This tiny hill station in Dehradun started its life when an adventurous Britisher, Captain Frederick Young, established the foundation of this place as a holiday resort. Over the years, it has developed into a beautiful and quaint town at about 6,150 feet above sea level. As the sun rises on Mussoorie, the people there are greeted by an unending horizon. It comprises small houses down the slopes and the curvy roads that lead to gorgeously cold waterfalls.
Mussoorie, or the ‘Queen Of Hills’, as it’s affectionately called, offers its visitors the best off-beat experience they can ask for. The hidden streams, the dense pine, and cedar forests, and the many trails going through all of that towards spectacular sceneries of the forests that envelope this hill station have quickly made this place a favorite for many. In fact, the colorful form that the landscape takes during the sunrise and sunset is often compared to what heaven might look like.
Other than all the physical attractions, one thing that you have to witness when you visit Mussoorie is the Winter Line that is visible during sunsets. Even if you miss everything else, this will make you fall in love with this tiny hill station in Uttarakhand. Keep reading our Mussoorie travel guide to know more about the beauty of this place.
Mussoorie gets its name from an indigenous shrub called ‘Mansoor’. A lot of people still refer to this town as ‘Mansoori’. Regardless of what you call this place, it holds some awe-inspiring stories in the form of its history and culture.
The town was first seen in modern history in 1803 when Umer Singh Thapa led the Gorkhas to conquer the Garwhal and the Dehra, which were the ruling administrative divisions at the time. In 1814, the Gorkhas in the region went to war with the British, resulting in mass evacuations in 1815, which left the land under dispute and desolation until 1819. Since Dehradun got access to the railway in 1900, the population of this place also went up and brought in many tourists too.
Mussoorie was a hometown of the Garwhals, which was brought to fame by the Britishers, and then invited people from all over the country, including many from the neighboring country of Tibet. Due to this, the culture of this place is a melting pot, with the dominance of Hindu, Garhwal, and Tibetian cultures. It also has a heavy influence of British society established there.
The culture here is very unique and is celebrated through customs, traditions, art, and music. The people here pay a huge amount of respect to the fairs and functions of every religion. Even though only three religions are dominant, you’ll find religious shrines celebrating the festivals of every religion seen in this place.
The main language spoken in Mussoorie is Garhwali. However, you’ll get by just fine if you speak Punjabi, Hindi, Kumaoni, and English. Some of the more prominent festivals celebrated in Mussoorie are Basant Panchami, Uttarani, Bikhauti, Autumn Festival, Summer Festival, and Mata Murti Ka Mela. All of these are taken to their peak by the energetic and loud celebrations that the people of Mussoorie hold every year.
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Mussoorie is perched at quite a high elevation. To be precise, it’s about 6,000 feet above sea level. Even then, it’s very well connected and can be accessed by buses, trains, and even planes! However, you’ll have to resort to some mode of transport by road, since a lot of other options see the end of their journey in Dehradun.
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In order to get to Mussoorie, you can board a train to get you to Dehradun Railway Station, which is the nearest railway station. However, you’ll have to complete the 34kms-long journey by road. There are trains going between Delhi and Dehradun everyday, making it a good idea to get to Delhi from your location, and then board a train to Dehradun.
Once you get off at Dehradun station, you can easily find taxis and buses going from Dehradun to Mussoorie. However, be wary of the taxi drivers since they tend to be a little aggressive to get a customer. A stern ‘no’ should be enough to deter them, though.
There are bus services available from Dehradun train station multiple times everyday. However, you need to realize that these buses go to two opposite ends of the hill station. So, if you get on the wrong one, it might become quite a trek to get to your destination. Other than the places in the city like Barkot, Nainbagh, Yamunotri, and Purola, you can also look for buses that go directly to Kempty Village, which is just outside Mussoorie, and home to the legendary Kempty Waterfalls. The last bus from Dehradun leaves for Mussoorie at 8 pm and is always crowded. So, make sure you take an earlier bus in order to travel comfortably.
You can get a taxi from Dehradun to Mussoorie, which will charge you around INR 1,000 for the 38 km-long trip. A cheaper option would be to spend about INR 300 for the same journey, but you’ll have to share the taxi with other travelers and stop at one of the pre-determined stops.
You can also start your drive towards Dehradun from Delhi itself. There are many private taxi aggregators that offer private and shared taxis going to Dehradun. This is a 288 km-long, or 6-hour-long drive and will take you through some roads that are under construction, meaning you might feel like you are riding a very dusty rollercoaster for about an hour. However, the roads until Muzzarfa Nagar and the ones in Dehradun itself are great.
It’s possible to come very close to Mussoorie by plane. There is an airport in Dehradun, called the Jolly Grant Airport, and it sees flights from all major cities in India. However, all flights coming to Dehradun have a stopover in Delhi. This is good news for people traveling from Delhi since they get direct flights very frequently from a variety of major airlines like SpiceJet and Air India.
There are two answers to this question, and both of them depends on whether you prefer pleasantly cold temperatures and uninterrupted greenery, or thick blankets of snow and the calm, beautiful, monochrome color that it paints Mussoorie with.
If you prefer the former, you might want to visit Mussoorie in the summer season, when the temperatures average between 15°C and 25°C. The weather is pleasant enough giving a majority of the residents of India the ability to explore the place with just a good quality sweater on.
