Mussoorie, in Uttarakhand, is one of India’s most popular hill stations established by the British to escape the summer heat. The first house to be built there was that of Lieutenant Frederick Young of the East India Company, in 1823, who used it when shooting game. Not long after, Sir Henry Bohle started India’s first brewery in 1830. Indian royalty arrived later, with many maharajas constructing grand summer retreats (some are now heritage hotels) there. Mussoorie is set on a ridge about two hours north of Dehradun, where the nearest airport is located. Its easy accessibility from Delhi brings a chaotic convergence of tourists in the May to July peak season, causing traffic jams and delays. Hence, it’s best to avoid visiting then. Here are the top things to do in Mussoorie.
Ride the Cable Car (Aerial Tramway) to Gun Hill
Get a bird’s-eye view of Mussoorie and the Doon Valley by taking the red cable car up to Gun Hill from Mall Road. Gun Hill, at 6,800 feet above sea level, is the second-highest peak in the area. It gets its name from the cannon that the British fired every day at noon to help people know the time. Unfortunately, the commercialization at the top of the hill is a disappointment to some. Expect a hodgepodge of food stalls, souvenir shops, amusement rides, and local costumes to dress up and be photographed in. The cable car runs from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in summer (it starts and finishes earlier during the rest of the year). The journey time is five minutes, one way. The ticket office and boarding point are at Jhula Ghar, about midway along Mall Road. Tickets cost 125 rupees per person and are in very high demand during peak season.
Stroll Along Mall Road
Like other hill stations in India, Mussoorie also has a Mall Road that runs through the heart of town. This lengthy pedestrian-only boulevard, which visitors gravitate to, starts at Library Bazaar and ends at Kulri Bazaar. It has a carnival-like atmosphere in summer when it’s chockablock with people, shops, restaurants, and entertainment. One of the main attractions is Jawahar Aquarium. However, those who are more interested in Mussoorie’s colonial charm will find the historic Mussoorie Library to be a noteworthy building. Unfortunately, it’s only open to members. If you’re the bookish type, make sure you have a drink at the renowned Writer’s Bar at WelcomHotel The Savoy, just behind the library though. In addition, drop into the Cambridge Book Depot at the Kulri Bazaar end of Mall Road, which is a favorite of author Ruskin Bond. He’s there every Saturday between 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to meet fans and sign autographs. Feeling hungry? The best momos in Mussoorie can be found at Momos Tibetan Kitchen, a bit over 300 feet from Cambridge Book Depot. Nearby, travel-themed Cafe, By The Way, serves snacks and superb coffee. Keep an eye out for the murals depicting the region’s customs on Mall Road as well.
Swim at Kempty Falls
If you don’t mind unruly crowds and unclean water, the man-made swimming pool at the bottom of Kempty Falls is the place to be in the peak summer season. Such is its popularity that it fills to capacity with hundreds of tourists. Kempty Falls is located about 8 miles northwest of Mussoorie. To get there, take a shared taxi from the Gandhi Chowk taxi stand near the library. Government tourism enterprise GMVN also operates buses from the Library Bus Stand and has an office next to it. Those who don’t want to climb the many stairs to reach the waterfall from the parking area can pay 120 rupees per person to take a cable car (aerial tramway) all the way up. Changing rooms, lockers, swimwear, and equipment hire are available at a nominal cost. Alternatively, those who prefer unspoiled natural beauty should give Kempty Falls a miss and go to Bhatta Falls or Jharipani Falls (while they’re still secluded) instead
Marvel Over the Corn Village
Not far past Kempty Falls, Sainji village is a remarkable offbeat attraction where the buildings are decorated with bunches of corn. The residents, who farm corn, hang it out to dry and preserve the seeds for sowing next season. You may also come across bundles of red chilies drying in the sun. Sainji’s inspiring Garhwal English Medium School was set up by a Canadian woman and her husband, who heads the village, to improve education in the area. Volunteers are accepted. Many upmarket hotels in Mussoorie and Landour (such as Rokeby Manor) arrange trips to Sainji village to help support the locals. You can spend a day interacting with them, learning about their way of life, and sampling their delicious food (including roti made with cornflour). They love receiving visitors!
Visit Mussoorie’s Tibetan Settlement
Happy Valley, home to around 5,000 Tibetan refugees, is a peaceful place to escape the clamor of Mussoorie and gain insight into the Tibetan way of life. This settlement was established by the Dalai Lama after he fled Tibet in 1959. The highlight is a small but vibrant Shedup Choepelling Temple (also known as the Tibetan Buddhist Temple). It’s surrounded by carefully maintained gardens and offers a spectacular valley view, especially at sunset. Other attractions are the magnificent golden Buddha statue atop the hill and the Tibetan school. The student’s beautiful artwork can be purchased. It’s possible to hike up to Happy Valley from the library end of Mall Road in about 45 minutes or take a taxi.
Learn About Local Culture at SOHAM Heritage and Art Center
This informative private museum was founded in 2014 by yoga exponent Sameer Shukla and his wife Doctor Kavita Shukla, who has a doctorate in drawing and painting, to preserve the heritage of the Himalayan region. It showcases all kinds of items related to the region’s people including photographs of ancient rituals, paintings, sculptures, musical instruments, and handicrafts. There’s a souvenir section as well. The museum is situated about a 20-minute walk southeast of Kulri Bazaar. It’s open daily except for Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Entry is free.
