The close proximity of Mussoorie from Delhi makes it an ideal weekend destination for Delhiites to escape from the heat and head to this hilly retreat, and everyone has that to do list of taking a stroll in the Mall Road, enjoying the weather at Camels Back, and trying to get a glimpse of the mountains at Lal Tibba, and if lucky trying to meet Ruskin Bond. Needless to say on a summer weekend, walking through the Mussoorie Mall Road is like making your way through a Ramleela procession in Old Delhi.
Not too keen on visiting the usual we had taken up a lodge, rather like a homestay about 4 kms from the Mussoorie market in a small hamlet called Hathipaon to have a relaxed and peaceful time. A small signboard showed George Everest House was only 1.5kms away and we decided to take a walk early next morning to visit the house of the Surveyor General of India who was responsible for mapping the Himayalan range in details and after whom Mt. Everest is named.
Though you can take your car, we decided to take a walk through the narrow roads leading up to a plateau on which the house rest. After an uphill climb, with forest lined on both side we reached the top called George Everest Place – a huge stretch of open space with the never ending panoramic view of the mountains and the lush green valley down below. Clouds like cotton balls rubbing itself against the mountain peaks at a distance and some Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the gentle breeze.
And there on one edge of the plateau stood the white colonial structure, the house of George Everest, old, worn, tired and dilapidated but still talking about the glorious time it might have seen with the fireplace inside the building still intact.
It was a pity to see the unattended condition of the building, the outside structure trying hard to stand against forces of time and nature while the inside inhibited by cows and splattered with cow dung all around. Yet there is a kind of nostalgia about this place thinking of the fact that some great work was done sitting at this very place and what it might have felt like to own such a huge place with hardly any other inhabitants around.
A further steep walk up for about half a kilometre we reached the George Everest peak and suddenly the air seemed to be chilled. The place is completely covered with hordes of colourful Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the strong wind. With not too many people making an effort to come up to this place, I found a secluded place to just sit and observe the vast expanse of nature around me, breathing in the freshness all around while the chilly wind brushed through my face.
History, nature, offbeat, whatever is your reason you cannot miss this place when you are in Mussoorie.