Landour

Landour, the lesser known twin of the “Queen of Hills”, Mussoorie, is an idyllic town, dotted with old country homes reminiscent of the days gone by.  Landour is located at an altitude of 6,600 to 7800 ft with spectacular views of the snow clad Great Himalayas, dense deodar forests, and peaceful slopes.

Landour is technically about 2 km from Mussoorie , its name comes not from any Garhwali word….but from the name of a tiny Welsh village, in Carmathenshire in Southwest Wales ..Llanddowror!. It was the custom, during the British Raj, to name towns after those “at home” being homesick and nostalgic. The Clock Tower at the beginning of Landour Bazaar is a landmark which is held to separate Landour and Mussoorie.

The Cantonment Act that came into being in 1924 had a far-reaching positive ecological impact on Landour. The title to all trees were clearly mentioned as being with the Army, and this has prevented a lot of deforestation, and as a result, Landour remains green, compared to Mussoorie. Another clause, which terms all non-governmental and non-military buildings post-1924 as “illegal”, has saved the town from rampant construction. In fact the British made a point of preventing Indians (even the royal families) from building in Landour, and so there is not a single residence of an Indian prince in Landour, which can only be found in Mussoorie.

Landour is a great destination as it is, even today, less touched by the evils of rampant modernization and tourism compared to its twin, Mussoorie – a green reminder of how life once was everywhere in the foothills of the Himalaya. What started as a convalescent depot for the British troops is today the preferred getaway of artists, writers and nature lovers. The seclusion and verdant mountain scenery are perfect to spend some quiet time and commune with nature. The area has long winding roads that are lined on one side by majestic deodar and pine groves. Here the air is nippier compared to the lower hill, and cleaner too as it is far away from shops and vehicular traffic.

Heading up from the Clock Tower to the top of the hill, a stiff climb takes you to Landour. The once cobbled streets of this tiny bazaar have now been tarred. The Castle Hill Estate where the Survey of India office is now, was the place where Sir George Everest mapped the Garhwal region. Also located in the serene environs of Landour is Woodstock School which was set up in 1854. The cantonment area here is home to the famous Sisters Bazaar. Shop here for home-made jams and cheeses. Landour was also one of the first places in India where an American classic such as peanut butter was made commercially.

The Landour Language School is housed right behind the Kellogg Memorial Church and foreigners come here to learn the local tongue! The school, which dates back to the 19th century, was founded to teach Hindi to newly arrived missionaries. They practise their skills at the  must visit Char Dukan, a neat little Landour hangout, a cluster of shops that sell tea and light snacks (a favorite hangout of Sachin Tendulkar, the famous cricketer) . It is here that you can have a breakfast of pancakes and Waffles, sip chai and people-watch.

Landour has a big imprint on the cultural map of India. The best-known of its citizens is the writer ,Ruskin Bond, The noted actor Victor Bannerjee, has a home here. Among the Britons who moved to Landour were the parents of Jim Corbett. Both had lost their spouses in the First War of Indian Independence of 1857, and would meet and marry in Landour. Tom Alter, the famous movie and stage actor, also lives here for part of the year. Bill Aitken and the travel-writer duo of Hugh and Colleen Gantzen also live in Mussoorie.

For your rendezvous with nature @ Landour contact Road2travel.

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