Colonel Sir George Everest the first Surveyor General of India (from 1830 through 1843) on whom the highest mountain in the world i.e. The Mount Everest is named after once owned a house in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India. Yes, you read that right; he purchased it, sight unseen, from General Whish and lived there for about 11 years.
The house, unused for ages, and left neglected was home to the great surveyor and the location surrounding it was later transformed and popularized into a famous sightseeing cum picnic location in the Queen of Hills named George Everest. So, this year on Christmas I decided to trek to the famous George Everest at Mussoorie to celebrate the spirit of Christmas admist the clouds at the surmounting height of 700m above msl.
All set and positive from the weather day before I step out from Dehradun finding clouds awaiting which sours my mood, yet firm on the decision to finally break into the place and have the regular dose of strolling in the forest I ventured out. Reaching Mussoorie was bliss, watching the doon valley getting smaller as our bus get some altitude was thrilling. Once at Mussoorie I found cheerful atmosphere from the decorated roads to blaring loudspeakers absorbed in the merriness of Christmas and ready to welcome New Year.
Walking along, soon the city is left behind and forests of Oak and Sal with numerous climbers running along. While strolling through there appears first glimpse of the destination
Seeing the top of the mountain close, lifted the spirit despite the gray sky and once in a while thundering.
With pristine forest on both sides, wandering through made the naturalist inside me crazy. The smell of the forests, tiny drops of rain on ferns, climbers twisted in various degrees, birds in cheerful color hopping and making melancholy calls and listening to the sound of zephyr… pure heaven.
Finally after three hours of walking and covering about 17 kms on foot by traversing forests, walking though remote villages and crossing straight uphill I reached my destination and saw infamous George Everest house.
The mansion is still there though has become virtually derelict over the years. Plans have been proposed to convert the place into a museum but nothing has been done so far. Instead it was rumored and thus believed to be visited by the ghost of Sir George who I guess probably be crying looking over to his place which is merely a ruin now and is inked with heart and love promises.
Getting over the pitying the place, moving ahead I found prayer flags covering the trees all over the place and carrying wishes via wind to get them answered. Looking at them, feeling vibrancy of color lifted all my sunken sprits from climbing giant skyward stretch of 2 kms to reach the peak.
After conquering the mountain I sat there for a while and watched sunrays dancing on hill ranges to the beats of cumulus clouds. Even with people and commotion there is soothing silence, looking at depth of the valley in front and listening to echo puts my mind in fictional daze. The eclectic mix of various sound, be it of birds, people, clouds or just wind left me craving to hear more. Sometimes with nothing around the various noise and sounds around entertain you and transports you into an imaginary universe where everything is black and yet you see activities happening listening to sounds.
As if I was lost in such a world, that a distant thunder took an opportunity and brought me back from my reverie. The soaring winds and smell of rain made to climb down the peak in haste. Losing all my carbs and fats in the ravenous trek I took, my empty stomach soon starts protesting my running back mission and made me to head straight to a simple, small and cozy Maggie point.
There I had my fill and also made one little friend with whom I shared the warmth from log fire. (Oops!! Forgot, the temperature there was 2ºC).
And soon after my fill, I walked back to the city where everyone has geared up and started celebrating Christmas night in the cool wintry night which promises snow in coming weekend.