Our efforts to find the most artificial and unattractive, the most kitschy places, in India continues. I search high and low (mainly low) to bring you a list of places you might want to avoid. Unless, of course, you love tackiness and kitsch. Wouldn’t you love to spend Valentine’s Day taking a selfie with a ferocious dinosaur and your Valentine? If you do, then this series is for you.
Mussoorie Lake (number 33 out of 33 attractions on Tripadvisor) was on our must-miss list until we had an hour with nothing to do. Nitin stopped the car at the lake and said, in his garrulous way, “Lake.” The Family and I got out into a maze of little shops selling cheap things that nobody ever buys and found a ticket office with friendly signs saying things like “Entry 12 Rupees (including GST)” or “Persons found without ticket will be charged 10 times the entry price.” We bought a ticket and climbed down many stairs to find a glorified bathtub.
The periphery was full of exciting shops full of things nobody ever buys. There was a haunted house with a short loop of ghostly screams blaring from it. Next to it a food shop served “authentic South Indian dosa”. After that was a shop which rented out “traditional Garhwal wedding dresses” for you to take selfies in. Or you could go boating in the
The Family and I walked around the shallow artificial pond slowly, taking notes. After three minutes we reached the high point: something under construction which said “Selfie Point”. Apart from the ferocious dinosaur in the featured photo it featured a tree full of multi-coloured flowers. “Plastic!”, The Family described in the tone of voice that Archimedes must have used when he jumped out of the
lake bathtub shouting “Eureka.”
On the way back up the stairs, in one half-hidden corner I found a stand of Calla lilies. I don’t see them very often; Mumbai’s climate is not good for growing them. So every time I see these flowers I stop by and take photos. I like the delicate tones of the spathe, the modified leaf which surrounds the central yellow stem with the inflorescences. Twelve rupees is not much of a price to pay for such a wonderful discovery. Please remember Mussorie Lake the next time you feel you’ve been ripped off. It’s bound to make you feel better.