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Debangana Sen Mar 07 2014

Can you tell me about the hiking trail to Benog Tibba?

Benazir Khan Mar 07 2014
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

This day trek involves walking between 15 and 20 km. This means a long day, but only half that distance if you use transport to and from Cloud’s End. If you wish, you can start from the Library (Kitabghar), a fine Victorian building maintained by travel writers Hugh and Colleen Gantzer, which presides over Gandhi Chowk at the western end of Mussoorie’s Mall.

It is a 6-km walk to Cloud’s End and you can avoid this by catching a taxi (the motorable road is rough), but to do this is to miss out on a well-forested, level ridge walk, west of Mussoorie. Alternatively, you can knock off 2 km of the town section by catching a cycle rickshaw to Company Bagh, a former botanical garden. Most useful for the hiker are its dhabas, where you can stock up on paranthas.

A photo of Mussourie (by Samuel Bourne)

To get your trekking money’s worth, walk on the main road from the Library, past the Savoy Hotel. The road doubles back at Modern School and brings you
to Waverley.

Just beyond the gates, you get an overview of the route that lies way ahead. To the west, stands the solitary peak of Benog Tibba. Note that the high ridge motor road curving towards it is on a fairly gentle contour. Also visible is your
return route, culminating in the yellow roof of the Happy Valley Tibetan Monastery. Now note the sheer plummeting eastern face of Benog, and hope your knees will be warmed well enough to tackle it by the time you get there. From Waverley to Park Chungi is a beautiful, level, 3-km forested road.

A photo of hikers (by Nentori)

At Park Chungi, there is a shop and piped drinking water. The shortest way to Everest’s Park Estate — which occupies the ridge overlooking the Doon — is to follow the overgrown, quarry road uphill, taking short-cuts to cut off the corners. Ignore the misleading signposts that suggest access to Everest’s house is best along the Cloud’s End Road. If you go by this route, you will have to retrace your steps, involving a 2-km climb.

The ridge walk to Cloud’s End from Everest’s Estate is another 3 km through pristine jungle. At Cloud’s End, turn north, descending to a narrow saddle straddling limestone cliffs. Then, swing east to traverse a well-aligned path (3 km) up the southern, bald face of the mountain. Benog gives great views of the snow peaks and the River Yamuna.

A photo of Mussourie on a cloudy day (by RajatVash)

From Benog, you can either return via Cloud’s End and the motor road to Mussoorie, or make an adventurous descent down the eastern face (facing
Mussoorie) by a pagdandi (faint footpath) to the old limestone quarries. Continue
down near-vertical roads, built for trucks that once zigzagged crazily to Dhobhi
Ghat, famous for its water springs. A sheer climb through dense forest will take
you back up to Park Chungi, the old toll barrier at the western limits of Mussoorie.

A photo of hikers (by pixabay)

From Dhobi Ghat, one of Mussoorie’s least visited and most magical corners (not to be confused with Woodstock Dhobhi Ghat), a motorable road runs to the main Kempty Falls - Mussoorie Road. To avoid the long detour, opt for a 1-hr climb up the eastern flank of Mussoorie’s Happy Valley (following the pipeline) through forest. It will bring you to the Murray Pumping Station, with its still-working colonial era machinery.

There is a jeepable road to Company Bagh, but it’s just as quick to keep ascending by the original bridle path to emerge at the Tibetan Central School. There is a reason for the big Tibetan settlement here. When the Dalai Lama first fled Tibet, he took up residence here, at Birla House. From Happy Valley, a level, forested motor road returns you to the Library after 4 km.

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