Mussoorie, the proverbial Queen of Hill stations, as professed by the British gentry who evaded hot, desultory summers of Delhi and Kolkata by spending time here. Being at an average altitude of 2,000 meters (6,600 ft), Mussoorie, with its green hills and varied flora and fauna, is a fascinating hill resort. Commanding snow ranges to the north-east, and glittering views of the Doon Valley and Shiwalik ranges in the south, the town was once said to present a ‘fairyland’ atmosphere to tourists. The highest point is Lal Tibba with a height of over 2,290 meters (7,500 ft).
Mussoorie, 300 kilometers north of Delhi the capital of India, is among the more popular hill stations of India and is called the Queen among the hill stations. It overlooks the sprawling Doon valley and the city of Dehradun, the gateway to Mussoorie, and in fact to the entire Garhwal region of the Himalayas.
Spread over a ridge, 2000 meters above sea level, Mussoorie offers distant views of the holy and mighty river Ganga from one end of the ridge, and of the famous river Jamuna from the other; a stretch of around 19 kilometers all.
Mussorie also has the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, the premier training institute for officers of the Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S), and other civil services. This unique institute is located about 2 km from Gandhi Chowk.
The library area also houses the premier academy of the Indo Tibetan Border Police Force, an elite central Police organization of the Government of India. It is a venerated institute for dispensing comprehensive training for ITBP officers recruits patrolling the porous borders. The Academy was moved to this location in 1978, consequent upon the reorganization of the force and located at two separate patches of land known as Cainville Estate (Adm wing) and Astel estate (combat wing) The Academy has grown over the years so as to take even friendly foreign countries officers as its trainees. State of the art facilities has been established here in order to provide the latest modern training to its trainees. Academy has a helipad, synthetic tennis courts, modern computer labs and simulators besides one of the best library in town. The Academy also serves the local inhabitants as the first responder in any major or minor rescue and relief work. Be it the traffic Accidents, or the cable car mishap, ITBP has provided much-needed relief immediately. They have also been instrumental in assisting local administration in preserving the green cover of this exotic hill station.
Although Mussoorie, as a hill station, was established only as back as in 1823, it has quite an intriguing past.
Mussoorie was never an official summer capital unlike Shimla – a hill station in the state of Himachal Pradesh which was the summer capital of the British Indian government-and even unlike Nainital -the summer capital of the united provinces government in British India. Mussoorie always remained unofficial – for the affairs of the heart. It has always been a gossipy place – with an air of informality and a tradition of romance – The Honeymoon capital of India.
An idyllic stroll through any of the meandering mountain roads of the town, on a clear and sunny day, will bring you to some of the well known and not so well known spots – each with its own tales to tell – Landour Bazaar, Chaar Dukan, Lal tibia, Gun hill, the Camel Back cemetery, the Mussoorie Library, and of course the hotel Savoy Hotel – a historical edifice in itself. You may be able to recognize any or all of the old houses and estates or you may meet a descendant of some of the families of Mussoorie.
Apart from its own quiet charm, Mussoorie also boasts of spectacular views of the Himalayas. Northwards, the mountains rise, form layer after layer to the horizon, where the Eternal Snows often seem close enough to touch. Himalaya is, literally the Abode of Snow. From west to east, seer the might snow-white peaks of Bandarpoonch, Srikantha, the Gangotri group, and the Chaukhamba.
The hill station of Mussoorie also serves as the gateway to Yamunotri and Gangotri, much popular Hindu shrines in north India. The shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath make up the Char Dham Yatra, four highly sacred destinations of the Hindus.
The weather is generally bright and clear – except during the three months ( June to August) of Monsoons. Then mists envelop the mountain slopes and paint the sky a faint mauve. The woods around – of pine, cedar, birch, oak, rhododendron, and deodar – glow green. There usually is a bright Christmas and the breathtaking view of the snowclad Mussoorie gives it the name – the Queen among hill stations.