Dehradun is one of the oldest cities of India and is the provisional capital of Uttarakhand, nestled in the mountain ranges of the Himalayas. Popularly known as the 'Adobe of Drona', Dehradun has always been an important centre for Garhwali rulers.
During the reign of Aurangzeb, Ram Rai the Guru of the Udasi Sikhs on being ordered by the Mughal king to retire to the backwoods of Dehradun, had pitched this tents in what is now the Khurbura locality of the town. Around these two sites, grew up the town popularly known as Dehra. The term dun or Doon means the low lands at the foot of a mountain range and as the bulk of the district lies in such a terrain, it justiﬁed the dun part of the name. Another derivation of the term dun is stated to be from Dronashram, hermitage of Guru Dronacharya of Mahabharata fame, who sojourned for a season in the village of Devara, situated near to Dehra to perform his devotions at a lonely spot.
With the Himalayas in its north, the Shivalik range to its south, the Ganges to its east and the Yamuna to its west, the geography of Dehradun shows the city at the centre of the Doon Valley. Located at a distance of about 235 kms from Delhi in the state of Uttarakhand, Dehradun forms part of the Garhwal Himalayas. Despite considerable modernisation Dehradun has preserved its colonial tinge of the British rule.
Dehradun boasts of a pleasant climate approximately round the year but April to July are ideal months for anyone to witness the beauty of the place in its truest form. During the summer months, temperatures range between 36°C to 16.7°C. Winter temperatures vary between 23.4°C and 5.2°C, respectively. Apart from being a popular summer retreat Dehradun is today a major academic and research centre.
Dehradun, as the name denote is made up of two words Dehra and doon, where 'Dehra' derived from the word "dera" means camp and "doon" is term for the valley that lies between the Himalayas and the "Shivaliks".
Dehradun lies very near to other major tourist destinations like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Gangotri and Badrinath. Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple, the Tapovan, Robbers' Cave, the Shakya Center are the highlights of the city. Adventure sports such as skiing and trekking are also very prevalent and sought after in the city. Several academic institutions and research centres are located here, a notable one being the Forest Research Institute. The headquarters of many national institutes and organisations such as ONGC, Survey of India, Forest Research Institute, Indian Institute of Petroleum, etc. are located in the city. Some of the premier educational and training institutes such as Indian Military Academy, RIMC (Rashtriya Indian Military College), Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA), Lal Bahadur Shahstri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) etc. are also there in Dehradun.
Dehradun has its own uniqueness with the existence of large forests spread in 1477 sq km. This amounts to 43.70 per cent of the district's area. They yield a variety of products like fodder, bamboos, medicinal herbs, honey, lac, gum, resin, catechu, wax, horns and hides. Owing to the variation in altitudes and other aspects, the ﬂora of the district varies from tropical to alpine species. Sal and coniferous forests are predominant in the western part of Dehradun. Chir is the only coniferous species in the old reserved forests of Dehra Dun. A few deodar trees are also seen in the district.
It is a favoured tourist destination as it attracts tourists, pilgrims and enthusiasts from various walks of life to its serene environs. The main languages spoken in the area are Hindi, Sindhi, Punjabi, Garhwali and Urdu. The abundance of special basmati rice, tea and leechi gardens that contribute in turning the city into a paradise adds up to its beauty.
Dehradun sightseeing is a heavenly delight to the travellers longing for serenity and tranquility. Placed between the foothills of the Himalayas, Shivaliks, Ganges and Yamuna, it is indeed a picturesque sight to relish. Dehradun, a desirable tourist destination, attracts tourists, pilgrims and amateurs alike. Besides, the abundance of leechi, basmati rice, and tea; the charismatic hills, scintillating rivers, romantic valleys, and marvellous hill-resorts also contribute towards making Dehradun sightseeing a memorable one.
Sahastradhara is a spring located approximately 16 km away from the city. It is said that Sahastradhara means thousand of springs that comes together. The place is a must watch if you are planning a trip to Dehradun. It has the water of a sulphur spring which is a cure for skin diseases.
Forest Research Institute (FRI)
Established in 1906, FRI is one of the oldest institutions that was developed for the research work in forestry not only in India but all around the world. You could see the architectural beauty of the place that often takes one's mind away.
