Away from the heat of the beaches and the bustle of the towns and cities, is Mussoorie, nestling in the cool foothills of the Himalayas. Chosen as the preferred place to live by the British in the early 1800s because of its climate, the Queen of Hill Stations, as Mussoorie in known, sits at 1,880 metres high in the north Indian hill state of Uttarakhand. From the seclusion of a mountain resort, to the glitz of the market area, this destination has a surprising diversity. Colonial-style architecture and nostalgic old-world charm brings elegance to your holiday. On the other hand, mossy woodlands, where silver mists hang like ghostly ribbons off tall pine trees which are set against layer after layer of mountains, where green hills gracefully give way to snow covered peaks, make this a nature lover’s paradise. The Jabarkhet Nature Reserve comes complete with jungles, hidden waterfalls and an abundance of exotic flora and fauna, as well as monkeys, leopards and black bear. Enlist the help of a local guide who will be happy to reveal to you all the off-the-beaten track secrets of Mussoorie on what will be a truly memorable mountain holiday.
“Mussoorie remains a wonderful destination for a mountain holiday, thanks to its healthy climate and a plethora of escapes deep in the spellbinding hills and forests. Whether you feel like mingling with the crowd or getting away from it all, Mussoorie will charm you with its wonderful scenery and mountain life.”
Visit the sleepy mountain town of Landour, just three miles from Mussoorie. Hidden within a scented Himalayan pine and cedar forest, time stands still here. A strong Colonial influence is evident in the architecture, while its aversion to commercialism sets it apart and the beauty of its natural surrounds will leave you in awe, as you explore the secluded forest paths.
2. Happy Valley
Walk in the footsteps of the Dalai Lama in Happy Valley. The Tibetans settled here in 1959, when the 14th Dalai Lama took refuge in Mussoorie and they are now an integral part of the community. You can tour the Buddhist Shedup Choephelling Temple and see numerous artefacts appertaining to Lord Buddha, as well as the spectacular carvings, paintings and panels in its Meditation Hall.
3. Winemaking Brewery
Take a Winemaking Brewery Trip to learn the art of ‘vinification’ as the process of making wine is known in Mussoorie. There are workshops to teach you how a variety of wines are made from plums, grapes, pears, apples and ginger, among other interesting source products. The vineyard tour starts at 10:30am and takes about two hours, after which you get to taste the product.
4. Mussoorie Lake
Relax on the shores of Mussoorie Lake. This man-made lake, just off the Mussoorie Dehradun Highway, is accessible by bus or cab. It is a great place to take some downtime away from the sightseeing. Perfect for picnics and chilling out, there are relaxation areas, shops selling refreshments if you choose not to take your own, and lots of boat excursions out on the lake.
By Neelima Vallangi
India’s sunshine state has long been a paradise for hippie travellers, loving its famed golden-sandy beaches and laid-back vibes. Goa today combines bygone Portuguese-era influences and modern Indian culture, quite unlike anywhere else in the country.
By Sarah Young and Vinyasa Yoga Asanas by Laura Hodgson
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 21 June - the longest day of the year - to be International Yoga Day, or just Yoga Day as it is known. Originating from such an esteemed body and being celebrated now since 2015, many people across the world recognise the positive impact of yoga on their lives.
By Natasha Hegarty
Diwali - or the Festival of Lights - is one of the most vibrant festivals of the year, with homes, communities and streets all coming alive with colour. It is also one of the most important events in the Hindu calendar and is celebrated all around the world.