“Friends that travel together, stay together.”

An unplanned visit to Lansdowne- Delhi To Lansdowne Road Trip

In my opinion, travel is always better when it’s shared with friends. It is always a memorable experience. And if it is a road trip, the miles become the memories not the destination. Lansdowne is so far our favorite fun-filled drive indeed.

It was a long weekend of September 2017 from Friday 29th to Monday 2nd October, making it 4 days off in offices. Akanksha (My wife) was five months pregnant, hence, we decide that we will use this leaves by staying in home and cooking “YouTube” foods. But Destiney was in some else mood. It was my brother-in-law, Ankit, who called us and requested to plan any weekend trip. Since we were not interested, we politely decline the request, rather, we asked him to join us for the weekend as he uses to stay in PG. With sadden heart he came to us on 30th. Let me tell you he is kind of person whose jobs demand him to work 18hrs/day and sometime even in the weekends. Though he didn’t say anything, it was written all over his face that how much these offs were meant to him. I and Akanksha discussed and decided that a road trip to nearby areas should be okay to all of us provided her condition. We also thought to take it as our babymoon 🙂

After round of discussion we zeroed down to one place, “Lansdowne”. One of my friend has mentioned this place to me in past as “worth visiting”. Having decided upon the destination, I thought why not to call my best friend Prabhakar and convinced him to accompany us. To my great surprise, he was scheduled to go Thailand (Office Trip) but could not go as Pakhi (His wife) would have to be alone in home. Hence, he was immediately ready. I asked him to come to my house so that we can begin our trip next morning as early as possible. Since we were all discussing the same around evening, we did get very little time to find out hotel and make bookings. Also, it was in my mind that Lansdown is an isolated place and very few people go there. We just called to one of the random hotel and checked if there are rooms available. Since they confirmed us the availability, we took the liberty to book the hotel once we reached there. One of our biggest mistake, which became a life time experience. Please read the full story ahead.

Lansdowne: The Mystic hills of Uttarakhand

Allow me to give you a little brief about Lansdowne. Lansdowne is a small cantonment town in the Garhwal district of Uttrakhand. Approximately 275 kms from Delhi, making it 6-7 hrs drive. Frozen in time, wrapped in a magical and mystic charm, its isolated hills surrounded by Pine and Deodar trees will leave you spellbound if not else.


Delhi – Modinagar – Meerut –Masuri – Mawana – Behsuma – Ramraj – Mirapur – Bijnor – Kiratpur – Najibabad – Kotdwar – Lansdowne

The Trip begin: Where the miles mattered us most

On 1st October 2017, we stared at 5:30 AM following the above mention route in Google Map. We were total 5, occupying the maximum seating capacity in my car. By the time everyone stopped yawning, except me ( I was driving, hence, no chance),we had crossed Modinagar and about to reach outskirts of Meerut. It was 6:15 when the ladies woke-up and in their company “the never ending gossips”. The good thing about a group having ladies is you can talk about anything and not just sports and politics, off course women too J . Right from discussing or rather inquiring about our past life, specially college life, we discussed all that which came in between. I am sure you all must be knowing that while topics in friend’s discussion is as important as national security, being less attentive or less participative is also not less than any murder. Read the same as humor J. You all must be wondering where was Ankit in all this. You probably guess it right; he was mute spectator.

Anyways, we zeroed down to two important task to do in this trip apart from the local sight scene. First the ladies wish, to pluck out some sugarcane right from its field and have it there while having photoshoot (It was more like wild grand theft kind of expectation) and Second, ours wish was to get “A full roasted mutton” for dinner (more like a cow boy type). Bear with us in the story ahead to know about our wildest dreams.

Thanks to early morning drive and moderate road and traffic condition we were able to get past Behsuma by 9:00 AM and then a little twist in the story happened. Thanks to Google Map (we followed the same in entire route) somewhere between Ramraj to Mirapur we took a route leaving main highway. It was single lane road right between sugarcane field. We got suspicious after 4-5 kms drive as road was completely secluded. Forget about any human we were not able to find an animal. The only thing we could see was sugarcanes. Eyes were unable to get past the dense fields. We were looking behind again and again if someone else is also using this road. Since the road was good I accelerate the car to reach the speed of 100kmph to get past the road asap. Luckily, after another 4-5 km we got one police station, we slowed down there and asked one policeman if we are going through the right way. He told us that we need to go another 4 kms more and we will merge into main highway. It was around 13-15 kms stretch, which was so deserted that we become so attentive in cussing the google and Mr. Pichai for suggesting the wrong route that we forget that the ladies’ first wish could have been fulfilled there “The great sugarcane heist”. We had just crossed the 15 kms long sugarcane fields.

After 15 minutes, we were at one restaurant having our morning tea. No prize for the wild guess that we did enquire about the route with restaurant staff. And to our great surprize, staff told us that this is best route as there is huge construction going on the main highway. Had we chosen to come by main highways, we could have taken another couple of hours that too with sore back. Post that Mr. Pichai was our own great Indian son and deserved all the praise for him and his company google. We took some oath to follow the google map in rest of our lives, I don’t remember perfectly, though.

