A quite hill station in the lower hills of Uttarakhand, Lansdowne, is a small but popular travel destination especially for bikers, owing to its natural beauty and approach, both unmistakably, outstanding. The hill station has a bit of everything and although I would not call it a hill station for I think it is something of an in-between transition from plains to hills, nevertheless, the hills are steep at some places for it to qualify. Point being, it is worth a travel.
A large part of my travel to Lansdowne was in a four wheeler, though we were a mix group of bikers as well. From New Delhi to the Lansdowne via NH 58 and NH 119, that makes you touch Meerut, Bijnour Kiratpur, Najimabad and Kotdwar, it is some 250 odd kms of good and bad roads including a bumpy ride at Najimabad but the towns do offer some scenic beauties. The ride is like travelling back in time, from urban to rural the other way round. You could see bullock carts, farms and local markets all waiting to develop into something more modern in some good years to come.
The end of Kotdwar is the beginning of these supine hills, welcoming and vibrant with all its greenery and breathtaking valleys. It’s a different world. The start of hills is always exciting with offers of better views with every little elevation. Every twist and every turn makes you gap at this marvel of god, add to that a river runs through it! Huge rocks that have cornered at some turns make-up for some brilliant art works and for the fact that it is also an elephant’s passage, the excitement just doubles up.
Lansdowne is basically the Garhwal Rifles cantonment, finely managed by them. An army area always has the advantage of commanding unspoken respect and discipline even from the civilians. And there we were, finally, after eight hours of maximum stops everywhere. (The group believed it was the journey not the destination that makes up for delight in travel).
Our stay was in a resort right at the outskirts of cantonment area amidst the jungle. Surprisingly, Lansdowne falls to the south side of Jim Corbett and since we had landed up in the middle of June, a forest fire was in fury for the last ten days travelling upwards. VatanVasa, a new gate 35kms from Kotdwar to Jim Corbett has been opened for visitors to enjoy the dam, crocodiles, Tigers, Leopards (only for the lucky ones) and of course elephants and Deer. We were only pseudo lucky. The dog in our resort was taken by the leopard at night which we only heard of!
Apart from its scenic valley views, Lansdowne has some great Churches, old temples and a village caught in the zeitgeist of time. It has great eateries, Army developed recreational parks and very clean roads unlike some other hill stations. Also, my advice is walk in Lansdowne to enjoy it.