In this second part, Mukta Chakravorty comes back with her top 5 experiences of her trip to Mussorie with the JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove and Spa. Here are a few of her recommended things to do if you’re planning a trip to this beautiful and serene hill station.
Indulge in breakfast by a stream.
Imagine sitting in the middle of the water, dipping your feet in cool, crystal clear water, sipping on a cup of tea while you’re served piping hot breakfast. Pure bliss is one way to describe it. We got treated to a one-of-a-kind experience put together by Chef Sunil Kumar and team of the JW Marriott, Mussorie. The stream was just a short trek down from the famous Himalayan Adventure Institute. Tables were set amidst the gushing waters while a sumptuous treat was laid out in front of us. Now, I wouldn’t mind waking up to this kind of a breakfast everyday!
Experience mountain roads… on a bike.
The long winding roads make it ideal for biking and since I had never been mountain bike riding before, it was a novel experience for me. We had a group of passionate bikers called Wanderers, who took us on a visit to Bhatoli, a village in the Tehri district. Riding along, as you watch the stately mountains around you, the settlements down below and the path zigzagging all the way, you experience a sense of awe. You marvel at the sheer beauty and yet you are reminded of how one false move could land you in the ravine below. It is at once exhilarating and sobering. A much recommended experience!
Visit a village and experience local hospitality.
As soon as you enter the rustic village of Bhatoli, a riot of colors greets you. Bundles of golden-yellow maize (or makki as the locals call it) are hung out to dry in front of homes that are a shade of vivid aqua green. Fiery red chillies add to the color quotient, along with the multi-hued rugs being sunned on terrace tops. We proceeded to the house of Jaipal Singh, our host, who welcomed us warmly. We savored the local delicacies: simple but delicious makki rotis, walnut-mint chutney, cucumber buttermilk and walnut kheer. We came away completely charmed by the warm hospitality of the unassuming village folks. When you’re traveling in India, this is one side you shouldn’t miss: local experiences.
Get a breath of fresh air on a nature trek.
At the Jabarkhet Nature Reserve, there are over 300 species of flowering herbs and a wide variety of species of birds and animals, making it a delight for nature lovers, trekkers and photographers alike. There are quite a few trails that you can explore. Trek up to the spot called the Flag Hill Top (it gets it’s name from the striking Tibetan prayer flags) from where you can see the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas in the distance. There is a leopard trail as well and if you are lucky, you might just spot one.
Explore the cobbled roads of Landour.
Mussoorie and Landour are twin towns; in fact, Landour seems like the prettier cousin as you walk along the cobbled roads. When in Landour, a visit to ‘Prakash Brothers’ is a must. Established in 1927, this bakery is said to have been patronized by generations of the Nehru family. It’s difficult to resist the bottles of peanut butter and variety of jams. Shana, who works here, even gave us a few tips on baking a cake. Don’t miss ‘Char Dukaan’, a tiny place, which serves the most amazing sandwiches, momos and waffles. It transported me back to my college days when eating out meant sharing a bowl of noodles with friends.
As I got ready to leave beautiful Mussorie, I got a chance to plant a tree at the resort. While, the greenery around seems lush enough to anyone from the city, when it comes to trees, the more the better. I left hoping that the one I planted would probably have grown by the time I get a chance to visit again.
Part 1: Magic in the mountains