Must Do Walks In And Around Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand


Clouds & Trees at LandourLandour is a perfect walking town. A small army cantonment, with few houses, a couple of churches, a temple, and few shops – that is Landour. Located few km above Mussoorie, it kind of sits on top of Mussoorie, away from the maddening crowd of tourists that flood Mussoorie. Whole of Landour can be covered by walking around. In fact, it is walking that you enjoy the most in this lovely hill town.

Roads are well paved making it easy to walk even when it is raining. It does rain a lot in this part of Uttarakhand. Tall Deodar trees surround you in an engulfing manner and send your thoughts inwards. The fact that Landour is quite clean compared to most Indian cities, makes it, even more, inviting for walking. Allow me to share a few walks that I took in Landour:

Gol Chakkar Walk or the Landour Loop.

Walking trail at Landour
Walking trail at Landour

This is is the default circular walking path in Landour. You can start at any point and walk towards Lal Tibba.

St Paul's Church, Landour
St Paul’s Church, Landour

If you go clockwise, you would first see the St Paul’s Church. An old church that has been recently re-furbished with stone arches.

Char Dukan.

Char Dukan, Landour, Mussoorie
Char Dukan

Char Dukan is where you must stop for pancakes or coffee. There are now more than 4 shops here but most of them serve the Landour special food – especially Pancakes. Early morning I met a group of bikers here – all hungry after their rides. Through the day I saw people stopping by to eat. I did not eat here but I saw almost everyone enjoying their food here.

I would later learn that the building that houses the Char Dukan used to be an army depot. The depot number 31 can still be seen on one of the gates.

Trees you walk along...
Trees you walk along…

Walk ahead after crossing a small bridge and you are in a dream-like road. The day I walking, I had clouds all around me, adding to the mystery of and mystique of the place. I looked at the houses – small & large hidden in the midst of Deodar trees. None of the houses was at the level of the road – they were either uphill or downhill – a nature’s way of keeping you fit.

Lal Tibba.

Somewhere near Lal Tibba
Somewhere near Lal Tibba

Lal Tibba is the most famous part of this walk. If you walk early mornings, all you would see if people washing their horses and a closed red building. But on a clear day, this place is buzzing with activity as you get a clear view of the Himalayan ranges. Telescopes help you take a closer look at the peaks. Lal Tibba is like an edge overlooking the valley and keeping a keen eye on the mountain ranges.

Lovely hillside house at Landour
Lovely hillside house at Landour

A beautiful stairway led to a lovely well carved, well-maintained house on top. It just seems to be right out of the dreams. Wonder who is the lucky family that lives here and even luckier are those who will inherit it.

Cemetery at Landour
Cemetary at Landour

A stone gate, as always, invoked curiosity and as I peeped in, I realized it is the cemetery. I saw the beautiful graves, more like memorials surrounded by colorful flowers. They were just by the side of the road saying help to walkers as if remembering the days when they walked the same roads.

Kellog Memorial Church, Landour
Kellog Memorial Church, Landour

You are almost at the end of this walk when you see Kellog’s Church and Landour Language school.

Landour Language School.

Kellog's Memorial Church & Landour Language School
Kellog’s Memorial Church & Landour Language School

At Landour Language school I had an engaging conversation with the principal of the school – Sh Chitranjan Dutt. He walked me through the history of the school and how it helped the British officials learn the local languages. How the course material was developed for many Indian languages. It is interesting that Landour language school continues to attract language enthusiasts from around the world.

Sister’s Bazaar Walk.

Charming old stone houses at Landour, Mussoorie
Charming old stone houses…

On the Gol Chakkar walk, if you take a detour at Kellog’s church, you would be headed towards the sister’ bazaar. Once upon a time a small bazaar meant for nurses working at the Landour military hospital , it is now placed famous for the peanut butter.

Rain Shelters in Stone
Rain Shelters in Stone

On this walk too, you go up and down on a well-laid path, overlooking the valleys . On a clear day, you would be able to see the campus of Woodstock school with its lovely hostels standing out. Some of the old houses are lovely to walk by. Rain shelters built with the local stone just merge with the ambiance of Landour that does not belong to this era for sure.

Landour Bake House
Landour Bake House

At the bazaar, stop by at the Landour Bakehouse for some lovely bakery products. You can also pick the books by local authors here. You do know that Landour is home to many stalwart authors like Ruskin Bond, Stephen Alter, and Bill Aitken to name a few. Incidentally, all of them have written about Landour too, so it is a perfect place to pick up books.

