The Capital City of Uttarakhand
Dehradun district is pillowed in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. It takes its seat in the northern part of India. It has its district headquarters based in Dehradun. The city serves as the provisional capital of Uttarakhand, since its inception in the year 2000. The district has:
- 7 tehsils
- 6 community development blocks
- 17 towns
- 764 villages and 18 unpopulated villages.
Dehradun district includes the major townships of Uttarakhand namely,
The district stretches from the Ganga river in the east to the Yamuna river in the west. And from the Terai and Shivaliks in the south, and southeast to the Great Himalayas in the northwest.
Interesting Facts on Dehradun:
- The Hindu religious texts of Skanda Purana, mentions about Dehradun. In fact, it was a part of Kedarkhand region, the abode of Lord Shiva.
- The epic Mahabharata cites it as “Dronanagari” after the name of Guru Dronacharya. He lived in the Tapovan area of Dehradun.
- The name Dehradun was kept after the “dera” or camp that was set up by Guru Ram Rai.
- During the British Rule, the official name of the district was Dehra Dun. In the year 1842, government merged Dun with Saharanpur district. But since 1871, it is being administered as a separate district.
Dehradun: More Facts:
- Dehradun is home to many prestigious educational institutions and major government offices. For instance, some of them are:
- The National Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)
- Survey of India, Forest Research Institute (FRI)
- Doon University
- Uttarakhand Technical Institute (UTU)
- Indian Institute of Petroleum, Uttaranchal University
- Wildlife Institute of India (WII)
- Rashtriya Indian Military College
- Indian Military Academy (IMA).
- Doon produces the best Basmati rice and quality tea that is homegrown in its lush tea estates. This sprawls over a few acres of land. These tea estates were being hacked to death by the corporates who were planning to cease the land. But they survived the storm and are thriving here since the time British left.
- The city is also famous for its litchi orchards which is one of its major agricultural crops.
- Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Nehru’s sister visited Doon from Mussoorie often and finally decided to settle here.
- Doon has also served as a temporary abode to the famous Children’s author, Ruskin Bond.
Histories touching Dehradun:
Dehradun finds its mention in various Puranic stories and cultures including the epic Ramayana. Ramayana mentions that Lord Rama with his brother Lakshmana, came to this area after defeating Ravana. Guru Dronacharya, the Guru of Kauravas and Pandavas in the Mahabharata also had links to Dehradun area. Skanda Purana also mentions about Rishikesh, known as Hrishikesh in its initial years. Ancient temples, statues, stone figurines, and archaeological remains have been found at the sites in and around the area. Furthermore, Ramayana and Mahabharata have mentioned about these temples and statues.
These remains are more than 2,000 years old. After the war of Mahabharata, Pandavas had a great influence over the region. Later, the descendants of Sabahu ruled the region as administrators under the Kuru Kingdom at Hastinapura. The discovery of Ashoka rock edict at Kalsi, Vikasnagar near Dehradun suggests, the area was quite prosperous during the historical period. Additionally, Huen Tsang’s travel memoir etched in the 7th century AD described Kalsi as Sudhanagara.
Haripur near Kalsi traces the archaeological remains from the time of Raja Rasal. Mahmud Ghaznavi, Timur attacked the area in 1368. Around 1676, Guru Ram Rai, the errant eldest son of the seventh Guru of the Sikhs Guru Har Rai, established his “Dera” or camp in the Dun Doon Valley. The place became famous as Dehradun. Additionally, Guru Ram Rai founded his own Udasi sect gaining support from Aurangzeb. Furthermore, Rohilla chieftain Najib ad-Dawlah in 1757 and Ghulam Qadir in 1785.
This kept the region in disorder till 1801. The region was later seized as a war spoil from the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal as a consequence of Gurkha War of 1814-16. The government attached the area administratively to Saharanpur district to its immediate south. This was under the reigns of British.
The British captured the area in 1816 and founded the cities of Landour and Mussoorie in 1827-28. After that, the government added the district to the Garhwal division in the 1970s. They made it the interim capital of Uttarakhand, after carving it out of UP. And furthermore to form a separate hill state by the name of Uttaranchal in the year 2000.