Kotdwar to Lansdowne : The “wow starts from here

Till we reach Kotdwar, it was moderate plain road so far. We were only 45 kms from Lansdowne and then suddenly the landscape changed. We felt like a Harry Potter story kind of thing where scene changes suddenly and magically. For us, the plains vanished suddenly and we were before the hills magically!! This was probably first of our many ‘wow’ moments during our Lansdowne visit. Hence, before starting to our roller-coaster drive from Kotdwar to Lansdowne we decided to take some rest and eat.

Having Aaloo ke Parathe with curd and hot tea will taste you far better in hills than any other part of cuntry. After 15 minutes of break we were ready to start again. In my opinion, while ascending to Lansdowne from Kotdwar, you will enjoy the road and terrain more than the top.

As we started ascending we could sense the spells of the hills getting stronger as much as we were approaching the top.  We stopped multiple times in between to behold its serenity.

We might be about 8-10 kms from Lansdown, that this Himalayan Hills started unfolding their mysticism. It might be welcoming us by showing their style of hosting; All of a sudden we found ourselves covered in clouds with less than 5-meter visibility. They were immersing us in the clouds to open their secret door of warmth hearts. As we moved ahead, the clouds started to diminish and nature was at its best. This hide and seek of clouds was with us till we reach Lansdowne.

Lansdowne : Silence and Serenity

As I mentioned before, we hadn’t booked the hotel, hence, it might be another 4-5 km to Lansdown that we stared looking for the Hotel. For next 3 kms we might have tried at least 5-6 hotels and with every hotels refusing for the accommodation, tension started growing. It was a disaster for us to come here without booking. What we had not realized that it was long weekend and most of the people are on vacation. And Delhi-ites preferred weekend location being to hill station, this place was no exception. Couple of Hotel owner told us that we won’t be getting any accommodation today, leaving us to think about plan B.

Had it been boys only, we could have managed in car itself, but we had ladies with us, leaving us no option but to find out at least one room. Me and Prabhakar went back to same hotel with whom we had inquired last night. There was a girl in the reception (I guess she was the owner too). We told her about our situation and requested her to help us by giving at least one room. To our great surprise, she pointed us, out of good gesture, to one of local’s house next to her hotel. She told us that in heavy season these locals also offer their rooms to tourists. We thanked her from bottom of our heart and reached to house next to hotel. There was a gentle lady standing by the door. We asked plainly if she can offer her room. To our surprise, she showed us one big room having 5 beads with all the necessary amenities like blanket, washrooms. She charges us Rs. 3000 but still it was way less than the hotel rooms. Also, we could use the hotel’s restaurant for our dinner. It was win-win situation for us. We settled down and got fresh and started our local sight scene around 2:00 PM. We reached the top in next 15 minutes, parked our car at one place and started strolling.

Lansdowne is not like the other hills i.e Shimla, Nanital, where people just go to see many points and wander from one place to another without knowing why. Lansdown is the place for people who like to enjoy the silence and serenity of Hills. You may not find the fancy places here but what you definitely get here is a chance to connect with nature. And if you are wise enough, it might also help you to introduce yourselves to you.

We decided not to wander here and there, instead we decide to enjoy the serenity, so, we preferred exploring them on foot. Mesmerized with its timeless charm and walking by Pine & Deodar trees along with mossy surfaces we mainly went to below three major place –

  • St Mary church: known for its British era imprints with untouched beauty and surrounded by Pine and Deodar forests. You can also enjoy the mountain view by sitting next to it.
  • Tip & Top Viewing Point: known for its breath-taking view of the Garhwal Himalayas. It is also known among tourist as Sunrise/Sunset point where people wish to spend some magical moments lost in the majesty of the scene.
  • Bhulla Tal: An artificial lake, maintained by the Army, is a perfect spot to sit and soak in the sun.  you can do boating, have a snack and coffee and enjoy the park.
Bhulla Tal/ St. Marry Church / Tip & Top

It was 6:00 PM in the evening and we again found ourselves in the midst of clouds. We were tired to the limit and badly needed some rest. We returned to our stay and rested. It was 8:00 PM, we decide to have dinner and reached the Hotel. First of all, we met the girl in reception and thanked her. She happily arranged a table for us and we quickly ordered our dinner. The food was awesome and perhaps a tired body and hungry stomach tend to like the food than any other day.  Anyways, by the time we were having our starters, we were making big plans like bonfire, late night booze and what not. However, it was different scene when we finished the dinner. The only thing we all wanted was “A good tight sleep”. The good thing among good friends is one don’t need to speak his mind, the other understand by gesture. After sometime we all were in tight sleep.

Back to Pavilion

Next morning, we woke up early, to enjoy the fresh air and engulfed ourselves in its scenic beauty for some more time. After breakfast we were set to get back to our normal 9-6 life. While ascending, we had seen one river flowing and we decided to take a bath once we reach the bottom. Somewhere near Kotdwar there is Big Hanuman temple, we parked our car there and found out a way to reach the riverbed.

Since we could not fulfil both the wish in our trip, we decided to fulfil at least one wish “A full roasted mutton” once we reach home. And we were pretty sure that at least we will accomplish this mission. But thanks to heavy traffic in Meerut, it took us 10 hours to reach home.  It was 11:30 in night and we had to accept the defeat by eating Khichdi. Well that was really embarrassing.

At the end, this trip was very refreshing for all us and its memories are still one of our favorite topic of discussion.

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