Perched amidst the Garhwal Hills of Uttarakhand, Lansdowne is a quaint little hill town that not many tourists know of. Off the beaten tourist trail, Lansdowne is an untouched, pristine town, miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Situated at 5670 feet above sea level, Lansdowne is more famously known for being home to the Garhwal Rifle regiment of the Indian Army. This hill station is neither commercialised nor heavily urbanised, making it the perfect getaway for anyone looking to take a break amidst peace and solitude.
The local population of Lansdowne is surprisingly somewhere around just 20,000, and almost all the buildings in the town are fading reminders of the colonial era. The town itself gets its name from the then Viceroy of India, Lord Lansdowne. Surrounded on all sides by towering snow-capped mountains and lush green forests, Lansdowne has a pristine ambience that lures a steady number of tourists all year round.
Being detached from the race of urbanization and commercialization, Lansdowne has an extremely laid-back air around the entire town. You can always check into a hotel, but the real atmosphere of Lansdowne is experienced by staying in the guest houses at the military cantonment itself. All these guesthouses are extremely reminiscent of the colonial period, and they offer a stunning view of the mountains from their balconies.
Lansdowne in Uttarakhand is a quaint little hill station not quite explored by the tourists yet. My family and I went there in October last year and it was amazing! It was majorly a leisure weekend for us which consisted of lazing around in our hotel rooms, enjoying small downpour of rains and trying the delicious mountain delicacies in the cold weather. The major attraction we visited was the Tip N Top which was just about 2 kms of trek away from our hotel and gave us the perfect view of the majestic and beautiful Garhwal Hills. All in all it was a simple yet a quite rejuvenating trip!
Lansdowne is one of the quietest hill stations in India and doesn't see much footfall, which is a good advantage because it leaves the charm of the place untouched. It is a small town, and your own pair of feet make the best mode of transport here. I took a lot of strolls around this place, since there isn't much to do in Lansdowne. It makes for the perfect short getaway which needs no more than a weekend to be covered. I had packed a lot of warm clothes, which came in use, since days and nights alike were chilly. There is a lot of history and folklore to the town, it being a cantonment settlement. Next to my guest house was the Roberts guest house, which is a must-visit for movie buffs like me. Apart from being haunted, the house was also a close replica of the one in Hitchcock's Psycho. It was definitely the highlight of my trip.
Unspoilt by human activities, Lansdowne is also popular as one of the British Hill stations and is home to the cantonment of the Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army. The area is home to some of the most mystical and breathtaking views. This place also served as one of the main bases of independence struggle activities during the Colonial times. Lansdowne is famous for its eco-friendly tourism revolving around mountaineering, trekking, and jungle safaris. The Shardotsav festival celebrated annually during autumn draws tourists from across the country.
Very peaceful and serene. Offbeat destination, hence less crowded. Good alternative for Rishikesh.
Nothing much to do apart from sightseeing. Foreigners are not allowed for the overnight stay without the visa permitting them to stay in a Cantonment area.
For avid travellers and anybody who is looking for a peaceful getaway in the Garhwal region.
Lansdowne doesn't have a huge number of tourist attractions, but the ones it does have offer endearing experiences you will not get anywhere else. The most prominent tourist spot in Lansdowne is Tip-n-Top (also known as Tiffin Top), which is a hilltop in Lansdowne that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the mist-shrouded Shivalik range. Surrounded by towering oak and pine forests, this hilltop view point is an amazing place to view mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets. An artificial lake named Bhulla Taal, a little away from the hilltop, is the ideal place to sit back and relax and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Bhulla Taal is a popular bird-watching spot, and it offers boat rides as well. Another hilltop viewpoint in Lansdowne that tourists frequent is Hawaghar, which, as the name suggests, is a place where you can literally feel the cold mountain air blowing through your hair as you look out towards the snow-capped Himalayan mountain peaks.
To get a feel of the town's history, visiting the Garhwali Mess is a must. One of the oldest existing British buildings in Lansdowne, the Garhwali Mess is now owned by the Indian Army, and offers realistic insight into India's post-Independence history. Other tourists spots in Lansdowne include St. Mary's Church, St. John's Church, and the Garhwal Rifles Regimental War Memorial, which is a must-visit for history buffs.
Lansdowne is known for its local Garhwali cuisine, so don't forget to try out the local delicacies such as Phaanu, Kafuli and Kulath ki dal, as well as desserts such as Arsa and Gulgula.
Lansdowne has been an important attraction for the tourists seeking a peaceful vacation away from the hustle-bustle of the cities. Lansdowne at times is a very good alternative for Rishikesh. Many travellers visit Lansdowne instead of Rishikesh to avoid the tourist rush. With the same scenic beauty, Lansdowne offers the tranquillity and antiquity of the British era.
Located in the Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, the history of Lansdowne is culturally influenced by the British rule during the Raj era. Earlier known as ‘Kalundanda’ meaning Black hill in Garhwali, the place got its name after the then Viceroy of India Lord Lansdowne in 1857. The British rulers established the Garhwal Rifles cantonment of the armed forces here, and the first battalion was shifted from Almora to Lansdowne. The untouched serenity and calmness made it an ideal escape for troops and troopers to hide in. Central Lansdowne cradles one of the oldest war museums, maintained and only accessible by the army which showcases the historical influences this place holds.
Day 1: Arrive at Dehradun airport or Kotdwar railway station. Transfer to Lansdowne in a private cab. Check-in at the hotel. Visit St John's Church and Darwan Singh Regimental museum. Day 2: Trek to Tiffin Top, to enjoy the beautiful and panoramic view of the Shivalik ranges. Visit the Bhulla Lake and enjoy the serene ambience. Later, visit the Tarkeshwar Mahadev temple, located at an elevation of 2092 meters.
The most delicious and convenient option for food here would be the hotels, lodges and resorts, since there aren't too many restaurants here. One can find Chinese, Indian, Mughlai, Marwari, Garhwali as well as Continental cuisines. One can also relish Chinese, Tibetan as well as a number of non-vegetarian delicacies here. The local cuisine of Uttarakhand the you might find here includes Bhaang Ki Khatai, Kappa (a green curry), Sisunak Saag(a dish prepared with green leafy vegetables and many local ingredients), Aloo ke Gutke( a Kumauni potato dish), Rus ( a preparation of many dals) and more.
Lansdowne hardly has any cafes or stand alone restaurants so to say. Most of the places to eat and chill are the in-house restaurants of the hotels, resorts or the lodges which can serve the purpose pretty well.