Important Fairs and Festival in Dehradun:
Jhanda Fair, Jhanda Sahib Dehradun:
One of the important fairs in Dehradun is Jhand Mela. The city hosts it every year in the historic Guru Ram Rai Darbar in Dehradun. People celebrate the fair on the fifth day after Holi festival. The fair commemorates Guru Ram Rai’s stay in Dehradun. A large number of devotees come together to hoist the Jhanda (flag) in the compound of the historic complex. Pilgrims from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, U.P. and Himachal show up to become a part of the Jhanda Mela.
The sacred Tapeshwar Temple nuzzled on the eastern bank of river Tons hosts the iconic Tapkeswar Fair. In the Skanda Purana, the area has been referred to as Deveshwara. During Dvapara Yuga, this place was the abode of Guru Dronacharya. Since then the cave became famous as Drona Gufa.
A famous legend tells that when Guru Dronacharya couldn’t see his son Aswathama crying for milk. He told him to worship Lord Shiva, who could fulfill his request. The young Ashwathama did so, pleased by the child’s devotion, Shiva granted his wish. Drop by drop, the milk started pelting the Shivalinga. Hence, the place came to be known as Tapkeshwar. Furthermore, a big fair takes place here on Shivratri. Thousands of devotees congregate to pay obeisance to the Lord.
Laxman Sidhha Fair:
Also spelled as Lakshman Siddha, this holy site is one among the four Siddhpeethas in Dehradun. It has the utmost religious significance. Laxman Siddha is visited by many people hailing from different places. Additionally, a small religious fair is held here on every Sunday. The last Sunday of April has a special significance. Many pilgrims turn up to offer homage to the Samadhi built here. Laxman Siddha is located on the Dehradun-Rishikesh road. It is around 10 km away from the city center, Clock Tower.
Region’s largest fair, Bissu is held in the cantonment area of Chakrata block in Dehradun district. It is situated about 3 km away from Chakrata. To illustrate, the fair showcases the cultural heritage and tradition of Jaunsari tribe. In fact, a large number of tourists from Tehri, Uttarkashi and Saharanpur come here to enjoy the fair. Bissu Mela marks the harvesting season in the area. It brings together the local populace to enjoy the festivity.
Mahasu Devta Fair:
Similarly, the supreme deity of Jaunsar, Mahasu Devta’s existence in Hanol is cherished by organizing this fair. Mahasu Devta Mela takes place in August at Hanol (120 km) on the Chakrata-Tyuni road. The deity is also taken out in procession. The celebration continues for three consecutive days and night. Thousands of people throng here on the auspicious occasion from the adjacent villages and region.
Shaheed Veer Kesri Chandra Fair:
The Shaheed Veer Kesri Chandra Mela is held in Ramtal, Nagau Gram Sabha of Chakrata Tehsil in Dehradun district. Ramtal, as the name suggests, is a pristine lake seated on a hillock. In fact, the tank is surrounded by thick green foliage which is the venue of the fair. Every year, during Navratri in the month of April, a grand fair is held here. Of course, one can pay regards at the temple and visit the memorial. Additionally, government built it in the memory of the freedom fighter, Veer Kesri Chandra.
Culture of Dehradun:
Dehradun district has warmly accepted people belonging to different ethnic groups. The vibrant population of Doon comprises:
- Tibetan and other groups of people.
Other than regional languages like Garhwali and Kumaoni, people widely speak Hindi and English. Different cultures have intermingled in Dehradun which has created harmony in the region.
In fact, the slangs in Garhwali, Kumaoni, and Hindi used by the locals have become memes now. Since Dehradun is a part of the Garhwal region, the regional culture is dominant in the district. In fact, people often play traditional Pahadi songs in every wedding that takes place in Dehradun. Regional fairs or Kauthigs and Trade Fairs are also common. They play a great role in promoting the Himalayan culture. Additionally, if you are here, then you must taste Pahadi delicacies such as:
- Mandua ki roti
- Jhangore ki Kheer, Kafli
- Chensu, Fanu
- Bhaang ki Chutney
- Kandali ka Saag etc.
