Dehradun, the capital city of the heavenly Uttarakhand is a great place to spend a couple of days. The Forest Research Institute which is world famous for its research work in forestry and is the only institution of its kind in Asia is situated here. Headquarters of important establishments like the Oil and Natural Gas Commission(ONGC) Survey of India and The Indian Military Academy are also located here.
The Gurudwara built by Guru Ram Rai during the reign of Aurangzeb in the Dhamanwala locality of the town is a religious place of eminence. For many years Dehradun has been one of the best known educational centres in northern India. Earlier known for its schools, Dehradun is fast emerging as a hub for higher education. Dehra Dun is well linked by rail and road with Delhi Bombay Calcutta Lucknow and Varanasi.
Dehradun is an hour’s drive from religious places like Haridwar and Rishikesh and located en-route to the hill station of Mussoorie. Here are some suggestions with an insider’s comments on places to visit in and around Dehradun.
Mindrolling monastery also known as Buddha temple situated in Clement town of Dehradun district was built in 1960s and is a replica of the original monastery in Tibet. One of the four Tibetan religion schools, the mindrolling monastery is named Nyingma, other three being Shakya, Kagyu and Geluk. Shakyacollege, well maintained gardens and the five-story stupa are the major attractions of Mindrolling Monastery. 35 meters high gold Buddha Statue fills the tourists with peace and tranquility. Similar to other Buddhist Stupas and monasteries, Tibetan art is prevalent on the walls and roofs of Mindrolling Monastery.
Popularly known as Great Stupa, the world’s largest- 60 meters tall stupa was inaugurated on 28th October 2002. To see the interior decorations and designs of Buddha temple, you must visit on Sunday. Other days you will enjoy on the garden and shops and take pictures.
Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple
Located at the outskirts of the city at a distance of 5.5 km from the city centre this cave temple sprawls on the banks of a seasonal river. It is dedicated to the Hindu Deity Shiva and derives its name from the Hindi Word Tapak which means to drip. Water naturally drips on the shivling (holy stone) from the ceiling of the cave.
According to legends during the time of the Mahabharata Lord Shiva made milk flow from this cave for Ashwarthama son of Rishi Dronacharya.
Forest Research Institute (FRI)
Spread in 500 hectare land, built between 1924 and 1929, Forest Research Institute (FRI) Museum was designed by CG Blomfield.
Old fashioned and dry displays on every aspect of forestry in India along with the animal, bird and plant paintings by AfshanZaidi, display on the medicinal uses of trees and part of a 700 year old deodar tree are the major attractions of the FRI Museum but the red brick building with Mughal towers, arches and Roman colums itself keeps visitors spellbound.
Survey of India
Established in 1767 the office of Survey of India is located at a distance of 4 km from the city centre and forms an important landmark of the place.
A repository of ancient maps and documents; it determined the height of Mount Everest under the initiative of Sir George Everest; the then Surveyor of India. The peak was later named after him. It is a must-visit especially if you are on the lookout for ancient maps.
Wadia Institute Of Himalayan Geology
One of the best institutes of the country on Himalayan Geology Wadia Institute conducts various studies and research works on the subject.
It also houses a museum that displays the geological diversity of the Indian subcontinent with its different samples of rocks and semi-precious stones. With the display of the fossils unearthed in the Himalayan region the institute also throws light on the birth of the Himalayas.
Sahastra meaning thousands and Dhara meaning taps or spring- Sahastradhara is one of the most visited destination in Dehradun 14Km from the main city. People go to Sahastradhara to take bath in the sulphur spring with medicinal and healing property for skin diseases. The water of the the spring and nearby water fall combine to make Baldi river which flows towards Lachiwala and finally combines with the Ganga.
Malsi Deer Park
On the way to Mussoorie, 10Km from Dehradun, Malsi Deer Park at the foothills of Shivalik range attracts hundreds of tourists daily with its pleasing environment and the picturesque view it provides.
