Lansdowne, located in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, India, is a serene and picturesque hill station. Known for its tranquility and natural beauty, Lansdowne offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The town exudes old-world charm with its colonial-era buildings and lush greenery. It is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering mesmerizing views of snow-capped peaks, enchanting forests, and meandering streams. From historical sites like St. John’s Church to adventure-filled activities like jungle safaris in Kalagarh Tiger Reserve, Lansdowne offers a delightful blend of relaxation and exploration. Visitors can indulge in trekking, bird-watching, boating, and simply basking in the pristine beauty of this idyllic hill station. Lansdowne promises a rejuvenating experience and an opportunity to connect with nature in its purest form.
History of Lansdowne
Lansdowne has a rich history that dates back to the British colonial era. Here’s an overview of the history of Lansdowne:
Lansdowne was established as a military garrison town in 1887 by the British. It was named after Lord Lansdowne, who served as the Viceroy of India during that time.
Lansdowne became the regimental center of the Garhwal Rifles, a renowned infantry regiment of the Indian Army. The Garhwal Rifles played a significant role in defending the borders of India and has a deep-rooted connection with the town.
Contribution during World Wars
During World War I and World War II, soldiers from Lansdowne actively participated in the wars. The town served as a training center for recruits, and troops were sent from here to the war fronts.
Lansdowne is known for its colonial-era architecture, with several heritage buildings and churches that reflect the British influence. Some notable structures include the Tip N Top viewpoint, St. Mary’s Church, and the Regimental Museum.
Connection to Freedom Fighters
Lansdowne has historical significance in the Indian independence movement. Freedom fighters like Darwan Singh Negi, who fought in World War I and later participated in the freedom struggle, hailed from this region.
Development as a Tourist Destination
In recent years, Lansdowne has gained popularity as a tourist destination due to its scenic beauty, peaceful environment, and historical significance. The government and tourism authorities have taken steps to promote tourism and develop the infrastructure in the town. Lansdowne retains its old-world charm while offering tourists a chance to explore its historical heritage, enjoy nature, and experience the tranquility of the mountains.
Enchanting Places to Explore in Lansdowne
Lansdowne, with its idyllic charm and natural beauty, boasts a variety of attractions within a 2-kilometer radius. From historical sites to serene lakes and captivating viewpoints, Lansdowne has something for every traveler.
St. Mary Church: Step into History
Dating back to 1895, St. Mary Church exudes an old-world charm that takes you on a journey through time. Initially a preaching center, the church has been converted into a museum showcasing captivating pictures from the pre-independence era. Spend an hour exploring this fascinating historical gem.
Tip N Top: Nature’s Delight and Camping Haven
Tip N Top is a must-visit spot for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Situated at an elevation of 1700 meters, it offers breathtaking views of the Garhwal Hills. Embrace the tranquility and consider staying in the charming hut accommodations provided by GMVN. Sit outside the beautiful lawns of the GMVN and enjoy some drinks from the bar. The area is also a favorite camping destination.
Bhulla Lake: Serene Picnic Spot
Bhulla Lake beckons families and solo travelers alike with its peaceful ambiance. Adjacent to a well-maintained park and mini zoo, this picturesque lake offers boating facilities. It’s an ideal spot for a relaxed picnic and can be easily reached from the best hotels in Lansdowne. The charge per head is INR 150, inclusive of boating. After boating, one can relax in the park, and enjoy calm serene nature.
Darwan Singh Museum: Relive the Past
Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Garhwal Rifles at the Darwan Singh Museum. This incredible museum showcases a captivating collection of old photographs, uniforms, and arms of the regiment. Spend a couple of hours here and feel a sense of pride as you delve into the regiment’s legacy and history. The entry fee is Rs 50.
War Memorial: Salute the Army’s Valor
War Memorial pays homage to the bravery and achievements of the Garhwal Regiment. This site offers insight into the rich history of the regiment. Visit the memorial to appreciate the indomitable spirit of the Indian Army. The entry fee is Rs 50.
Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple: Seek Divine Blessings
Nestled amidst Deodar trees, Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple is a sacred place dedicated to Lord Shiva. It sits at an elevation of 1800 meters and provides a refreshing aura. Legend has it that the demon Tarkasur meditated here to seek Lord Shiva’s blessings. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this spiritual haven.
