identify the chaar dham (4 pilgrimage) in the snow-clad Dhouladhar Range! 

Snow-clad Dhouladhar Range in the background
The snout seen in the above picture is the Goumukh, the starting point of the holy Ganges from the Gangotri glacier. The peak on to the left is Yamunotri. We also watched Kedarnath and Badrinath. 

I was spell bound for quite some time after viewing these gorgeous beauties. Now, there is a yearning to do the chaar dham yatra. 
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