As the name suggests, Malsi Deer Park houses lovely Deers that you can see grazing and treading softly from a distance but you cannot go near to them. Tiger, Neelgai, Rabbits and Peacock are also seen in the park.
8Km from Clock Tower Dehradun, Robber’s Cave is situated in Vijaypur near Anarwala village of Dehradun city. Naturally built cave with scriptural interior attracts visitors and fills them with pleasing smile. It is believed that robbers hid in the Robber’s cave, also called GucchhuPani from Britishers.
Chetwode Hall (IMA)
It is a matter of pride that the great Indian Military Academy is located in Dehradun. India is the fifth largest nation in regards to the military power possessed. The Indian army possesses the latest and sophisticated ammunition which are displayed in Chetwode Hall. Apart from direct displays this museum also shows video clips describing various weapons. This war gallery serves as a prominent part of the Indian Military Academy (IMA).
Ram Rai Durbar
Ram Rai Durbar was established by Shri Guru Ram Rai at JhandaMohalla to protect and spread the principles, traditions, ideals and philosophy of Hinduism throughout the world. Also called Durbar Sahib, Ram Rai Durbar is famous religious of the Udaseen sect.
Santaura Devi Temple
Believed to have its connection with Ramayana period, Santara Devi Temple situated in SantaurGarh, 15Km from Dehradun city attracts huge number of devotees on Sundays.
Legend says that Santaura Devi and her brother who found themselves unable to withstand the Mughal army threw their weapons and prayed to God. A flicker of light transformed them into statue. The stone images or statues are worshipped with great love and devotion by the locals.
Sai Durbar Temple
Spectacular marble stone temple with Sai Baba’s idol in its core, Sai Durbar Temple attracts hundreds of visitors both devotees and tourists, everyday. The ornamented interior, hilly settings and peaceful environment of Sai Durbar Temple drag peace lovers and Hindu devotees equally.
Unlike other Hindu temples, Sai Durbar Temple is open for people of any caste and creed which establishes it as the jewel in Hinduism.
17Km from Dehradun City and 6Km from Jolly Grant Airport Dehradun, Lachiwala is popular tourist destination of Uttarakhand. You can even take bath at the manmade water pools on a flowing river amongst the forest. Loved by picnickers and mostly travelled by nature lovers and trekking lovers, Lachiwala lets you enjoy bird watching.
Located on the outskirts of the city about 5 kms from Dak Pathar on way to Chakrata is Kalsi. Here you can have a look at a third century rock inscription discovered in 1860. The rock inscription is the earliest tangible evidence of the history of the Doon Valley.
There are 14 edicts carved on a rock and adjacent to these is the site where Raja Shilvarma of the Vrisheri dynasty made three horse sacrifices during his rule in the third century BC. At the site large inscribed bricks are arranged in the shape of a bird with a fire altar in the middle. National Archaeological Department preserves it.
Asan Barrage Water Sports Resort
A water sports resort has been developed at the Asan Barrage by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam in the year 1994. Asan Barrage was created in 1967 and it is popularly known as Dhalipur Lake.
Situated 43 kms from Dehradun on Chandigarh-Shimla highway the resort offers facilities like water skiing boating rowing kayaking canoeing etc. Wildlife lovers have an added bonus as during the winter season migratory birds can be seen in the vicinity.
Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park is situated at a distance of 23 kilometres from Dehradun. Rajaji National Park was founded in 1966 and spreads over an area of 830 sq.kms. The park with its magnificent ecosystem is nestled in the lush valley of Shivalik ranges.
The forest around this region contained 3 sanctuaries Rajaji Motichur and Chilla. In 1983 these three parks were merged into one and named Rajaji National Park after the great freedom fighter C. Rajagopalachari. The park is known for its elephant population. The park is also home to the forest tribe of Gujjars who have lived in these forests for over 200 years. Rajaji is a magnificent ecosystem. It represents the flora of several zones of the forest reverine broad leaf mixed forest chirpine forest scrub land and grassy pasture lands. It is home to as many as 23 species of mammals and 315 species of birds.