Forest Research Institute “वन अनुसन्धान संस्थान देहरादून”
Forest Research Institute in Dehradun also referred to as FRI is a primary institution in the field of forest research in India. Cradled in the arms of Dehra, Forest Research Institute is one of the oldest and biggest forest-based training institute in India. The institute is not only known for its research work but for its marvellous architecture that dates to British Raj.
This prestigious institution is affiliated to the Forest Research Institute University and is approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC). It aims to accomplish the needs and requirements of the Indo-Gangetic plains of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Western Uttar Pradesh, as Well as the U.P. Himalayas.
Origin of Forest Research Institute:
Since time anon India has been known as a mystical land, hailed for its exotic forests. When the British came here, they had already romanticized the forests of India in Rudyard Kipling’s most celebrated work, “The Jungle Book”. Soon the British brought their scientific pursuit to this field and established ‘The British Imperial Forest School’ under the famous German forester Dietrich Brandis in 1878. Brandis was the trailblazer for creating, managing, using, conserving and repairing forests in the sub-continent. In 1906, it was re-established as the Imperial Forest Research Institute to train forest officers of the British Civil Services.
History of Forest Research Institute:
This erstwhile Imperial Forest Research Institute was established in 1906 with a motive to conserve forests and lead forestry research in India. Its history is linked with the evolution and development of scientific forestry not only in India but in the entire Indian subcontinent. The institute imparted training to forest officers and forest ranger in the country.
Therefore, after independence, it was named as Indian Forest Institute and Colleges. Later in 1988, FRI and its research centres were brought under the administrative umbrella of Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE) under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India. FRI was declared as a deemed university by the University of Grants Commission in the year 1991.
Some interesting facts about Forest Research Institute:
- The Forest Research Institute was first located at Chandhbagh (the present location of the Doon School) on the Mall Road. It was later shifted to its present location, Chakrata road in 1923.
- The great revolutionary Rash Behari Bose, the master of disguise worked at FRI for eight years. He was a head clerk here who was secretly trying to raise recruits from among the Bengali residents in the Doon Valley.
- The building of FRI was once listed for a time in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest purely brick structure in the world.
- The main building of FRI inaugurated in 1929 by then Viceroy Willingdon is now a National Heritage Site.
- One can see a 700-year old Deodar tree standing in utmost pride in the FRI.
- The lavish campus of FRI has been chosen as the backdrop for various Bollywood flicks which include Krishna Cottage, Paan Singh Tomar, Student of the Year, Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein, Error 404 and Nanban.
The architecture of Forest Research Institute:
Forest Research Institute is one of the most impressive buildings made under the British Raj. It graciously sprawls over a lush green estate spreading over 450 hectares of land. Designed in Greeko Roman Architecture by C.G. Blomfield, the institute’s edifice has a hint of Colonial style with a plinth area of 2.5 hectares. The main structure of the building is almost 1,000 feet long.
The bricks and mortar installed are grafted in repetitive patterns, punctuated by moulding strips, which further accentuate its broad width. The enormous building of the FRI has a simple, symmetrical general plan. There are around six central courtyards surrounded by wide corridors on all sides. The stepped back central entrance is bordered by domed towers on both sides. A stone pathway bisects the lawns, while the pristine Tons river forms the northern boundary of the campus.
Entry Fee of FRI:
To access the institute, one needs to pay an entry ticket of Rs. 7 and additional Rs. 50 if you want to visit the museums. You can also park your vehicle by paying a nominal charge.
Timings of Forest Research Institute:
The Forest Research Institute is open for visitors from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm on all days, except on Mondays.
The Museums of FRI:
The mammoth building houses six gigantic museums namely- The Social Forestry Museum, the Pathology Museum, the Silviculture Museum, the Timber Museum, the N.W.F.P Museum and the Entomology Museum. These museums narrate the rise of forestry as a serious discipline, a contribution of the British Raj.
The major highlights are the dioramas of floodplains, forest patterns across India and a cross-section of a 700-year old Deodar tree. The cupboards placed on the walls are stacked with books and specimens dating back to the time when the building was inaugurated in 1926. These books contain vital information on how the FRI has documented the Indian forests for almost a century.
Courses and Facilities Offered by Forest Research Institute in Dehradun:
The deemed university of Forest Research Institute runs four MSc courses in Cellulose & Paper Technology, Environment Management, Forestry Management and Aroma Technology. It also enrols a large research number of scholars every year for PhD.
The institute displays a remarkable infrastructure having well-equipped laboratories, herbarium, arboreta, printing press and experimental field areas for conducting forestry research. The institute’s building also houses a Botanical Museum.
Things to do in and around FRI:
The Forest Research Institute has emerged as a popular tourist attraction in the last few decades. Its colonial opulence attracts the visitors from across the world. Since this place is a marvel in art and architecture it attracts the admirers of art and architecture to savour its rustic beauty. One can enjoy walking on its velvety lawns and can explore the six museums housed inside the FRI campus.
If you are an avid photographer then you can seize some beautiful shots of this place but after taking due permission. Catch a glimpse of the mighty Himalayas that forms the backdrop of this place. Different species of trees can be seen decorating the estate. You can visit the Chetwoode Hall, Tapkeshwar Temple and Dehradun Tea Gardens or Tea Estate that are in the proximity of FRI.
How to reach Forest Research Institute in Dehradun:
Forest Research Institute on Mason road is located about 5 km away from the city centre, Clock Tower. The institute’s college area campus lies between Kaulagarh in the north and the Indian Military Academy to the south. One can easily reach here by taking the local transport from the city. Buses, autorickshaw and taxis can be taken from any part of the city to reach FRI. One can easily take the Vikram no. 6 from Connaught Place to reach FRI. Dehradun railway station at 6 km away is the nearest railhead to FRI and Jolly Grant airport at 34 km away is the closest air connectivity.