India on the Road

From Delhi to Lansdowne

New Delhi
New Delhi
4 FEB 2016
by

Route: Delhi – Mohan Nagar – Murad Nagar – Modi Nagar – Meerut – Mawana – Bijnor – Najibabad – Kotdwar – Lansdowne
Distance: 228 Kms
Driving Time: 5 hours

An enthralling drive through some of North India’s most dramatic scenery… from sprawling valleys, meandering mountain roads, Raj era colonial bungalows and Bougainvilleas in full bloom. A journey to one of India’s quietest hill stations where the Pines and Deodars still murmur in the cool mountain breeze and the lush green forests bask in the Himalayan sunshine.

Delhi - Your Start Off Point

New Delhi, the capital of India and also the third largest city consists of two parts – Old Delhi and New Delhi. Old Delhi used to be the capital during the Mughal era and you will find many mosques, monuments and forts dating back to the Mughal era. The other Delhi is New Delhi, the imperial city created by as a capital of India by the British. It is a spacious open city with many stunning diplomatic enclaves, embassies and government buildings.

New Delhi is also a major travel gateway and one of India’s busiest entry point for overseas airlines and a major hub of the north Indian travel network.

What to See:
Red Fort, Lahore Gated, Diwan-I-Am, Diwan-I-Khas, Moti Masjid, Jami Masjid, Raj Ghat, Feroz Shah Kotla, Connaught Place, Jantar Mantar, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Bahai Temple, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, National Museum, Nehru Museum, Rail Transport museum, Crafts Museum, Purana Quila, Humayun’s Tomb, Zoo, Hazarat Nizam-Ud-Din-Aulia, Lodi Tombs, Safdarjang Tomb, Hauz Khas, Tuglaqabad, Qutub Minar complex, Dilli Haat, Pragati Maidan.

Where to Stay:
Delhi offers a bewildering array of accommodation options ranging from deluxe hotels with international standing like the ITDC Ashok Hotel, Hotel Taj Mahal, Hotel Taj Palace, Hotel Oberoi, Hotel Maurya Sheraton, Hotel Inter Continental, Hotel Hyatt Regency etc… to the mid-budget hotels around Janpath and Connaught Place. Most bottom end hotels can be found at the Paharganj area in close proximity to the New Delhi Railway Station.

What to Buy:
Delhi is a shoppers paradise with the main shopping districts located at Connaught Place, Pallika Bazzar, Baba Kharag Singh Marg, Chandni Chowk, Karol Bagh, Ansal Plaza, South Extension, Sarojini Nagar and the Hauz Khas markets selling everything ranging from Tibetan craft items, curios, ethnic jewelry and dress materials, Rajasthani paintings, handloom and handicraft items of all the states of India. The sheer variety on offer is astonishing.

Murad Nagar

As you drive past Mohan Nagar on the National Highway 58, you will come across a T Junction from where you need to take a right turn and then left from Ghaziabad border traffic light. Murad Nagar dates back to the 17th century and is believed to have been founded by Mirza Muhammed Murad Mughal., whose remains are preserved in a mausoleum. The town’s other attraction is the Ordinance factory.

Modi Nagar

Modinagar is a city in Ghaziabad district in the state of Uttar Pradesh and is approximately 43 kilometres north-east of from New Delhi. This town is located mid-way on the Ghaziabad - Meerut National highway No. 58. The renowned Modi Mills has its unit here. In recent times, Modinagar has evolved as a centre of learning with a crop of new age educational institutions setting up their shops at Modi Nagar. The town’s origin can be traced to Gujar Mal Modi who founded a sugar factory way back in the year 1933.

What to See:
Laxmi Narayan Mandir and Devi Maha Maya Mandir.

Where to Eat:
Hotel Pavilion, De-Meridian Hotel and Resorts, Food Plaza Hotel, Jain Restaurant are some of the popular eating joints of Modi Nagar. Don’t forget to savor the special Modi Nagar Shikanji, which is basically a lemonade peppered with traditional North Indian spices.

