When it comes to weekend getaways from Delhi, people often think of hill stations like Shimla, Mussoorie, Kufri, Kullu and Manali. However, not many have explored one of the quietest hill stations in India - Lansdowne, located in the Pauri-Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.
Unlike other hill stations, Lansdowne is a truly a " Home Away From Home". It is far-far away from the crowded and noisy places and yet to be commercialized, that most of the hill stations are now to a popular tourist group.
One should thank the local Army Cantonment Army Board which manages and regulates the development in the town thereby maintaining its serene and divine nature.
Lansdowne was founded and named after the then Viceroy of India (1888 to 1894). The British Garhwal activities took plae during the British period. On 5th November, 1887, the first battalion of Garhwal rifles migrated from Almora to Lansdowne. Lansdowne, currently has the command office of the Garhwal Rifles division of the Indian Army. The architecture of the buildings and the Church built during the British India period would compel you to think about the pre-independence era.
Experience the divinity in you:
The drive to Lansdowne will be the best drive of your life. The route goes through small hamlets and thickly-densed and forested countryside roads. Surrounded by thick Oak and Pine forests, Lansdowne is a very inviting place for a quite and serene holiday as it is devoid of the usual hustles and bustles of other stations. A perfect place to meditate and rejuvenate your soul, Lansdowne will not let you down for once!
The magical sounds and music of the chirping birds, the bracing air, the green hill, the varied flora and fauna makes Lansdowne all the more a colorful and pleasing hill station, along with the wonderful view of the extensive Himalayan snow ranges which inspires peace and harmony.
Our two day weekend holiday in Lansdowne years down the line, a perfect breathtaking experience is nothing less we could ask for! We drove down to this magical place which took us around 6 hours to reach from Delhi, all way just asking for more and more beauty. The hill slope starts from Kotdwar making the drive more fun and happening! With our cousins accompanying us, the entire trip was complete!
The long walks, the rhythmic sounds of birds all along and the cool breeze made us feel aesthetic. Long nights, the haunted stories and the playing card was there with us for the two nights. The homely food at the resort (mentioned below), the gesture provided by the staff, the right mood and attitude, and the scenic charisma of Lansdowne will say only one thing to you "Just one more day here, please!" Not to miss..
If you are still not satisfied with the walks along the nature, there is plenty to see in and around. have a look at :
The Garhwal Rifles Regimental War Memorial: Established on 11th November 1923, founded by Lord Rawlinson of Trent, the then Commander in Chief of India is located at the Parade Ground. It attracts many tourists landing in Lansdowne.
The Garhwali Mess: Built in January 1888, it currently serves as the present mess since 1892. One of the oldest buildings and heritage site in Lansdowne. However, we did not make it here.
St. Mary Church: This artistic church from the nineteenth century a witness of British era and legacy. This church was built by Colonel AHB Hume in 1896. The church was restored by Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre after the church fell into disuse after 1947.
St. Johns' Church: Previously a forest bungalow, St. John's Church is a Roman Catholic Church and the only Church of worship in Lansdowne.
Tip and Top: Tip and Top is on the ridge close to St. Mary's church. The magnificent and panoramic views of the Himalayas draws the major attraction to the tourist. One can also opt for trekking to this region.
Bhulla Lake is a perfect place for kids which is the only entertainment in Lansdowne. It is an artificial lake dedicated to the young Garhwali youth of Garhwal rifles, who rendered help for the construction of this site. The tourists can enjoy boating and paddling. A children's park is also nearby the lake.
How to reach: By Road: NH58 to Meerut; state highway to Kotdwar via Bijnore and Najibabad; state road to Lansdowne via Duggada. By Rail: The nearest railway station is Kotdwar (40kms). Buses and taxis are easily available from Kotdwar to Lansdowne. I would personally suggest that one should experience the road journey through the small hamlets and narrow lanes to reach this serene place. Be careful as the roads are really steep.
Best time to visit: Anytime during the year. One can experience snowfall during peak winters.(Jan-Feb) Where to stay:
Undoubtedly, Fairydale Resort! Its beautiful location and awesome food which is not be missed, drags the tourists to this place. We always say, that kids are fussy eaters. But at this place, I bet that you wouldn't say. The lovely gesture by the excellent staff and the homely food did not even make us feel even for once that we are away from home.
Other recommendations: Blue Pine Resort, Kasang Regency Hill Resort
Lansdowne is definitely a scenic getaway one should visit. A much cleaner, less crowded and less commercialised, compared to other hill stations, Lansdowne is a perfect weekend getaway one cannot afford to miss!