Dehradun, popularly known as the Doon Valley, is the capital of Uttarakhand state. The destination is perched at an elevation of 2100 ft above sea level and lies in the foothills of the Shivalik Ranges. The River Ganga flows to the east of Dehradun, while the River Yamuna flows to the west. Dehradun derives its name from the words ‘dehra’ meaning ‘camp’ and ‘dun’ meaning ‘the low lands at the foot of the mountains’.
According to the records, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, banished Ram Rai, a Sikh Guru to the forests of Dun, where Ram Rai constructed a camp and a temple. The place also finds mention in the great Indian epics, namely the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
It is believed that the Hindu Lord Ram, along with his brother Laxman visited Dehradun, after killing the demon king, Ravana. Another story suggests that Guru Dronacharya also lived here at one point in time. The ancient temples and ruins found here are almost 2000 years old.
The place attracts a large number of tourists every year. The pleasant weather and the natural surroundings have made the destination popular among tourists. Moreover, it is the gateway to some of the other beautiful destinations of Uttarakhand such as Mussoorie, Nainital, Haridwar, Auli and Rishikesh. Dehradun is home to some research and educational institutes, such as the Indian Military Academy, the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, the Forest Research Institute, and the Doon Public School.
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Indian Military Academy, situated on the Dehradun-Chakrata Road, was founded on 1st October, 1932 under the leadership of Brigadier L. P. Collins. The academy has a museum, a war memorial, a shooting demonstration room and FRIMS Golf Course.
Another popular institute in Dehradun is the Forest Research Institute (FRI), located on the Kaulagarh Road. It was set up in the year 1906. It sprawls over 2000 acres. The building of the institute is palatial and represents the perfect blend of the Greco-Roman and the Colonial style of architecture.
Some of the other tourist attractions of Dehradun, include Sahastradhara, the Rajaji National Park, the Malsi Deer Park. Sahastradhara is a beautiful spring, situated 11 km away from Dehradun. Tourists as well as locals visit this place in large numbers for picnic. The depth of the spring is around 9m and the water is considered to be of therapeutic value for people, suffering from skin diseases.
The place is also renowned for its beautiful and ancient religious centres. The Laxman Siddh Temple, the Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple, the Santala Devi Temple and Tapovan are some of the famous temples of Dehradun. The Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple is a noted cave temple devoted to the Hindu Lord, Shiva. Tapak is a Hindi word, which means to drip. The Shivling, enshrined in the temple was formed naturally, by water dripping from the ceiling of the cave.
Travellers can explore this beautiful place either by car or on foot. The shops here are popular for local handicrafts, woollen clothes, jewellery and books.
Rajpur Road, Paltan Bazaar and Ashley Hall are the major shopping destinations in Dehradun. The restaurants here are famous for delicious Tibetan momos. Apart from the natural surroundings, educational institutes and ancient temples and monuments, the place is renowned for its special Basmati rice.
In addition to site seeing and shopping, the city is a heaven for adventure enthusiasts. Several adventure sports such as paragliding and skiing can be enjoyed in the Doon valley. Adventure lovers can go for a short pleasurable trek of 30 km from Dehradun to Mussoorie. Rajpur serves as the base camp for this trekking expedition.
The destination is well-connected to the other parts of the country by air, rail and road. The Jolly Grant Airport is located at a distance of 20 km from the city centre. It is connected to Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi by regular flights.
It is the nearest international airbase to the destination. The Dehradun railway station is a major railhead that connects the destination with cities like Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkata, to list a few. Travellers can also reach the place by availing state and private bus services. Regular deluxe buses to Dehradun are available from New Delhi.
The climate of Dehradun remains temperate for the most part of the year. The climate may vary from place to place here, depending on the elevation from sea level. The summers are quite hot while the winters are pleasant here.
The region experiences occasional snowfall during the freezing winter months. Travellers can plan a trip to Dehradun any time of the year, except January, as the place may experience heavy snowfall during this time.