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These 10 Books Will Make You Fall In Love With Mussoorie

You must be aware of the incredible beauty of Mussoorie. The article I am about to share with you people today is written by Vikas Singh. Vikas Singh is a Brand Marketing Professional. When he is not working on Brand Campaigns and Marketing Communication, he can be found travelling. A top contributor on Trip Advisor, he has travelled to 157 cities and 199,371 km covering 13% of the globe. Mussoorie is his favourite destination. He first visited Mussoorie in 1990 and since then has been making an annual pilgrimage to this town. Hereby, you read the article in his own words:Mussoorie is famed for its scenic beauty and the rare winter line phenomenon. However, not many people know that it has a rich literary heritage and highest density of authors anywhere in the world. Mussoorie is a hill station in Dehradun district of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. The most well-known resident author is Ruskin Bond, who shifted here in 1963. Other notable authors include Ganesh Saili, Stephen Alter and his cousin Tom Alter. Other authors who have made Mussoorie their home include Bill Aitken, Hugh and Collen Gantzer. John Lang, Australia’s first native-born novelist died in 1864 and is buried in Mussoorie. His memoirs present a fascinating account of the town. Rudyard Kipling has portrayed 'the Great Ramp of Mussoorie' in his book "Kim". His story "The man who would be the king" was inspired by Mussoorie's Pahari Wilson. Travel writer Lowell Thomas who visited Mussoorie in 1926 writes about the Savoy separation-bell in India: Land of the Black Pagoda (1930)- "This was rung before dawn "...so that the pious may say their prayers and the impious get back to their own beds." Even the novelist Anita Desai was born here.

1. The Raja of Harsil - The legend of Frederick ‘Pahari’ Wilson

It is a thrilling account of Frederick ‘Pahari’ Wilson, a deserter from the British army in the first Afghan war. An adventurist to the core, he introduced commercial timbering in the Tehri-Garhwal while playing a significant role in the Great game and the Anglo-Sikh war. He was to be, later, the inspiration for Kipling’s story- ‘The Man who would be the king’. His adventures after deserting the army began at Mussoorie where he met Colonel Young and joined the Degchi Brigade.

Kulri Bazaar

The Parade point house in Kulri Bazaar was once owned by Pahari Wilson and his second wife Gulabi lived here for quite some time.The next book is a first-person account of British social life in the early part of 18th century India and about the general lifestyle in Mussoorie.

2. Letters of a Mussoorie Merchant - Mauger Fitzhugh Monk

The book is a fascinating first-person account of British social life in the early part of 18th century India and the general lifestyle in Mussoorie. It is a unique collection of letters from Monk who first arrived in Mussoorie in 1840 and left in 1849. Monk failed in all his business efforts and ran into huge debts. But his determination to keep trying new ventures is what makes these letters interesting.


Mauger Fitzhugh Monk purchased Mulliagoes from Captain Young and renamed it Mullingar setting up his school here in 1844.The next one is about some interesting, comic and scary stories by Ganesh Saili.

3. Gup and Gossip from the Hills - Ganesh Saili

This book is a nice collection and mismatch of Ganesh’s recollections of Mussoorie. One of the most interesting books on Mussoorie, it is a rich tapestry of some interesting, some comic and some scary anecdotes, faithfully chronicled by Ganesh in his trademark wit.

Ruskin Bond at his Ivy Cottage

Vikas Singh's favourite author is Ruskin Bond and he holds Limca Book record for largest collection of books by any author (225 books by Ruskin Bond). He also maintains a Facebook page on his favourite author https://www.facebook.com/ruskinbondfans/Rasin Bond has created a sentimental collection of incidents and stories in his book...

4. Roads to Mussoorie - Ruskin Bond

Roads to Mussoorie is a nostalgic collection of incidents and stories that Ruskin Bond delightfully recollects. 

Camel’s Back Road

He describes the many journeys he made over a period of forty years to and fro and around Mussoorie. Each is packed with little anecdotes that make reading a delightful experience.The next book is a thriller on conspiracy and bloody trail of revenge and passion.

