Lansdowne is a small hill station in the Kotdwara District of Uttarakhand. Lansdowne, named after its founder Lord Lansdowne, is the headquarter of The Garhwal Rifles of The Indian Army. This great hill station is completely away from hustle and bustle and hence is distinct from the normal hill stations which are crowded. Landsdowne is approx. 275 kms from Delhi. The road from Delhi to Landowne passes through Ghaziabad, Modinagar, Meerut, Bijnor, Najibabad and Kotdwara. While riding from Delhi to Lansdowne, we became aware of these places, either by the sign-boards along the road or by local stories, but escaped many due to the shortage of time, but if you have enough time, you can add these good places to your itinerary. This post is about all those places lies between Delhi and Lansdowne.
We wanted to start our ride early by 5 AM, but due to night duty in the office, we got delayed and could depart from Delhi by 6.30 AM only. Delhi’s road was still empty due to the less traffic, so we were able to manage the rode at the speed of 60-70 kmph. We planned to leave Delhi as soon as possible to avoid traffic congestion in the office hours. Since traffic at NH-58 between Ghaziabad and Meerut also got worse in the morning office hours,we were intended to reach Meerut early. At this speed, we reached Partapur Bypass just before Meerut City around 8.15AM. In this two hours ride there is nothing significant to see, but if you want to taste the famous Jain Shikanji (a health-friendly lemon drink) of Modinagar, you can stop there, which just 23 kms after Ghaziabad.
From Meerut, The road towards Bijnor passes through the congested Meerut City, but we wanted to avoid the city at all. So, we asked for the help from a local traffic cop. He advised us to go on the Bypass Road and after Subharati University take a diversion to the Meerut Cantt and from there straight to Meerut-Bijnor Road. This way we avoided the major part of the Meerut City and passed through the less crowded Merrut Cantt Area. By 9.00 AM, we were on Meerut-Bijnor Road. Meerut is not a major tourist site and it is mainly famous for being an Army Cantonment. However, this city played the major role in the First Independence Struggle as sepoy mutiny in 1857 strated here.
We continued further for 20 minutes and stopped at a roadside dhaba for breakfast and some rest.Continuing further away we noticed that Mawana is 8 kms away from this highway and Hastinapur is some 20 kms away. Hastinapur is well known place in the epic of Mahabharta. It is also a major pilgrimage center of Jain Religion. There two great Jain temples in Hastinapur. It is also said to be the birth place of three Jain tirthankars, Shantinatha, Kunthunath and Arahanatha. Although my friend suggested that it is not a very interesting place to visit, but your Google search may convince you to visit this place, as images of Hastinapur Temples look like grand structures.
But, we did not have time to visit Hastinapur, so we moved further and without any significant event reach to Chaudhari Charan Singh Barrage on The Ganga River just before Bijnor. We stopped there for photo shoots, brought kakdi and stayed there for half an hour. In the return journey to Delhi, we again stopped here, when I took bath in The Ganges and Shailender prefer to click the pictures.
In onwards journey, we took the Bijnor Bypass and passed through Jalalabad, Najibabad to reach Kotdwara by 1.00 PM. Except from the 3-4 kms of bad patch due construction in Najibabad City, the complete road is in excellent condition.
There is also an interesting fort in Najibabad known as Najibudaulah’s Fort. After the downfall of the Mughal Empire during the 18th century, Najibudaulah aka Gulam Kadir constructed the Najibaudaulah’s Fort in Najibabad. This age old fort stands even today and was called as Sultana Dakoo’s shelter during the British era.It is also known as Sultana Dakoo ka Qila.
Till now, no intention of lunch was there in our minds, so we continued towards Lansdowne. Just outside the city of Kotdwara, there is a Hanuman Temple, known as Sidhbali Baba Temple. This temple is one of the important places in the Kotdwara and situated on the bank of the river Khoh. As per the legend, the Nath community Guru Gorakhnath and their pupil, who are known as Sidh (Saint) meditated here for long time. So many saints have been meditated here for a long time. Some of them are Baba Sitaram ji, Baba Gopal Das Ji, Baba Narayan Das Ji & saint Sevadas Ji. Falahari Baba Ji meditated here for so many years and ate only fruits. One Mohammedan saint also lived here for so many years. This place is worshiped by Hindu as well as Mohammedans.
After that, the road passed through the hilly terrain and our speed was only about 20 kmph after 10 kms of Kotdwara. We started feeling hungry and wanted to stop for the lunch. We enjoyed our ride on the zig-zag road and stopped at few locations for the pictures. However, we did not find any decent dhaba, so continued moving towards Lansdowne. Before entering in Lansdowne, you have to pay the municipality tax of Rs.1 for each bike.
We reached Landsdowne at 4.00 PM. My Vodafone network stopped following me 2 kms before Lansdowne and when we reached Lansdowne I was told that only BSNL, Reliance and in some extent Airtel networks work there. It was a great thing as there was nobody to disturb you till you will be out of Lansdowne.
The first look of Lansdowne seemed like a small town away from the tourist enthusiasts. We enquired about the accommodation and reached at the GMVN guest house. They offered us a separate hut at the cost of Rs.1500 per night. The hut was in a good location, but its condition was not so good. So, we went to another nearby hotel, but that was fully occupied by a tourist group.
We returned to the market of Lansdowne, a small chowk, known as Gandhi Chowk and got a decent double room at Hotel Mayur at the cost of Rs.800 per night. This was the end of our 10 hours run from Delhi to Lansdowne and we were in relaxed mood now. I took bath, while Shailender was busy with the order of some snacks. After filling our hungry stomach, we took a small nap of 40 minutes and then went to explore the nearby area of Lansdowne. In the next post, I will take you around the major attractions of Lansdowne.