Monsoon is one of the best times to be in Dehradun and around. The encounters with the clouds and rains are delightful at this time of the year. The colour of the foliage is vivid and intense, making the entire landscape look surreal. The climbing mist over the valley further adds to the beauty. You raise your elevation by a few hundred meters, and in return the entire stretch of the valley (as far as your eyes can look) is distinctly visible with the silhouette of the Shivaliks forming the outer boundary.
I sense the most cheerful are the birds whose tweeting can be heard all around. I guess everyone is happy during monsoons, and why not, there is surely a sense of purpose to be joyous (for one and all).
It’s the beginning of the monsoon season in Dehra (Dehradun) and I longed to go for a hike to Mussoorie. And so, I zeroed-in on a day when the showers were not predicted to be that intense, and the Sun would make its way out (somehow) through a rift in the clouds.
Dehradun – Mussoorie trail is also known as the Kipling trail (named after Rudyard Kipling who is said to have taken this route on his visit to Mussoorie in 1880s) or the Bridle path.
Why should one undertake this hike?
- You are looking for a hike around Dehradun – this is worth a try
- An easy trek amidst nature and verdant greenery (Monsoon mist is a bonus)
- You aim to get some good photographs clicked
- Short on time? You can do the complete stretch until Mussoorie or until Jharipani or Barlowganj. You get all the flexibility here
Our journey begins at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) which is a landmark location in Dehradun and is also one of the ends of the famous Rajpur Road. The tower was inaugurated in the year 1953 and it is surely a witness to how Dehra has transformed since then.
Stretch 1: – Clock Tower to Rajpur Chowk (Auto ride | 20 mins)
This is the easiest part of this trail. The blue colored auto can be taken until Rajpur chowk. One can also take the electric bus that ply on this route. Early morning ride has its own advantage. No traffic | decibel levels in control | relatively clean air | time optimization. In 20 minutes and 20 bucks, you are transported to Rajpur chowk (at the old Mussoorie road diversion).
Location of Rajpur Chowk – click here
Stretch 2:- Rajpur Chowk to Shehenshashi Ashram ( Walk | Easy gradient | 2 kms)
As you step out of the auto, you realize that you are away from the city and are transported to a village of sorts, though the way Dehradun is expanding now, many would disagree to call it a village. Perhaps an extension of Dehra.
You walk straight on the incline road (the green signboard above mentions ‘Amar Shaheed Manoj Rana Dwar’). While it’s an incline path but not a difficult one to cover. Half-way through the walk, you encounter a Tibetan school on your left. Rajpur is blessed with some nice/quaint cafes, and you will see all of them as you march ahead.
Note - If you have a vehicle , you can drive all the way upto Shehenshashi Ashram and park it there.
On my walks in this area, I usually stop-by at Shreya Tea Point to enjoy a cup of hot lemon ginger tea (there’s another one called Hathi chai shop just across the road). One needs to walk further for another 250 metres until you arrive at the Kali temple. This is the start-point of the actual hike to Mussoorie.
Location of Kali Mandir (near Shehenshahi Ashram) – Click here
Stretch 3: – Shehenshahi Ashram to Jharipani (Walk | Easy Gradient | 4.5 kms)
Here, you bid adieu to the human settlements and walk through the forests following a serpentine path. The trail is an easy one for most of the route but what gives you the momentum are the stunning views of the doon valley below. And it gets better and better as you go up.
Sura hill (with the thick Sal trees covering it) looks distinctly from here. There’s an interesting trail through the forests of Sura Devi and an easy one to do. You may want to check out my dedicated post on this trail here.
Just before you arrive at Jharipani, you see a dilapidated building on your left. A signage reads “Half-Way House”. In earlier times, this was a thriving restaurant where one would stop to have tea | food and perhaps to rest a little before continuing ahead. As the name says this was roughly half-way between Rajpur village and Mussoorie.
Stretch 4: – Jharipani to Barlowganj (Walk | Easy Gradient | 2.2 kms)
From this point onwards, you pretty much walk along-side the main road i.e. Dehradun – Jharipani – Barlowganj – Mussoorie road. The views will get stunning as ‘Queen of Hills’ will look closer to you. However, on this hike, I saw it being shrouded in a heavy mist and some of the trees (Oaks may be) stood out like ghostly sentinels.
I usually take a break at Barlowganj, at a tea shack just opposite St. George’s School. Barlowganj’s weather is quite like Mussoorie’s, so I spend some time to enjoy the fresh air and cool breeze and to be ready for the remaining hike.
Stretch 5: – Barlowganj to Picture Palace (Mussoorie) (Walk | Moderate Gradient | 2.3 kms)
While you trudge along the main road, the 1st part of this stretch is slightly steep but doable. You get nearer to Mussoorie with every passing step. 1 kilometre of walk gets you to Mussoorie – Chamba Road and you need to cross this and take the path that goes north (along Wynberg Allen school’s premises).
One needs to continue walking straight and eventually you will arrive at Picture Palace (one end of Mussoorie’s Mall Road).
Stretch 6: – Picture Palace – Library Chowk | Mall Road (Walk | Easy Gradient | 2.0 kms)
This is a fairly easy walk and almost flat. Mall road is the most happening area of Mussoorie (for the tourists) and as far as your eyes can see, its only humans that you will encounter.
The hike came to an end at Library chowk.
What next? What are the options
- One can decide to walk back to Dehradun; however, the to-and-fro walk must be timed well, and one needs to start early from Dehradun to be back before sunset.
- Take a motor transport to ferry you back to Dehradun
As it was a fine afternoon with mist playing mischief with the hill station, I decided to soak in some more of this experience and took shelter at a nice (budget) hostel named ArtBuzz.
I woke up the next day to a sunny morning. The views of the Doon valley were breathtaking and I could clearly map the path I took the day before. I took the first bus from Mussoorie (leaves the Bus Station at Library chowk at 7 AM , ticket fare Rs. 65/-) and arrived in Dehradun an hour later. Back to my usual routine.
Hope you enjoyed reading the post.