5. The Rataban Betrayal - Stephen Alter

A high voltage thriller set in the sleepy town of Mussoorie. CIA, RAW, ITBP all get entangled in the conspiracy and bloody trail of revenge and passion. 

Char Dukan

Most of the action takes place in and around famous landmarks of the town.John Lang created a series of sketches during his travels across India...

6. Wanderings in India and other sketches of life in Hindostan - John Lang

The book is a fascinating account of the times when John Lang lived in India in early 18th century. 

View of the Himalayas from Gun Hill

The book includes a series of sketches of life as encountered by John Lang during his travels across India.The next book is about how the author's love for running makes him a champion runner and...

7. The Longest Race - Tom Alter

A tale of skill, passion, love, betrayal, and loyalty, The Longest Race is the story of Bahadur, son of humble watchman from Dehradun. 

Oak shaded road in upper reaches of Mussoorie

The Longest Race - Tom Alter is the story of how his love for running makes him a champion runner and how the envy and subsequent betrayal by politicians and sports officials force him to give up running.A next book revolves around the story about a sensitive adopted son of a wealthy family who by choice stays in the abandoned burnt-down house...

8. The Artist of Disappearance

The story is set in Mussoorie against the backdrop of illegal limestone quarrying in the Hathipaon area in the early 60s. 

The burnt down house that features in the story

The story revolves around the sensitive adopted son of a wealthy family who by choice stays in the abandoned burnt down house, away from civilization.How the hills and beauty of Mussoorie can leave you spellbound is what Bill Aitken's next book is all about.

9. Footloose in the Himalaya

Bill Aitken’s intimate knowledge of the Himalayas and hilly way of life, attained over a long period of his trekking experiences, makes it an enjoyable read. 

Lych Gate - Camel's back road cemetery

Not a standard run of the mill travelogue or guidebook, like a true lover of nature, Bill brings alive the hills and their natural beauty in a manner that leaves you spellbound and longing for more.If you love a murder mystery, the next book is for you.

10. The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie

The first Poirot mystery was inspired by murder at Hotel Savoy in Mussoorie. In April 1912 Conan Doyle received a letter from his Sussex neighbour Rudyard Kipling about a murder in Mussoorie. It was during the summer season of 1911 that Miss Frances Gurnett Orme checked into a suite at Savoy along with her companion Miss Mountstephen. On the morning of 19th September, Miss Orme was found dead in her bed with the door locked from inside. She had been poisoned with prussic acid. She suffered from dyspepsia (pain or an uncomfortable feeling in the upper middle part of your stomach) and regularly took sodium bicarbonate. It was alleged that the bottle had been tampered with by Miss Mountstephen, who was subsequently charged with murder. However, she was in Jhansi at the time of the murder and hence was found innocent and discharged by Allahabad court in 1912. People, however, speculated that it was murder by remote control and that Miss Mountstephen who was an expert in crystal gazing had somehow exerted a sinister influence on Miss Orme to take the poisoned medicine. The chief justice in delivering his verdict remarked that the true circumstances of Miss Orme’s death would probably never be known. And he was right.

Savoy Hotel

Kipling pitched the idea to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who took great interest in India. A part of The Sign of Four was set in the Andaman Islands. Yet he was not interested to write a story on the case from Mussoorie. The details were then passed on to Christie, who used the details for The Mysterious Affair at Styles, changing the setting to Essex. Christie’s friend and neighbour, Eden Philpotts, born in Mount Abu was a friend of Doyle. It is likely that he may have passed on Mussoorie murder details to Christie.The legend of Garnett-Orme was also the inspiration behind Ruskin Bond’s – A Mussoorie Mystery.

She started writing the story in 1916 which was finally published in 1921. 

During her nursing-tenure at the Torquay War Hospital, Christie had learned a great deal about chemicals. In the Mysterious Affair at Styles, the prisoner was in a distant place by the time the victim (Mrs. Inglethorp) took the fatal dose of Strychnine that had precipitated at the bottom due to the bromide powder added to the medicine. Death by remote control. Savoy’s architecture might have lent themselves to Styles Court, an Essex County manor, which was the setting of the book. Well, I don't know about you, but I am mapping a journey to this place. Thanks, Vikas for sharing this wonderful story with us!