Snow Viewpoint: A Hiker’s Paradise
Adventure enthusiasts will find their haven at Snow Viewpoint. Offering incredible views of the surrounding landscapes, this popular destination invites visitors to undertake thrilling hikes. The treks range from a few hours to multi-day expeditions. Take in the awe-inspiring vistas and embark on an unforgettable adventure.
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Kalagarh Tiger Reserve: A Thrilling Encounter
Kalagarh Tiger Reserve is a sprawling reserve spanning 300 square kilometers that brings you up close to nature and offers a captivating spectacle of the majestic big cats in action. Immerse yourself in a jungle safari and prepare to have the time of your life. Along with tigers, the reserve is home to barking deer, hog deer, porcupines, and numerous other fascinating wildlife species.
St. John’s Church: Lansdowne’s Timeless Gem
St. John’s Church is a historic Catholic church constructed in 1936. Situated on Mall Road, it stands as one of the most renowned places to visit in Lansdowne. Immerse yourself in the captivating ambiance and admire the church’s exquisite interior. Known as the only active church in Lansdowne, it never fails to captivate tourists with its divine surroundings. Make sure to include this gem in your itinerary!
Garhwali Mess: Lansdowne’s Architectural Treasure
Garhwali Mess is one of the oldest buildings in the area. Dating back to 1888, this preserved structure showcases the magnificent architecture and century-old heritage of the Indian Army. Managed by the state government, it stands as a testament to the bygone era. Immerse yourself in its timeless beauty and soak in the rich history it holds.
Lansdowne Trip Travel Cafe: A Cozy Retreat
Make your Lansdowne trip unforgettable by visiting the Lansdowne Trip Travel Cafe. This charming cafe, with its retro vibes and warm ambiance, will steal your heart. Whether you’re seeking a cozy date in the hills or simply want to spend quality time with friends, this cafe offers finger-licking good food, board games, and a welcoming atmosphere. Head here and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime!
Bhim Pakora: Lansdowne’s Enigmatic Wonder
Bhim Pakora is a popular attraction that will leave you in awe. Reach this enchanting place by trekking 2 kilometers downhill and prepare to be amazed. Bhim Pakora features two rocks perfectly balanced on top of each other, creating a captivating sight. Witnessing this natural marvel is an experience beyond words—a must-visit during your time in Lansdowne.
Hawaghar: Lansdowne’s Offbeat Gem
Hawaghar is an offbeat attraction nestled near Lansdowne’s main market. Offering picturesque views of the snow-capped Himalayas, this place is a haven for nature lovers and an excellent spot for trekking. Immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings and explore the nearby places. The popular trekking route through Jaiharikhal leading to Khyber Pass adds an extra charm to the experience.
Durga Devi Temple: A Divine Retreat near Lansdowne
Located approximately 25 km from Lansdowne, Durga Devi Temple stands as one of the renowned religious places to visit. This temple, dedicated to Goddess Durga, resides within a cave. The breathtaking views from the temple are simply awe-inspiring, and the surrounding areas serve as popular picnic spots. Devotees flock to this tranquil abode throughout the year, finding divine solace in its serene atmosphere.
Lover’s Lane: Lansdowne’s Trekking Paradise
Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Lover’s Lane, a top tourist attraction and the ultimate trekking destination in Lansdowne. On one side, the trail offers mesmerizing views of the overcast valleys, providing a glimpse of the majestic Himalayas. On the other side, you’ll be surrounded by enchanting pine and oak trees. Prepare for an unforgettable trekking experience that will leave you in awe.
How to Reach Lansdowne
If you are coming from Delhi or anywhere else, you have to first reach Kotdwar. Kotdwar is the gateway to Landsdowne located 40 km away.
How to Reach Kotdwar from Delhi
The best option in my opinion to reach Kotdwar is by train. We travelled from Delhi to Kotdwar by Siddhabali Jan Shatabdi Express (Train no. 12038) The fare for AC3 Chair Car is INR 460/- only. This train starts at Old Delhi Railway station at 7 am sharp and reaches Kotdwara at 1330 pm. There are about 11 stoppages on the way and the names of the stations are old Delhi, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Gjrola, Mandi Dhanaura, Chand Siau, Haldaur, Bijnor, Muzzampur, Najibabad Junction and Kotdwara.
The nearest airport is at Jollygrant, which is 105 km from Kotdwar and therefore not a viable option. However, if you are coming from far then it is a different matter.
