First Hill Station of Uttarakhand

First Hill Station of India
Mussoorie Library

The development of Hill Station in India was initially done by the Britishers. Britishers developed the hill stations in India for the sanitarium. Britishers used the term 'Hill Station' for the 'Mountain Resort'. Actually, Hill Stations are nothing but an area that is located at high elevation than the nearby area. Their height is measured by the Sea level in feet or meters.

The First Hill Station of Uttarakhand is the Mussoorie that was first developed by the Britishers. Mussoorie is also the First Hill Station in India. The people who developed the Mussoorie as hill stations were mainly British Army officers, military doctors, businessmen, and administrators. The hill stations in India are the type of tourist place that was developed by the Britishers for their own recreation.

The credit goes to Captain Young, who was a British military officer in the establishment of Mussoorie as the first hill station of India in the year 1823. Mussoorie is located at 6578 feet meters in height from sea level. Due to much popularity of Mussoorie, it is also popular as the Queen of Hills in India.

Uttarakhand has more than 40 famous Hill Stations like Mussoorie, Nainital, Almora, Bhimtal, Chakrata, Chopta, Dhanaulti, Lansdowne, Ranikhet, etc. But the credit of the first hill station of Uttarakhand gets only Mussoorie.

You Should Read: Tourist Places to Visit in Dehradun

The Concept of Hill Station in India

queen of hill stations in india

Britishers are the main person who launched the concept of Hill stations in India. They developed the hill stations for official, and private purposes, and satellite stations. The origins of Hill stations can be traced to the early nineteenth century when the Britishers establish sanitaria in the lap Himalayan Mountains to recover from the heat and the disease of the plains.

To build sanatoria and military containment for the soldiers that would also be used as health resorts and vacation resorts of British origin, they purchased land in 1820 for the first time in the hilly area of Mussoorie from the local princes.

Later they also establish hill stations in Shimla, Ooty, Darjeeling, etc. Between the years 1820 to 1830 twelve hill stations were established all over India. In the next decade, between the years 1830 to 1840, the maximum number of hill stations are established, which was 23.

Mitchell divided the hill stations into five categories on the basis of size and function, which were developed by the Britishers in India.

  1. The Official Multifunctional Hill Station- Examples are Shimla, Darjeeling, Nainital, and Ooty.
  2. The Private Multifunctional Hill Station - Examples are Kodaikanal, Matheran, and Mussoorie.
  3. The Single-Purpose Hill Station
  4. The Minor Hill Station
  5. The Satellite Hill Station

Monika Bührlein identifies the chronological pattern in the development of Hill Stations of India in the current form from the British era, which is listed below.

  1. Sanitarium to a high refuge (1819-72),
  2. High refuge to a hill station (1872-96)
  3. Hill station to town (1892-1948)

Mussoorie-The First Hill Station of India

indian hill station

Mussoorie was under the leadership of Umer Singh Thapa who was the leader of Gorkhas in 1803. Gorkhas wanted to extend their kingdom in Kumaon, Garhwal, and Sikkim. So there was a war broke out between the Gorkhas and the Britishers in November 1814. Britishers win this war and later in 1815, Britishers win this place from Gorkhas and merged it with Saharanpur. To control and secure the area they fixed the boundaries.

The first house was a small hut of Mr. Shore and Captain Young at Mussoorie. Later Captain Young built his large residence named 'Mullingar' at Mussoorie. Gradually lots of other Europeans were attracted by the natural beauty of Mussoorie and came here. It is said that the first English apple tree was planted at Mussoorie.

In the early 1840s, there were more than a hundred European houses in the famous hill station like Mussoorie, Shimla, and Ooty. Whereas Darjeeling had just thirty and Mahabaleshwar had a dozen houses.

Mussoorie was never served as a summer capital and official purposes. It always remained an unofficial hill station where Britishers go for the affairs, gossip, and romance that makes it - The honeymoon capital of India. Ooty and Shimla are also parallelly established as Hill Stations in India by the Britishers with Mussoorie.

Later in the 19th century, Mussoorie with the other hill stations like Simla, Darjeeling, and Ooty established themselves as places of social prestige. After the development of the Hardwar-Dehradun Railway line in the year 1900 Mussoorie becomes the easily accessible hill station in Northern India that made it more popular.

Mussoorie-The Queen of Hill Station of India

hill stations in uttarakhand

Mussoorie is about 35 kilometers from Dehradun by road and is located in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan range. Now Mussoorie is more famous as the Queen of Hill Station of India. There are lots of tourist places with beautiful natural sceneries, waterfalls, and snowfalls that attracted tourists here around the world. Mussoorie weather is very pleasant during the summer and chill in winter. Tourists come here to see snowfalls in winter and enjoy the pleasant weather in summer. The most famous tourist places of Mussoorie are listed below.

  • Lal Tibba
  • Lake Mist
  • Kempty Falls
  • Gun Hill
  • Lakha Mandal
  • Happy Valley
  • Mossy fall
  • Dhanaulti

You Should Read: Best Honeymoon Hill Stations in India 


  • Preferred Citation: Kennedy, Dane. The Magic Mountains: Hill Stations and the British Raj. Berkeley:  University of California Press, c1996 1996.
  • Isabelle Sacareau: Himalayan hill stations from the British Raj to Indian tourism

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