Great weather, a cosy Airbnb home, and some great food…singer Lisa Mishra’s stay at Dehradun was nothing short of perfect! She even made plenty of music—a thing she loves the most in the world. By Lisa Mishra
What’s not to love about the mountains? There’s something magical about the place that draws you to Uttarakhand’s winter capital, Dehradun. Known for its flawless landscapes, winter charm, rich history, and well-respected academies, the city ranks high up amongst my favourite hill destinations in India. No matter how many times I visit, it is never enough. And luckily, I got a chance to kick off 2021 with a trip there.
Here are my top recommendations on where to stay, eat and shop when visiting Dehradun, and the Queen of Hills, Mussoorie.
WHERE TO STAY
There is no dearth of places to stay in Dehradun, but an Airbnb home—Nirvana Orchards—truly captures the city’s rustic, historical and friendly essence. If I had to describe Nirvana Orchards in just a few words, it would be — windows, windows and more windows! It is aptly fashioned to let most of the outside, come inside. Spread across 12 acres of beautiful orchards, this sprawling property consists of three cottages that are cosy, airy yet spacious. The entire home is extremely endearing, complete with modern amenities and an old-country charm. If you like, you can even request the hosts to set up tents.
I especially enjoyed my mornings surrounded by nature in the property’s sprawling lawns. I enjoyed the feeling of timelessness while being in the open during the lovely walking trails here. Fruit picking was another highlight of the trip.
On our first night, our Airbnb host arranged for a bonfire. It was a gorgeous night sky under which we created soothing music (more on that soon!). We also cooked some delicious kebabs, curries and rice in the kitchen to end the night perfectly. That’s my favourite part of staying at an Airbnb — being able to cook my own meals.
WHERE TO EAT
I can’t talk about a trip to Dehradun without mentioning the countless food choices. You can beat the cold with a soothing bowl of Tibetan thenthuk at Lhasa Tibet Kitchen, or make time to visit Café Di Piccolo, a really cute café with some really amazing Italian food and great coffee.
When in Landour, I recommend a visit to the Landour Bakehouse for a cup of hot coffee and delectable desserts. Check out Cafe Ivy and The Mudcup Café, too.
WHERE TO SHOP
I visited the Tibetan market on my Airbnb host’s recommendation, and what a find! Here, you can shop for gorgeous tribal jewellery, handbags, and unique arts and handicrafts from the region. However, the market is also known for its delicious Tibetan snacks. And, of course, no shopping trip is complete without some delicious food! I went all out on the momos and noodles. Pro tip: they also serve noodle soup with extra butter—a must-try if you’re a foodie like me!
PLACES TO EXPLORE
Clock Tower: The scenic city snuggled in the Himalayas can be traced back to the British era. You’ll find a lot of architectural structures that have been witness to those times. One of the most popular landmarks is the lovely, historical and architecturally-marvellous clock tower that was built before Independence. Be sure to take a picture for your Instagram feed here!
Mindrolling Monastery: Dehradun is home to a large Tibetan community. One of the most peaceful getaways here is the Mindrolling Monastery. Built in 1965, this Buddhist monastery houses mesmerising relics, murals and Tibetan art. But the most breathtaking of all is the 60-metre-tall stupa.
DAY TRIPS FROM DEHRADUN
Mussoorie: I made a trip to Mussoorie — another quaint hill station; it was a little over an hour’s drive from Dehradun. First up on my list here was a visit to the Mall road. It was interesting to learn that Mall road is almost 184 years old. I bought some lovely trinkets, but found myself spoilt for choice, especially with the plethora of sweaters and knitwear available. When at Mall Road, you cannot miss out on Maggi with a hot cup of tea.
Jabarkhet Nature Reserve, and Landour: Jabarkhet Nature Reserve is worth a visit if you like trekking and want to explore nature at its best. The spectacular views of Himalayas, Shivaliks and Doon valley, made me wonder why we choose to live in cities.
Post our trek, we explored Landour, a cantonment town with vintage cottages and architecture that’s symbolic of the British Raj era. A must-visit here is St Paul’s Church, which was built in 1839. After you’re done soaking in its beauty, grab a bite at the famous Char Dukan. A little further ahead of Char Dukan lies a very stunning walking trail; especially lovely in winter evenings. Landour’s legendary winter line is perfect for your Instagram feed, with snow-peaked mountains and Deodar trees making for a perfect backdrop.