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If you are searching for an ideal weekend getaway from Delhi look no further than nature’s gift LANSDOWNE; the small cantonment town and the nearest hill station to Delhi. It is just 245 KM from Delhi and is approached via Kotdwara the last railway head on this side of Uttrakhand. Interestingly Delhi is just 92 Km as the crow flies and that is how far China border is from here.
Established during the British regime in 1887, Lansdowne today is an unspoilt small cantonment town and regimental Centre of Garwal Rifles. It borders the Kalagarh tiger reserve and the Jim Corbett park. It has an unmatched clean air, a rich green environment. It is unspoilt with very less vehicular traffic that allows you the pleasure of enjoying leisurely walk on the road that makes hill stations so interesting.
It is one of the very few tourist places from where you can see river Ganga and the snow clad Himalayas. View the perfect sunrise and sunset views. A wide panorama of 14000 ft snow clad westerly Himalayas ranges is visible from Tippin top; the highest point of Lansdown at 6500 feet. At the same time, it is surprising that from the centre of the town Gandhi Ground bus stand you can see no mountains. For the bird lovers it is rich treat with presence of more than 600 kinds of birds that can be seen throughout the year.
Lansdowne is a small town. You can completely see it in a weekend but for best results I would suggest a leisurely 4 day trip with this schedule.
DAY 1: Reach Lansdowne and check into your resort or hotel. Enjoy evening walk in the market area and relax. Get that travel tiredness out of your system.
DAY 2: Weather permitting reach early at Tip-in-top ( the highest point in
Lansdowne) and enjoy the early sunrays playing with the snow-clad mountains. See the snow mountain change colours with the rising sun. Later visit the Santoshi Mata temple and before lunch visit Regimental Mess ( do adhere to prescribed dress code), Darbar Singh Museum, Regimental Durga Mandir and Rathi Point. In the evening enjoy jungle safari walk towards
Dhura Village. On the way you will come across Bhim Pakoda a natural
balancing rock. Try moving this large stone with your fingers and be surprised when you are able to do it. Folklore says that Pandavas here made their meals and while leaving placed this stone on top of the fire.
Day 3: Get early and reach the Snow Point. Walk down the lovers lane and reach Jherikhal Road. From here catch the rising see creating drama in the skies as the rays hit snow-clad
mountains. The sound of birds in the surrounding jungle adds to the experience. Have a vegetarian breakfast and leave for Tadkeshwar Temple some 35 Km away. It will take you some 90 minutes travel by taxi. This temple surrounded by the tall deodar tress is a unique experience. People believe it is the place where lord shiva rests.. In evening enjoy boating at Bhula Tal. Ask your hotel to arrange for a camp fire and enjoy your meals under the starlit skies.
DAY-IV: Start with a visit to an old ancient Shiva temple KALESHWAR. If
you are really religious type, you could go to Jwalpa Dham ( 35 KM) or Bhairagarih ( 20 KM). Reach Corbett National Park in less than 30 minutes going through a shortcut. Enjoy the wild life safari. At the end of the day before you curl in remember to pick souvenir and other local items from Alaknanda shopping complex near the cantonment area.
BEST TIME TO VISIT- Throughout the year. ( in rains be cautious while driving as the road leading to Lansdowne from Kotdwara is landslide prone)
Summer- MARCH- JUNE 30-12 degree centigrade- Great time to beat India heat
Monsoon- JULY OCTOBER- Heavy rains
Winter- NOV- FEB- 24-0 degree centigrade, Best time to visit-and lucky ones catch snowfall
For staying there are many options including Garhwal Vikas mandal Guest House. Some of the better hotels are Lans View Hotel, Hotel Mayur, Lansdowne Villa Fairydale Resort, Shanti Raj Resort, GMVN Lansdowne Tourist Bungalow, GMVN Tip N Top Huts in Lansdowne, Bright Sunny Pines Resort, Hotel Forest Palace
If you are flying into Delhi from rest of the country or abroad, check with the hotel to arrange safe taxi pickup. Or you can take the overnight train from Delhi to Kotdwara where a pickup could be arranged. There are regular buses plying between Delhi and Kotdwara. The roads are fine but the climb is fast and with many hair bends so if you have motion sickness take precaution.
The above is based on a TOURSIT SPECIAL BROCHURE created by Ashwini Kotnala, Dr S P Naithani and Devendra naithani. Additional credit for this brochure appreciates effort and contribution by Rajeev Sharma, Yogesh Shah, Coln. Y S Rawat, Coln S NandKumar, Samir Sinha ( IFS), Amit Mishra ( CA) Most of the pictures are scanned from that brochure and acknowledged. This is my way of telling the world about the beautiful place I was born in.
Every Hill station has lot of stories of paranormal activities and Lansdowne is no exception. I will soon share the post on that.