Things to do in Dehradun:
Hailed as a popular tourist hub, Dehradun is one the largest districts in Uttarakhand. It is home to many scenic places, famous tourist destinations, and historic sites. There are bustling bazaars, country’s revered government offices and the colonial buildings, which British left behind. The colourful culture of Dehradun, the scrumptious Garhwali food and the friendly locals will make your sojourn wonderful. Some of the famous hill stations of Uttarakhand like Mussoorie, Kanatal, Dhanaulti, Auli, Tehri and many others lie in the proximity of Doon.
Best places to visit in Dehradun:
Doon Valley has many beautiful tourist places to hang out so if you are planning a getaway then you may like to visit these popular tourist destinations of this city. The Valley is blessed with quintessence of nature and has various scenic spots which are visited by tourists all over the world. The famous tourists attractions of Dehradun are:
Rishikesh "Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas" falls under Dehradun District:
Rishikesh is known as the ‘Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas’ and ‘Yoga Capital of The World’. Legendary band The Beatles had visited the ashram of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late 60s to seek spirituality. Read More
Dehradun’s Café Culture:
Over the years, Dehradun has become famous for its café culture. Many small and big cafes, restaurants, buffets along with some famous food chains have opened their outlets here. In fact, theme cafes have taken the city by storm. Some of these target the interests of the people, such as:
- Book café
- Jail theme café
- Music theme café
- Culture theme café etc.
Moreover, you can treat your stomach with scrumptious food. And without even burning a hole in your pocket. For example, some of the famous cafes are:
- Marigold Cafe
- Three C’S Café
- Y Café & Restaurant
- Café Cibo
- Kalsang Ama Café and many others.
Satiate your food cravings at some of the popular restaurants in Dehradun. Because they offer finger licking good food at reasonable prices.
- Have a bon appetite at Doon Darbar at Gandhi road
- Kalsang Restaurant at 88 A Rajpur road, Barbeque Nation at Chaudhary Plaza in Rajpur road.
- Or Punjab Grill Restaurant & Bar at 422 Rajpur road and Black Pepper Restaurant at Astley Hall.
Budget café and Restaurants:
If you are a student or a budget traveller then you can have food at these affordable restaurants in Dehradun. Moreover, quickly note down some cheap restaurants and cafes in Dehradun-
- 3 C’s café at Rajpur
- Silk Route Café at Rajpur 120/77 Dakhpatti Rajpur
- Dehra Kettle at Jogiwala
- Chuski Chai at Balliwala
- Doon Chai Wala at Hathibarkala Salwala
- Coffee Culture at Subhash Nagar Lane 9 Post Office.
Fine Dining Restaurants in Dehradun:
Take your soulmate on a candlelight dinner in one of these stately hotels, having a cool ambiance. For instance, have a gourmet experience at:
- Town Table at 2nd Floor 101 Rajpur road
- Grille restaurant at Jakhan
- The Punjabi Essence Restaurant at Chukkuwala
- The Terrace at Four Points by Sheraton Dehradun
- Thee Heart at Vikas Cinemall Indira Nagar
- Kabila Elite at Hathibarkala Salwala.
In fact, Doon is famous for its street food culture. From making a narrow lane famous as Chaat Gali to its juicy momos. These have become a staple diet of the college goers. For instance, the city is a tell-tale of a variety of food that has become a staple diet for the locals like:
- Burgers served at The Buffet Snacks Shop
- Momos of KC Momos & Soup Bar
- Bun Tikkiwala at Dwarka Store Chowk
- The Poori Thali at Chetan Poori Wala
- Bobby Fast Food Corner at Gandhi Park
- Madrasi Dosa at Chakrata road
- Maggi Points at Mussoorie road
- Kumar Sweets at Clock Tower
- Gaylord Ice-cream Parlour at Paltan Market.
Weather of Dehradun:
In fact, Doon experiences pleasant climate throughout the year. One can visit here any month to have a pleasurable stay in the snuggly retreat of Dehradun. However, the city will entice you with surprising showers at any time. The summers are pleasant, monsoons bring heavy showers, winters are chilly and Autumn is heavenly here. One can see the orange-tinted leaves kissing the boughs of the trees and pecking the empty boulevards, as one passes by. In fact, you can visit Dehradun anytime from January to December.
