Uttarakhand Stories

13 Hidden Facts about Mussoorie that will blow your mind

by Pragati Chauhan
May 12, 2016

Mussoorie is one of the most visited hill station of Uttarakhand which tempts many globe-trotters to spend some leisurely moments in the beguiling Himalayas. If you are well aware of the hot spots of Mussoorie then just check out some of the interesting hidden facts related to the “Queen of Hills” and amaze other backpackers by sharing your knowledge with them.

1. The name Mussoorie has been derived from a shrub called Mansoor: The unique name of the hill station comes from an indigenous shrub called Mansoor which is primordial to this region. The scenic hill station of Mussoorie is also referred to as ‘Mansoori’ by most of the Indians. Next time you visit this place just share this information with your friends.

Lentil Vetch Shurb

Photo Src: sagebud

2. This hill station was discovered by two young lads: Mussoorie was discovered in the 1820s jointly by Captain Young serving in the British army and Mr. Shor a doonite and Superintendent. Captain Young who was bewitched by the winsome beauty of Mussoorie made his abode in this hill station.

Mussoorie in 1870s

Mussoorie – This photo was taken by John Edward Saché in the 1870s.

3. The name of Mall road was kept after a popular site of the town: The bustling Mall road which is one of the favourite places of the love birds and tourists was named after a popular place called The Mall located in Mussoorie.

Mall Road Mussoorie

Photo Src: wikimedia

4. During the Colonial rule, people used to adjust their watches with gunfire: When India was under the British Raj, a cannon was mounted atop the Gun Hill in Mussoorie and was fired every afternoon for the people to adjust their watches accordingly. However, it was later dismantled when the cannonball that fired at noon from the hill, landed on the lap of a lady who was travelling in a hand pulled rickshaw

Gun Hill in Mussoorie

Photo Src: wikimedia

5. Once the scarcely populated town is now densely populated: Back in 1901 when this toy-town was alienated from the outside world the population density of this hilly terrain was 6,461 which has increased by leaps and bounds. The hill station has recorded 400% rise in the past 100 years and in the 2011 census its total population was recorded as 30,118.

6. From Lal Tibba, you can have a bird’s eye view of the hill station: Lal Tibba or the Red Hill perched at an impressive altitude of 8000 feet above sea level is the highest vantage point of Mussoorie. It offers a panoramic view of the kaleidoscopic landscape of the toy town.

Lal tibba, Mussoorie

Mussoorie view from Lal Tibba. Photo: Paul Hamilton/flickr

7. Dogs and Indians were not allowed in Mussoorie: It is quite ironical that one of the picturesque hill stations of India had signboards reading “Tress-passers and Indians are strictly prohibited”. You will boil with anger to know that the British had placed racist signs on the Mall stating “Indians and Dogs are Not Allowed”. But Motilal Nehru, the father of Jawahar La Nehru used to break free and stroll on the roads of Mussoorie. Later on, these sign boards were removed from the hill station.

8. Mussoorie was one of the favourite destinations of Nehru Family: Mussoorie was one of the favourite tourist destinations of the Nehru family who used to plan frequent trips to this magical place during 1920-40s. They used to await their stay at the lavish Savoy Hotel. Also, the house of Vijayalakshmi Pandit, the sister of Nehru is situated in the tranquil Doon Valley.

FActs about Mussoorie

Mussoorie. April 28th, 1958. NEHRU going towards the Library Square, where he will address the Indian Travel Agents Association at the Savoy Hotel. Photo: outlookindia

9. Mussorie became Tibetan Guru, Dalai Lama’s first home in India: In 1959 when the 23-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama was exiled due to occupation and colonization of Tibet by China, he came to Mussoorie to establish a Tibetan deported government. Mussoorie had the honour of becoming the first home of ‘His Holiness’ Dalai Lama in India and was later transferred to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. Mussoorie also houses the ‘Tibetan Homes Foundation’, one of the best Tibetan Schools in the country, spread and nestled in and around Happy Valley, Charleville etc. At present, more than 5,000 Tibetans reside happily in this comforting hill station.

Dalai Lama in Mussoorie

Dalai Lama and his mother at Birla House Mussoorie in 1959. India. Photo Src: pinterest.com

10. The magical vistas of Mussoorie have allured many celebrities: This hill station has lured many famous Bollywood actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ajay Devgan and Abhishek Bachchan to have a rendezvous with the quaint hills. The veteran actor Dev Anand bought a home here and Tom Alter is a proud resident of Mussoorie. Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar also visits this hill station every year with his lovely family.