Malsi Deer Park
Located at the foothills of Shivalik range Malsi Deer Park is a beautiful tourist place and animal zoo in Dehradun. Its a great picnic spot which is especially liked by children due to the wild animals and exciting swings in the park.
Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple
The ancient and famous Shiv temple visited by thousands of devotees all year round. The lush greens surrounding with dense forests and the rivertuary ﬂowing by makes it the best place to visit for complete peace of mind and meditation.
Lachhiwala is a famous picnic spot with a fresh river water pool to have bath and a park with all sorts of swings here. It's a great place of leisure to be enjoyed especially by children.
The Buddha temple situated in Clement Town area is famous for its beautiful design and interiors which depicts the ancient architecture of Tibet. It also has a very beautiful garden where one can sit in peace and meditate.
Laxman Sidh Temple
The Laxman Sidh is a beautiful holy place situated few kms from Dehradun and is located among dense green forests. It's a great place to have an outing with family members where you could also have prasad in the frequent bhandaras that keeps happening here.
Shiv Mandir Mussoorie
Situated along the way to Mussoorie is the famous Shiv temple that is visited by a number of tourists all round the year. The enchanting location and the beautiful surroundings of the green hills surely makes it a heavenly place of worship.
The Kalinga War Memorial
The only war memorial of its kind in the world which was erected by the British to honour their foe, the Gurkhas (or the Gorkhas).
Shopping anywhere is a delightful experience and in Dehradun it is yet another thing that must be explored. The old and beautiful city of Dehradun has an array of shopping options. One will not ﬁnd any shopping malls out here but there are several markets from where one can browse through the unique offerings at an affordable price. With abundance of places to shop in Dehradun, beautiful handicrafts and some of the specialties of Uttrakhand, readily available in the markets. The exquisite woodcrafts, artifacts and utilities devised by the local artisans out of wood, bamboo and cane are the major attractions while shopping in Dehradun. Paltan Bazaar in Dehradun has a good shopping arcade in the capital city and is the popular shopper's paradise out there. Rajpur Road and Ashley Hall areas are also the favourite hangouts where one can get exquisite artifacts making the shopping in Dehradun a joyous experience. Apart from the above, shopping at Sahakari Bazaar and Connaught Place is also a glee as one can buy unique stuff at much affordable prices.
While shopping in Dehradun, don't forget to buy the Woollen garments such as beautiful sweaters, cardigans, shawls, etc. made by the Tibetan women. These are the most wanted items while shopping in Dehradun. Also do not miss out on the local paintings as well as wonderful ornaments.
Connaught Place, one of the busiest shopping hubs in Dehradun, is based near Chakrata Road. Young college-goers can check out the junk accessories such as earrings, chains and other fashionable jewelleries, tourists looking out for some memorable souvenirs can purchase wooden carved articles, exotic Garhwali art paintings and other handicraft products from this place.
Another popular place to go for shopping in Dehradun is the Tibetan market. This is the best place, especially if you want to buy colourful apparels and cool T-shirts. The popular purchasing items here are woollen garments, exclusive Tibetan objects such as semiprecious pebbles, carpets and jewellery. Close to this place, you will ﬁnd several small eateries that offer fresh Tibetan delicacies such as thupkas, momos and chowmein.
Paltan Bazaar, situated near the famous landmark of Dehradun-Clock Tower, sells possibly everything under the sun. The city's pride basmati rice can be bought here at a reasonable price, apart from woollen garments and handicrafts made by tribal community. So you won't need to burn your pockets deeply while shopping in this market.
A blend of modern showrooms and stores selling local handicrafts can be found on this street. Urban dwellers can hit branded outlets such as Woodland, Nike, Vishal Mega Mart and Adidas. Besides shops, one can also head to cafes, eatery outlets, restaurants lined up on this street.
Gandhi Road Market
Gandhi Road Market spotted near the famous Clock Tower is an epitome of memorable curios. All kinds of shops ranging from jewellery, garment, shoes to book stores ﬂank on this road. The popular souvenirs that are worthy to be picked up from this market are Tibetian carpets, fashionable jewelleries, brass statues, cool sun glasses and second-hand books.
Right opposite Gandhi Park, there is this wonderful shopping centre known as Ashley hall that has bundle of lovely items. An array of wooden carved products, sweaters, cardigans, woollen clothes, paintings can be purchased from the shops nestled in the Ashley Hall market area. The enchanting artifacts made out of wood, bamboo and cane are also on display.