Lansdowne is primarily a cantonment town. It houses the command office of the Garhwal Rifles. Originally known as Kaludanda, after kalun (black) and danda (hill) from the Garhwali language, Lansdowne was founded and named after the then viceroy, Lord Lansdowne, in a supreme act of vanity in 1887 – the viceroy presided over the fate of India from 1888 to 1894. The town was developed by the British to cater to new recruits of the Garhwal Rifles. More than half of the hill station is still made up of the cantonment area with British- era Army quarters and offices dotting the streets and corners. The cantonment’s presence has saved Lansdowne from being spoilt by unbridled development.
Lansdowne is about six hours and a half by car from Delhi (it is 245km away). Plan your journey in such a way that you complete it before sunset, so that you can catch glimpses of some of the most beautiful locations on your way to the quaint little town. The quality of the road is pretty good too – the entire stretch from Delhi to Lansdowne is covered by national highway (NH- 58 and NH- 119), but don’t expect a smooth flow and room for manoeuverability (it becomes a two- lane highway from Meerut) as on the Jaipur and Agra highways.