11. Mussoorie is a home to the famous Indian writer Ruskin Bond: Yes we all grew-up reading beautifully written children stories by Ruskin Bond such as Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, The Train to Deoli, The Cherry Tree and much more. The author has his hush abode in Landour in Mussoorie and lives a solemn life in a wood house away from the glitz and glamour of the metropolitan cities. One must read Mr Ruskin Bond’s Strange Men, Strange Places to get an insight into more such revelations, happenings in Mussoorie.

Ruskin Bond in Mussoorie

Photo Src: wikipedia.org

12. The hill station possesses its own Wax Museum: Surprisingly, Mussoorie is India’s third town to get a wax museum. The K- Dev Bhoomi Wax Museum houses 26 wax statues including ‘The Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and renowned international celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Princess Diana, Michele, Barack Obama and many others. However, Mohammad Rafi, the famous playback singer of Bollywood steals the spotlight. This museum is located about 5 km away from Mussoorie’s famous Library Point. You can access this wax museum by paying an entry fee of Rs 50.

Mussoorie facts

Photo Src: NDTV

13. Mussoorie is the frist free Wifi Hill Station of India: In September, 2015, Mussorie became the first free Wifi Hill Station in India when the government of Uttarakhand joined hands with Reliance Jio to provide free wireless service on hand-held sets in the Queen of Hills.

Free Wifi in Mussoorie

Photo credit : Kavya Rastogi

Pragati Chauhan

Pragati Chauhan

A writer by profession, thinker by choice and a nature lover since birth. I have always loved expressing myself through words, I believe words have a certain kind of melody which can be understood by anybody.

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14 Responses


Pragati Chauhan Says

Thanks :)

Ashish Goel Says

Interesting facts.
Keep it up.

Regards

Ashish Goel

Pragati Chauhan Says

Warm greetings Samdup and thanks for imparting the knowledge about His Holiness, I didn’t wrote that he was deported but it was here that he formed a ‘Tibetan Deported Government’. The other info that you gave about Ruskin Bond’s literature and Gun Hill are interesting as well, I’ll surely use it in my article. Do stay connected with us :)

Samdup R. Phuntsok Says

Thank you for bringing such interesting facts with a startle here and there about the Queen of the Hills – hamara Mussoorie. Very well researched, informative and makes delightful reading.

The only jarring note ” deported” word used with reference to His Holiness the Dalai Lama who was given asylum. His Holiness was not deported. His Holiness stayed at the Birla House which is situated near Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy (LBSS) in Happy Valley.

Just to add : The cannon gun installed the Gun Hill was dismantled when a cannon ball that was fired from the Hill at noon landed on the lap of a lady who was travelling in a hand pulled rickshaw

One must read Mr. Ruskin Bond’s Strange Men, Strange Places to get an insight into more such revelations , happenings in Mussoorie

The Tibetan population in Mussoorie far exceeds 5,000 count There is the Homes Foundation and one of the top among the Tibetan Schools – spread and nestled in around Happy Valley, Charleville etc.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thanks Jim Welch and best wishes for your good work :)

Jim Welch Says

Hello Pragati, I really enjoyed this article. My brother and sister went to school at Mussoorie in the 1950s, and have fond memories there.

You have my website, and I would love to communicate with you about our job in Nepal and W. Bengal. I think you might have some real insights.

Jim

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thanks! We surely are proud :)

Shubham Prajapati Says

Nice info , proud to be from Uttarakhand.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thanks for the review, I may agree with the other facts but Laal Tibba literally suggests ‘Red Hill’ in English therefore, people used to refer it by both the names. Also, Ruskin Bond is an Indian author of British descent, stating the fact that he was born in Kasauli in India. Being the proud resident of Landour, Bond is a pioneer of children literature in India.

Mark Windsor Says

Nice to see an article and photos about Mussoorie. However I think there would be many local residents that would list a few errors in the facts stated:

Laal Tibba (never actually referred to as the Red Hill) is 7459 FEET, not meters.
The Dalai Lama was not “deported”. He escaped the Chinese.
Ruskin Bond is fully English. His character Rusty was an Anglo-Indian boy.
Although there was undoubtedly some racism, local historians claim there was never a sign banning Indians from The Mall. There is no photographic evidence on record. The photo taken is from a recent series filmed in Shimla and the sign was for a private club.
The cannon on Gun Hill was fired at exactly noon.

Although it would be good to have the correct facts, it still males a good story.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thanks for sharing this valuable piece of information Tsering.

Tsering Says

I just wanted to point out the fact that HH Dalai Lama was NOT deported but had been EXILED due to occupation and colonization of Tibet by China. That is why we Tibetans are termed as Tibetan refugees. Please make the correction.

Deepak Bisht Says

Thank you Himanshu Gupta. It was a typo error, thank you for updating us.

Himanshu Gupta Says

Mt Everest is 8848 mtrs. Lal tibba can not be 8000 mtrs high. Plz check the number again. It should be 8000 feet.