If you suffer from wanderlust, then any weekend is good for escaping from Delhi, especially in the summer, with temperatures hovering around 45 degrees. A weekend road trip to Mussoorie may seem too boring an idea to those who have been there before. However, if you are a diehard road-tripper, and don’t mind squeezing in a lot into your weekend, then go for it. Take the trip for the sake of a long drive alone – it is well worth the effort.
Weekend Road Trip To Mussoorie
When it comes to Uttarakhand, Mussoorie is perhaps the most accessible, especially when the time available for the trip is less. Located some 295 Kms from Delhi, the drive itself is great fun, if the company is good. Early morning on Saturday found us hitting the road. Four crazy people, determined to make the most of our weekend. We just had one night at our disposal and had to be back the very next evening, but we were determined to make the most of it.
Sunrise found us on the roads of Delhi, heading towards the Ghaziabad border. There is something about an early morning drive that makes even the Delhi roads seem attractive. At that hour, the traffic density is quite thin and it does not take too long to reach the border. However, it is a different story after crossing over into Uttar Pradesh, where the unruly traffic dominates the road, regardless of the early hour. It is after crossing Ghaziabad that the traffic density normally reduces.
The quality of the road to Mussoorie is quite good, barring a few stretches on the way. We made pretty good time as we did not find much traffic even in Modinagar. After that, the Meerut bypass allowed us to maintain a very good pace and we soon reached the midway mark on National Highway 58 – the Namaste Midway, which is a complex that has several franchises of well-known food chains – all located in the same complex. Among these are Haldiram’s, McDonald’s, Subway, Costa Coffee, to name a few. The place even has a handicrafts bazaar within the complex. What makes it even more attractive as a halting point is the fact that their toilets are pretty clean.
After a lazy breakfast, we resumed our drive to Mussoorie. By then the traffic density had increased but we were still able to make good pace till well beyond Muzaffarnagar, where the toll road ends. Thereafter, the going was a bit slow and in places the road was narrower, as the double-lane highway construction is not yet completed and there are still stretches where one is forced to crawl on a sinle-lane highway. Nevertheless, we managed to reach Roorkee city in good time and turned left from there towards Dehradun. The drive from Roorkee to Dehradun is a little painful, passing through small towns which sometimes force you to come to a complete halt. As you gets closer to Dehradun, you need to pass through the foothills and forest area of Mohand, with gentle hills that are not too steep, but here, for a few kilometers, the road quality is quite bad and repairs are in progress. The road is quite scenic, though, with a forest on one side and a dry riverbed on the other. As you get closer to Dehradun, at the end of the Mohand road lies a tunnel which is quite narrow and forces traffic to come to a complete halt. From both sides of the tunnel, traffic has to be regulated so that each direction gets to cross the tunnel in an alternated single line. What makes matters worse is the fact that there is the famous Daat Kali Temple built right above the tunnel, which attracts a large number of devotees who park on the side of the narrow road just outside the tunnel. There is also a constant stream of visitors crossing the road on foot so one has to be very careful in this stretch.
We managed to cross the tunnel after a wait of about 25 minutes, after which it was smooth sailing to Dehradun. En-route, we stopped at the KFC outlet on Rajpur Road for a quick bite, before resuming our drive to Mussouri. The distance between Dehradun and Mussoorie is about 35 Kms and takes about 45 minutes. The road, though hilly, is not very steep and most curves are gentle, but there are some sharp curves and hair-pin bends that one has to negotiate. We reached our Hotel in Mussoorie at about 1430 in the afternoon and were happy to check in and freshen up, followed by a refreshing cup of tea. After that we set out to explore Mussoorie on foot, as vehicles are banned into the town. Luckily for us, our hotel was located just about 300 meters from the Mall Road.
Like every other hill station, Mussoorie too has the mandatory Mall Road, which is actually the main shopping street. The quaint hill town street is quite narrow, with shops lining up both the sides, and traffic is restricted on this street. Of course, we did not have any shopping in mind and just took a leisurely stroll to the end of the road, starting from Picture Palace side and ending at the Library. The ladies with us, nevertheless, did stop at a Tibetan curio shop to buy junk jewellery, which can be found in abundance there. The road is lined with dozens of food outlets, catering to the taste of all kinds of tourists. One outlet worth mentioning here is a tiny shop selling omelettes, Lovely Omelette Center. It caught our attention because there were little several posters there highlighting the fact that the place was recommended on Trip Advisor as well as Lonely Planet. We decided to give it a try and had to wait for a while to get our cheese omelette, as the stall owner gives priority to orders of school kids’ orders. Well, the omelette was worth the wait with delicious melted cheese oozing out from all sides. Yummy !
After having explored the mall at a leisurely strolling pace, since it was already getting dark, we decided to go back to the hotel. We sat around in the comfortable room, chit-chatting over drinks as we waited for our dinner to be served. The weather was fantastic. After the sizzling heat of Delhi, we were enjoying the very comfortable 16 degrees. Outside, the air was nippy but in the room, even with the windows open (net window in place, though), it was very comfortable. The night view of the shimmering lights in Dehradun was terrific. Finally, after dinner, we called it a night.
Next morning, we decided to have an early breakfast and see what else we could manage to see in the day, on our way home. We left the hotel at around 1015 Hrs, and were soon heading towards Dehradun. About 45 minutes later, we were at Rajpur Road – the prime shopping hub of Dehradun. We explored the street and found one of Dehradun’s famous bakery. Yes, Dehradun has some fantastic bakeries, most of them located in the Rajpur Road / Paltan Bazar area and you can get some of the finest cookies and cakes that money can buy – at most reasonable prices, if I may add. We bought a whole lot of goodies to take back with us to Delhi. Satisifed with our purchases, we decided to move on to yet another city which actually does not fall on the direct route from Dehradun to Delhi, but at the same time, the diversion is not too much.
Yes, I am referring to Haridwar – the holy city. The drive to Haridwar takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes, and most of the route passes through the forests of Rajaji National Park – a wildlife reserve. Some parts of this drive are very scenic indeed. On reaching Haridwar, we parked the vehicle in the parking near the Har Ki Pauri Ghat – the bank of river Ganga where devotees go to for offering prayers or for taking a holy dip. BY this time, we were quite hungry and headed straight to Mohan Poori Waala, an ancient shop right at the entrance to Har Ki Pauri that has been serving delicious Poori, Bhaji and Halwa for several generations and is always very crowded. Despite the rush, however, we got the Poori-Bhajis and had a quick meal. The meal, though admittedly oily, was delicious and filling. After the meal, we went down to the ghat and had a quick dip in the Ganga. The water was quite cold, despite the heat of the day and it was quite refreshing. After spending some time at the ghat, we reluctantly decided to call it a day, as getting back to Delhi would again take us close to six hours, being a distance of about 210 Kms. And so we hit the road again and headed back home to Delhi – back to the grind that awaited us next day.
Perhaps a bit hectic a trip for two days and one night. But at the same time, we were happy with the trip. What had started out to be a weekend road trip to Mussoorie ended up as a trip covering three cities. Not too bad a weekend.