A picturesque town in the Himalayan region, Mussoorie was once the most sought after summer retreat for the British. The town was a perfect escapade from the oppressive summer heat in northern India. Well-known for its splendid climate, amazing flora and fauna, and solitude surroundings, Mussoorie served as a secret summer getaway, known only to a few British officers. However, in the later years, the place gained popularity and became the central hub for societal gatherings for the elite British families. For them, the idyllic city of Mussoorie was a perfect representation of English countryside in India in the middle of snow peaks Himalayan range. Mussoorie has always been a popular choice among young couples as a desired honeymoon destination for its private spots and stunning natural beauty. As you go strolling around the city of Mussoorie, you are sure to find several British-styled architectures that remind you of the rule of the British Raj in India. Scroll down the article to know more about the history of Mussoorie.
When the Gurkhas under the guidance of Umer Singh Thapa captured the region in the year 1803, the boundaries of Mussoorie was also incorporated into their territories. Eventually, the expansion strategy of the Gurkhas did not go down well with the British Raj, which instigated the combat of 1814. By 1819, East India Company captured the district of Saharanpur and made it a part of its empire. This was how the town of Mussoorie came to be discovered. During this time, Mussoorie was a private summer capital known only to a few British soldiers. Due to its wonderful and pleasurable climate and great hunting location, the place soon attracted several British officers. By 1827, the place was flocked by a number of British families who deemed it as an ideal destination for great summer vacation.
By 1832, the hill-station had become a preferred location for the administrative head for the 'survey of India'. The survey office from Dehradun was supposed to be shifted to Mussoorie. However, despite of several attempts by the Surveyor General of India, the change failed to take place. The year 1901 saw not only a rise in the population but also in the growth and developments in the place. With an increase in the number of people visiting the hills, Mussoorie became the epicenter of social activity, especially during the summer seasons. Activities such as horse riding, hunting, Polo games, balls and other parties were popular among the British here. Besides this, the nearby district of Landour was seen as a convalescent centre for many English soldiers and was soon merged with Mussoorie. The hills, by now, had become permanent residence to many English and Indian elite groups of people. Mussoorie was seen as an arena for several social events that took place in the 'Mall'. However, the British retained Mussoorie as an exclusive private retreat restricted to the English high officials.
Early 19th Century
During the beginning of the 1900's, Mussoorie experienced racial discrimination by the British. Many Indian families living in the hills were boycotted from being a part of any social event. Signboards such as 'Indians and Dogs Not Allowed' became a common sight. It was the Nehru family who protested against this kind of racial practice by frequently stopping over at the hill-station, despite being subjected to fines. In the second half of the 19th century, Mussoorie became the most desired holiday destination for its scenery and climate and home to the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. Due to its popularity among the English influential, a railway line to Dehradun was laid down to reduce the distance on the road trip. Towards the end of the 19th century, the place already housed a hotel, a number of colonial styled hunting lodges and even a winery managed by the McKinnon's family, who produced fermented wine that was exported to England.
After Independence, the place amalgamated with the state of Uttarakhand. In the year 1959, during the Tibetan insurgence, the main Tibetan counsel of the 14th Dalai Lama was set up in Mussoorie before it was relocated to Dharamsala. By the year 1960, the town had a considerable number of Tibetan people living in the 'happy valley' of Mussoorie.