Rains have always brought a smile on my face, drizzle in the sky has always given me the chills and for me, the monsoon is more than just a season to relish. I pick my bag and journal in hand and gave myself a monsoon weekend getaway.
Lansdowne is one of those heavenly places where one could simply do nothing at all and yet feel blissful. You could just enjoy the serene weather, filled with tranquility, an astounding scenic beauty and can take a break from your fast-paced city life.
Not many would have heard of Lansdowne as it’s not a very famous touristic place, unlike Shimla, Manali, Mussoorie or Nainital which is probably why you can still enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty & explore the unexplored.
The hilly land got its name from Lord Lansdowne, who was the then Viceroy of India during the period of 1888 – 1894. At present, this place plays host to the command office of Garhwal Rifles division of the Indian Army. Being the headquarter of Garhwal Regiment; this hilly destination is absolutely spick & span.
Best Time to Visit Lansdowne
The ideal time to visit Lansdowne is between the months of March to July to escape the scorching heat of Delhi and also extending up to September to experience the soaking monsoon. So Lansdowne could be a perfect escape to experience a weather that is cool and pleasant.
Winters can be really harsh as the temperature can go as low as 0 to minus degrees. If you’re a lover of snow, then believe me you Lansdowne is the perfect place to rush to.
How to reach Lansdowne
There is no direct train from Delhi to Lansdowne and the nearest railway station that is Kotdwar is 40 km away from it. From Kotdwar, one can hire a cab or can take a local shared taxi.
Connectivity from Delhi to Lansdowne is good, the roads are smooth and turns are not very sharp so you can drive easily. To be precise Lansdowne is 264 km away from Delhi.
Best route: Delhi – Ghaziabad – Muradnagar – Meerut Bypass Rd. – Khatauli – Bijnor – Najibabad- Kotdawara – Lansdowne. Also, there are plenty of private Non-AC and Volvo buses available.
Jolly Grant (Dehradun) is the nearest airport to Lansdowne from where you will have to take cabs to reach Lansdowne.
Where to Stay
Few of the best hotels that I came across after doing my research are:
- Blue Pine Resorts – Decent, great view and good food.
- GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam) – It has 2 Tree Top Huts too. Yeiiiii!!!
- Lans Castle
- Jungle Resort
- Fairytale Resorts
Where to eat
Gandhi Chowk is the main market, you can find all the restaurants here.
Few of the good restaurants were:
- Tipsy Café – At Gandhi Chowk, small café, serves good and hygienic food.
- Hotel Zayaka
- Hotel Mayur
- Lansdowne Trip Travel Café – You can reach there by taking a private taxi from Lansdowne to Devikhal. One can chill here for hours as they have some amazing games, books and you can enjoy the delicious snacks and drinks too.
Where to Shop
It’s a small town and you will find everything on a 2km stretch. At Javed boot shop, you can buy handcrafted pure leather shoes, bags, sling bags, wallet, belts, sleeping bags, file folders etc. There are few other small shops which sell wooden, brass and porcelain items.
What to see
Darwan Singh Museum
This museum is named after Darwan Singh Negi, who was among the earliest Indian recipients of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
The museum displays various achievements of Garhwal Rifles and their journey through time. It consists of photographs of the army, patriots in various wars, certificates, and citations signed by the royalty, old uniforms, guns, real medals and weapons, musical instruments.
Photography is not allowed inside the museum. Timings to visit are between 9.00 AM until noon and 3.00 PM to 6 PM. This place is maintained by the Garhwal Rifles.
Established in 1923 The Garhwal Rifles War Memorial is located adjacent to the museum at the parade ground and is known as the proud of Lansdowne. The general public is not allowed to go. It is a tribute to the spirit of the renowned regiment, Garhwal Rifles.
Tip N Top
Tip N Top also is known as Tiffin Top is one of the most famous tourist points. The best place to watch Himalayan Range view. You can enjoy the quiet beauty of nature. There are few shops for light snacks.
Bhulla Tal Lake
It is an artificial lake dedicated to the Garhwali youth of Garhwal Rifles. One can enjoy the boat ride and can explore the rich and calm loveliness of the place. A good spot for a picnic, also there is an amusement park which kids can enjoy. There is a snack shop which sells a variety of food items which is yummy also.
St. John’s Church
St. John’s is a heritage church, built back in 1936. St. John’s is the only running church of Lansdowne. Beautifully located and surrounded by a small lawn, the church was given up after independence and restored subsequently.
St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s is a Gothic style church, built in 1895 and holds a museum run by Garhwal Regiment. It is surrounded by Pine and Deodar forests with a beautiful entrance
Santoshi Mata Temple
Once you reach the point which shows Santoshi Mata Temple signboard, from there it is further 1 km away. You will have to climb some 100 steps to reach there. Once you reach the top, you see a small temple with a beautiful view. One can see amazing sunset view from there. You will also get to feel a lot of positive energy there.
Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple
It is located about 38 km from Lansdowne and takes around 2 hrs to reach. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is located in a very peaceful, green and calm place. Carry your own snacks as there are no shops available for eating or shopping around the temple. The journey to the temple from Lansdowne is also very picturesque.
Bhim Pakora can be reached after a 2km trek downhill on a rough path from the main market. There are two big stones one above the other in perfect balance and while the stone can be moved with a finger but it never falls down. It is said that Bhim, one of the Pandavas brothers, had placed these rocks.
Other Nearby Holiday Destinations from Lansdowne
Rudraprayag: Pilgrim site, 121km from Lansdowne
Haridwar: Holy city, 112 km from Lansdowne
Rishikesh: Pilgrim place, also famous for adventurous sports, 129km from Lansdowne.
Pauri: Like Lansdowne again a peaceful, calm place, 57 km from Lansdowne
Find joy in the journey
Our journey began at 5 AM in the morning, the first halt being at 8 AM at Monty Millions Restaurant in Jansath for our breakfast. The food was decent and the washrooms were clean which for me one of the top criteria. Finally, after 6 hrs 30 mins into the drive, we reached Lansdowne by 11.30 am. We checked into our hotel, Blue Pine Resorts. I crashed straight on the bed because I didn’t take any sleep the previous night.
Woke up at 3.30 pm, got ready and headed off to visit Darwan Singh Museum. From there we went straight to St. John’s Church and then to Tip N Top where we had our lunch at GMVN. Then we headed to Santoshi Mata Temple, witnessing the beautiful sunset, after which we headed back to our hotel. Took rest, had some snacks and ended the day by dinning at Gandhi Chowk (Tipsy Cafe).
Woke up early, had breakfast and straightaway headed to Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple. From there we went to Javed Leather Shop, where I shopped a little.For food, as we didn’t have many options so again we went to the same café to munch a little. We had decided to go to Bhim Pakora, but people had warned us about the poor road connectivity.To top it up, it started raining heavily and so of course, we couldn’t go there but we enjoyed the monsoons in the refreshing rains of Lansdowne.
Post breakfast, we went to Bhulla Tal Lake, and from there we started our journey back to Delhi with all the beautiful memories in our mind. Took a halt at Kanha Restaurant in Bijnor for Lunch and reached Delhi by night.