The Kempty Falls are 13 km from Mussoorie into the hilly interior of Uttarakhand. Kempty Falls were discovered as a tourist destination by a British Army officer John Mekinan in 1835.
In the last 5 years the picturesque falls have seen an explosion in domestic tourists, development and unregulated construction – fuelled by sustained promotion of the destination by Uttarakhand State Tourism Department to domestic tourists on bus tours.
As an immediate concern, the surrounding villages are growing at an unsustainable rate with inward migration of families keen to capitalise on the Falls’ popularity. Domestic construction has stretched water supplies and sanitation past breaking point. In the peak summer months 4 hour traffic jams clog the narrow road from Kempty to Mussoorie.
More alarming is the rash of hastily and poorly constructed hotels, restaurants and gift shops jostling for for tourist trade along Kempty road. To negate the precipitous terrain they are stacked precariously on skinny concrete stilts or carved into the hillside with zero retention or piling structures. In an area prone to seismic shift, extreme rainfall and landslip events – this could be a disaster in the making.