Photography · Travel

Lingering In Lansdowne, India.

Lansdowne is a small military cantonment, tucked in the hills of Uttarakhand, India.

I often find myself reminiscing of it, ‘a land frozen in time’. It was the last place I visited before the COVID pandemic hit us all.

Lansdowne is not flashy. You would recognize it as a small hamlet from a Ruskin Bond story or Malgudi Days.

A small double storey house found typically in the Himalayas in India
Hill House Blues

It boasts of a tiny market square with a handful of shops circling it. A bakery, a restaurant that in the evening is a movie theater, daily needs shops and so on. Cobbled- tiled lanes, trail off in different directions like the rays of the sun.

I stayed in a 112 year old haunted bungalow or so the plaque over its fireplace said. My room was on the top and the window looked out into a forest of pine trees. By the time it was dark, I had begun to feel like a heroine in a gothic novel.

Photograph and a plaque narrating the haunting of the Bungalow Roberts in Landsdowne in India.
Haunting Of Robscot Manor

I slept listening to the wind whistle and the house creak and settle for the night.

Woke up next morning to a loud din. Grey mist shrouded the pines spookily and the raindrops clattered on the tin roof. The winds howled and the rain lashed.

Hot puris and kettles of steaming tea were nourishment for the body and soul.

Energized, we checked off Lansdowne’s attractions- a man made lake surrounded by pinecone festooned trees, padlocked churches by the roadside, claustrophobic narrow shops selling handcrafted leather bags and a Sunset Point.

A view of the interlocking pine branches taken from beneath in monochrome
Wayward Pines

By afternoon, the weather let up.

Armed with umbrellas, we walked down winding roads without worrying about lumbering vehicle sneaking up. Gnarly, moss covered dark trees with splashes of scarlet rhododendron flowers flanked the side of the road that lead to quiet bazaars and lonely temples.

A few locals squatted outside empty shops. They lit small bonfires warming their palms. Not far away, tough mountain dogs with shaggy coats huddled against each other for warmth.

The tinkling of distant bells, the constant sighing of the wind and a wispy fog that rolled in promptly at dusk added to the atmosphere. This was a trip where we traded stories of ghosts and legends. Perhaps we were inspired.

A mist shrouded scene of the trees in monochrome.
Misty Mountains

No spectres turned up but the biting cold air seeping into our bones was real. Yet we basked in the warmth of our tales, of our dreams and promises shared. We forged connections and bonded anew.

No wonder, my heart still lingers in Lansdowne.

Lens-Artists Challenge: What a treat!

33 thoughts on “Lingering In Lansdowne, India.

  1. This was a beautifully written piece that was so evocative. I live in the hills in a town that has shed its โ€˜little hill stationโ€™ tag and has become an unruly concrete jungle. Our saving grace is the spectacular view of the mountains. Your blog has tickled my imagination and the feet are beginning to itch again โ€“ would love to visit Lansdowne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And that’s a fabulous commentary on my post and the nature of development in the hills. The hill stations are turning into Lego lands everywhere. Lansdowne is an exception perhaps since it is essentially a cantonment. It certainly made me relive Ruskin Bond tales of a charming mountain life. I suppose it did the same for you. To happy feet, may we travel soon , cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yikes Sheetal – that is NOT my idea of a fond memory LOL. I’d have been awake all night worrying about a ghost appearance! That said, your turning the memory into a positive due to the company of friends and the telling of tales was great and I truly enjoyed your story. A spooky treat in the spirit of the season!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought of Casper, the friendly ghost but no such luck although the setting was perfect. Spooky vibes aside, the trip was a treat. Perhaps the mountain spirits were successful in casting their spell.

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  3. Again inspired to visit this place after reading your post. Your penchant for exploring places to details, adds to their charm- they get refurbished and are back in demand:)
    Ironically, when we are completely free from the work commitments presently- we are haunted by this covid spirit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Manjari. I remember reading a quote that said, you only know the value of a thing when it becomes a memory. It was a short family trip that became more possibly because it was the last time we travelled together. Hence, this post was especially brewed with equal measures of travel nostalgia, family bonding and a dash of spookiness stirred in.
      As for the haunting of the COVID spirit, I guess we know that the mantra, ‘Go Corona, go’ , doesn’t work!๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no trouble braving anything haunted as long as the setting is luxurious. My room was fantastic, Patti. โ˜บ
      Also Happy Halloween! You comments raise my spirits every time . Thank you.

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  4. I need to palm my forehead for missing this one, my dear! I have lived in Lansdowne. You have collected every single dewdrop in its original & crafted a sparkling bracelet to lure every reader to this psuedo heaven called Lansdowne. I was waiting to know if Maj Roberts ‘espirited’ you at your dinner ..or if any wild spotteds or stripes froze your hair roots during your evening strolls… Both of which I did experience during my hubb’s posting there.

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