Mussoorie – the Queen of hills, as we know it to be today, is one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. The city has got that ‘old world charm’ about it, however over the last few years, like nearly every other hill station in India, Mussoorie too has been getting a huge number of visitors. The city is one of the most popular hill stations, owing to its proximity to the national capital. Sometimes, when I am there, I wonder how different life would be a few decades ago. Fortunately, I chanced upon some videos of the city on YouTube. This three-part video showcases the walk down the Landour Bazaar in all its glory back in 1989!
This video has been shot by Paul Hamilton (you can follow his YouTube channel here). This video was shot by him in the June of 1989, during the 20th anniversary of the Woodstock School’s class of ’69. Let us now take a look at the three videos posted by Paul that take us down the memory lane on the streets of Landour Bazaar!
The first video takes us through the various shops in the street. Paul makes a specific mention of Budhu Ram the shoemaker, Khaliq, who owns the metal-works and mechanic’s shop, and the man they knew as ‘the Woodstock barber’. On his way down the hill, Paul also captures people chilling on the streets of the Landour Bazaar, as well as a group of men engrossed in card games. A comment on the video talks about Bacchinder Singh and his tea shop, looks like his Aaloo Parathas were famous back in the day!
The second video shot by Paul Hamilton gives us a good insight into the daily life at Landour Bazaar. Shopkeepers are engaged in conversations, people buying vegetables from the local vendors. There’s a small part where we see an old mango-seller sitting on his cart, eating the mangos. His eyes twinkle behind his thick spectacles for a second, and then he gets back to eating the mango. A young girl chilling with an elder relative, school-children scampering around the streets – a reminder of how simple life in the late 80s was! Paul makes a special mention of Omi’s Sweet Shop, Janki Das, rickshaw riding, and Abhinandan.
The third and final video brings us towards the final portions of the Landour Bazaar. Shopkeepers busy with their customers, while a number of elderly gentlemen enjoy the summer sunshine! Men and women ride down the Landour Bazaar on horseback, while a barber shaves his customer. We catch a quick glimpse of a textile store, and the paan shops of Landour. In the final minute, we get to see the Landour Clock Tower in all its glory. (The building no longer exists). The video comes to an end as we take a final look at the Landour Clock tower.
What caught my attention in the video was, that while the faces might have changed, the smiles in the city are still the same. The simple folk of Landour Bazaar still smile at you when they see a camera, the kids still scamper around with that innocence of the 80s, and while the professions might have changed, the narrow, winding streets of Landour look as welcoming as they ever have! We thank Paul Hamilton for posting these videos on YouTube. We have also tried getting in touch with Paul, and we hope he can share some more memories of Mussoorie in the 60s with us!