Where to Shop:
Dr. K.N. Modi Complex Market, near Punjab National Bank, Gandhi Market, Opposite Bus Stand, Upper Bazzar, Rukmani Market, Opposite Railway Road, Bhagwan Ganj Mandi, near Tibra Road are some of the town’s most popular shopping zones.

Meerut

Meerut is popularly referred to as the Land of India's First Freedom Struggle, courtesy the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The city is home to an Army Cantonment, which is the second largest in India. Meerut is well spread out over 172 Sq.Kms. The city is fast evolving as an industrial and educational hub due to its proximity to Delhi. The Jats claim that Meerut was founded by them. There is another school of thought that claim that the name “Meerut” was given by Mahipal, who once ruled over Delhi. In recent times, archaeologists have found a pillar erected emperor Ashoka himself in the third century B.C. as well as ruins of some Buddhist relics that clearly signify the fact that Meerut indeed was a place of great significance even in ancient India.

What to See:
Some of Meerut’s must see sites are - Jain Temples, St.John’s Church, Augarnath Temple, Jama Masjid, Martyr's Memorial (Shaheed Smarak), Gandhi Bagh (Company Garden), Suraj Kund, Chandi Devi Temple, Mansa Devi Temple, Bale Miyan ki Dargah, Shahpeer Sahab ki Dargah, Shahi Eid Gaah (Capacity of 1,00,000 Namazi), Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana Church, Meerut cantonment (second largest cantt of India after Kanpur).

Where to Stay:
Meerut STD Code: 0121
Hotel Crystal Palace (2668500), Hotel Naveen Deluxe (2660125), Hotel Abulovers (662282), Hotel Amber (529740), Hotel Amrit (661346), Hotel Ashoka Kalinga (522975), Hotel Deep (646076), Hotel Mayur (519014) are some of best hospitality properties of Meerut.

Where to Eat:
Meerut is renowned for its signature sweet shops and the city has carved a niche for itself through some of its sweet recipes like the “Rebri” and “Gazak”. Try out the Gokul Rebri Shop, which is located in the neighborhood of Budhana Gate. Some of the popular restaurants of Meerut are (STD Code – 0121) Kesar Restaurant (519014), Rajmahal Restaurant (661778,79), Karnail Restaurant (662542), Lions Restaurant (660881), Green Family Restaurant (661241), Captain (660812), Nancy (641967).

What & Where to Shop:
Meerut is renowned for its musical instruments. Also it is one of Asia’s top ranked sports goods manufacturers. For fabrics and apparels, Ansal Plaza is a great option. Some of Meerut’s most popular products are scissors, handloom cloths and gold jewellery.

Mawana

Mawana is a city which is an integral part of Meerut District of Uttar Pradesh. The town’s claim to fame is courtesy the famed Mawana Sugar Works, one of India’s biggest sugar producing factories. In the days of yore, Mawana residents used to be dependent on agriculture and one of Mawana’s son of the soil - Jagdish Prakash Kaushik, was the first person to be bestowed with the enviable title of Krishi Pandit by the Government of India for his pioneering role in wheat production. In recent times, Mawana has been in the limelight due to the Mawana Sugars Indian Open Marathon, which has unearthed some exceptionally talented marathon runners. The Marathon holds the unique distinction of test running the marathon race route planned for the Commonwealth Games 2010.

What to See:
Places worth visiting in Mawana are the old “Pakka” tank built by Kesho Das, an ancient Shiva temple and Ashok Tower.

Where to Eat:
Mawana being a small town, there are numerous roadside eating joints and a few Dhabas that offer authentic Punjabi and North Indian food. The raw sugar popularly referred to as “Gur” in the local parlance, are sold in the marketplace.

