Dehradun is the capital of the Indian state of Uttarakhand, near the Himalayan foothills. At its core is the 6-sided Ghanta Ghar clock tower. To the southwest is Paltan Bazaar, a busy shopping area. Just east is the Sikh temple Gurdwara Nanaksar, topped with ornate white and golden domes. In Clement Town to the city’s southwest, Mindrolling Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist center with shrine rooms in its Great Stupa.
Dehradun also rendered Dera Doon, is the winter capital and most populous city in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is the administrative headquarters of the eponymous district. Part of the Garhwal region, it lies along National Highway 7 with the distance of 236 kilometres (147 mi) north of India’s capital New Delhi and is served by Dehradun railway station and Jolly Grant Airport. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 447 metres (1,467 ft) above sea level. Dehradun is governed by municipal corporation which comes under Dehradun Municipal Corporation. Main languages spoken in the city are Hindi, Garhwali and Jaunsari.
Also known as the ‘Adobe of Drona’, Dehradun has been an important centre for Garhwal rulers which was captured by the British. During the days of British Raj, the official name of the town was Dehra. Dehradun is made up of two words “Dehra” + “Dun.” Dehra ‘ is derived from the word “dera”, meaning camp, and “doon” is a term for the valley that lies between the himalayas and the Shivalik. The town was established when Baba Ram Rai, the son of the seventh Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai settled his “Dera” or camp in the area in 1675. The city is also regarded as Devbhoomi (“Land of the Gods”). Often referred as the gateway to Mussorie. Uttarakhand Police is the main law enforcement agency in the city.
Dehradun is located in the Doon Valley on the foothills of the Himalayas nestled between the river Ganges on the east and the river Yumuna on the west. The city is noted for its picturesque landscape and slightly milder climate and provides a gateway to the surrounding region. It is well connected and in proximity to Himalayan tourist destinations such as Mussoorie, Dhanaulti, Chakrata, New Tehri, Uttarkashi, Harsil, Chopta – Tungnath, Auli, India, famous summer and winter trekking destinations like Dodital, (Dayara Bugyal), Kedarkantha, Har Ki Dun for camping and grandeur Himalayan panoromic views. The Hindu holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh along with the Himalayan pilgrimage circuit of Chota Char Dham i.e. Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Dehradun is also known for its Basmati rice and bakery products.
Dehradun is a notable academic and research hub and is home to Indian Millitary Academy, Rashtriya Indian Millitary College, Uttarakhand Ayurveda University, Forest Research Institute, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, and Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy. According to the combined survey based on health, infrastructure, economy, education and safety; conducted by Dainik Jagran and KPMG, Dehradun is the safest to live in.
Tourist destinations include the Dehradun Zoo, Kalanga Monument, Chandrabani, Himalayan Gallary cum Regional Science Centre Guchhupani, Forest Research Institute, Tapovan, Lakshman Siddha Peeth, Tapkeshwar Temple, Santala Devi Temple, Mindrolling Monastery, Prakasheshwar Mahadev Temple, Sai Mandir, Central Braille Press and Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology.
The tourist destinations can be divided into four or five areas: nature, sports, sanctuary, museums and institutions. The nearby hill stations are well known for their natural environment, temples for its faith dimensions, sanctuary for animal and bird lovers. Hill stations include Mussoorie, Sahasradhara, Chakrata, and Dakpathar. Famous temples include Tapkeshwar, Lakhamandal and Santala Devi.
Places of Interest
The Kipling Trail is the old walking route between Dehradun and Mussoorie that was named after English novelist Rudyard Kipling, who is believed to have walked the trail in the 1880s. It begins at Shahanshahi Ashram in Rajpur village. The trail is being revived as nature, history and hiking enthusiasts are increasingly using the trail over driving up to the hill station.
Khalanga War Memorial
The Battle of Nalapani was the first battle of the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-1816, fought between the forces of the British East India Company and Nepal, then ruled by the House of Gorkha. The battle took place around the Nalapani fort, near Dehradun, which was placed under siege by the British between 31 October and 30 November 1814.
Maa Bala Sundari Mandir
There are various temples of Maa Bala Sundari Devi situated in India and this is one such temple. The main temple is in Trilokpur, Himachal Pradesh. This Mata Temple is situated approximately 3 km South-West Direction of Sudhowala. This great temple is situated inside a forest. Gaur Brahmin of sudhowala are Pandits (Brahman) of this temple. It is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Maa Bala Sundari, also known as Bal Roop of Maa Vaishno Devi, a manifestation of the Hindu Mother Goddess Mahalakshmi. The words “maa” and “mata” are commonly used in India for “mother’, and thus are often used in connection with Maa Bala Sundari.
