OT Itinerary: Your 2-Day Quick Guide To Lansdowne

Looking for a weekend getaway to escape the rising heat of the city? Head to the charming hill town of Lansdowne
The charming hill town of Lansdowne is replete with scenic beauty and sacred spaces
The charming hill town of Lansdowne is replete with scenic beauty and sacred spacesShutterstock

One of the quietest hill towns in India, Lansdowne's charm lies in its seclusion from the noise of the crowds. Located around 240 km from Delhi, it is also the nearest hill station to the national capital. Reminiscent of an old English village, Lansdowne has a number of churches, ponds and scenic vantage points that would make for a laidback holiday experience.

Take meandering walks through the town
Take meandering walks through the town Shutterstock

This charming little town in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand was built as a cantonment for the British. Lansdowne's proximity to Delhi makes it a popular weekend getaway with travellers, especially when the city becomes too hot to bear. Here is a quick two-day guide to Lansdowne for this summer.

Day 1: Picnic at the lake and watching the sunset

Enjoy boating at Bhula Taal
Enjoy boating at Bhula TaalShutterstock

If you are travelling from Delhi, the best way to reach the hill town is to drive down the well-connected routes via the National Highway, which will take around six to seven hours. Start your journey as early in the morning as possible to avoid traffic snarls and to reach the destination while there's still light. Pass by beautiful scenery and feel the heat slipping away the closer you get to Uttarakhand. After reaching and checking into your hotel, you can choose to rest for a couple of hours before finally starting your trip.

Start by visiting the Bhula Taal, which is a man-made lake surrounded by lush greenery. If you are with kids, you can make a day out of it and go for an elaborate picnic. The area is calm and scenic, with some swings in place where kids can have fun, and for adults, there is an option to partake in boating in the lake as well. You can spend a couple of hours at the spot and just relax in the midst of nature. Afterwards, walk down a few kilometres, and you will come across St. John's Church, the only functional church in the town. You can spend a few minutes admiring the Gothic architecture or go inside to offer prayers.

St. John's Church is one of the oldest and the only functioning church in Lansdowne
St. John's Church is one of the oldest and the only functioning church in LansdowneShutterstock

When it's close to sunset, start walking again and head to the Tip and Toe viewpoint just down the road. This area is relatively more crowded than other places, as tourists generally come here to watch the beautiful sunset. Spend time admiring the view while you munch on snacks and sip on piping hot tea from the small stalls in the area. When dusk has settled, walk down to the main town area and head to one of the cafes to grab dinner. On the main market road, you will find many quaint little eateries such as the Tipsy Cafe and Restaurant, which has delicious soups and beverages, and Oak Town's Flavor Tadka Restaurant, which serves great Indian and Chinese fare at very reasonable prices.

Day 2: Some history, shopping, and good food

Drive down to the Tarkeshwar temple for a spiritual stop
Drive down to the Tarkeshwar temple for a spiritual stopShutterstock

On the final day, you can choose one of two options. You can either start early and drive down some 40 km to the Tarkeshwar temple for a spiritual stop. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is surrounded by lush pine forests. Getting to the temple from the main Lansdowne market will take you around an hour and a half and involves a bit of trekking, so wearing comfortable shoes is recommended. Spend somewhere between 20-30 minutes at the stop and then head back. On your way back, stop at one of the local eateries for lunch before returning to the main town.

If you are not as spiritually inclined, you can start by visiting the War Memorial and the Darwan Singh Museum to learn about the history of Lansdowne. The tickets start at INR 50 per person, and kids below the age of 10 are not allowed. Photography is prohibited inside, so make sure you follow the rules. For an eccentric experience, visit Bhim Pakora and marvel at nature's architecture. Bhim Pakora is a popular tourist spot, surrounded by myths and legends. Two massive rocks are positioned atop each other in a gravity-defying display which can be moved by just a fingertip.

Dine at Lansdowne Trip Travel Cafe, where Anupam Kher is a frequent visitor
Dine at Lansdowne Trip Travel Cafe, where Anupam Kher is a frequent visitorlansdownetriptravelcafe/Instagram

After marvelling at this natural wonder and filling up your camera roll, head to the market for some souvenir shopping. Get your hands on some porcelain trinkets as well as good suede and leather items at one of the many shops at Lansdowne Market or Alaknanda Market. Afterwards, grab lunch at the artsy Lansdowne Trip Travel Cafe, also famous with some Bollywood celebrities. You can head to the Tip and Toe viewpoint to catch a final sunset before returning to the hotel for your final night. Eat a hearty local dinner and get a good night's rest. Start your road trip back early the following day.

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