This one is sure to stir nostalgia in people who have lived in or around Dehradun just as it triggered a longing inside me to be on this trail again when the thought of writing about my experience of being there about 2 years back struck my mind.
Dehradun to Mussoorie is an hour’s drive and rarely would you see people thronging this trek route. The trail can be picked from the Shenshahi ashram, located at the end of the Rajpur road.
I went with my cousin who was also in Dehradun just before I was to move out of the country. The cool balmy breeze of the December morning pleasantly accompanied us as we began taking our first steps towards this trail.
From MDDA Park, we ascended towards Shenshahi ashram, while passing the village with almost 80% Tibetan population. One can also find some good restaurants serving amazing Tibetan and Chinese food here.
The steep narrow road took a left turn (dead end on the right) on its own and as we moved along the road, two popular cafes caught our attention. One of them was on the first floor of an old slightly dilapidated house restored and tastefully decorated with wooden furnishings serving munchies and coffee. One can buy some muffins or sandwiches from here to eat on the way.
The other café cum bakery run by a family also serves delicious croissants and sandwiches. Although, we enjoyed eating at these two places, but decided to skip it today as we were keener to return on time.
As we kept walking after taking that left, we came across the last tea stall before the street takes another right turn. The road became as straight as a line and after we have walked for 4 minutes, we saw an old tube well on the right and few houses on the left.
The last Buddhist temple was now standing in the middle of the road as one part of it forked towards another village and the other one took us deep inside the jungle for a path frequented by people earlier to go to Jhadipani, Barlowganj and Mussoorie but rarely used now after the new tar road has come up still referred to as new Mussoorie road by some people.
We went ahead on this one. It was about 8 and the sun had begun to warm up the early cold of a beautiful winter morning. I was wearing a jacket but by now had worked up enough sweat and decided to get rid of it depositing it back into my backpack.
We moved further to encounter the beautiful narrow trail lined with trees on one side and mountain on the other. It was slightly steep and the climb ensured both of us finish off the first of our water bottles by now.
As we continued further up, the trail now slightly soft because of the rains in the previous few days took us to a place where we could now witness the beauty of the Dehradun city as we looked down.
We decided to click a few pictures as the houses and buildings intertwined together with trees and greenery to create an amazing tapestry of intriguing silhouettes. We wanted to be there for a little longer, but time demanded us to move forward.
The path was now beginning to get steeper but the trees on both the sides ensured we get enough shade from the sun which was now shining in full glory. Although, most of the people at that time of the day would have loved to sit under the sun, the fact that we were already warmed up ensured we had no intention to sunbathe.
The weather was beginning to warm up, but Vipin (my cousin) refused to remove his sweatshirt. He probably was enjoying the warmth of a cold winter morning. Temperature at that time was somewhere around 18 or 20 degrees (in Celsius).
The trail now took a sharp turn towards the left with a steep ascent. It was also a little slippery and we had to be careful while walking on it. A single misstep and we would have fallen into a gorge, although not very deep, but big enough to inflict some serious injury.
As we crossed the slippery terrain, we were happy to find the remnants of the old Mussoorie Road as the ancient concrete pavement greeted us, though in a decrepit condition, but good enough for a walk.
The trail was becoming benevolent now but the weather suddenly changed as we witnessed overcast sky. Fearing for a rain, we decided to walk faster. The sudden change in weather though gave us the best of our pictures (reproduced below) as we moved on further.
The place we were walking on was part of Jhadipaani, a small but beautiful village still enjoying the abundance of nature.
After Jhadipaani, the trail became more or less well defined with either tar or concrete road laid out in a pretty decent condition. The sudden onset of fog though created some temporary troubles for us, before the smoke lifted out in a few minutes.
This was encouraging and we continued on our way up and left the village as we now began hiking on a narrow path with mountain on one side and a valley on the other. The valley also offered a beautiful view of the Dehradun city only slightly obstructed by the trees.
One needs to be careful on this trail though as we witnessed landslides at few places. Although we were lucky to be safe, one should be alert while walking through this particular patch.
This 1 KM long path though was the most alluring of the entire trail as it offered plenty of vivid sights as well as spotting of exotic birds which we could enjoy the pleasure of seeing in front of our own eyes.
As this stretch ended, we came across a wide field with an unobstructed view of the valley. Till now most of those sights were either blocked by trees or we were not in the right place because of the narrow road.
Here however, we could run amok and pick a place of our choice to click the pictures of the vast city spread endlessly in front of our eyes.
We did that before entering another village which was now taking us closer to Barlowganj. The first five-star hotel of Mussoorie, Jaypee is also located here and is a favorite for a lot of tourists frequenting Mussoorie.
The First Five Star Hotel of Mussoorie
Although, we were still on the old road, the trail was now turning commercial with Motorcycles and Scooters honking frequently.
Although, walking on it still required an effort with its sharp climb and quick turns, the noise of the vehicular traffic was ruining our experience.
The noise and traffic prompted us to end our trek at Barlowganj and we decided to have some snacks there before making our way back to Dehradun. Although, our plan was to go till Company Garden, we abandoned it, deciding to continue on it later.
In my previous trek a year earlier when I went alone, I was able to go till Mussoorie, but the kind of traffic I had to negotiate after Barlowganj prompted me to convince Vipin to halt this time here itself.
The way back was relatively easy as we could run on the road till, we hit the dead end from where the concrete road ends to allow the natural trail take over as it lets us inside the jungle.
We treaded cautiously there as it was slightly slippery and descending can be tricky at times especially on soft soil.
We took about 2.5 hours to cover 12 KM’s on the way up, but were able to finish the same distance in an hour and a half while returning to Dehradun.
The trek ended as we drank some water and refreshing tea at the tea stall close to the Shenshahi ashram, which was now our gateway back to the city.
A cute little trek has ended leaving us with beautiful memories of a wonderful time spent together amidst nature.
Vipin going strong in his Sweatshirt also ensured he sits every time he drank water. Very disciplined in following the principles of yoga for a healthy mind and body.