Nestled in an acre of Oak, Pine and Deodar trees, La Villa Bethany is an old English Cottage in the Himalayan town of Landour. Located at 7,600 feet, Landour offers spectacular views of the Upper Himalayas and the Doon Valley. There is a constant play between the elements and the vistas keep changing to enchant the beholder. This internationally acclaimed home stay has won over 7 Awards in under 5 years of operations for its green initiatives and customer service. Landour as a destination has been untouched by rampant commercialization and has retained its old world charm taking guests back in time to enjoy the pleasures of country life.
Cuisine: A country style dining room serving cuisine a la maison (Regional, Indian and International)
Summer – 24°c high, 11°c low
Winter – 15°c high and 1°c low
Monsoon – 22° c high, 12° c low, 175 mm of rainfall
Best time to visit: Every season has a charm of its own
By Air : Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun (1 hour)
By Train : Dehradun Railway Station (30 minutes)
By Road : By Bus to Picture Palace, Mussoorie which is 10 minutes away or via private car
THINGS TO DO
Nag Tibba – Nag Tibba, is a trekker’s delight. It presents stunning views of the Bandarpoonch peak, the Gangotri group of peaks, the Kedarnath peak in the North, the Doon valley and the snow peaks of Chanabang. Nag Tibba which is also known as Serpent’s Peak, is the highest peak (3,022 m) in the Nag Tibba ranges of the Garhwal Himalayas. This range is said to be the abode of Nag Devta. The Nag Tibba trek takes you through dense mountainous forests, rich in flora and fauna. La Villa Bethany is approximately 10 kms from the base of the Nag Tibba range from where it’s a two day trail to reach just short of the 10,000 ft altitude which should be on every trekkers list.
Jabarkhet Nature – This reserve is spread over 300 acres and is an unspoiled jungle just 4 kms from La Villa Bethany. This privately owned nature reserve has approximately 50 species of ferns, 70 species of mushrooms, a wide inventory of flowers with orchids and medicinal plants, meadows and black berry bushes. Leopards and the endangered black bear have been spotted here – one bear with two cubs. Barking deer, goral, wild boar and porcupine have been caught on camera as well. However, these animals do not come in conflict with humans as they have plenty of food and water in the forest. The reserve is a community investment project, as the support staff is hired from the local villages.
Upper Chukkar – An old bridal trail, which circles the three summits of Landour ridge, is known as the Upper Chukkar. This part also remains the most secluded and beautiful area of town, with spectacular views of the snow clad Great Himalayas, dense Deodar forests, and peaceful slopes. You could catch a close up view of the snow peaks through the telescope at La Tibba.
Sir George Everest’s House – Sir George Everest was the first Surveyor General of India. In 1865, it was after him, that the famous Mount Everest was introduced to the world. The house he built in 1832 is today’s famous Sir George Everest’s House and Laboratory in Park Estate. The house spectacularly located with the Doon valley on one side and Aglar river valley and snow bound Himalayan ranges on the other. This area is ideal for trekking and picnics.
Sister’s Bazaar – Sisters Bazaar is a small market with only three shops – a bakery, a grocery shop and a handicraft shop. But your visit to Landour is not complete without a visit here. Stop here for homemade peanut butter, jam & cheese or simply a cup of coffee.
Chaar Dukaan – Chaar-Dukaan are four shops which stand next to St. Paul’s Church. This spot is the proverbial village square. Chaar-Dukan is a laidback place where you can enjoy culinary delights like hot parathas, bun omelets, pizzas, pastas, noodles, pancakes, different kinds of juices, aromatic tea and coffee. Bask in the sun and enjoy the crispy breeze.
Landour bazar – One can find woollens and antiques in the Landour Bazar. Not to be missed are the custom made shoes available here.
Himalayan Weavers – Located on the Mussoorie Dhanaulti Road is ‘Himalayan Weavers’ which produces hand-woven shawls, stoles, scarves and throws using only natural dyes and wool, eri silk and pashmina. Their aim is to produce high quality handloom products, popularize the use of environmentally friendly natural dyes and provide a market for craft products made in the Himalayan region, thereby generating local employment. Located only 8 kms away from the property, a day excursion can be organized.
Purkal Stree Shakti – Purkal Stree Shakti (woman power) is a women empowerment program in rural India which aims to empower female artisans who create handmade quilts and textile handicrafts. Inspired by India’s colorful culture, Stree Shakti artisans hand stitch quilted bed covers, silk comforters, children’s quilts, baby quilts, handbags, and home accessories. Located close to the property on the Dehradun – Mussoorie road, a day excursion could be organized. All the quilts at La Villa Bethany are made by theseartisans.
Pari Tibba – This hill top has a multitude of sulphur deposits. When lightning strikes, from a distance, it looks as if sparks are coming off a witch’s wand. That’s why it’s called ‘The Hill of the Fairies’ or ‘Witches’ Hill’. Pari Tibba stands on the Eastern flank of Mussoorie and is surrounded by thick Oak and Deodar forests. Walking this circuit in April is particularly special, with Rhododendrons in bloom and the Oak in purple new leaf. From October onwards, you get a front seat view of the spectacular Mussoorie winter line.
The Benog Wildlife Sanctuary – This haven lies on the outer most ridge of the Himalayas, 2,150 m to 2,800 m above sea level. Set up in 1993 and known as much for the Kempty falls as for its widlife, this sanctuary lies within the catchments of the Aglar River, a tributary of the Yamuna. The sanctuary was set up primarily with the objective of protecting the area’s dwindling bird population and diversity, especially the Himalayan pheasant and the Monal (the state bird of Uttarakhand) which are becoming rare. The white crested Kaleej pheasant, snow partridge, bush quail, blue rock pigeon, fire tailed sun bird, and the whistling thrush are some of the other birds found her. The now extinct mountain quail was last sighted in the Binog forests in 1986.
Bhadraj Forest – Bhadraj is situated at the extreme Western end of Mussoorie. The trekking trail of Bhadraj forest and temple leads you through the densely forested northern slopes and southern slopes which are covered with barren grasslands. You pass through extremely contrasting terrain. On one side, the majestic Himalaya overlooks the trail, and on the other side Indian plains emerge. Bhadraj Temple is dedicated to Lord Bal Bhadra, brother of Lord Krishna. The summit provides a panoramic view of the Doon valley, Himalayan peaks, Shivalik ranges, Dakpather and Asan Barrage. The Chakrata ranges and Jaunsar Bawar areas can also be seen from here. Every year a three day fair is held at Bhadraj temple starting from 15th August to 17th August.