New Year in Mussoorie
Mussoorie Travel Blog› entry 7 of 12 › view all entries
We had an early start, which was tempered by the travel sickness pills most of us took, which made an apparently rough ride to Mussoorie quite pleasant as I spent most of the time sleeping, then awoke extremely light-headed and somewhat vague. The roads are noticeably better in Uttaranchal - less potholes, two lanes, with markings! - but incredibly winding for the most part.
E had booked us into a historical house, Carlton Plaisance, which was built by a British man for his 18 year old wife (the daughter of a French-Belgian woman and a Nawab, a Muslim ruler). The rooms were full of huge trophies of tigers, leopards and bears, fireplaces, Victorian-style furniture, and lots of books and photos, and had a drafty, slightly eerie feeling to it.
Our rooms were around the side and back of the house, accessible only from the outside. They were spacious, but worn. It was also very cold in Mussoorie - with minimal heating - and in the early hours of the morning I heard a bell being rung as if someone was slowly walking around the outside of the house. It wasn't exactly scary, but rather unsettling and I have to admit that I did get the creeps a few times while staying at this place, particularly when I had to go back to the room for something by myself, even during the day.
The following day, we were dropped off in town (the Mall) and spent a few hours wandering and browsing down the main streets. Mussoorie is not dissimilar to Shimla in its layout, as it is also built into the side of a steep hill about 2km above sea level, but it's much more laid back, with far fewer people and is less developed.
We had lunch at the Tavern (all very tasty Indian dishes, if I remember correctly), and on the way back to Carlton Plaisance, stopped at a couple of hotels for some drinks. The Kasmanda Palace, a Welcomheritage hotel, sits at the top of a very steep hill and doesn't have a bar, so we had a quick drink in the restaurant (which was rather awkward, as it was empty). There were some impressive trophies in some of their rooms. We also had a beer at an inoffensive bar, Hotel Gharwal, which had a pleasant view of the sunset.
On day two, we walked up to the George Everest Survey Point which was a pleasant walk, starting just beyond the hotel and up through country and rocky dirt road.
On New Years Eve day, we spent the day walking again, this time from the far side of the Mall up, up and up into Landour where we saw a small church and a terraced cemetry, ate momos and banana pancakes and bought postcards. On the way down, we saw kids playing cricket in the steep, twisted lanes - quite a feat. Back in the town centre, we witnessed a ferris wheel in operation - Indian style - with two guys climbing, leaping, pulling and hanging off the metal frame to make the wheel turn.
Back at the guest house, the wait staff had lined up several longnecks of beer in anticipation of our New Years celebrations. Dinner was great as usual but we'd filled up on the tasty fried snacks they'd served us earlier. Afterwards, we hung around the bonfire outside with the son and friends of Anur, the owner. Beer and tequila shots were had and the count down to the New Year may have been a few minutes out, we were so isolated. But what a way to end the year - in India, nonetheless.