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Dehradun, A Famous Education Hub:
Doon is also revered for its age-old schools. These institutions have endured the wrath of times since the British Rule. They are still running fine. Celebrated as the “Elton of East”, Dehradun proudly showcases its prestigious day and boarding schools. These are affiliated to Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (I.C.S.E.) and Central Board of Secondary Education (C.B.S.E). For instance, some of the famous educational institutions in Dehradun are:
- The Doon School
- Dehradun Hills Academy
- St. Joseph’s Academy
- St. Thomas’s College
- Welham Girls School
- Welham Boys School
- Rashtriya Indian Military College and so on.
Additionally, Dehradun is also home to may top class engineering colleges and research institutions, such as:
- The pivotal Forest Research Institute (F.R.I) in Dehradun
- Indian Military Academy
- Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology
- Wildlife Institute of India
- O.N.G.C and U.P.E.S are other respectable institutions in Dehradun.
There are innumerable staying options in Dehradun. If you are planning a trip to Dehradun then you can easily choose from an array of hotel, motels, and resorts. For example, OYO rooms, GMVN Guest houses or resorts. They graciously sprawl over a few acres of verdant land. In fact, one can easily find Luxury, Moderately priced hotels to Budget Hotels in Dehradun. To rent an entire house for a day for parties or functions, Airbnb option is also available. Additionally, If you are someone who travels often. And you don’t want to burn your hard earned money on a night’s stay. Then you can opt to stay at the budget hotels which offer cheap accommodation.
Dehradun “A Retirement Home for Elderly Couples:
The city has the gorgeous backdrop of the nature’s bliss. For example, stellar mountains, the greenery, and the sleepy solitude. These things also make the city worth spending the last decades in. This picturesque city situated on the foothills of the Himalayas. In fact, it has graciously housed many retired couples.
Additionally, Doon is popular as a retirement home. Many people from different regions settle here after taking retirement. Moreover, the city possesses all the facilities that find meaning in day to day life. For example, there are shopping malls, hospitals and market. There are:
- Pathology centers
- Veterinary hospitals
- Pet stores
- Food stores
- PVR/theatre etc.
- Similarly, one can find everything here at once here.
Best Time To Visit Dehradun:
Of course, Dehradun is a beautiful destination and has different charms in every season.
March to June:
This is the time when most people visit Doon valley. The weather remains pleasant and clear. It is best to enjoy the sights and indulge in adventure activities. Additionally, the maximum temperature during this time is 35 degrees Celsius. And the minimum is 17 degrees Celsius.
July to September:
Doon valley looks very inviting during this time of the year. As a result, people use this opportunity to relax and enjoy here. This is when the monsoon kicks. After that, this place looks beautiful and lush green in its rain-washed splendor.
October to February:
This is a nice time to explore Doon as one can explore the sights, while soaking in the winter sunshine. October also marks the beginning of autumn in this place. This is when the weather begins to cool down a bit. In fact, winter in Doon valley arrives in December and the temperatures drops down to 3 degrees Celsius. The reason being snow fall in nearby hill stations, such as Mussoorie. However, the maximum temperature during this time is 22 degrees Celsius.
How To Reach Dehradun:
Around 22 km southeast of this city, the Jolly Grant Airport is located. It is also known as Dehradun Airport. In fact, this airport connects the city to almost all major domestic destinations. Additionally, the airport also has easy access to the holy towns of Rishikesh (20 km) and Haridwar (30 km).
The city is well-connected by roads to other major cities of the country via NH 72. For example, regular deluxe and normal buses to the city are easily available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate, Delhi.
In fact, Dehradun Railway Station connects the city to all major cities of the country. Such as Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kolkata, Varanasi and Vadodara. From outside the railway station, you can take a auto rickshaw or hire a private taxi. After that, they will take you to your desired destination.
- Mumbai : 1354 km
- Delhi : 201 km
- Lucknow : 479 km
- Chandigarh : 128 km
- Rishikesh : 45 km
- Mussoorie : 45 km