Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mussoorie - Loved at the first sight!

Delhi to Mussoorie is an approximately 6 hours drive (considering the fact that there is no traffic in Delhi and you do not stop in Haridwar, that comes in between!). But that seldom happens. We all love to stop at Haridwar, pray and play at the ghats of Ganga river!
So, as we neared Haridwar, there were two options - the photographer in me wanted to stay back near the river in Haridwar to watch the most famous Ganga Arti, which happens at 6 00 PM in the evening and the second option was to visit Mansa Devi temple at the top of the hill in Haridwar, while crossing the shopping area and getting in to the ropeway! 1 out of 8 is not a majority (by simple Math!) and hence we ended up in going to Mansa Devi temple, not that I was complaining but I missed taking out some pics of Ganga Arti (instead got some powerful blessings :-))!
Seen here below - the people waiting for the Arti to begin and the Ganga temple lit in the night!
Mussoorie is a relaxed, laid-back hill station in the foot hills of Shaiwalik ranges of Himalayas located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The nearest city is Dehradoon, a city famous for its winters and schools (all rich and famous kids must have studied there at least once!). It is wise to stay back in Doon and travel to Mussoorie (just 30 minutes away!) than staying in Mussoorie.
I was visiting Mussoorie, for the second time, after 8 years. The peace and tranquility were undisturbed since my last visit!
Way to Mussoorie from Dehradoon, the valley is beautiful and is covered with lush flora. 
My first visit to Mussoorie was the first time I had ever seen mountains. Himalayas are magnificent and while Mussoorie might not be the best example to show that, it is not the least. Green and lush mountains, Brown and barren mountains and white snow covered mountains are a captivating sight to tourists all round the year.
If you are someone who has not seen mountains ever, Mussoorie is a perfect start. Layered housing and Step cultivation are something to ponder on, how mankind survives in any place!
One can either trek or take a ropeway to go to the top of the hill. Nothing enchanting, but the views of the mountains are more clearer and I am told, when it snows, the open ground on the top is filled with waiting-to-see-the-snow-eagerly people! They have bon fires in the nights, and if you are an Indian who knows the good old classic songs, just sit in there, enjoy spicy chat (Indian junk snack) and some spicy masala chai! For once, you will forget the time and be lost in moments..
Off seasons are always the best times to visit any hill station, primarily to avoid the crowds and it just feels great walking lonely in mountains and woods. I am a hiker and every time I am in woods, I constantly hear the trees, the leaves, the wind,  all singing to me. Every time, it's the first time.
A similar hike can be taken down the hill and we go to the botanical gardens, with lush greenery and a green house to its credit.
The way to the green house has a picturesque waterfall, which acts a studio background for portrait shots. Kempty falls are another great falls which are located some 30 minutes away from Mussoorie and I miss seeing it every time. I am told that the waterfalls are losing their charm to the stupendous crowds which visit the falls in summer and monsoons, but, someday, I should still be able to see it. 
This ended another trip in the great October vacation. Prior to the Mussoorie trip, we visited Bali, however, Bali should never be a short blog post, for it is indescribable. Hence, I finished Mussoorie first. For a weekend trip, to forget the stress and just be lost in nature's beauty, Mussoorie is one ideal destination one should take in.