Peanut Butter.

Prakash's Peanut Butter
Prakash’s Peanut Butter

Peanut butter – the most popular souvenir from Landour is what you pick from Anil Prakash Grocery store. It is a normal everyday grocery store. Except that one shelf is dedicated to peanut butter and jams that the family kind of pioneered. I had the pleasure to talk to Shri Inder Prakash – the patriarch who started the peanut business in Landour. He passionately spoke about how peanut butter used to be imported from America before 1947. After independence, some locals started making the peanut butter. Mr. Prakash started making it in in his home which is right next to the shop.

Sh Inder Prakash of Prakash Peanut Fame
Sh Inder Prakash of Prakash Peanut Fame

Mr. Prakash claims to be the first one in India to make cheddar cheese from buffalo milk. He spoke about the blackberry jam he used to make when blackberries used to grow in his backyard. When I asked him the secret of his peanut butter – he smiled and said it is all about roasting it right. Everything else is a cake walk.

Do pick up the peanut butter on this walk.

Jabarkhet Nature Reserve Walk.

Jabarkhet Nature Reserve
Jabarkhet Nature Reserve

Not too far from Landour, Jabarkhet Nature reserve – a protected area is a perfect place to walk. Since this is a private and ticketed property, you do not find many people here. I first read about it in Stephen Alter’s The Secret Sanctuary. By the time I finished reading the book, I wanted to visit the place. Sometimes you just have to wish for something and it calls you.

Moss covered oak trees at Jabarkhet Nature Reserve
Moss covered oak trees at Jabarkhet Nature Reserve

There are various trails that you can take within the Jabarkhet Nature reserve. They are curiously names Leopard trail, mushroom trail, ridge trail – do not take the names literally. Walking on the pugdundees, it feels like you have become a part of the forest. In June, I could notice all kinds of mushrooms growing here. I could hear the birds but given the density of the forest, it is not easy to spot them, leave apart clicking them. Same holds true for butterflies. They were simply a treat for the eyes though with their swift movements it seemed they are trying to make me exercise my eyes.

Moss laden oak trees created a haunting scenery on one side. A few stones arranged to look like a sitting area seems like a scene out of films where a group of friends discovers ghosts at night while enjoying a campfire.

A small interpretation center introduces the visitors to the flora and fauna of the forest. I was told that March and April are good months to discover flowers at Jabarkhet. In June, there were almost none.

Walk to the Ancient Shiv Mandir.

Shiv Mandir at Landour
Shiv Mandir at Landour

This was the shortest but the hardest walk I did in Landour. A signboard said Prachin Shiv Mandir – 200 meters. How hard can be 200 meters and how inaccurate could the sign writer could have been. I started climbing it and the gradient kept getting steeper. I had to take frequent stops. Thankfully, the scenery around was so lovely that I did not mind stopping. The temple made an appearance after I had climbed for good 15-20 minutes. It is a simple Shiva temple, with no signs of it being ancient. Having said that I was happy to see a neat and clean temple.

I also did a Landour Heritage walk but that deserves a complete post, so stay tuned.

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  1. Visited Landour from 12th to 15th July 2016. Seen all the places mentioned by you including the ‘Chakkar”, Char Dukan and Jabarkhet Nature Trail. Most enjoyable.

  2. just a one hour drive from mussori library chowk,Hathi paanv stands in its crystalline beauty to mesmerize and ravish the visitors.I was completely enthralled and captivated.

  3. I have heard of this Char Dukaan. Seems to be quite a popular place with foreigners too. After reading through, this place has moved up my list. 😀

  4. Please I have a few questions regarding this
    1. how much time does it take for the chakkar trial. can we have the walk to the temple mentioned above and the walk to the mine on the same day?? How much time for that
    2. can we cover all the three trials at the Jabarkhet Nature Trail in a single day. If yes, in how much time.

    • Kanishk

      If you only walk and do not stop, you can do Landour Golchakkar in an hour or so. Temple is 200 meters of steep climb so take 30-40 minutes for that. You can keep half a day for Jabarkhet that includes driving to and back from the reserve.

      Yes, you can do all the walks in a day – if you have the stamina for it. I would suggest go slow and take 2 days to admire the surroundings as you walk.