Dehra Dun (701m) is situated in the verdant and fertile DoonValley, and is one of the most important townships in the Himalayan foothills. The town is built on the watershed of the Ganga and the Yamuna, and with its luxuriance of green foliage and healthy climate, it is a most pleasant place to live in. After formation of Uttarakhand state, Dehradun has become the interim capital of the new state. The once famed city of senior retired officials is now transforming into a vibrant cosmo city full of life.
During the seventeenth century, the DoonValley formed a part of the Kingdom of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal. In 1699, Guru Ram Rai after having failed to succeed his father, the seventh Sikh Guru Har Rai, fled his apostle father’s seat to settle down in Doon Valley. He was armed with a letter of recommendation from Aurangzeb and was welcomed by the Maharaja, Fateh Shah of Srinagar Garhwal. The Guru built a gurudwara in Khurbura (a locality of Dehra Dun) and founded a sect of dissenters. To maintain the gurudwara, the Royal House of Tehri endowed it with five villages. The gurudwara (Guru Dehra) began to attract a number of devotees and followers and a township started to develop around it, which ultimately became known as Dehra Dun. Guru Ram Rai even now has some following in north India and they come in large numbers every year to participate in the Jhanda Mela on the 5th day of Holi.
In the olden days Dehra Dun did not suffer the vagaries of extreme climate and the dense forests around it protected it from the hot winds in summer. It was for this reason that it became an important educational and cultural centre during the British days. The Viceroy’s Bodyguard, with the stables near the Racecourse, had its headquarters here. The Bodyguard came to Dehra Dun during March and left for Calcutta (later Delhi, when it became the capital) in October each year. With depleting forests and lichi gardens, and a growing population, Dehra Dun of today is not what it used to be.
After the Parade Ground area was taken over for civilian use, Hathi-Bar-Khala became the first exclusive cantonment area. The name originated when an elephant tried to pass through an opening between the trunks of a great bar (banyan) tree, and in so doing the jumbo uprooted the tree and passed over it. Hence the name Hathi-Bar-Khala (elephant-banyan-pass).
With the establishment of the cantonment, the headquarters of the Viceroy’s Bodyguard, and establishment of Government offices, several schools and convents too sprang up. Today, Dehra Dun boasts of some of the best public schools and convents in the country. Prominent among them are the Doon School, Welham, St. Joseph, Convent of Jesus and Mary, Colonel Brown, St. Thomas, Cambrian Hall and Bright-Land to name just a few. Of late many new schools of high academic and professional reputation have also come up in the vicinity, thus making Dehradun a city of modern education. The Forest Research Institute, the Indian Military Academy, the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, the Survey of India and many more offices of Central and State Governments are located here.
Most of the fashionable shops, restaurants and clubs are on or around Rajpur Road. With its tree lined avenues, well laid-out gardens and lichi orchards, Dehra Dun was once known as the garden city of India. But now many of the lichi gardens have made room for residential colonies. Two main attractions for visitors are the Forest Research Institute and the IndianMilitaryAcademy. These institutions are known for their highest standards of professionalism. Dehra Dun serves as the railhead for the popular hill station of Mussoorie. It is also increasingly becoming a starting point for yatras to the Himalayan shrines in Uttarakhand.
Located in a beautiful ravine the ShivaTemple at Tapkeshwar is about 5 km from Ghantaghar and is the presiding deity of the town.
The sulphur springs of Sahasra-Dhara are about 15 km from Dehradun. The main attraction is an area charged with sulphur fumes. Streams of cold sulphur water gush out of the mountain cavities in a spectacular way. It is a popular spot with picnickers and the trickling waters from the nearby caves enhance the beauty of the place.
This monument was erected in memory of the Gorkha General Balbhadra Thapa, who inflicted a crushing defeat on Major General Gillespie of the East India Company in 1814. It is about 5 km from Dehra Dun.
Robber’s Cave: A good picnic spot almost 9 km. from Dehra Dun. Located deep into gorges, the cave must have been a safe hiding for the robbers of olden days and hence this name.
Some 20 km. on Rishikesh road is the popular picnic spot of Lachhiwala. The Forest Department have created small water pools on river Song for visitors to recreate. This place becomes crowded on Sundays and holidays.
Malsi Deer Park:
Onway to Mussoorie at 11 km on the foot hills, the Forest Department has developed a small park called the Malsi Deer Park. It is more or less a mini Zoo housing a few species of animals such as the spotted deer, barking deer, sambhar, leopard etc. It is a popular picnic spot with facilities such as parking place, children’s park, canteen at a nominal entrance fee.
|Delhi to Dehradun road map: Dehradun is the capital of Uttarakhand and one of the most preferred places to live in India. Many major tourist destinations of Uttarakhand start from Dehradun. Few of the famous places near Dehradun are Mussoorie, Chakrata, Dhanolti, Kempti Falls etc…….. read more
|Delhi to Dehradun bus: Uttarakhand has two major regions for tourism purpose – Garhwal and Kumaon. The Garhwal region has major destinations like Dehradun, Mussoorie, Badrinath etc. whereas the major destinations in Kumaon are Nainital, Haldwani, Almora etc. The major transition ……….read more|
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