Various modes of transportation are available from Sudhowala, including ponies, electric vehicles and palkis operated by 2 or 4 persons. Many pilgrims visit from the northern Indian states to get the blessings of Mahmaya Bala Sundari. A trust is also run by Mandir Maa Bala Sundari Trust, Sudhowala.
Dehradun International Cricket Stadium
Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun is a multi-purpose stadium in the Raipur area of Dehradun, Uttarakhand. It is the first international level stadium in the state.
Robber’s Cave (locally known as Guchhupani), is a river cave formation in Himalaya, located approximately 8 km from the centre of Dehradun City in Uttarakhand state of India. Believed to be the hideout of the famous Sultana Daku and his band of dacoits. The cave formation has thus been named Robber’s Cave.
The cave is about 600 metres long, divided into two main parts. The cave has a highest fall of about 10 metres. In the central part there is a fort wall structure which is now broken. It consists of an extremely narrow gorge formed in a conglomerate limestone area on Doon Valley’s Dehra plateau.
It is a natural cave formation where rivers flows inside the cave. The place is a tourist site and is maintained by Uttarakhand State. Local bus services are available up to Anarwala village, from where it is a kilometre’s trek away.
Lacchiwala Picnic Spot
It is a popular tourist destination especially during summers. It is well known for its forest scenic beauty, man-made water pools and bird watching. It is now known as Nature Park.
It is a temple of Pashupati Lord Shiva. It is situated beside a forest on the bank of the Asan river and the main deity (Shivalinga) is housed in a natural cave. According to the holy epic Mahabharata, Guru Drona is said to have resided in this cave for a period of time. The temple’s natural cave is named Drona cave after him. Water trickles down the ceiling of the cave and drops on the Shivalinga creating a magnificent image.
Formerly known as Malsi Deer Park, the main objectives of Dehradun Zoo are conservation of wild animals, developing an education centre and a rescue centre for wild animals. It is located on the foothills of Shivalik Range on the Mussoorie Road. It is about 10 km away from Dehradun and 23 km from Mussoorie.
Forest Research Institute
Forest Research Institute or ‘FRI’ is an institution in the field of forest research in India. The institute is one of the oldest and biggest forest-based training institutes in India. The institute is known for its research work and wonderful architecture that dates to British Raj. FRI is affiliated to the Forest Research Institute University and is approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The aim of the institution is to accomplish the needs of the Indo-Gangetic plains of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh, as well as the Uttarakhand Himalayas.
Regional Science Center
Regional Science Center (RSC) is located within the campus of Uttarakhand Council of Science and Technology (UCOST) at Vigyan Dham, Suddhowala on the outskirts of Dehradun. The Uttarakhand Regional Science Center is developed by the National Council for Science Museum (NCSM) in collaboration with the UCOST. The Regional Science Center is a popular destination for school educational tours and hosts a science museum, planetarium, a 3D theatre, science gallery and scientific law based interactive exhibits.
Lambi Dehar Mines
A deserted Limestone Mine supposed to be a haunted place is located in the Mussoori Range of Dehradoon District.
Culture and history info
The history of the city of Uttarakhand, Dehradun (nicknamed "Doon Valley") is linked to the story of Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is believed that after the battle between Ravana and Lord Rama, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana visited this site. Also, known as 'Dronanagari' on the name of Dronacharya, legendary Royal guru to the Kauravas and Pandavas in the epic Mahabharata, is believed to have been born and resided in Dehradun. Evidences such as ancient temples and idols have been found in the areas surrounding Dehradun which have been linked to the mythology of Ramayana and Mahabharata. These relics and ruins are believed to be around 2000 years old. Furthermore, the location, the local traditions and the literature reflect this region's links with the events of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Even after the battle of Mahabharata, the Pandavas had an influence on this region as the rulers of Hastinapura with the descendants of Subahu ruled the region as subsidiaries. Likewise, Rishikesh is mentioned in the pages of history when Lord Vishnu answered the prayers of the saints, slaughtered the demons and handed the land to the saints. The adjoining place called Chakrata has its historical impression during the time of Mahabharata. In the seventh century, this area was known as Sudhanagara and was described by the Chinese traveller Huen Tsang. Sudhanagara later came to be recognized as Kalsi. Edicts of Ashoka have been found in the region along the banks of the river Yamuna in Kalsi indicating the wealth and importance of the region in ancient India. In the neighbouring region of Haripur, ruins were discovered from the time of King Rasala which also reflect the region's prosperity. Before the name of Dehradun was used, the place is shown on old maps as Gurudwara (a map by Webb, 1808) or Gooroodwara (a map by Gerard, 1818). Gerard's map names the place as "Dehra or Gooroodwara". Surrounding this original Sikh temple were many small villages that are now the names of parts of the modern city. Dehradun itself derives its name from the historical fact that Baba Ram Rai, the eldest son of the Seventh Sikh Guru Har Rai, set up his "Dera" (camp) in "dun" (valley) in 1676. This 'Dera Dun' later on became Dehradun. