Mussoorie: Laal Tibba
Out and about in Mussoorie
(This article was originally published on my blog. But Weebly’s getting very irritating nowadays. Anyways, enjoy!)
Just like Cloud’s End, there is a certain confusion surrounding the other vantage point in the hill town, the Laal Tibba.
It’s said that there’s a point, a certain point, which was the Laal Tibba, which is now on private property, and hence inaccessible. Not that we tried, but hey, could be possible.
If you care to go there (and you should), you will find two cafes, both with either monoculars or telescopic lenses on their second levels. The owner of one, the government owned one apparently, points to the photos of the celebrities who were here and says that they were here to drink his fresh, handmade coffee. It costs 70 a cup, but if you land up at his ‘happy hours’, it’s at 50.
At the second level, a man at the fag end of middle age is sitting on a bench. His sunglasses give him a certain swag, which the straggly hairs of his beard take away. He points at certain points in the horizon and names them. To the left, he says that the Gangotri glacier is near the 2 visible peaks; Kedarnath and Badrinath are visible too, in the centre; behind them, China is said to start.
The telescope fails miserably at bringing us closer to these marvels though; at our exclamations of dismay, the man gruffly walks up and sets it and asks us to look again. We do. It’s still not visible. As more people start trickling in, with all of them struggling with the viewfinder, the man quietly disappears. The coffee is strong to the taste.
As the sun starts making its downward journey, the fog around the peaks starts to clear. The peaks aren’t alone; there are mountains around them and more peaks emerge alongside them. There is snow on the peaks, aye, but there is also a barren brown appearance on the relatively lower regions surrounding them. The clouds above tear away and disappear.
The adjoining property proclaimed itself as ‘Private Estate.’ We clambered over the low wall, and begin the photo posing routine. We walked up to a tree, which like all good trees here, overlooked a slope. Just a couple of hours ago, we had seen a kid climb it’s branches, as a pair of aunties sat and talked on a mat next to the tree. Standing where they had been sitting, I realized that they truly were the people who lived here; I made my retreat using all four limbs. Standing, joking, freezing in the cold wind, we watched the sun set.
The road leading up to it isn’t as lone and remote as the one to Cloud’s End; look below, and you will be greeted by roofs and buildings, whereas the latter will welcome you with very rare to no signs of human habitation. There is also a technical institute on the way; there were also many vehicles of the two and four wheeled variety, though taking a big one isn’t advisable; a Scorpio had to stop and squeeze its way forward on the steep, narrow road; the WagonR owner, who was the one coming down, stepped out and found dents on the car due to it being squeezed out of space.
We met a dog on the way back too; on seeing a monkey, it trotted up to it and snarled; the monkey jumped back on the tree. At Landour, where there were many shops, we rewarded it with a packet of ParleG biscuits.
The shopkeeper told us that the peaks are best visible around October and the crowd is most visible during the summer vacations.
Laal Tibba is 4 km from the Picture Palace bus stand (where all the taxis are parked). Preferably walk, as most of the route is through the quiet part of town. Otherwise get a two-wheeler or rent a small cab.