Bringing to life our storybook descriptions is a charming cantonment town called Landour. Bursting with history—let’s get into it for just a quick second, I promise. The 19th century Gorkha conquest of Kumaon-Garhwal steered the British to shift their military sanatorium from Dehradun to this quaint town. Landour derives its name from a village in Southwest Wales called Llanddowror. The first permanent house in Landour was built around 1825 named Mullingar. At a mere 6-7 km distance from the bustling and popular Mussoorie, Landour is a poetic contrast.
Crisp air, blankets of deodar trees, clean winding streets, aesthetic churches and heartening food. It’s no mystery why personalities like the beloved Ruskin Bond and Vishal Bharadwaj have their homes up there. Having researched so much, and after hyping it up to my partner, I was an eager teenager stepping out of the car ready to spend an eventful day exploring. Our first experience was a visual treat as the sky was clear and we could see the snow-capped peaks of Gangothri, Kedarnath, Srikanta and Yamunotri welcoming us, a surreal sight that changed the pace of the day ahead.
We spent the next 90 minutes walking in the juxtaposing shining sun and cool breeze, listening to guard dogs bark, staring at lavender flowers at the entrance of Woodstock School, seeing a couple posing for a photo shoot at the Kellogg’s church and saying a prayer at the sun kissed St. Paul’s Church. The day was truly feeling like a romantic Yash Chopra song that I wanted to watch on loop. However, this very dreamy thought of mine wasn’t going to fill our very hungry bellies.
Off we went to the iconic Landour Bakehouse where all my Yash Chopra dreams got crushed because it suddenly felt like we were back in a café in Mumbai, waiting in line for a seat. 20 minutes of waiting and a few pictures later all I could say was that nobody could be blamed. The cosy interiors, quirky quotes and most importantly the savouries (especially the Garhwali cheese straws), crépes and pot meals are a lullaby to the stomach and the soul. We probably ordered the most and sat the longest over there. But, that got us ready to get back on foot.
The plan was to get some fresh fruit jam for home, see the winter line phenomenon at Laal Tibba and explore the mouth-watering snacks at Chaar Dukaan. But things rarely go as per plan and here, I loved that. After getting some freshly made fruit jam from Prakash Stores (MUST go), we headed to Laal Tibba, with no awareness of how cool it’s going to get in the coming hour. Unfortunately, Laal Tibba was underwhelming with just one or two cafes with a view and we were too full to relish the bun omelettes or maggi at Chaar Dukaan, all we could savour was the aroma (hey, don’t judge). Freezing at the temperature of nearly 10 degrees and us in our thin t-shirts and thin sweatshirts, we grabbed a cup of coffee and decided to walk back and enjoy the view before heading back to Dehradun. And, what we saw was honestly out of a painting. Orange, blue, red and shades of violet merging to give us a memory that lasts a lifetime. Putting pictures down for you to see for yourself.
And with that as the final image, we headed back to Dehradun. Landour has a lot more to experience – there are wonderful hotels & Airbnb’s to stay at Rokeby Manor, La Villa Bethany and Doma’s Inn to name a few. There are also some great cafes to try – Emily’s, Café De Landour, Café Ivy and so on. But, one thing that got reaffirmed through this visit – “Life mein kuchh na kuchh toh chootega hi na? Toh jahaan hai, vahi ka mazaa lete hai.”
Until next time, you beauty!