Inspiring hill station Lansdowne, Himachal Pradesh..

Lansdowne hill station

Lansdowne hill station, Uttarakand

There are countless hill stations across India, some had been in existence  even before the  arrival of the British and other Europeans. Invariably, many of the hill stations were  well explored and developed by the British during the East India company rule and after the  British Crown took over the administration of India (1857) from the EIC.  Many of them later developed into  popular hill stations or summer capitals. Example: Shimla and Ooty, the latter being the summer capital of the Madras Presidency.  As the adage goes  "necessity is the mother of invention", it became an urgent need for the British to move up hill and reside  comfortably. Unable to bear the intense heat, hot sun and mosquitoes on the plains, the English began to look for places across their areas of control to beat the  hot summer and seek refuge in the cool and congenial places full of trees and greenery on the hills. Thus they explored various mountains, including   the Eastern Ghat, Western Ghat mountains and the Lower Himalayas and found favorable places not only to relax, engage  in sports in  but also to train soldiers.Thus they developed military training schools at many hill stations
Terrace farming. Lansdowne,

Lansdowne, a cantonment town in Pauri Garhwal district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, is  a fine, but remote hill station  with lot of greenery and tall trees, offering a quiet  location for fun and relaxation. It is a popular  hill resort in the northern states because it can be  accessed by good road.  Situated at an altitude of 1,706 mts (5,686 feet) above sea level surrounded with thick oak and blue pine forests, it was founded and named after then Viceroy of India  Lord Lansdowne. Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne KG  (14 January 1845 - 3 June 1927) was a British statesman who served successively as the fifth Governor General of Canada and Viceroy of India (1888-1894).

 Viceroy of India  Lord Lansdowne (1888-1894).

medals & decorations -Marquess of Lansdowne, ,

Above image:  Medals & decorations -Marquess of Lansdowne, Silver Viceroy's Medal, 1888. Lansdowne was  the fifth Governor General of Canada and Viceroy of India (1888-1894) ............

Lansdowne in  the early years, had  a low population of  less than 5000 people (1901). Earlier, Garhwal was known as  Kaludanda (Hindi:  Kalu meaning Black and Danda Hill in Garhwali).

The British developed it as a military training center, considering its tough terrain, nice weather and seclusion. Mainly the center trained the recruits for their special division "The Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army".  During the British period,  Lansdowne  became a center of  activities of freedom fighters, hailing from this region. 
Old st. Mary's church.lansdowne
Only upon the arrival of the first battalion of Garhwal Rifles from Almora on 5 November 1887, the population of this small place went up. By the  mid 1800s and later, people of different culture moved in to engage in trade and .it became popular. Lansdowne is believed to be a nice location for eco-tourism as it is well preserved by the Government of Uttarakhand and the Garhwal Rifles.

Attracted by fine, congenial, cool weather and clean surroundings, lately the tourists from the plains make a beeline to this hill station to take a break from the terrible summer heat and hot wind. It is also home to a lot of colorful birds. It is a perfect place to lose one's  persona and be at peace oneself. You have plenty of opportunities to spend your time outdoors, hiking,  boating, paddling and even 
bird watching, etc and these can be done in a relaxing and cozy way in Lansdowne. 

There are historical buildings and church,  dating back to the per-independence period in Lansdowne. Mention may be made of The War Memorial, at the Parade Ground of the Garhwal Rifles Center. The soldiers  well-trained here,  fought numerous battles and served the British Army with distinction. Certain places are under the military control, prior permission is a necessity to visit such places.  

There are several  other tourist places here - Hindu temples, Church, old British buildings, and  the Garhwal Rifles regimental museum. The museum has innumerable war related items, arms, rare photos are on display, covering 100 years of war history. Also called Darwan Singh Sanghralaya, the museum has  on display the Victoria Cross awarded to  one Darwan Singh of  the Garhwal Rifles. .

Among the tourist attraction is  The old cemetery in Kitchner Lines which is believed to be is one of the more mysterious places here.  Further, it carries the tag that it is  one of the most haunted places in Lansdowne. The reason is simple: Many war veterans were  laid to rest in this old cemetery, which is 150 years old in a remote place far away from their homes and relatives. Perhaps,  they may be turning in the grave once in a while,, making a lot noise when they relive their past lives!! 

 In the surrounding  hilly areas, wherever you hike,  you will get carried away by  thick oak and blue pine forests that throw cool shadows to smoothen your nerves and the scenic beauty is enhanced by mists and hanging clouds on the mountains. A place soaked in nature's beauty in a tropical country where you make inroads into your spiritual life.

One can reach this cantonment town by train : From Delhi to Kotdwar (Mussorie Express and Garhwal Express) and by road : From Kotdwar (40 km away). From Haridwar by bus to Kotdwara. Just one plus hour drive. The drive from Kotdwara to Lansdowne is quite steep and scenic. 


 01. John Sullivan, then Collector of Coimbatore  in the early 1800s, was instrumental in discovering the Nilagri mountains in the state of Tamil Nadu. He was the first European to have built a stone house in Ooty.

02. Modern Kodaikanal, yet another famous hill station in Tamil Nadu was established by American Christian missionaries and British bureaucrats in 1845. But the hill station had been there before them.

03. The hill station town of Nainital was founded only in 1841. One
P. Barron, a sugar trader from Shahjahanpur, built the first European house (Pilgrim Lodge) there. Later it became a popular summer resort.

04. Darjeeling had been a hill station even before the arrival of the British. In 1828, a delegation of the British East India Company (BEIC) officials, on its way to the Nepal-Sikkim border,  got a chance to stay in Darjeeling and decided that the region was a suitable site for a sanatorium for British soldiers and others. 

05. It was Lord Curzon - the Governor General and Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, who took keen interest in Shimla, which became the summer capital of British India. In 1864, Shimla was declared as the summer capital of British India, succeeding Murree (now in Pakistan). He also established one of the oldest Golf clubs in the world at a higher altitude in a place called Naldehra near Shimla.  It was in 1819, Lieutenant Ross, the Assistant Political Agent of the East India company built the wooden cottage. Three years later in 1822, his successor one Charles Kennedy, a Scottish civil servant, constructed a small house in Shimla. Now it is the state capital of Himachal Pradesh and a famous hill resort in India.

06. There is a long avenue in Vancouver city (north Vancouver), British Columbia, Canada called Lansdowne Ave.