Lansdowne is a small hill station in Pauri-Garhwal District of the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.
Described by some as the gates to the heavenly abode that is the Himalayas, Lansdowne is also one of the most unusual hill stations in India.
Far from the crowded, overdeveloped and noisy places that most of the popular hill stations of the north have become, Lansdowne has retained its quiet and serenity thanks to the presence of the local Army Cantonment Board which manages and regulates the development in the town.
The town is named after Lord Lansdowne the then Viceroy of India who visited the place in 1884. The town has two churches that were built in the pre-independence era, although only one, St. James, is functional. The town also has a major Hindu temple.
The town is located at an average altitude of 1,700 metres above sea level and has cold winters, cool summers and a wet and foggy rainy season. It experiences snowfall during the winter months.
From the snow view point on a clear day one can view great Himalayan peaks like Chaukhamba. The town has several pre-independence era bungalows, some of them in good shape. The connectivity is good as the roads are maintained by the army. The hill station itself is administered by the cantonment board of the Indian Army and therefore is cleaner, much less commercialized and in good shape, although your mobile phones/wireless net may not work unless BSNL.
Any time of year is good to visit, although May/June may be a bit crowded and rooms difficult to find.
Lansdowne is around 240 km from Delhi and is the nearest hill station from Delhi (in any direction). National Highway 58 runs from Delhi to Meerut and then National Highway 119 goes all the way to Lansdowne and will take you from Delhi to Lansdowne in about 6 hours.
Kotdwar, the nearest railway station, is 40 km drive uphill. Buses and taxis are available from the Kotdwar railway station directly up to the Lansdowne market; a shared taxi charges ₹75. Having your own vehicle will enable you to easily visit nearby towns and temples.
Most of Lansdowne is within walking distance of the town center.
- 1 Bhullatal Lake. An artificial lake dedicated to the Garhwali youth of The Garhwal Rifles who helped in construction of the lake.
- Kaleshwar Mahadev Temple. A favorite place to visit by Lord Shiva followers as well as a place of devotion for Lansdowne.
- Garhwal Rifles Museum (Darwan Singh Sanghralaya). Houses artefacts from the beginning of the regiment. The Garhwal Rifles participated in the two world wars among countless other battles throughout their more than 100 years of history. Artefacts including photographs, arms used by regimental commanders, captured weapons, campaign history and other information are displayed in this museum.
- GRRC Officer's Mess. Visitors are allowed upon request. The mess contains trophies of wild animals and other regimental mementos.
- Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple. Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, surrounded by thick cedar and pine forests.
- St. James Church. One of two churches still in use today and popular with visitors to this hill station. It is located on the way to Tip-n-Top.
- 2 St. Mary's Church. One of two churches in town. Though it is not in use today, it is popular with visitors of this hill station.
- 3 Santoshi Mata Temple. Located at the top of Lansdowne, this temple area offers great views of the Himalayan Range.
- Snow View Point (Tiffin Top). Located close to St. Mary's, this spot offers spectacular views of the Himalayas.
- Tip-in-Top. Offers excellent views of the surrounding shivaliks.
- The War Memorial. Located at the Parade Ground of the Garhwal Rifles Center, this is a popular attraction for visitors. Mainly made up of Garhwali soldiers, this regiment has a distinguished record and a unique identity.
- Bhullatal Lake (1 km)
- Durga Devi temple (24 km)
- Jwalpa Devi (47 km)
- Karnva Ashram (14 km) - where Shakuntala is said to have given birth to Raja Bharat
- Tarkeshwar Mahadev temple (30 km) - beautiful and quiet place
Though Lansdowne is a nice place, there is nothing much to buy as a souvenir. You can spend some time in the Lansdowne Market or at the Alaknanda Market. While in Alaknanda Market, do pay a visit to the shoe store and leather bags store, where any purchase may double as souvenir. Don't forget to try out mithais (sweets/desserts) called 'Chocolate' (not the usual chocolates that you buy in general stores!) and "Baal Mithai" that are popular to this region and available at local sweet shops.
Various small restaurants offer a decent selection of snacks, lunch and dinner, and most of them are located around Gandhi Chowk in the town centre.
All the restaurants serve your regular tea and coffee but do not expect to splurge on lavish cocktails or high end spirits!
- Vanvasa Resort The resort is spread over in around 30 acres with 20 well-furnished cottages.
- Fairydale Resort A resort with good food, friendly staff and small rooms.
- Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) guesthouse - Located at the tallest point of the hill station. Offers spectacular scenic views.
- 1 SB Mount Resort (River Side Resort), Village - Rothan Bhilangi, Post Office - Fatehpur (By Personal Car / By Bus / By Train till Kotdwara), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. SB Mount Resort is a River side resort situated in the foothills of Lansdowne. The USP of the resort is the river which is flowing next to it. The hotel provides bed and breakfast for the tourists. $ 65 -.
Once you have seen places within Lansdowne, drive out to nearby towns such as Jai Hari Khal, Satpuli, Pauri and Srinagar. A short distance off the main road from jai Hari Khal is a temple of Bhairon Dev on the top of a hill. The trek to the temple is not very long or tiring but offers a spectacular view of the valley below.
Regular jeep taxis are available anytime from Lansdowne to Kotdwar. Also one can get buses using G.M.O.U ltd. and Uttarakhan State Road Transport Corporation.