Bijnor

Bijnoro is ideally located to the north-western part of the Moradabad Division and is conspicuous by its triangular stretch. To the west, there is a stream of river Ganges and further ahead are the districts of Dehradun, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut. Bijnor is a district headquarter and this quaint North Indian town is associated with the Mahabharata epic. During the suzerainty of Mughal emperor Akbar, Bijnor was an integral part of the then Mughal empire. Later in the 18th century Bijnor came under the rule of the Rohilla Pashtuns and was popularly referred to as the Rohilkhand. Bijnor was also attacked by the powerful marathas but Najib-ud-Daula, the then ruler of Rohilkhand held on to his territory. After his passing away in the year 1770, it was the turn of his son – Zabita Khan to rule Bijnor.

What to See:
Vidur Kuti, Kanva Ashram and Sita's temple,

Najibabad

The quaint town of Najibabbad is located in the Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh and there is also a Railway Junction here. This town is renowned as a trading hub of sugar, timber and foodgrains. There is a huge bottling plant that caters to the Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Coca Cola Company, Atlanta, USA.

What to See:
Cemetery of Nawab Najib-ud-Daula, Pathargarh Fort, Portion of the old Palace, Tomb of Nawab Najib-ud-Daula, Mordhaj, popularly referred to as Munawar Jar in the local parlance.

Where to Eat:
Being a small town, Najibabad doesn’t have gorgeous restaurants. Here most restaurants are on the main road and can be assured of simple vegetarian meals with Dal, Roti, Subzi and rice. Pooris and Kachoris are an outright hit with the visitors.

Kotdwar

The quaint mountain town of Kotdwar is renowned for its natural beauty – majestic mountains, pristine oak and rhododendron forests, crisp air and vast clear skies, invites the discerning traveler to have a date with the Himalayas. There are numerous easy walks and treks. In fact, not many are even aware of the true significance of Kotdwar…. It is here that Shakuntala gave birth to Prince Bharat and the name “Bharat Varsha” was coined after Prince’s name.

What to See:
Siddhibali Temple, Durga Devi Temple, Medanpuri Devi, Shri Koteshwar Mahadev.

Where to Stay:
GMVN Rest House, Hotel Bharat Bhumi, Hotel Raj, Hotel Ambey, Shakti Rest House.

What to Buy:
Carry Bags, purses and hats made of bamboo (Rambans) are specially preferred by the discerning visitors to Kotdwar. A visit to the Malni Market and Badrinath Road can be a very rewarding experience.

Lansdowne

Kotdwar to Lansdowne is approximately (37 Kms). on NH 119 towards Dugadda, Derikhal and reach Lansdowne. This 1.5 hours journey with hairpin bends and sharp turns is exciting stuff. This charming hill resort is perched at an altitude, which is all of 1920 meters. The hill town derives its name from the then British Viceroy – Lord Lansdowne. This beautiful hill town also happens to be the headquarters of the Garhwal Regiment. There are a few vantage points like the Tip-in-Top from where the snow covered Himalayan peaks like Nandadevi, Trishul and Chowkhamba can be clearly sighted on a sunny day. It used to be a popular hill station during the British Raj and even today one will come across graceful colonial bungalows, some dilapidated, some unwaveringly retaining their charisma. The water of Lansdowne is believed to have magical power of digestion.

Where to Stay:
Lansdowne STD Code: 01386
GMVN Tourist Rest House (Tel: 262509) is much preferred by visitors. Other hotels like Fairy Dale (262599, 262237), Salpine Jungle Camp (Tented accommodation) (246155) Blue Pine Resort, Retreat Anand, Oak Grove Inn and Kurmanchal Guest House offer decent accommodation options.

What to See:
Jwalpa Devi temple, the Tarakeshwar Mahadev temple, Durga Devi temple.

Where to Eat:
One of Lansdowne’s specialty is the Lachchedar Alu Parathas that are available at Tipsy. Traditional Mithais too are melt-in-mouth stuff that are available in the town’s numerous sweet shops. For meals, Hotel Mayur is very popular and there are a few Dhabas near the bus stand as well as in the periphery of the main bazzar that offer standard North Indian fare. Try out the enormous Alu Paratha at Mayur. Just one is enough to fill your stomach to the brim.