Remote, yet accessible, Lansdowne is the queen of Garhwal, a hill resort of regal charm, located at a height of 1700 meters and surrounded by forests of pine and oak in the Pauri Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. It is one of the few places accessible throughout the year. Lansdowne takes its name after Lord Lansdowne, Viceroy of India from 1888 to 1894. For several decades the resort was the choice of the British and a chosen few. Even after independence, Lansdowne was the only large town after Almora in the district. As tourism became popular, so did Lansdowne and it is today one of the most sought-after places with its typical British ambience.
Perched at an elevation of 1700 metres above sea level and sitting among a thick and vibrant covering of oak and pine forests this quaint hill station is one of the most peaceful destinations in India. People wanting to get away from the scorching heat of the summer season on the plains visit this oasis. Other than that this is also a great destination for finding some peace of mind. Blessed with remarkable natural beauty and home to a colorful and vibrant flora and fauna this place looks like it is straight out of a fairy tale book. From camping and trekking to nature walks and bird watching there is no dearth of activities to do here.
- Nature Walks – The best ways to experience the natural beauty in a personal manner is by indulging in a mind refreshing and soul-enriching nature walks. These walks among the lush greenery and quietness will definitely rejuvenate your senses and clear your head. While strolling you can visit snow viewpoint or go up till tiffin top.
- Bird Watching – Situated close to Lansdowne is Sona Nadi division of Jim Corbett national park where a number of birds gather during their migratory season. Each year 600 different species of colourful and migratory birds offer a magnificent site for every avid bird watcher and nature lover.
- Trekking – Lansdowne is a safe haven for people who enjoy trekking activities. Being situated at a height it offers enthralling views of the surroundings just by covering some simple trekking expeditions. Some of the trekking trails here include: Malini Barrage, Kalalghati, and Pauri.
- Boating in Bhulla Lake – Bhulla Tal or lake is a man-made creation where people have the option of going on fun and peaceful boat rides. You will be able to witness some delightful ducks paddling across the river while clearing your mind. This is also a great choice for couples and honeymoon goers.
Places to Visit and Things to Do
- Bhulla Taal is one of the most visited artificial lakes, created by the army in 2003. The lake has a paved path around it and gardens. You can go boating or relax by the banks.
- The Tip in Top is another location from where you can admire the enchanting view of the mountains in the distance as well as the land stretching out in a maze of roads, ravines, undulating land and forests.
- A visit to Lansdowne is incomplete if you do not visit the Garhwal Rifles Regimental War Memorial. The Museum showcases artifacts and history of the Regiment, dating back to the First World War and even before.
- St. Mary’s Church is quaint and typically British, perfect for some photography and go on to St. John’s church, equally charming from the outside and inside.
- Next you go on to Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple, the Bhairav Garhi Temple and Santoshi Mata temple. Before entering the Tarkeshwar Mahadev temple, devotees usually bathe in the Gauri Kund, considered to be holy. The temple is about 40 kilometers from Lansdowne. Another not to be missed temple is Durga Devi temple, one of the oldest Sidh Peeths, along the Pauri Kotdwar road, about 24 kilometers from Lansdowne.
- Kanva Ashram is another well-known spot said to be the birthplace of Bharat, son of Dushyant and Shakuntala.
Lansdowne also offers other activities such as trekking into the surrounding hills and forests and bird watching.
- Kanvashram – Situated at a distance of 40 kms from Lansdowne, this place is an extremely vital place of interest for people interested in archaeology as well as history since this is believed to be the place where lord Bharat (after whom our nation is named) had spent his childhood.
- Sidhbali Temple – Situated at a distance of 38 kms from Lansdowne and dedicated to Lord Hanuman this temple holds immense religious significance among the local population of Uttarakhand especially for people living in the Pauri Garhwal district.
- Durga Devi Temple – Located at a distance of 25 kms from the main town of Lansdowne this holy place of worship is dedicated to Goddess Durga and is extremely highly revered by the locals there. A small stream flows by the temple which allows you to relax and calm down for a bit.
- Pauri – This charming hamlet is located at a distance of 78 kms from Lansdowne and offers you the opportunity to have some peaceful time among the mesmerizing views of the surrounding Himalayans and the wonderful quietness of the valley. There are several tourist attractions to visit here like Kandoliya temple and Gangarswun valley.
Fairs and Festivals:
- Sharadotsav Fair – This festival is held during the autumn seasons and is one of the most popular annual fairs held in Uttarakhand. if you want to experience some authentic pahadi culture then this will be the best time to visit Lansdowne. This fair witness’s folk dance and traditional cultural performances displaying the colourful cultural heritage of the state.
- Maha Shivratri – This festival is held with great enthusiasm and zeal. This festival is celebrated during the winter season with an aim of honoring lord Shiva. This festival is celebrated all through the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent. If you want to witness a classic and authentic celebration then you should head for Tarkeshwar Mahadev temple here.
- Ashtami in Jwalpa Devi Temple – The festival of Ashtami is celebrated with great grandeur in the hill station of Lansdowne. During the eve of Ashtami the temple of Jwalpa Devi witnesses an incredible turnout of pilgrims and devotees who come here to offer their prayers to the goddess.
- Christmas – Christmas in Lansdowne is a great time to not only experience the Himalayan winter chill but it is also the perfect opportunity for you to indulge in some quality peaceful time. The town lights up in fairy lights and all the colors seem to come to life. Since Uttarakhand is home to a variety of culture, each of these cultures receives equal amounts of attention.
Best Time to Visit:
Being located on at a height, the temperature and weather conditions are that of a hilly terrain. The winter months of October to March are extremely cold and freezing with chilly breeze blowing and the temperature dropping till zero. If you want to pay a visit to this incredibly delightful haven then summer months of April to June where the temperature is extremely pleasant and comfortable for outdoor visits and the temperature remains around 25 degree Celsius. The best time to visit Lansdowne is during the Sharadotsav month during the autumn season.
Trains are the best option if you wish to get to Lansdowne quickly and economically. You can catch the Mussoorie Express or the Garhwal Express and alight at Haridwar from where private taxis take you to Kotdwara. It is an hour’s ride and from here you can take a cab to Lansdowne. You can also drive from Delhi and it takes about 5 to 6 hours to complete the 245-kilometer stretch, giving you ample opportunities to admire the scenery along the way. Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is about 152 kilometers along the Hardwar-Kotdwara Road, if you wish to fly in.
If you are looking for some quality food then there are a number of hotels, restaurants, cafes and lodges available here which offers a wide plethora of traditional as well as international cuisines. One will have the option of indulging in Chinese, Indian, Mughlai, Garhwali and Marwari cuisines. You can also indulge in local food items which are prepared with the locally available vegetables. Some of the local cuisines which can also be found in abundance here are bhang ki khatai, sisunak saag, aloo ke gutke, rus and so much more that you will never run out of different food items to eat.
You will find hotels ranging from budget to luxury as well as guest houses and charming retreats in Lansdowne. As for food, there are plenty of restaurants and a few roadside stalls where you can enjoy Momos, noodles and piping hot chicken soup.
For most people, Lansdowne is a place to let your hair down, relax and drink in the beauties of the place over a quiet weekend.
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