History of Mussoorie

The beautiful ridge which we know as Mussoorie was once a lush forest comprising oak, rhododendron and deodar where the people of Bhatta and Kyarkuli villages, primarily Jaunpuri, grazed their cattle. One particular shrub called Mansoor (cororiana nepalensis) grew in abundance here hence the villagers named the ridge Mansuri. It was during the year 1826 that Captain Frederick Young of the Sirmour Rifles ventured out on a horse from Rajpur into the Mansuri ridge. As the region was rich in exotic flora and fauna, Captain Young, along with Sir F.J. Shore, built a shooting box around the Camel’s Back Road area. Later, Captain Young made the first residential building in Mansuri which he named Mullingaar after his county in Ireland. Talk about the newly found hill resort spread like wild fire to the farthest of places and many more Britishers including officers of the East India Company, renowned writers, artists and entrepreneurs followed suit resulting in the establishment of the Landour and Mussoorie township. Eventually Mansuri of the local hill folk became a haven for pleasure and gaiety with the Queen of the Hills as its new identity. The fun and galore that enthralled the days and nights of Mussoorie gradually lured the princes and the nawabs of the Indian states who got built their impressive chateaus and bungalows at striking locations in and around the town.

Soon, the Hillman from the villages of neighbouring Garhwal and Jaunpur-Jaunsaar, businessmen community from the plains and the Gorkhali people began immigrating in pursuit of commercial opportunities. The Bhotias are also one of the settlers in Mussoorie. After the Chinese occupation of Tibet in the year 1959 a number of Tibetans got settled forming their government in exile in the Happy Valley area. However, the exemplary appeal of the Queen of the Hills lies in the romance and charm of the colonial times which still beckons through its tranquillity harbouring the humble way of living of the natives. Mansuri has its mention in numerous Jaunpuri and Garhwali folk and contemporary lore and songs. Primarily, the culture of a region is identified with its core faith, fairs and festivals.

As far as faith is concern, Mussoorie is guarded by the Surkanda Devi in the east which is an inclination more of garhwal and by the Bhadraaj Devta in the west who is the prime deity of Jaunpur. The fairs and festivals includes of those of the Jaunpuris, Garhwalis, Vaishyas, Punjabis, Muslims, Christians, Gorkhalis, Bhotias and Tibetans glorifying Mussoorie into a harmonious zenith of a unique social setup.