May 10 – May 12, 2012
We reached Kotdwar railway station at 6:30 in the morning. The picturesque small railway station is situated amidst green leafed hills and hanging clouds from the hill tops. We need to take car from here. Jeeps charge Rs. 1200 for full booking and Rs. 50/seat in sharing for going to Kaludanda, which is one and half hours journey through pristine landscape; its pure rivers, magical mountains and waterfalls. Winding road is less steeper compared to roads for Nainital, Mukteshwar or McLeodganj.
Kaludanda became Lansdowne in 1890 after the name of Lord Lansdowne. This peaceful hill station is to submit yourself to mother nature; enjoy chirping birds, thick oak and blue pine forests, clear blue sky in day and star-studded nights from an altitude of 1700m. You are relieved from hot summer; temperature was between 16 to 26 deg C. Take a look at my photo gallery for a taste of what I experienced in this special tour.
We arrived at Main Market in Lansdowne; this is last stoppage of our jeep. This is central area of Lansdowne. For going to different places from here you need to book jeep separately.
Distances of view points from main Market:
St. Mary’s Church: 3 km
St. John’s Church: 3 km
Santoshi Mata Temple: 3.5 km
Tip-n-Top: 3.5 km
Bhulla Taal: 1 km
Regimental Museum: .5 km
Durga Templ:; 1 km
Kaleshwar Temple: 1 km
Tarakeshwar Temple; 35 km
Jwalapa Devi temple: 40 km
Bhairon Gandhi temple: 12 km road, 3 km by foot
From market after around 300m we found GMVN hotel, then after 250m hotel Fairydale. The road is then diverted in two parts. One takes you to Bhulla Lake and another, comparatively steep one, to St. Marry’s Church, St. John’s Church, Tip-n-Top and Santoshi Mata Temple. Regimental Museum is on the other side of the market. Lansdowne is the army base of Garhwal Rifles division of Indian Army. You will find them everywhere in Lansdowne.
Tip-n-Top: You can get a picturesque view of enchanting Himalayas from this place. Tip-n-Top is the name of one of the two GMVN hotels. For non-resident visitors, there is one place beside the hotel, where people can seat for hours and watch the beauty of Himalayas. You can reach here by car or by trekking through jungle. Staying at Huts of Tip-n-Top may be a great experience for you.
St. Marry’s Church: Built in 1896, this church is positioned in a great view-point in Lansdowne. Visitors sit and watch Himalayan beauties from the benches in front of the Church. I think the view of sunrise will be equally marvelous from the Church. I am not sure, please give your opinion once you visit Lansdowne.
Santoshi Mata Temple: If Tip-n-Top steals your morning then book your evening for Santoshi Mata Teple; where else can you get the best sunset view in Lansdowne? This temple is probably is on top of Lansdowne and offers the most exquisite view of golden fire-ball settling down behind mountains.
St. John’s Church: This peaceful Roman Catholic Church is on the way to Tip-n-Top. you can spend some time within the church premises.
Bhulla Lake: This 140mx40m lake was built in 2003. Swans are restless in the lake, birds are in close vigil from tree brunches. We sat beside the lake for two hours watching colorful birds and natural habitats. Rabbits are kept in an area beside lake. We got special attention from young ones, with squinted eyes and raised ears they were looking bewildered seeing us in the early morning.
Regimental Museum: This motivational hall was built in 1983. Collection of Garhwali rifles and other armories is the attraction of the place. Different memorabilia depicts the valour of Garhwali armies in 1971 Bangladesh War, 1962 China War, 1987 Sri Lanka Civil War, 1999 Kargil War and different natural calamities. Being an Indian, be sure you will be proud of our army visiting this Museum.
The Garhwal Rifle Regiment War Memorial: In front of the Museum and parade ground this Bronze statue of Garhwali soldier was opened for public on 11 Nov, 1923 (Armistice Day) in memory of contribution of Garhwali soldiers during 1914-18 First World War. This life-size statue was sculpted by L. S. Merrifield from Chelsea, England.
We watched army parade from this place for an hour. Their discipline reminded us the need of NCC training after High School. Just imagine country’s expenditure for policemen who are controlling chaos in city roads or queues in front of ticket counters; our self discipline could avoid that expenditure burden and same could be utilised in education or health (that’s a different topic altogether).
Apart from this view points you can enjoy nature from any place in Lansdowne; ample choices for you.
Lansdowne is a place for staying calmly at a comfortable place for enjoying the salubrious weather. This place will be cherished for the rest of your life if you get a good view from your hotel.
I ranked seven hotels in parameter of “view from hotel”
1. Tip-n-Top: (9/10) View of sunrise and majestic Himalayan Range. Huts are best to stay.
2. Kasang Regency: (7/10) Good view of mountains but 8-10 km before Lansdowne main market.
3. Blue Pine Resort: (6.5/10) 6-7 km before Lansdowne main market.
4. Fairy Dale: (4/10) 800m from market. View of pine forest from lawn
5. GMVN Hotel: (3/10). Partial view of pine forest. We stayed here. Couldn’t understand reason of double price of huts compared to economic rooms. Huts are slightly better placed but in both cases you have to come to open area to see pine forest.
6. Hotel Mayur: (1/10) At main market (picture below). Don’t be bewildered by their huts, those are on 2nd floor roof top.
7. Tourist Hotel (above Zayka Restaurent): (1/10) Same as Hotel Mayur.
From Tip-n-Top, Kasang Regecy and Blue Pine rooms you can enjoy mountains and valleys over a cup of morning tea while cuddling up in soft bed.
From Fairy Dale and GMVN Hotel lawns you can enjoy pine forest in one side of the hotel.
Hotel Mayur and Tourist Hotel are at Lansdowne main market, which is full of hustle bustle. View is not good from these two hotels.
Food: There are four- five restaurants at main market; so choice is limited. We liked the taste of momos, chhola bature from Zayka restaurant, Raj kachuri, paratha from Mayur. But second day we found a fly in aloo puri in Zayka. We left the food and believed in packaged food.
Don’t be too bothered about food, enjoy the nature…
There is one good news for you. If you don’t have BSNL or Airtel connection, live in peace… your mobile is dead.
Overall I loved Lonsdowne. After visiting several hill stations in India, I realised that choice of good hotel is the key to enjoy remote hill stations. If I visit Lansdowne again, I must book the best room in best hotel.
Best words I have seen in Lansdowne:
“Save the World, We Have Nowhere to Go”.
Share any point I have missed, we will keep that in mind next time we visit. Drop a line if you liked the article. Thank you.
Lansdowne Weather: http://www.mustseeindia.com/Lansdowne-weather
GMVN Hotels: http://www.gmvnl.com/newgmvn/