I visited Mussourie this weekend with my friends.
As we started climbing, the views were breathtaking and we were actually in clouds. In the town, it was the typical British ambience with the mandatory Library in the main square and the Mall Road. The rickshaws, friendly people, food and the fact that you can stand anywhere in the town and admire the view made the perfect mix. Gun hill point is another lovely place to be in.
The town is like a balcony that nature has built for you. Just stand anywhere, take a deep breath and lose yourself in the beauty of the mountains.
Some credit also goes to the miserable weather of Delhi that made the contrast all the more sharp!
The best part was the trek to Shri Jwala Devi Mandir. It was about 2 kms one way. We had Santramji from Dudhli village to guide us. For me, who has been in cities most of my life, talking to Santramji made me feel what life in hills is. He has a small farm that gives potatoes, green peas and other vegetables. The village does not get regular potable water supply, so the villagers have made alternative arrangements from nearby natural sources. There is a dispensary and a school. But the school is only till 7th standard. He was sure he wanted his children to go to Mussourie after 7th...that was very heartening to know. The provisions are sent by jeep but more often it is the mules and horses who do the task. Electricity is ok but as I mentioned water is difficult. The man was so quiet and smiled so often, it is difficult not to respect someone like that.
The views while walking to the temple were awesome. Every 10 steps, there was a view to appreciate. There were flowers that nature had planted. It was amazing. Mussourie lives to its reputation of being the Queen of mountains.
Santram also spoke about the stone quarrying that used to happen in the hills and was banned by Government later. He mentioned that climate and life have improved after the ban. But is a Government ban enough? On top of the hill, by the temple was an empty water tank. There were some 20 plastic bottles thrown in by visitors.
Really, I could not see the logic in that. Elsewhere too, near the Kempty falls, so much of plastic was thrown that at times people felt distracted by the plastic. And no, the administration is not to be blamed. In Mussourie, there are good roads, facilities, proper traffic control, toilets, trash cans, directions and appeals to not litter. The trash was getting cleaned every day. It is indeed our own duty to just control ourselves till we see the next trash can. Really, it does not take much. Our actions should not work against the pure air and bliss of the nature that places like Mussourie offer.
Perhaps as the Cadbury's ad says, ask yourself - "Have you earned the pure air?"