There is something in the mountain air that makes you want to eat and drink at every stop.
By Nidhi Joshi
Mussoorie is better known to me as my childhood weekend getaway. No points for guessing, I was born and raised in Dehra Dun which is barley 35 kms away from the quaint and heavenly hill station which has a special place in my heart, for I have done thousands of kilometers between the Dun valley as it is known to us –the Doonites, and Mussoorie -the Queen of hills.
As I have grown in years I have seen the rise, fall and again rise of this beautiful paradise. As a tourist or a traveler, one must understand the delicate balance and the relationship between the destination and the traveler and of course journey to the destination is as important. Travelling is not a race that you have to win, unlike real life where rat race is now an acceptable term and a more accepted state of mind whether consciously or unconsciously, travelling is an activity for pure joy and getting away from all of it. As a child, growing up in the 80’s life was a lot easier and the dreamer that I was (still am) the little joys of life as they may seem now were big enough to be called recreation and rejuvenation and connect with Nature. I would more often than not travel to Mussoorie, in different company of course every time, sometimes it was a group of relatives, at one time it was with college friends, many times with my Dad on his scooter (as my sister used to teach in one of the boarding schools so we would go there often to visit her) and more recently with my kids and husband. So you see we have a bond that goes back in time and we have seen each other grow in years and size, both (pun intended).
There are a few things that are constant at this lovely hill station where the air is crisp almost all through the year laden with lovely citrusy smell from the coniferous trees. A walk on the Mall road right from Library to Picture Palace (that is one end of Mussoorie till the other one) is still filled with old world charms with vendors selling hot bhutta replete with masala and lemon, boiled eggs, small berries and ladies with hand knitted socks, hats and other stuff. On the Mall itself, you will find the counter for the Rope Way which goes right to Gun Hill – which is the second highest hill in Mussoorie and is located at 400ft above the Mall. It is a wonderful point to see the Dun Valley which twinkles like a thousand stars down below; also the view of the Himalayan range from here is spectacular.
Hill stations in my experience are full of small but gastronomically satisfying kiosks. Mussoorie is no exception, if you happen to be there do try Chinese, Thai and Tibetan cuisine at Kalsang I am yet to eat anything Chinese that is so finger licking as I had there and who knows you may find my testimony on the table you are dining. Yes, they have kept all the tissue papers on which the guests write their compliments on every table (of course covered with a glass top). Another place that is worth a quick bite is Chick Chocolate, you’ll get a choice of pies, tarts, ice creams, hot dogs, and shakes to sit and sip and munch. There is something in the mountain air that makes you want to eat and drink at every stop. There is also Lovely Omelet, you blink and you miss kinda small shop that is actually very famous. It was featured on Highway On My Plate (one of the travel shows on TV), the guy makes some amazing omelets. Don’t be surprised if you have to stand in the queue but it’ll be worth the wait.
By Bus: There is frequent bus service from Dehra Dun to Mussoorie which takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to reach.By Car: You can hire a cab or drive from Dun to Mussoorie as the roads are quite well maintained.