The Queen of the Hills
The sun finally clears the mist. Arriving on the outskirts of Mussoorie with the Kushaqs and Slavias, the journalists continue on foot. You don’t have to believe in Shiva or any of the other gods to be captivated by Mussoorie. You don’t even have to be Hindu or religious in any way. You only need eyes, ears and a soul to sense that this is a special place. With its green hills overlooking the Himalayas, Mussoorie is one of the most popular hill resorts in Uttarakhand. The Queen of the Hills is about 30 kilometres from Dehradun.
India’s mountain roads can be a real test for European drivers.
Like almost every part of India, it is a place of contrasts. But compared to the megacities of Mumbai or Delhi, it’s an air health resort. Our guide keeps turning around to make sure his guests have not got lost between small temples and food stalls.
The guide, who knows the place well, leads the way. A two-kilometre walk takes an hour and a half because you are basically strolling through the alleys in a collective, peristaltic movement with other road users, and you feel as if you are browsing every shop for souvenirs. For the guide, of course, it’s a good thing that the 30,000-strong Mussoorie community at the foot of the Himalayas is becoming increasingly attractive, even for the textile sellers and boat operators down the valley on the sacred Ganges.
Foreign journalists drove the Škoda Slavia and Kushaq through stunning mountains and alongside the Ganges.
Change of scene: Monks can be heard chanting from the temple room of Mindroling Monastery in Dehradun. The oldest parts of the monastery were built towards the end of the 10th century. The smell of incense wafts through the door. Inside it is cool. The drawings on the ceiling depict a world where time is more powerful than man. Dragons, miraculous figures and dancing skeletons in the eternal cycle of rebirth. Below, the Buddhas raise their bald heads. The believers sit in a lotus position on the floor, in front of them a flat bench with texts on it. Two monks bring hot tea and hand out snacks to everyone present. Others bob up and down. Then, they sing the same lines over and over again. The devout Tibetans are evidently comfortable and protected in their Buddhist temple. They may seem carefree, far from the crowds and noise of the city. And in fact, they are carefree. They are free from worries about money, about power, about their name and career.