Lansdowne – the beautiful remote hill town in Uttarakhand, makes the second part of the series ‘From the lap of Himalayas’.
This place is slowly becoming famous as a great weekend spot or a day trip for the people in the nearby states.
Where Is Lansdowne?
Looking over lush green valleys and breath-taking mountain slopes, Lansdowne is home to the famous Garhwal Rifles Regiment of Indian Army. A part of Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, this place is around 1700mts above the sea level. It is located mere 44 km away from Kotdwara.
There is a difference of about 1300mts altitude between Kotdwar and Lansdowne within a span of 44 km. Although the roads are steep, you get amazing scenic beauty all the way to your destination.
How To Reach Lansdowne?
Gaining its popularity as one of the closest hill-points near Delhi-NCR regions, Lansdowne is connected through roads to all the major areas nearby.
The closest railway station near Lansdowne is Kotdwar Railway Station and the nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. Travelling through road, one needs to go on to Kotdwar-Pauri Road to arrive at this lovely destination.
I came to know about Lansdowne through my maternal grandfather. He was posted there while working in the army.
Lansdowne was not the original name of this place. It was previously known as Kaludanda which meant the Black Hills. It was founded and named after the British Viceroy of India Lord Lansdowne in 1887.
From then onwards, this place was developed as the command area of Garhwal Rifles. Britishers developed this hill station and built many colonial buildings here. Lansdowne came into the limelight during the Indian struggle for independence as well.
What Places To Visit In/Near Lansdowne?
As told before, Lansdowne has been consistently becoming one of the favourite weekend destinations for people living in the Northern Region of India. To escape the sultry heat of summers, many people come here for a day or two. During winters this place looks even more beautiful as it is mostly covered with snow.
Although tourists visit Lansdowne for the marvellous weather all through the year, there are many places here which are worth watching.
Tip N Top-
Also known as Tiffin Top, it is a hill point overlooking the Shiwaliks. The panoramic view from this hill point is fascinating. Many at times the valley beyond is shrouded with mist and looking from this point, one feels to be floating over the clouds. People come early morning to capture the natural beauty spread all around this area. It is one of the most frequented points in Lansdowne.
After enjoying the view up at Tip N Top, many tourists come down to this man-made lake for enjoying a day-picnic. Amidst the trees, this lake is serene and calm. People relax here enjoying the blissful view all around. One can also enjoy boating in this lake.
Darwan Singh Regimental Museum and War Memorial-
If you are interested in the historical aspect of the place then visit this museum. However, entry to these places is only allowed by military officials. It is advisable to get permission beforehand. This museum was named after Darwan Singh Negi who was the recipient of Victoria Cross.
The museum boasts of the various accolades received by Garhwal Rifles from the time of its establishment. In the same premises stands the pride of Lansdowne- The War Memorial, in the memory of the brave soldiers who gave up their lives bravely for the country.
St John’s Church-
Most of these tourist spots lie around the main road of Lansdowne. This church is also not an exception. On your way to the TIp N Top hill point, you will come across this Roman Catholic Church. This monument in Colonial architecture was established in 1936. After the independence, it was abandoned for few years but restarted functioning in 1980.
The church is visited by the devotees and tourists alike. The interior of the church is very beautiful. The nearby surroundings of the church are serene.
Tadkeshwar Mahadev Temple-
It is one of the most popular and recommended place to visit near Lansdowne. Tadkeshwar Mahadev Temple is situated 38km ahead of Lansdowne at an elevation of around 2000mts. To reach this place it is better to start early morning so that one can enjoy the natural landscape and absorb the tranquillity all around the temple.
Sitting amidst the forest of deodar and pine trees, this place is visited by thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva. During the month of Shravan and the day of Mahashivratri, there is an atmosphere of festivities all around.
Tadkeshwar Mahadev Mandir is an age-old temple. Sages used to come here for meditating. The story goes that the demon named Tarakasur meditated relentlessly for seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva. He asked for a boon of being immortal when Lord Shiva was pleased by him. Lord Shiva gave him blessing that except his first-born, nobody could kill Tarakasur. The demon was happy as he knew that Lord Shiva lived a life of an ascetic. Tarakasur started his demonic activities and soon it was impossible to stop him.
When Lord Shiva married Parvati and Kartikeya was born, he was sent by the Gods to relieve the world from the clutches of Tarakasur. As the demon was being slain by Kartikeya, he prayed to Lord Shiva for mercy and repented his crimes. Lord Shiva blessed him saying that his name will be attached to Mahadev and they will be worshipped together even in Kalyug. That is how this temple came into being.
There are a couple of Dharmshalas which provide a pleasant stay near this temple. They provide simple and good food to the visitors at a reasonable price.
Few parts of Lansdowne are close to the forests of Kalagarh Tiger Reserve. This is a good option for tourists to have a glimpse of wildlife and pleasing scenic beauty of tall deodar cedar and pine trees. Many hotels and resorts organise such trips for their guests.
Where To Stay?
As it is rising as a favourite spot for weekend getaways around the region, many hotels and resorts have cropped up on this belt. But there is one particular resort which needs to be mentioned. We stayed here during our visit to Lansdowne and the experience was truly memorable.
It is located in Lansdowne in the outskirts of Kalagarh Tiger Reserve. Vanvasa Resort is a luxury holiday resort spread on 30 acres of land over a hill. You need to cross the village Jui and go up the hill to reach this wonderful destination. The road to Vanvasa is a little bumpy as it is a non-metalled road.
However, when you reach the gates, it looks as if you have stepped into another world. The beautiful pathways in between the mesmerising gardens and trees with fairy lamps on either side welcome you to your cottages. The rooms are huge and airy with a panoramic view of the nearby surroundings.
As the name suggests, Vanvasa (Van mein vaas) resort is all about living in the forest. The whole concept of this luxury resort is to be away from all the distractions and enjoy the moments spent here. There is no telecommunication network around except in the dining and reception area. This helps to have more fun with your family members and you end up taking beautiful memories back.
The food served is good. There is a recreation area nearby with a small library and set of indoor games. A swimming pool and a meditation centre overlooking a valley will occupy you during the evenings. With so many pathways winding around this resort, you can stroll admiring the nature all around.
Overall, Lansdowne is one destination if you are seeking peace and break-away from the hustle-bustle of the city. Being situated in the cantonment area, the hill station is quite peaceful, clean and well maintained. It is also not as crowded as other famous destinations of Garhwal which makes it a perfect pick for the nature lovers.
Next post in this series will take you to one of the spectacular districts of Uttarakhand – Pauri.
Stay tuned for catching the glimpses of untouched regions of Himalaya
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