Sight & Attractions

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Mussorie


Mussoorie (Garhwali/HindiMasūrī) is a hill station and a municipal board in the Dehradun District of the northernIndian state of Uttarakhand. It is located about 35 km from the state capital of Dehradun and 290 km north from the national capital of New Delhi. This hill station is situated in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan range. The adjoining town of Landour, which includes a military cantonment, is considered part of 'greater Mussoorie', as are the townships of Barlowganj and Jharipani. The pin code for Mussoorie is 248179.  Being at an average altitude of 1,880 metres (6,170 ft), Mussoorie, with its green hills and varied flora and fauna, is a fascinating hill resort. Commanding snow ranges to the north-east, and glittering views of the Doon Valley and Shiwalik ranges in the south, the town was once said to present a 'fairyland' atmosphere to tourists.The second highest point is the original Lal Tibba in Landour, with a height of over 2,275 metres (7,464 ft).

History

Mussoorie was founded by Lt. Frederick Young ( Born 30 November 1786 at Green Castle, Moville, Ireland, Died 24 May 1874 in Ireland) of East India Company. Lt. Young came to these hills for the sole purpose of bagging some game.

He was so enamoured by the beauty that he decided to build a hunting lodge (shooting box) on the Camel's Back Road along with FJ Shore, Jt. Magistrate of Doon in 1823. He also raised the first Gurkha Regiment and planted the first potatoes in the valley. His tenure in Mussoorie ended in 1844 and he further served in Dimapore and Darjeeling and retired as a General and went back to Ireland.Sadly there are no memorials to commemorate Gen. Young in Mussoorie. However, there is a Young Road in Dehradoon on which ONGC's Tel Bhawan stands.

In 1832 Mussoorie was the intended terminus of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India that began at the southern tip of India. Although unsuccessful, the Surveyor General of India at the time, George Everest wanted to have the new office of the Survey of India based in Mussoorie. A compromise was to have it in Dehradun, where it still is.

In 1850 the first beer brewery in India was built in Mussoorie. By 1894 there were 22 breweries in India producing 6 million gallons a year.

By 1901 Mussoorie's population had grown to 6,461, rising to 15,000 in the summer season. Earlier, Mussoorie was approachable by road from Saharanpur, 58 miles (93 km) away. Accessibility became easier in 1900 with the railway coming to Dehradun, thus shortening the road trip to 21 miles (34 km).

Mussoorie view from the top of the hill (can be viewed while traveling on the way towards down of the hill)

The name Mussoorie is often attributed to a derivation of 'mansoor', a shrub which is indigenous to the area. The town is often referred to as 'Mansoori' by most Indians.

The main promenade in Mussoorie is called, as in other hill stations, the Mall. In Mussoorie, the Mall stretches from Picture Palace at its eastern end to the Public Library (shortened to 'Library') at its western end. During the British Raj, signs on the Mall expressly stated: "Indians and Dogs Not Allowed". Racist signs of this type were commonplace in hill stations, which were founded 'by and for' the British. Motilal Nehru, the father of Jawaharlal Nehru, deliberately broke this rule every day whenever he was in Mussoorie and would pay the fine. The Nehru family, including Nehru's daughter Indira (later Indira Gandhi) were frequent visitors to Mussoorie in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, and stayed at the Savoy Hotel. They also spent much time in nearby Dehradun, where Nehru's sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit ultimately settled full-time.

During the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion, the Central Tibetan Administration of the 14th Dalai Lama was at first established in Mussoorie before being moved to its present location in DharamsalaHimachal Pradesh. The first Tibetan school was established in Mussoorie in 1960. Tibetans settled mainly in Happy Valley in Mussoorie. Today, some 5,000 Tibetans live in Mussoorie.

Now, Mussoorie suffers from overdevelopment of hotels and tourist lodges, given its relative proximity to Delhi, Ambala and Chandigarh, and has serious problems of garbage collection, water scarcity and parking shortages, especially during the summer tourist season. Landour, Jharipani and Barlowganj have fewer such problems.

Geography and climate

Mussoorie has an average elevation of about 2005.5 metres (6580 ft). The highest point is Lal Tibba, at a height of about 7500 ft (although the name Lal Tibba is now also used to describe a lovely lookout point, a short distance from the actual peak).

Demographics

As of 2011 India census, Mussoorie had a population of 30,118. Males constitute 55% of the population and females 45%. Mussoorie has an average literacy rate of 89%, higher than the national average of 75%: male literacy is 94%, and female literacy is 84%. In Mussoorie, 9% of the population is under 6 years of age. In Mussoorie Nagar Palika Parishad, Female Sex Ratio is of 812 against state average of 963. Moreover, Child Sex Ratio in Mussoorie is around 918 compared to Uttarakhand state average of 890.

Himalayas at dusk from Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.

Accessibility

Mussoorie is conveniently connected by road to Delhi and major cities. It is called the "Gateway" to Yamunotri and Gangotri Shrines of Northern India. The closest rail station is Dehradun. Taxis are easily available for Mussorie as are buses at regular intervals.

The best time to visit is from mid-March to mid-November though torrential rain can be an inhibiting factor in the monsoonmonths of July to September.

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