Winter line of Mussoorie from Jabarkhet

Every year in the months of December and January, something magical happens in Mussoorie. It's a special natural phenomenon which takes place only in a few places across the world, and Mussoorie is one such place.

I am talking about the Winter Line of Mussoorie.

winter line mussoorie jabarkhet
Winter line of Mussoorie (picture credit: Virendra Singh)

Err? What exactly is a winter line?

Well this was exactly my reaction when I was invited by JW Marriott Mussoorie to visit during the winter months to witness the winter line. Interestingly, I never quite searched for it online and assumed that it would be a very clear view of the line of snow clad Himalayan peak.

However, only when I witnessed it that I realised that it was not the Himalayan peaks, but the sky right opposite that. But what exactly is this line?

Well its a sharp line in the sky which is more like a faux horizon line. So before the sun actually sets across the real horizon, in this part of the world, it actually disappears across a faux horizon. So how does it happen? Well, I am not sure what exactly happens, but this is what my guide told me.

"Dehradun Valley is warm so the hot air rises up, while the air in the sky around Mussoorie is very cold during winter. As air with different temperatures meet, it gives rise to a sharp line - the lower part is dark, and the cooler air is lighter blue. This line is always there, but just before sunset, due to refraction of light, the line lits up beautifully as a golden sharp line as the sun disappears behind the lower portion of the sky which is dark in colour. This is how the line is formed."

winter line mussoorie jabarkhet
Hike in Jabarkhet (picture credit: Virendra Singh)

I am not sure if I understood the explanation completely, but this is the best that I have. Such unique conditions do not exist at many places, and apart from Mussoorie this line can be seen only in Switzerland. That makes this line rather unique, right?

One of the best ways to see this line completely is from a mountain top with a clearing. I saw it from a mountain top at the beautiful Jabarkhet Nature Reserve which is located on the way to Dhanaulti from Mussoorie.

Best time to witness winter line:

Months: mid-November to mid-January
Time: both at sunrise and sunset. Check for the exact time locally as it varies by the day.
Where: Jabarkhet Nature Reserve is a great option, though can also be seen from most of Mussoorie but not as clearly.

Bonus photography tip: if you are a photography enthusiast, do carry a tripod with you. I didn't, and regretted it.

Here's a video which will give you a better idea of what this place actually looks like. Enjoy :)


  1. Looks so beaut! JW has some lovely properties. Great tip re: tripod!

  2. I have never even heard of a winter line. I wonder if you can see it anywhere in North America. Now I will have to research it and find out because it sounds like a neat thing to see. Can you see it at sunrise too, or is it only at sunset?

  3. Had no idea something like this existed. But it truly looks spectacular. Glad you had a good visit there and the guide helped clarified what the line was. Hope to see this someday!

  4. Wow I've never heard of this in my life but it is epic! What a fantastic experience! I would love to see it one day!

  5. This is new to me and is just like a science lesson. May be schools can include this for educational tours.

  6. Wow! This sounds like an amazing destination! I know that I want to visit Mussoorie between December and January so I can see the winter line. Is it just in the Himalayas because of the height or can you experience this in other parts of the world? I love unique natural phenomena.

  7. Thanks for the explanation! I actually googled a few weeks ago "why does the sky change colors when the sun sets" and got a very similar explanation. It had to do with the air and temperatures and such. Would definitely love to see this though too. I'm always up for experiencing the wonders of the world!

  8. What amazing natural phenomenon! I've heard of a faux sunrise in the far north of Canada, but never a winter line for the sunset. You enjoyed a rare experience.

  9. What an interesting phenomenon. I can't say I full understand the "how" either, but it such is pretty! I bet sunrise must be amazing.

  10. I didn't know there was such a thing as a winter line! It looks great, much better than the regular sunset photos that we see. Even if you didn't bring a tripod, it still looks good though.


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