For the more adventurous kind, who prefer the extreme colds of snowy winters, the months of November through February would be the best. The hill station receives maximum snowfall in December, however, it’s just enough to cover the entire town in a thick blanket, without hindering chances of exploring a majority of the places. The months between October and February are also the best to witness the Winter Line. So you might want to go to Mussoorie in these months.
The only time we would suggest you not to visit Mussoorie is in the months of August and September. These are the monsoon months in Mussoorie and they are infamous for the landslides and overall risks they bring. Also, a lot of places with a rather risky terrain are closed off to the public during these months.
While the overall climate of Mussoorie is pleasant throughout the year, be prepared for a little bit of rain. However, a strong umbrella should solve your problems in that regard. The only question that remains now is, when do we get to see you visit Mussoorie?
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You can get around most of Mussoorie on foot. However, there are a few places where hiring a bike or scooter would be your best bet. We will expand on that later. For now, let's talk about the transportation options available inside Mussoorie.
The only rickshaws available in Mussoorie are hand-pulled. Due to this, they are only available in a relatively flat section of the Mall area. While you can get to any place a little beyond the middle of the Mall, you’ll have to get a rickshaw from the Library itself.
Taxis are not the best modes of transport inside the town since a majority of it is walkable. However, if you want to go to a place outside the main town, especially with luggage, taxis would be a great way to commute comfortably. There are taxi stands on both ends of the Mall area. However, you can hire one of the locals providing taxi services for a little cheaper. The taxi drivers here are unionized. Meaning, that the fares won’t vary a lot and bargaining won’t get you anywhere, literally and figuratively. The union office has outlets at the Library End, Mall Road, and Kempty Bus Stand.
The local government runs a 2X2 seater taxi service that you can hire for sightseeing. However, it’s only good for sightseeing. There are fixed rates to go to places like Kempty Falls, Santura Hilltop Temple, and Dhantauli. You can also avail a single ride to multiple destinations for appropriate rates.
‘Mussoorie was built by the British for their pleasure’
This is a sentence you’ll hear often by the people who have a brief view of the history of this place, often with a heavy tone of decadence on the last word. However, Mussoorie is not just that. While it may have been the case two centuries ago, a lot of people now look at Mussoorie as a gateway to peace, especially artists.
Even today you’ll find some of the most legendary writers of our times living there and creating a thousand lives amidst a few hundred words. You’ll also find a great number of top-quality schools nestled in this tiny town, earning it the well-deserved reputation of being highly educated, and giving the youth throughout the country a chance to be called the same.
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Lal Tibba is the highest point in Mussoorie. It’s situated about 5 km uphill from the Picture Palace and passes through Landour Bazaar. One can reach Lal Tibba and get hypnotized by the scenery of the Himalayan peaks that are laid out right in front of the place. There are telescopes installed in Lal Tibba that you can use to look at the peaks of Badrinath, Kedarnath, and Banderpunch.
Arguably the most famous tourist attraction in Mussoorie, this waterfall surrounded by the valleys of Mussoorie was developed by a British officer as a picnic spot. Well, they chose an amazing spot since the milky white streams of water now attract people from all over the world to come and ogle at the beauty that lies in the flowing water. There is a man-made pond in the vicinity that is just as mind-blowing and offers boating as an activity.
Happy Valley holds a place of high significance in the culture of Mussoorie. It’s a valley where a lot of Tibetan monks reside. There is a beautiful monastery in the valley that was built in 1959 when the 14th Dalai Lama took refuge here and it has been an attraction for travelers, the touring and the spirituals alike.
The Shedup Choephelling Buddhist Temple, which sits at the highest point in the valley, is one of the first Tibetan shrines built by the Dalai Lama in India. It holds a plethora of idols of Lord Buddha, prayer wheels, and a prayer room that is almost as famous as the valley that holds it.
What Is Mussoorie Famous For?
Mussoorie is famous for its scenic beauty and pleasant weather all year round. In recent years, it has also become an important center of education and business.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Mussoorie?
While the more adventurous kind can choose to visit this place in the winter season, the summers in Mussoorie offer much more in terms of available activities and pleasant living conditions.
What Is The Famous Food In Mussoorie?
Aloo Ke Gutke is one of the most famous dishes from Mussoorie. It’s prepared using boiled Pahari potatoes and roasted dry spices.
At What Height Is Mussoorie?
Mussoorie is at an approximate elevation of 6,000 feet (2,005 meters) above sea level.
How many Days Are Enough For Mussoorie?
If you want to visit the hill station and experience its culture deeply, give yourself about 10 days to stay in Mussoorie. However, you can visit the key places in a minimum of two days.
Is There Snowfall In Mussoorie?
Mussoorie experiences snowfall during the months between December and February. The most amount of snowfall occurs during the end of December or 1st week of January.
How Far Is Nainital From Mussoorie?
The distance between Nainital and Mussoorie by road is 315 km and takes about 8 hours of travel.
What Should I Wear In Mussoorie?
Make sure to carry warm clothes no matter what time of year you are traveling to Mussoorie. Also, ensure to dress in layers. In winter especially, thermal wear and heavy jackets are a must. Carry extra pairs of clean socks at all times.