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Saturday, 9 July 2011

Mussoorie and its Camel's Back Road


Visit any tourist town in India and you will find yourself listening to the list of places of attraction from taxi drivers, tour arrangers, hotel staff and so on. Mussoorie is not different.

"Camel's Back Road" prominently appears in everyone's list in  Mussorie. I heard three different versions about the name. First, it was so called because the mountain range in distance looked like a resting camel from this road. I tried to imagine but the fog and the clouds in the valley did not allow me the complete view. On another occassion while having a break at the road side tea stall, a local mentioned that there is about 8-10 meter tall stone with the shape of a camel back at the end of this 4 km road. I never reached the end of the road as the winding road itself held enough charm and reaching its end never  occured to me. And in the evening in the hotel room, one internet site said that the road itself was of the shape of camel's back. I decided that all the versions could be true. Here is a Mussoorie map and one could decide if by any stretch of imagination they see a camel's back in the map or may be a more interested reader takes help of Google-earth.

The Camel's back road appears in the centre of the above map and one can  also see a Camel's rock but I never reached this rock.
After completing the regulation visits to temples, water falls, gardens etc, I decided to explore this road on one afternoon all alone and asked the cycle rikshawwallah to drop me at the start of the road. 

After collecting his 40 rupees, the rikshawallah pointed in the direction in which I should walk. About 300 meters in the direction and the picture changed entirely. In front was a green valley and beyond it, the mountain ranges in lush green attire. It took me some time to register that the noise of the vehicles, shopkeepers and tourists had just melted. 

 
 
How did the owner of this house reached this place? I wonder.
  
This was across the valley.

Soon enough the farthest end of the road came in sight and there was the Sant Nirankari Mission.
All along this road, there is a green valley on one side and the rising hill but still with a lot of greenery, on the other. There were only a few walkers, many of them resembling typical city joggers. Vehicular traffic was even lesser. A few cycle-rikshaws leisurely carried their fare but some of them were also carrying families with baggages, I wondered where? Soon enough the farthest end of the road came in sight and there was the Sant Nirankari Mission. Later it was also obvious that some special occasion was being celebrated at the mission that day.

Another thing to expect during this monsoon season was the ever changing weather. At one moment the valley basked in golden sunshine and the very next, dark clouds hid the sun and it resembled more like a full-moon night.  Hill side bunglows were hardly visible due to the mist cover.
















Camel's back road is a clean and neatly paved road with strong hand railings along its side. As one walks, there are good number of comfortable (ergonomically designed) seats along. In the valley, one sees variety of wild flowers and even the rocky hillside has something to offer as seen in this picture below.
 
While this experienced lady is looking for plants for her kitchen garden the younger one is busy sorting them out on a nearby comfortable seat.


The lady probably collected all these flowering plants
because later I found her walking back purposefully
with her collection with her junior alongside.



 


How could such a place exist within a town isolated from the hustle-bustle of the town ! Our hotel staff had said :  "Kuchh nahi saab, sirf chal-phir ya horse riding kar sakte hai. Taxi nahi jayegi !" (Nothing much, Sir. People just go for a walk or horse riding. taxi will not go there).

I did not dare to imagine my loss had I taken them seriously.

See this happy face in the adjacent picture whom I came across on the road. Speaks a lot about this part of Mussoorie and its people.

Does it sound as if I have come to an end of my blog? Hardly. 

I keep looking for birds wherever I visit. Though I saw enough evidence of them  during our train journey from Delhi to Dehradun, the Mussoorie town did not hold much promise. But that was only until I visited Camel's Back road.

See for yourself, what I saw on this stretch of about 3 Kms. Amazing bird life and I had to say "Wow !" which does not come too easily to me.


 




 
 

  


 
 




















One finds many habitats of Hill Mynas in the fortification of the hill side. This particular Myna was terribly upset over my intrusion with my camera into its territory.

There was also a close relative of House sparrow. It was dusk and the family had gathered around the nest in the hollow of this tree for the evening meal. But they did not oblige me with their family photograph.

It was time for me to return to my hotel. The show, however, was not over. Not yet. I could hear bells tolling in a distance and soon enough, the following sight was in the front :
  

Another view that I can not forget is this bird fearlessely resting on this high wire in the valley with a building block, on its way to its under-construction nest. 


I spent some time with it before I realised that my Mussoorie visit too is coming to an end and soon I would be back in my wired world.

14 comments:

  1. Brilliant!!!!

    loved the images and the commentary!!!

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  2. Beautiful. Nicely written and the photographs of the birds are awesome.

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  3. Truly Beautiful photography and the post & Thanks to @magiceye for tweet this blog link.Truly Beautiful photography and the post & Thanks to @magiceye for tweet this blog link.

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  4. nicely written with beautiful pics nandan maam

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  5. Excellent narration and superb pics

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  6. Lovely pictures - Great Blog !!

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  7. very nice;could visualise an unhurried walk and some amazing pictures to store the precious memories in; thanks to you we are able to enjoy this sitting at home.

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  8. lovely- feel like visiting Massuri
    Ashutosh

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  9. Hi Nandan, You are as good a blogger as a photographer. Great photos as always and you also have a flair for writing. I have been trying to pen down my thoughts on our trip. Maybe this should push me to complete it.

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  10. Nice writing ! lovely images !!

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  11. Nice report, the images were a treat!! :)

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  12. Thanks for sharing the images and information with us. I also spend my holidays in Mussoorie. Its a nice place with cool and calm nature.

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  13. Mussoorie is well connected within India and a crown of Uttarakhand state.The mighty Himalayas, takes one closer to nature’. Hotels in Mussoorie is also easier as it has different hotels with tariffs. Hotels in this city have something for everyone and 5 star hotels in Mussoorie are a great concern.

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  14. Hotel bookings in Mussoorie is definitely a tough nut to crack since the queen of hills is flooded with tourists and vacationers throughout the year. Therefore, all the pre-planners need to book their share before hand in order to have a hassle-free holiday at this nature’s gift. You can book your hotels online as well for that matter.

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