Friday, 30 March 2012

Lansdowne-The ‘Do Nothing Get away’

Spending your time doing nothing in the midst of mountain hills is one ‘do nothing activity’ that lets you admire the sunset, sunrise, clouds, chilly wind, flowers in the valley-all in all, the beauty of nature around you...:) and there’s no better place than Lansdowne to do so.
Valley view from our room at Lansdowne

Leaving for Lansdowne, (a small hill station situated in Uttarakhand) on a Friday was a perfect ‘Get away’ for our weekend.

Still untouched by the modern tourism industry, this place was originally a popular hill station for Britishers. Situated at an altitude of 1,706 m enroute Kotdwar-Pauri road, it was founded and named after then Viceroy of India, Lord Lansdowne in 1887. Only 250 km from Delhi, this place is surrounded by tall, thick oak and blue pine forests. 

Lansdowne is not yet stained by tourists. Its tranquil and pristine beauty unlike other hill stations (like Shimla, Moussouri etc) is still intact. If you ask me, I would say it is an ideal place to ‘Do nothing’, just relax and spend time with your family or loved one. There are very few resorts n hotels which are situated a few kilometres prior to the hill station, all promising a mystique view of the valley. The one that we stayed at had a 180 degree view of the valley in front. The sunrise and sunset are mesmerising here. We got up at 4/4:30 am daily to witness the sunrise. The valley view is awe-inspiring! The sound of wind blowing swiftly, pine trees moving to the rhythm of wind, the colourful flower beds; all this makes it so peaceful that one feels a sense of calm and tranquillity here. Truly, a get- away from the hustle- bustle of fast moving city life....ohh...just to stress on the peaceful time-mobile phones and internet don’t work here :)

Beautiful misty Lansdowne
Bells :) my fascination in the hills

If you are a nature loving person who enjoys a trek to an unknown village down the hill, who likes the feel of being surrounded by huge mountain trees like-oak and pine, love waterfalls, zigzag mountain roads, then, this is the place for you. The magnificently changing colours in the sky during the sunrise each day that we witnessed, is still embedded in our memory....Sunrise every day seemed a different mix of colours, formation of clouds, surrounded by vibrant flower beds and mountains all around. Not to mention the view after the sunset- small individual houses scattered at a distance in the mountains and flower beds would change to ‘twinkling stars’ in darkness (lights of the houses in the valley as seen from far away gives this impression)
Valley view from our balcony

Feels heaven on earth
Tarkeshwar temple

Way to sanctum- sanctoram at Tarkeshwar Temple

For those who are interested in sightseeing here, temples, churches, museum and a lake can easily be covered in a day. The famous Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army has its command office here. The War Memorial at the Parade Ground of the Garhwal Rifles Center is another attraction for the visitors. Other places of interest around the city are ‘Tip-n-Top’-one could see the mountain view of the western Himalayas from here, Santoshi Mata Temple, Bhulla Taal (man made lake), St. Mary's Church, Tarkeshwar Mahadev temple.
A small trek leading to a local village

Nature and its simplicity

A colourful cemented platform
The temple is 36 km from Lansdowne and is at a height of 1,800 m, this place is known for its temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Surrounded by thick forests of deodar and pine, it is another aw-inspiring place because of the beauty of nature, it is believed to be one of the ancient holy sites or SiddhaPithas. The temple place is surrounded by thick blue pine forests, oak trees and dense Deodars. The spectacular feature of this place is that even at this high altitude, there are many water pools, flowing continuously. What fascinated me here were the bells surrounding the temple vicinity, both big and small. This gave a special identity to the temple. 
During our stay of 2 days, we enjoyed a small early morning trek near to the resort that we stayed. The forests are lovely, dark and deep, just ideal for those long walks.
A walk in the clouds !

Road route that we followed- ->Delhi-->meerut->bijnor->najibabad->kotdwar->lansdowne. 
Way to a small local temple 

Santoshi Mata Temple entrance

It is advisable to start early in the morning (around 4:30/5:00 am) from Delhi so as to avoid the traffic in Meerut. Also keep a light stomach while travelling in order to avoid mountain sickness, since you would be driving uphill after Najibabad. Do ensure to have your petrol full before you start as the nearest petrol pump is in kotdwar only which is 37km from lansdowne.
And do carry your camera if when you venture outside, you never know what you may like to capture. I developed a fetish for temple bells here, which were in every temple and I had a fun time clicking my way to them. It is also advisable to hire a local taxi for sightseeing instead of driving yourself. The resort helpdesk readily arranged for us the same as per our requirements.
Lansdowne was the perfect choice to spend our weekend.

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