Landour (also Landaur), a small cantonment town contiguous with Mussoorie, is about 35 km (22 mi) from the city of Dehradun in the northern state of Uttarakhand in India. The twin towns of Mussoorie and Landour, together, are a well-known British Raj-era hill station in northern India. Mussoorie-Landour was widely known as the “Queen of the Hills”. The name Landour is drawn from Landdowror, a village in Carmarthenshire in southwest Wales. During the Raj, it was common to give nostalgic English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish names to one’s home (or even to British-founded towns), and reflecting one’s ethnicity. Names drawn from literary works were also common, as from those by Robert Burns, Walter Scott, Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson and many others.
LOCATION & CLIMATE
Landour is located in the Lower Western Himalaya, in the Mussoorie Range, the second of the five parallel folds of the Himalaya. On average, Landour is about 1,500 ft (450 m) above Mussoorie, which itself is mostly at an altitude of 6,800 to 7,500 ft (2,250 to 2,500m). The town lies largely on an east-west ridge, with a prominent southerly spur connecting its western end to Mussoorie. The altitude differential, aided by Landour being partly Tibet-facing, has a marked effect on the temperature, which can be 2-3 °C lower than in Mussoorie. During the monsoon, Landour receives almost daily rainfall, often heavy. Additionally, pre- and post-monsoon showers mean a rainy season that can run from May to September, though it can be shorter. Before the rains arrive, April–May is the warmest period, with the temperatures rising to over 30 °C. (~85 °F) on hotter days. December to February is downright cold, especially if one does not receive enough direct sunlight, as on the northern slopes. It can snow anywhere between 3 and 15 times in the winter, at times heavily. In a given year Landour receives perhaps twice the snow that Mussoorie does; it also takes longer to melt especially on the north-facing slopes.
If one travels the 290 km (180 mi) to Landour from New Delhi by train or bus, a switch at Dehradun is needed. Buses and taxis, and even “shared taxis”, are easily available. There are also direct buses from New Delhi, and one can easily negotiate with taxis at any of New Delhi’s railway stations or at the Delhi airport. One can also fly from Delhi in just 40 min to Jolly Grant Airport east of Dehradun, which saves a lot of time, but it takes another 90 minutes to drive up to Landour from the airport. East of Landour lie the small hamlet of Dhanoulti and the Surkhanda Devi temple; further east are Kanatal, Tehri (now submerged by the Tehri dam) and Chamba (not to be confused with the town and district of the same name in Himachal Pradesh). And to the West lie the tourist trap of Kempty Falls, the military town of Chakrata and the region of Jaunsar bordering Himachal Pradesh.