Lansdowne, was originally called Kaludanda after Kalu (Black) and Danda (Hill) in Garhwali. After the British came to India, they called it Lansdowne, after Lord Lansdowne, the then Viceroy of India (1888-1894).
On 5 November 1887, the first battalion of Garhwal Rifles shifted to Lansdowne from Almora. In the late 1870s Lansdowne was the only city after Almora and it was developed as a Recruits Training center for Garhwal Rifles. Presently Garwal Rifles has its command office here. During the freedom struggle it also became a major place for activities of the freedom fighters from British Garhwal.
It is one of the closest (from Delhi) and quietest hill stations of India in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand and is well connected with motor able roads. It is situated at an altitude of 1,706 mts above sea level surrounded with thick oak and blue pine forests.
People of different culture and states came to do business in Lansdowne after it became popular. Most of the buildings and church of Lansdowne was built during British period.
It is an ideal location for eco-tourism as it is well preserved by the Government of Uttarakhand and the Garhwal Rifles in an area of 6 sq km.
How to reach
The drive to Lansdowne is beautiful with not much traffic. The route goes through small hamlets and thickly forested countryside roads. The first view of Lansdowne is breathtaking, tall oaks and blue pines raise like spires off the mountainside. The forests are lovely, dark and deep, just ideal for those long walks and for rejuvenating oneself.
Stage 1: Delhi to Meerut 70 kms. If you leave Delhi by 0600 hrs then one can go right through Meerut town up to Begum Bridge and turn RIGHT on the Mawana road ( NH 119 ). If starting later get on to the Meerut by pass and after going 9 kms take a right turn at the fly over (under construction at the moment) toward Meerut Cantt. After 3 kms turn left and proceed for 2.5 kms and take a right turn cross the railway line and turn left to proceed towards Sadar bazaar, Sofia Girls Higher Secondary School and onto the Mawana road.
Break: Stop over at Monty Millions a restaurant just 2 kms out of Meerapur. It has clean rest rooms & you can have breakfast / lunch depending on the time you reach there.
Stage 2: Take a RIGHT turn from here to the barrage over the Ganges 15 kms away then onwards. Bijnor to Kiratpur is 16 kms and from there to Najibabad is 15kms and then another 25 kms to Kotdwara.
Stage 3: 2 kms out of Doggada there is a T-junction. Take the LEFT turn on the PAURI road (the right turn goes to Lansdowne which is 23 kms from this point ). 15 1/2 kms from this turn one has to take a RIGHT turn for Lansdowne and Oak Grove Inn at Jaiharikhal is just 5.2 kms away.
By Rail (nearest station Kotdwar) – about 8 hours travel (7 hrs train + 1 hr road)
Take a train to Kotdwar railway station (40 km/1 hr from us). The best option is Mussoorie Express (Departure: Old Delhi 10:15 pm; Arrival: Kotdwar 5:20 am) Hire a cab to Lansdowne, approx Rs 500.
We chose to stay in a beautiful guest house, Oak Groove Inn, run by Rawats, Retd Col Rawat and his wife Mrs Neelam. It is small property but with a big heart. They serve simple vegetarian food, just like home, and on request they do provide you with non-vegetarian food also.
The Rawats are warm and hospitable, with a small but efficient team as staff. The highlight for me was an evening when we sat down for drinks with Col Rawat in the ‘Hang-Out’. The rooms were clean and comfortable. It was a short holiday but the behavior of the hosts (Rawats) make me want to go back again. It was definitely one of my most memorable vacations in a very long time.