Mussoorie: Cloud’s End
Out and about in Mussoorie
(The article was originally published on my blog. But Weebly’s always going to be irritating. So, here it is!)
A common paradox faced by travelers is whether to spread the word about the beautiful and relatively pristine place that they stumbled upon; while telling about it will certainly help more people know about it, it could also lead to the fate of it changing for the worse, on your next trip there. So what do you do?
Sirpal Singh grazes goats in Mussoorie.
We met him, as he sat on a rock, near the Cloud’s End resort, on a stretch overlooking the entire town of Dehradun.
A dog was alongside him, its name revealed to be ‘Doggy’. It seemed friendly enough, sniffing around all of us, though the owner warned us about getting too close to him, as we lost and found our fingers within its fur. One of my friends tried taking a selfie with it, only for it to come alarmingly close in one frame and lose all interest in the next.
The herd with him, the herder estimated to be around 400. He told us that they almost always lose one goat per day; it does become rather hard to get them all back when one wrong step could lead to you losing both altitude and life. As if to underline that point, we saw a goat clambering up to munch leaves off a tree which grew where the underlying ground seemed to just fall away
We met Baccha Singh, who was some way behind his compatriot.
It was getting rather late, so we asked him about any precautions to be taken on the way back.
He laughed and told us about a group which had been heading back to Mussoorie just some time past. They had given him a beer and a cigarette, which was presently burning away between his lips. He grinned as he narrated this tale. He walked with us for some time, and turned back after making his farewell. The goats kept on emerging from the dense undergrowth.
The forest was all around us. There were hollows, sometimes just shallow openings, sometimes like dark caves, at regular intervals. The leaves of the trees surrounded the wires, which accompanied us throughout our walk.
The silence was deafening at Cloud’s End; there was the occasional car, the odd bike, the cawing of a crow. But mostly, there was the wind and the silence. The sun provided the warmth that the wind blew away.
There was also the sign of the men who had been here before us; the beer cans, the plastic bottles and wrappers.
The langurs we met on our way up, were just as shy on our way back, as they shook the trees and screamed. There were birds, in twos and threes, which we had never seen before. There were signs proclaiming ‘Private Property. Trespassers will be prosecuted’.
We chanced upon camping sites, only to hear children singing a latest Bollywood blockbuster song from somewhere even more down below. Making our way down, we saw a valley. And it was magical. The dogs, the kids, the singing, the trees, the cool, the hills watching over it all….
Later, while walking, a couple whizzed past us on a Bullet; my friend sighed. ‘Relationship goals’ he said.
Cloud’s End is a 7 km long walk from Library Chowk. Preferably take the two wheeled variety, so you can stop and gaze. And oh, it is a resort, not a point. So you will be going only for the journey.