Dehradun (Dehra Dun) Travel Guide
The city of Dehradun has a very picturesque geographical location, as it is nestled between the Shivalik mountain range in the south and the Himalayas in the north. Situated at an altitude of more than twenty-two-thousand meters, the city has the holy river Ganga to the east and the river Yamuna to the west. This hill city is the capital of the newly formed state of Uttarakhand.
Legend has it that it was the land of Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, Dehradun is the place where Lord Rama and his brother Lord Laxman vowed to bring back Rama’s wife Sita, who had been kidnapped by the King of Lanka, Ravana. The city also has roots in the Mahabharata, where the teacher of the Pandavas and Kauravas, Guru Dronacharya set up his ashram, or spiritual school, here. It was known as Dron Ashram from which the name Dehradun is derived. There is evidence of the city being ruled by the great King Ashoka around 1BC. By 3 B.C the city and the region around it was under the control of the Vrisheri dynasties, followed by the young princes of the Katyuri dynasty. Over the cource of history, the city was overtaken by the Sikhs and then the Mughals, the latter of whom were notorious for their valour in battles. The mighty Ghurkhas from the Kingdom of Nepal established a long rule over the region after the Mughals, but they were eventually overthrown by the British.
Dehradun is famous for it majestic beauty and picturesque hills, and for being home to the Indian Military Academy. It also has a good collection of top-notch boarding schools, boasting attendance by children from all over the world. The sweet fruit Lychee, and export quality Basmati rice are two other reasons Dehradun is popular nowadays. The city also boasts the famous author Ruskin Bond as a resident.
Dehradun Things to Do and Attractions
There are lots of places to be seen in Dehradun, the beautiful hill city in India. One Dehradun attraction is the Lakshman Siddh, which is one of the sacred temples of the region. Another temple that is very famous in Dehradun is the Tapkeshwar temple, which is a cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is very sacred among the locals. One very interesting feature of the cave temple is the stream of natural water that drops down onto the Shivaling from the ceiling. Robber’s Cave is an ideal picnic spot in the Doon valley, and is famous for its strange “disappearing streams”. The Forest Research Institute in Dehradun maintains a superb botanical museum, which has very diversified botanical specimens. It is a must see for ecology lovers. Malsi Deer Park is another Dehradun thing to do for nature lovers, where tourists can see different species of deer at very close ranges. To pump up your adrenalin, activities like mountaineering and rock climbing are available in and around the city. For anglers, Dehradun offers numerous spots as fishing zones. Or, you can also relax yourself with a game of mini-golf at the course in the city.
About twenty-three kilometers from the Dehradun is Rajaji National Park. It is an ideal picnic spot for nature lovers, and is very famous for its elephant population and its collection of more than 300 species of birds, along with its peaceful ambience. Adventure seekers can visit Lachiwala from the park, which is a beautiful area of Deodar forests with lots of areas to explore. Tourist and pilgrims alike from all over the world flock to Sahastradhara, an area about fifteen kilometers from Dehradun. The area has abundant sulphur springs which are claimed to have medicinal value. At a distance of hundred-and-thirty kilometers is Mundali, a region which has fantastic ski trails. Another place of interest is Mussoorie, another beautiful hill station of India which is only thirty-six kilometeres away from the city. You can also visit the holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh which are at a distance fifty-five and thirty kilometers from Dehradun respectively.
Dehradun doesn’t have much of a mall culture, but it has many bazaars where you are bound to get good artefacts, shawls, and brass statues. The Paltan bazaar and the area along the Rajpur road are famous as good shopping grounds with nominal prices.
Dehradun has many restaurants, where you can get a full range of cuisines – right from pastas to tandoori dishes. The city is pretty well developed due to the high number of tourists and students in the Doon valley. Do not forget to try the specialities of the city like Tibetan Momos, Kandalee Ka Saag and Jhangora Ki Kheer.
The city has a few pubs and lounge bars because of its high tourist and outsider population. Most of these bars are located in the Dehradun hotels, where alcohol is available at very reasonable rates.
Dehradun Getting There and Around
Dehradun being a capital city is very well connected with all the three modes of transportation. It has a domestic airport twenty-four kilometers away from the city. The railways and roadways connect the city to all the major cities in India.