If you are driving your own vehicle then there are two options to reach Landsdowne, one is via Meerut and the other one is via Hapur as follows :-
Delhi to Landsdowne via Meerut, Khatauli, Miranpur, Bijnor, Najibabad, Kotdwar and Landsdowne. The total distance is 240 km approx.
Delhi to Landsdown via Hapur, Gajrola, Dhanaura, Noorrpur, Nethaur, Najibabad, Kotdwar and Landsdowne.
How to Reach Lansdowne from Kotdwar
The Roadways Bus Stand is conveniently located near the railway station’s exit gate. Regular public buses ply between Kotdwar and Lansdowne. The bus journey typically takes around 2 hours and offers a scenic route. Two bus services are available at 8 am and 2:30 pm, with a fare of Rs 80 per person.
Additionally, there is a taxi stand nearby, where cabs can be hired. The one-way trip, from Kotdwara to Lansdowne, taxi fare starts from Rs 2000 onwards. Shared Taxis also run with fares charging Rs 100 per person.
Taxi in Landsdowne for Local Sightseeing
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Where to Stay in Ladnsdowne
When looking for accommodation in Lansdowne, Uttarakhand, there are several options to consider within a 20 to 25 km radius. Here are some budget hotels, homestays, and resorts you can explore:
Forest Palace Hotel: This budget hotel is located in Lansdowne and offers comfortable rooms at affordable rates.
Samskara & Samsara Homestays: Situated in Jaiharikhal, about 15 km from Lansdowne, these homestays provide a serene and cozy atmosphere with beautiful views of the surrounding hills.
Mayur Hotel & Restaurant: Located in Gumkhal, approximately 22 km from Lansdowne, this budget-friendly hotel offers basic amenities and comfortable rooms.
Vanvasa Resort: Situated in Deriyakhal, about 20 km from Lansdowne, this resort provides a peaceful environment surrounded by lush greenery and scenic views.
Blue Pine Resort: Located in Palkot, around 25 km from Lansdowne, this resort offers comfortable accommodation, modern amenities, and a tranquil setting.
GMVN Tourist Bungalow: Managed by the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam, this budget-friendly guesthouse is located in Lansdowne town on top of a hill and provides basic facilities for tourists. The famous tourist spot “Tip n Top” is located adjacent to GMVN Tourist Bungalow Lansdowne.
Hills of Adventure Resort. This is where we stayed for 3 nights and 4 days. I would not recommend this place if you are travelling by train/bus/cab as it is located 26 km away from Lansdowne and 7 km away from the main highway. The village of late General Bipin Rawat PVSM UYSM AVSM YSM SM VSM ADC is located about 15 to 20 km from this place.
When making your booking, it’s always advisable to check the availability, rates, and review the accommodation options to ensure they meet your preferences and requirements.
The Best Time to Visit Lansdowne
The best time to visit Lansdowne, Uttarakhand is during the months of April to June and September to November. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons and what you can expect during each:
Summer (April to June)
This is the peak tourist season in Lansdowne when the weather is pleasant and temperatures range between 15°C to 30°C. It is an ideal time for outdoor activities, sightseeing, and enjoying the scenic beauty of the region.
Monsoon (July to September)
Lansdowne receives moderate to heavy rainfall during the monsoon season. While the landscape becomes lush and green, it is advisable to check weather conditions and road conditions before planning a visit during this time.
Autumn (September to November)
This is another favorable time to visit Lansdowne as the weather remains pleasant with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C. The skies are clear, offering stunning views of the Himalayas and making it an ideal time for trekking, nature walks, and exploring the nearby attractions.
Winter (December to February)
Lansdowne experiences cold winters with temperatures ranging from 0°C to 15°C. If you enjoy snowfall and chilly weather, this is the time to visit. The town takes on a magical charm, and you can indulge in activities like bonfires and winter sports.
Considering your preferences and the activities you wish to undertake, you can plan your visit to Lansdowne accordingly.
In conclusion, a visit to Lansdowne, Uttarakhand offers a delightful escape to a picturesque hill station with a captivating history. Whether you seek tranquility amidst nature, a glimpse into the colonial era, or an opportunity to explore the breathtaking Himalayan landscapes, Lansdowne has something to offer every traveler. From pleasant weather and scenic viewpoints to trekking trails and historical sites, this charming town leaves a lasting impression on visitors. So pack your bags, embark on a journey to Lansdowne, and create beautiful memories amidst the serene beauty of this hidden gem in Uttarakhand.