Buy Natural Shawls and Scarves from Local Weavers
Skip the dime-a-dozen shops on Mall Road and head to Himalayan Weavers for exquisite hand-woven shawls and scarves, made from natural fibers (wool, eri silk, and pashmina) colored with natural dyes. Himalayan Weavers was set up in 2005 by Doctor Ghayur Alam and his British wife Patricia, who relocated to the area from Delhi. Their aim was to get locals to stop illegally picking medicinal plants by providing a market, and income, for their wool and handmade wool items. The business now supports many local weavers too. Patricia comes up with all the designs, and the wool is dyed in a room at the back of their house in Masrana village near Mussoorie (on the Mussoorie-Dhanaulti Road). The house also has a showroom, where the products are displayed and sold. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You’ll be able to chat with the knowledgeable owners and learn about the weaving process over a cup of tea. The products cost more than those on Mall Road (stoles start from about 800 rupees and shawls from 2,000 rupees) but they’re pure wool.
Admire the Scenery from a Viewpoint
If you’re feeling energetic, a long (two-hour) but scenic hike uphill from Kulri Bazaar will bring you to the highest point in the area, Lal Tibba (Red Hill), at about 7,500 feet above sea level. There’s a cafe with an observation deck and high-powered binoculars. Those who aren’t fit enough to walk can ride a pony. West of Library Bazaar, you can hike up to surveyor Sir George Everest’s House in about two hours for more outstanding views. Further along in the same direction are Cloud End and Echo Point—a private forested estate that you can enter by paying 50 rupees. Picturesque Camel’s Back Road is a prominent thoroughfare that connects Library and Kulri bazaars. It has numerous viewpoints, including one across to a camel-shaped rock formation, and an old British cemetery.
Explore Jabarkhet Nature Reserve
Want to spend more time in the great outdoors? Jabarkhet Nature Reserve is a special place! The reserve was established by conservationist Sejal Worah and landowner Vipul Jain and is the first of its kind in Uttarakhand. A 110 acre, privately-owned and operated forest reserve, it opened to the public in 2015. Walking in its woods is wonderfully rejuvenating and reinvigorating. There are eight well-marked trails, each taking a few hours to cover. You’ll come across all kinds of flowers, butterflies, and even mushrooms. The reserve is situated 2,000 feet above sea level, about a 15-minute drive from Mussoorie on the Mussoorie-Dhanaulti Road. It’s open daily from sunrise until sunset. The cost is 350 rupees per person. Guided expert walks, costing 500 rupees per person, are offered for those who are keen to know about the reserve’s flora and fauna. Offbeat, bespoke walks can also be arranged. These include overnight treks and village visits.
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Entertain the Kids at Company Garden
This sprawling municipal garden, named after the British East India Company, is popular with families. Young kids will enjoy the pedal boats, a wax museum with statues of Indian and international celebrities, and assorted rides. There’s also an artificial waterfall amid the flowery foliage. The garden is on the outskirts of Mussoorie near Happy Valley, on the way to Kempty Falls. It’s open daily until sunset. The entry fee is 25 rupees per person, and tickets to the wax museum cost 100 rupees per person. Rides are extra.
Frequently Asked Questions About Things To Do In Mussoorie
Is there snowfall in Mussoorie?
You can see Mussoorie covered in thick snow in the winter months from December through February.
How many days are enough for Mussoorie?
Mussoorie is a small hill station in the state of Uttarakhand, famous for its colonial charm. You can cover all of Mussoorie in about 2 to 3 days.
What are the best restaurants in Mussoorie?
There are many amazing restaurants in Mussoorie that offer the best food experience to the visitors here. The most popular restaurants in Mussoorie are the following: 1. Trout House Grill & Bar 2. JW Cafe 3. The Writer’s Bar 4. Regency Restaurant 5. Wisteria Deck 6. Urban Turban Bistro
Are Ola & Uber cabs available in Mussoorie?
Ola and Uber cabs aren’t available in Mussoorie as of now. You can hire Ola cabs in Dehradun.
How is the road from Haridwar to Mussoorie?
Mussoorie doesn’t have an airport or a train station and by road from Haridwar is the best way to reach the hill town. You can either hire a cab or drive your private vehicle to cover the distance of 86 km from Haridwar to Mussoorie. It is a smooth drive of 3.5 hours and the scenic route is another added advantage.
Which month is best for Mussoorie?
Mussoorie is pleasant all throughout the year and you can visit the place anytime between October and June.
Where can I go shopping in Mussoorie?
The following are the most popular markets in Mussoorie: 1. The Mall Road: Home Decor, outfits, souvenirs, etc 2. Tibetan Market: Hand-woven carpets, sober artifacts, inexpensive outfits and accessories 3. Library Bazaar: Wooden items, trinkets, vases, electronic products 4. Kulri Bazaar: Local handicrafts, outfits, accessories, footwear, etc 5. Classic Emporium: Handcrafted lampshades, Tibetan sculptures, accessories, etc
Which is the most popular trek in Mussoorie?
For a perfect trekking experience in Mussoorie, you can go for either Kanatal Trek or Nagtibba Trek. Other most adventurous treks in Mussoorie are Dhanaulti Trek, Taptibba Trek, etc.
What are the adventurous things to do in Mussoorie?
The following are the most adventurous experiences of Mussoorie: 1. Sky Walking 2. Valley Crossing 3. Zip Swing Adventure 4. Rock Climbing 5. Paragliding 6. Nature Walk 7. Roller Skating 8. Boating 9. Trekking