Ruskin Bond turns 83 today. We say, skip Mussoorie and head to his hometown, built for the homesick British soldier
If you're in Uttarakhand, set out early from your base if you're heading to Landour; especially if Ruskin Bond's home is on the itinerary. As we were to find out, Landour's pretty roads are narrow and winding (not meant for the faint-hearted). Despite the slow pace to reach our Everest, we lost ourselves amid stunning vignettes of the Doon Valley, chirping bulbuls, horseback traders and lush deodars. Finally, we arrived at Ivy Cottage - Bond's charming hilltop home. After a long chat with the celebrated author that was filled with anecdotes about his life, flashbacks of his wanderings, and laughter, we bid adieu. The scenic town and its pleasant weather must have soothed the homesick British army men stationed here.
If you have all day in Landour, grab a bite at Mr Bond's next-door neighbour, Doma's Inn. With its authentic Tibetan fare, kitschy Bollywood theme and scenic views, it's a must-stop. Next, a 10-minute walk will take you to the idyllic yet buzzing Char Dukan (named after four shops in the town's nucleus) where you can stop by Tip Top tea shop for chai, and soak in small-town gossip. A little ahead is Lal Tibba that offers breathtaking views of the valleys below. Landour is best negotiated on foot, so if you have time, ensure Kellogg Memorial Church, Sister's Bazaar and St Paul's Church are on your radar.
Most of the older structures date back to the 19th century and exude a vintage albeit decrepit charm that will leave you content at having taken a day out for a slice of secluded Himalayan bliss.
How to reach: State-run and private buses, and taxis are available from Dehradun (around 40 kms) to Mussoorie bus stand. Landour is 2km from here. Dehradun is the closest railway station and airport.
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