I have mastered the art of isolation, and mountains have always helped me externalize my emotions. The few friends that I am left with, they keep telling me that I rubbed off my personality from a mountain. I usually take that as a compliment. Mountains were my first love – the only constant that I have opened my heart to.
I have travelled to almost all the recognizable hill stations across the country. I used the word recognizable since the place that I am about to talk about is often overlooked, even though it is quite a convenient place. Lansdowne, unlike Manali, Shimla, or Rishikesh, deserves the same amount of attention and ardour – I think it does except it has managed to keep itself secluded from the mainstream at the height of 1700 meters.
Hike, Pray and Love
I think I had a brief moment of epiphany when I realized that corporate life was not meant for me. Not to romanticize, but Delhi is a sentient being, it speaks volumes to me. And, when you are a loner, you do get to observe these small details. So, I had to test this theory out and see if the travel life wants to choose me. Lansdowne seemed like a quaint place for me to know if I wanted to travel for the rest of my life.
Lansdowne can be reached by road – located in the Himalayas; the streets are only convenient routes. It is roughly a six hours drive from Rohtak, which is why I booked a convenient taxi service in Rohtak. Delhi to Rohtak takes about an hour and a half. Rohtak might seem like an inconvenient route for me, but I had to make the detour – there was some personal business that required my attention. (See, even in writing, my loner instincts won’t let me divulge details of my life)
Lansdowne – a slow respite
People often say that you aren’t to be left alone with your thoughts. But Lansdowne is for folks who’d love to be left alone with their thoughts. Don’t misplace it as an ideal tourist spot; it is neither commercialized nor urbanized. This place served as a recruitment ground for British forces to supply the workforce to the Garhwal rifles. So, I knew what I was getting myself into. Even though it is a place of respite, I had to make a travel itinerary. I wasn’t just going to sit around and brood.
A bit of leftover colonial history
Lansdowne is a fading reminder of the colonial history left behind. Named after the then Viceroy Lord Lansdowne, its resonating silence is the most beautiful part.
Quitely Exploring Silence
Navigating silence is an art, so is silence. After a good night’s sleep, I woke up early to walk around the town.
I was suggested by a group of travellers that I visit old St. Mary’s church. The church stands erect like a goth queen, which harmonizes with the town’s residing tranquillity. I walked around the church and was able to catch a glimpse of the Himalayan mountain range. The peace here is addictive, almost makes you lethargic, normalizing your inner monologues. By the time I left St. Mary’s, I had enough monologues to add to a feature film. I did not feel like visiting the Bhulla Tal – not a massive fan of water bodies.
I started to retreat for the day, reaching the Mall Road late in the evening. I managed to get some snacks and some dinner. The city life seemed to have spoilt me; everything here closes down by 7:30.
Trekking at Kalagarh Wildlife Sanctuary
I decided to go for a small trek since what’s the point in just loitering around. Before I went for the trek, I decided to make a stop at Tip n Top to view the majesty of snow-clad Himalayas. Don’t worry, Himalaya is the kind of cameo that will keep appearing throughout the journey.
Kalagarh Wildlife Sanctuary is a part of the Corbett landscape and a natural haven for wildlife of Lansdowne. Although it seemed a bit far away from Lansdowne, I did not mind this subset of a trip to Kalagarh.
The theory of a choice
After Kalagarh, I planned for my return to Delhi. I think I am ready to travel. And, this trip helped me realize that. This perhaps is my calling – not being a white-collar corporate slave.
Note: If you want a smoother travel experience, try booking a cab from Delhi to Lansdowne. It will recommend the following route – Delhi – Ghaziabad – Modinagar – Meerut – Khatauli – Mirapur – Bijnor – Najibabad – Kotdwar – Lansdowne.
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