A 400 meters walk from Tibetan Temple Shedup Choephelling in the Happy Valley, and you will be greeted with a magnificent sight of the gigantic Garhwal Himalayan range of Uttarakhand. The sacred and serene place Dalai Hill is decorated with Buddhist prayer flags and a statue of Lord Buddha. The statue was constructed by 20th Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Mussorrie to protect the land from war, disease, conflict, and natural calamities.
Due to its high altitude trails, it is loved by the trekkers. A hike through the dense forest and you will be witnessing the exotic and rare Himalayan flora and fauna. It makes for a great escape from the urban chaos and is a great spot for camping and picnicking. If you want to escape the crowded spots of Mussoories, and spend your vacation admiring the best nature has to offer, then look no further than Dalai Hills Mussoorie, which is just three kilometers from the hill station.
To reach Dalai Hills, you need to first reach Happy Valley, which is home to five thousands of Tibetans, who came to India with the Dalai Lama in 1959. So you can expect to see Tibetan influence in this region. The Dalai Hills and Happy Valley are the two most impressive and popular places to visit, especially for trek buffs. For avid trekkers, this place has lots of trekking routes, which takes you through dense forests filled with exotic and rare Himalayan flora and fauna. Moreover, it is a perfect place for camping too.
Furthermore, the Dalai Hill is located just above the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy, a civil service training institute on public policy and public administration in India. It boasts breathtaking views of the snow-clad Himalayan zenith, peaceful monastery, a Buddha statue, and unadulterated natural beauty.
A Step Back in Time
Dalai Hills is just a 400 meter walk from Happy Valley. But would you like to know how the valley and the hill got their name? Let’s take a step back in time. It was in the 50s when China invaded Tibet and took charge of a significant part of the country. But it wasn’t easy for them, as the resistance was strong from the Tibetan side. However, the resistance cost the Tibetans hard, and on 17th March, 1959, a 24 year old young Tibetan leader Tenzin Gyatso had to escape his homeland in Lhasa in disguise. At the border, he sent two letters asking for refuge- one to the then Indian prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and the second letter to the then Bhutanese king. As India assured shelter to this young lad, he fought his way through the snow to reach Chutangmu, an Assam Rifles outpost in Tawang, NEFA, the then Arunachal Pradesh. From there, he reached Tezpur, Assam. Later, the then Indian government gave asylum to Tenzin Gyatso and thousands of Tibetans in exile in Happy Valley, Mussoorie. This young lad was none other than the 14th Dalai Lama, who formed the Tibetan government in exile.
However, after a year, owing to security, the Dalai Lama and his followers were shifted to Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. But a large Tibetan population stayed back in the Happy Valley and continued to contribute to the valley’s development.
Shedup Choepelling Monastery
Being home to a large number of Tibetan refugees, Mussoorie is dotted with Buddha temple Mussoorie, statues, and monasteries. Among them Shedup Choepelling is one of the must-visit monasteries in the Happy Valley that offers peace and tranquility. The temple is painted in white and houses many Tibetan literature, scripts, and books. It is adorned with colorful Buddhist prayer flags, clay lamps, a statue of the Dalai Lama, and several paintings depicting Tibetan culture and tradition.
A Short Trek Up the Hills
The valley is dotted with numerous trekkable trails. These trails take you through thick forests, giving you a sneak peek of Himalayan ecology. Furthermore, these treks are easily hikable even for a novice, as the longest treks is just 11km. If you don’t want to push your limits and still want to give it a try, then take Dalai Hill to Dhobi Ghat route, which is just 1.5km.
For adventurous spirits, who want to soak up the real treat of the Garhwal Himalayas, trekking in Mussoorie is a great option. Take Dalai Hills to Cloud ends, which is 6.5 km or Dalai Hills to George Everest, which is 11 km. Both the treks offer you breathtaking vistas of the region.
Soham Heritage Art Center
To learn more about Tibetan culture, history, and tradition, visit Soham Heritage Art Center, which is just five kilometer from Happy Valley. It houses a huge collection of arts, paintings, sculptures, artifacts, which depicts Himalayan culture. This art center has three sections- Painting Section, Old Photographs of the Himalayas, and Tibetan Section. There is another section that houses utensils, ornaments, and musical instruments used by the Himalayan people.
Best Time To Visit
Because of its high altitude, Mussoorie experiences cool summers and extremely harsh winters with snowfalls. Hence, if you are wondering when to plan for a trek to Dalai Hills, then summer would be the best, when the weather is pleasant and you can escape the severe weather conditions that it faces during winter.
How To Reach
Being one of the most popular hill stations in India, Mussoorie welcomes millions of tourists annually. The ‘Queen of the hills’ is well-connected with all major Indian cities by road. However, if you are traveling from far, then you can book a flight or a train too.
You may or may not have heard about Dalai Hill, as it doesn’t always feature in a Mussoorie handbook, but it has an undeniable charm. So next time you are in Mussoorie, don’t forget to visit this off-beat path.