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was highly impressed by the miraculous powers of charismatic Ram Rai. He asked the contemporary Maharaja of Garhwal, Fateh Shah to extend all possible help to Ram Rai. Initially, a Gurudwara (temple) was built in Dhamawala. The construction of the present building, Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib, was completed in 1707. There are portraits of gods, goddesses, saints, sages and religious stories on the walls. There are pictures of flowers and leaves, animals and birds, trees, similar faces with pointed noses and big eyes on the arches which are the symbol of the colour scheme of Kangra-Guler art and Mughal art. High minarets and round pinnacles are the models of Muslim architecture. The huge pond in the front measuring 230 x 80 feet had dried up for want of water over the years. People had been dumping rubbish; it has been renovated and revived. Dehradun was invaded by Mahmud of Ghazni during his campaigns into India followed by Timur in 1368, Rohilla chief Najib ad-Dawlah in 1757 and Ghulam Qadir in 1785. In 1806 Nepalese King Prithvi Narayan Shah united many of the Indian territories that now fell under places such as Almora, Pathankot, Kumaon, Garhwal, Sirmur, Shimla, Kangra and Dehradun. On the western front Garhwal and parts of Himachal Pradesh up to Punjab and on the eastern front the state of Sikkim up to Darjeeling became parts of Nepal for a brief period until the British East India Company went on the war from 1814 to 1816. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Sugowli where almost a third was ceded to British East India company. The British got Dehradun in 1816 and colonised Landour and Mussoorie in 1827–1828. Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, was quite fond of the city and often visited. He spent his last few days here before passing away in Delhi in 1964. Another leader from the independence movement, Rash Behari Bose, who was one of the key organisers of the Ghadar conspiracy and, later, the Indian National Army was based in Dehradun in his early days before he was forced to move to Japan in 1915 to continue the freedom struggle. Post-independence Dehradun and other parts of Garhwal and Kumaon were merged with United Provinces which was later renamed the state of Uttar Pradesh. In 2000, Uttarakhand state (earlier called Uttaranchal) was created from the northwestern districts of Uttar Pradesh under the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2000. Dehradun was made its interim capital.
Dehradun's Afghan connection dated back to the First Anglo-Afghan War, after which the Afghan Emir Dost Mohammad Khan (Emir of Afghanistan) was exiled by the British to Dehra Dun. He stayed in Mussoorie for over 6 years. The Balahissar ward under the Mussoorie municipality has been named after the palace of Dost Mohammad. The famous Dehradooni Basmati was brought along by him from Kunar Province in Afghanistan and it continues to be counted as a delicacy of the valley. Forty years later, after the Second Anglo-Afghan War, his grandson, Mohammad Yaqub Khan, was sent to exile to India in 1879. Just like his grandfather, he chose Doon valley as his abode. Yakoob became the first Afghan to formally settle in Dehradun. The present Mangla Devi Inter College was once the Kabul Palace where Yakoob spent a few years of his life. The extended family and servants of the King were also relocated to Dehradun. The Afghan royal family maintained a presence in Dehra Dun. It was the birthplace of the second to last King of Afghanistan, Mohammed Nadir Shah. Two quaint palaces – the Kabul Place in Dehradun and Balahissar Palace in Mussoorie stand testimony to this connection with Afghanistan. They were built by these Afghan rulers in exile in India in the early part of the 20th Century and are palaces are a miniature replica of the palatial structures owned by the kings in Afghanistan. The Balahissar Palace has now been turned into Mussoorie's Wynberg Allen School. Doon-based heritage enthusiast Ghanshyam told the Times of India, "The police station at Karanpur used to be the royal guard room of Yakoob way back in 1879. The electrical office located at the Survey Chowk was the royal servant quarters." Today the descendants of the former royalty, Yakub Khan and his grandson Sardar Azim Khan's family have integrated with the mainstream of Dehra Dun life. The Doon connection was revived when Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan while undergoing treatment in New Delhi during the last years of his life expressed a desire to meet his Doon cousins but the meeting could not take place as the family members were away. Ashraf Ghani, the current President of Afghanistan has mentioned that his grandmother grew up in Dehra Dun. "I speak of Tagore because I was raised on Tagore by my grandmother who lived in Dehradun.," Dr Ghani said while talking about India's vision and the remarkable transformation. Dehra Dun is also being selected to be the second "home" ground of the Afghan cricket team and Afghan cricket fans recall this "centuries old link" with the town .