Monday, August 24, 2015

Lansdowne- a Hill station Weekend getaway near Delhi

                          Hotels at Lansdowne

  At AroundDelhi before starting to promote a new destination and hotels and resorts there,we make it a point to visit the place and have a hands on experience before serving it to our guests. For the purpose wanted to visit Lansdowne, Uttarakhand, distance wise one of the closest hill station to Delhi for the last one year or so but could not take time out from the busy travel schedule. Finally it was Lansdowne, Uttaranchal calling the July 2015m and I was finally on my way with my son and a friend to the place.

          We started at a decent time of 7 AM and a friend  picked us up on the way to Lansdowne (route map to lansdowne/driving instructions to Lansdowne). The route to start with is the same you take for Haridwar or Mussoorie, NH 58, you can carry on till

Merrut and either go via Merrut town or better way is to take the Partapur by pass to Muzzafar Nagar. We followed the latter and stopped at Cheetal for a quick but nice breakfast. After Cheetal take the right turn towards Khatauli town, take the flyover to
carry on towards Kotdwar and Nazibabad via  Jansath, Meerapur and Bijnor, from Kotdwar you have a hill drive of about   40 km to Lansdowne. Generally the roads were pretty good and not too crowded thorough out although it was a Saturday. With a stop we were there in Lansdowne by around 1 pm taking about 6 hours with one stoppage of around 45 minutes. The distance clocked was around 250 k from Dhaula Kuan.

Lansdowne is a small hill station in Garhwal region of Uttaranchal, dominated by the Army cantonement, which has kept a check on too much constuction in the area. Most of the new hotels that have come up are in the outer around 4-6 km from the main town. Named after a British general by the same name,Lansdowne till date maintains the old world charm and is very different from the other hill stations of North India like Shimla, Nainital, Musssorie etc. I found it more akin to Kasauli and Ranikhet, both cantonements by the way.

                                             So if you have visited Ranikhet and Kasauli or like these kind of quiet places Lansdowne is for you. If you are looking for a very happening kind of place with markets and Dominos, Mcdonald's and video games kind of place like Shimla or Mussoorie, Lansdowne is not the place you are looking for. But if you like a quiet and cool place, place to go for small walks, enjoy the low flying clouds and just chill with friends or family, Lansdowne is the place to be for you.
View from Durga Devi Temple

Between Kotdwar and Lansdowne we stopped at Durga Devi Temple, on the banks of river Khoh, one can visit the old shrine for the Devi darshan and also the awesome views of the gushing river specially during the monsoon time. We were however advised not to go near the stream by the locals, but the view from the top was just incredible.

The drive after Kotdwar is quiet pictersque and green with  an altitude of 1600 m. The first hotel you come across from Kotdwar is Kasang Regency, one of the older properties at Lansdowne, about 6 km from the Market. Then you have Lanscastle, Garhwal Inn, Green Pams and Blue pine Resorts. Lanscastle and Greenpalms are the very recent ones. I was surprised to find though it was July, a so called off season, but being a Saturday most of the above mentioned hotels were sold out. The reasons for this I concluded were 1. proximity of Lansdowne from Delhi and Noida, 2. Good roads and easy accessibility of Lansdowne. 3. Lack of too many good options to stay near the town.

I found Hotel Lanscastle to be a small and nice boutique hotel with a fresh look. Rooms with balcony and terrace were nice. Also worth mentioning are the terrace garden and the Dance and music room. I will be giving more details about various Lansdowne hotels shortly, while this blog I will like to totally dedicate to Lansdowne as a destination.

Tourist Places to enjoy in Lansdowne, Uttaranchal.

               So let us see what all can be done if you stay for one or two nights at Lansdowne.

Bhulla taal Lansdowne
 Bhulla taal is a lovely picnic spot in Lansdowne where one can easily spend some time in lush green lawns and tall pines, go for a boat ride, munch on some snacks or just laze around. It is a small man made  like Lansdowne itself and also presents some swings and all for the kids. Just the place to enjoy the good weather of Lansdowne, Uttaranchal.

   Next we walked to the Tip n Top point, and my suggestion to friends visiting Lansdowne is to just park your vehicle at any point near the market and take a walk to all these points in Lansdowne, in a leisurely walk you can cover all these places and I can bet you will enjoy them more. Tip n Top is the highest point in Lansdowne around the GMVN hotel and offers the best view of the snow capped peaks in the distance and the green valley below. You need to be lucky to have a clear view and the months more likely to give a clear view are March-June and October-November. The lovely view of the Himalayan peaks itself is the reason enough to visit Lansdowne. Another good view point is the Snow Point
Lansdowne Museum

Darwan Singh Museum is maintained by the Garhwal Rifles, Museum is named after NaikDarwan Singh, 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 with medals, paintings of Generals, guns, musical instruments and all things connected to the regiment are on display. A must see place in Lansdowne.

Churches of Lansdowne St. Marys and St. John's. Both churches are heritage in nature, built around 1936, St. John's is the only running church of Lansdowne. Beautifully located
St. Mary's Lansdowne
and surrounding by a small lawn, the church was given up after independence and restored subsequently. St. Mary's was built in 1895 and holds a museum run by Garhwal Regiment. Visit them for their simplicity, architecture and the eerie quiet that engulfs them most of the time.

Tarkeshwar Mahadev

Tarkeshwar Mahadev near Lansdowne, located about 38 km from Lansdowne, the temple devoted to Shiva houses a 1500 year old Shiva idol and is located in a very peaceful, green and cool place surrounded by green lawns. The journey to the place from Lansdowne too is picturesque forcing you to stop and admire Mother Nature on the way, many a times. Do visit, specially if you are staying for 2 nights. Do carry snacks, water etc with you from LAnsdowne as you wont get anything worthwhile to eat at Tarkeshwar or on the way.

Visit to Corbett National Park, unknown to many, you can now visit Corbett National Park during season, November to June, you will be entering the Sonanadi Forest zone from the Vatan vasa gate, the distance of the gate is about 35 km from Deriyakhal, Lansdowne. Further down you can have some snacks at the Haldupurao guest house. Sonanadi is known for it's elephant population and tiger sighting too is frequent. One can book a jeep from Lansdowne or use your own SUV to do this trip, but do take a guide along lest you lose your way in the jungle.

Walks around Lansdowne As I mentioned before, the real taste of Lansdowne is in savouring it on foot, so here is how you can do it with leisurely walks. Park your vehicle at Bhulla lake parking and take a walk to the market and back. Or park around St Mary's church and take a walk to St John's to one side and Tip n Top to the other.

The ideal period of stay at Lansdowne is 2 to 3 nights, longer if you are going for to spend some time with your self in this quiet and calm place. The weekends are usually full and you do not have too many hotels worth staying so do plan and book your weekend stay in advance. 
Some of the good hotels in Lansdowne are Lanscastle, Blue Pine resorts and Kasang Regency.
Cloud Play at Lansdowne

On the day of our return it was cloudy and you can actually see the clouds flying and slowly engulf the place around you, first the valley and then the road. Really felt like heaven. Lansdowne will be a great place for a friends only visit,a  romantic getaway, a family outing or as a corporate if you plan some training programme or small conference around Delhi and do not want to travel too far. Lansdowne is a cool hill station around Delhi, do visit it if you have not, and I am sure you will keep visiting it again and again.

Bye for now.

Dr Rakesh Anand,
Blogger Webmaster Traveller - Place to search for Weekend Getaways around Delhi

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