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Things to do in Landour (near Mussoorie), Uttarakhand

During the summer holidays, tourists in India love to travel to North India's many hill stations to escape the summer heat. Mussoorie is one such hill station in North India, located in the state of Uttarakhand. The quaint little town of Mussoorie, nestled in the Great Himalayas, was built by the British Raj and is famously known as the 'Queen of the Hills'. But Mussoorie has lost its charm over the years due to traffic snarls and over-commercialization. Because of its easy access, many people flock to this small town resulting in heavy tourist traffic, increased garbage production, noisy roads, hordes of shops, deforestation, illegal construction and skyrocketed tariffs of accommodations.


Having read all about Mussoorie, we started to look for some offbeat and peaceful destinations near Mussoorie. This was when we heard of the 'Greater Mussoorie' - the towns of Landour, Barlowganj and Jharipani. We zeroed in upon Landour due to its close proximity to Mussoorie.

Things to do in Landour, Uttarakhand - India
The snow covered Himalayan peaks as seen from Landour, Uttarakhand - India

Where is Landour, Mussoorie:

Landour is a cantonment town located just 7 kilometers north of the famous hill station - Mussoorie in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is situated at an altitude of 7500 feet, about 1000 feet above Mussoorie. Landour is considered a part of Mussoorie and is regarded as the 'Tiara' of the Queen of Hills. But, though being situated so close to the busy town of Mussoorie, Landour surprisingly remains offbeat, peaceful, unexplored and untouched.

Things to do in Landour, Uttarakhand - India
The valleys of Mussoorie as seen from Landour, Uttarakhand - India

How to reach Landour, Mussoorie:

To reach Landour, You first need to reach Mussoorie. Here is how you can do that -

By Air:

The nearest airport to Landour is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun. Several direct or one-stop flights ply to Dehradun from all the major cities in India (Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Mumbai). Mussoorie is 60 kilometers from the Jolly Grant Airport, and Landour is another 7 kilometers from Mussoorie.

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By Train:

Dehradun station (DDN) is the nearest railway station to Mussoorie and is connected by rail to all the major cities (Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Indore, Varanasi, Allahabad, Amritsar). You can check the train and their timings at www.irctc.co.in.


By Road:

Several private and government bus tour operators depart from all the nearby cities to Mussoorie. A bus journey from Delhi takes about 7-8 hours to reach Mussoorie. Various car rental companies also operate to Mussoorie from Delhi airport/ railway station.

You might also want to stay in Dehradun and check out places to visit there for a day or two if you land or take a train to Dehradun.


How to reach Landour from Mussoorie:

Landour is barely 3.5 kilometers from Picture Palace on Mall road, Mussoorie. The road from Mussoorie to Landour is very steep and narrow and often jams up during peak season. Not every car driver can maneuver these roads. It is advisable to hire a private cab from Mall Road, Mussoorie, to reach Landour. Depending on the season, a small car will charge INR 300-400 to drop you at Landour from Mussoorie.


 

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Best time to visit Landour or Weather in Landour, Mussoorie:

Owing to the pleasant climate throughout the year, Landour can be visited at any time of the year. Most people visit Landour in summer (April to Jun) to escape the scorching heat prevalent in other parts of India. While there are others, who prefer visiting Landour in winters to enjoy the snow. However, note that depending on the amount of snow, the road to Landour could be blocked as cars would slip on snow-filled slopes leading to Landour.


If you wish to enjoy the peace and quietness of the town, visit Landour on any weekday, especially in winter (Oct - Feb). You may even be lucky to spot the winter line towards the horizon. Not that weekends are too crowded or noisy; Landour is always quiet. But on weekends you might find just a few more vehicles and people. Except for a few months in summer, it would be advisable to carry a shrug or a winter jacket based on which month you choose to travel.


Things to do in Landour, Uttarakhand - India
The friendly dogs that accompanied us everywhere we went in Landour, Uttarakhand - India

History of Landour, Mussoorie:

Landour derives its name from Llanddowror - a tiny Welsh village in Great Britain. When the English soldiers became homesick during the British Raj, they named the towns in India after the ones in their motherland. The British Indian army built and developed a sanatorium in Landour in 1827 to attend to the wounded soldiers. Since then, Landour has always remained a station for the military and hence a Cantonment area.


The first-ever building in Mussoorie was built in 1925 in Landour by Captain Young - the discoverer of Mussoorie. Captain Young was the Commandant of the first Gurkha battalion raised by the British. The Clock tower in Landour marked the beginning of Landour town, beyond which Indians were not allowed. Only the British and Irish soldiers whose duty in the British regiment lasted for 6-48 months were allowed to build their holiday homes in Landour.

Why is Landour offbeat:

You may wonder why Landour is so offbeat though situated so close to Mussoorie. Landour was always a part of the cantonment area, and the Cantonment Act of 1924 stated that all the trees/ plants in the area stayed with the military. As a result, there has been no woodcutting or deforestation in Landour for the past 100 years. Also, new construction of any type is 'unlawful' in Landour according to the Act. Hence, no new permanent structure has been built in Landour since 1924. Only the construction of temporary installations and repairs of old structures are allowed.


That's the reason residential houses in Landour are limited. Because of these rules, modernization and tourism have not touched Landour. Tourists often visit Landour just as a day trip from nearby towns of Dehradun or Mussoorie because of very limited stay options in the Landour cantonment area. Landour had 24 houses at the time of Independence, and it still has that many. Someone put it quite aptly - 'Choubis Makaan aur Char Dukaan - Itna hi hai Landour' (which translates to 24 houses and 4 shops is all that Landour has). And that's how Landour has retained its beauty and the forest cover for so many decades!


Things to do in Landour, Mussoorie:

The shape of the road in Landour creates the number '8' with all the things to do and places to visit scattered on the sides of the road. This road is called as the 'Upper Chakkar' or 'Gol Chakkar'. If you wish to soak in the true essence of all the places, then the road is best walked than driven. The road is well-built, and the surroundings are covered with tall Deodar trees.


Because of the ban on tree-cutting and new construction in Landour, wildlife (especially rare birds) is abundant. The whole stretch of 'Upper Chakkar' is just 3.5 kilometers, and the roads are filled with many interesting signboards with quotes and poems. The walk is easy, with hardly any ascends or descends. The tranquility of the winding lanes and the scent of flowers draw plenty of tourists to Landour. The whole concept of treading on 'Upper Chakkar' is unique and involves - walk, eat, see, and repeat.

So here is a list of 10 things to do in Landour, Mussoorie -

1. Kellogg's Memorial Church and Landour Language School

Right at the node of the road shaped '8' is Kellogg's Memorial Church. We did not get to see the interiors as it was closed during our visit, but it looked quite old, ethnic, and rustic. The Church has elegant glass stained windows and is built in Gothic architectural style. Kellogg's Church was built in 1903 as a Presbyterian church and is named after Dr. Samuel Kellogg, an American missionary who was very active in the development of Landour.

Things to do in Landour, Uttarakhand - India
Kellogg's Memorial Church, Landour, Uttarakhand - India

Landour Language School is situated right behind Kellogg&