Dehradun – A complete travel Guide

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Dehradun travel guide blog:

Dehradun is one the oldest Indian cities. It lies between the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range to the north and the Shivalik mountains to the south. This city is perched at an altitude of 435 meters above sea level and it doubles down as the capital of the state of Uttarakhand.

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Dehradun is located in the Doon valley nestled between the river Ganges on the east and the river Yamuna on the west.The city is famous for its picturesque landscape and slightly milder climate and provides a gateway to the surrounding region. It is well connected and in proximity to Himalayan tourist destinations such as Mussoorie, and Auli and the Hindu holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh along with the Himalayan pilgrimage circuit of Chota Char Dham.

History of Dehradun:

Dehradun derives its name from two words, ‘dera’ meaning home and ‘doon’ meaning valley that lies between the Himalayas and the Shivaliks. The city is also often referred as the Doon Valley. According to one story, the naming of Dehradun took place due to Shri Ram Rai, the eldest son of the seventh Sikh guru Har Rai Ji. It is believed that he along with his disciples set camp or ‘dera’ in the Doon Valley. And thus, it came to be known as Dehradun.

The city was also mentioned in the two great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.  According to mythology, Dehradun is the birthplace of Dronacharya, the royal guru of Kauravas and Pandavas. Not just this, but the Pandavas too have had an influence on the city when they ruled Hastinapur. On the other hand, it is also believed that Ram along with his brother Laxman came to Dehradun after they defeated Ravana in the epic battle. Relics like ancient temples, idols as old as 2,000 years link these stories from the epics to Dehradun.

Post independence Dehradun and other parts of Garhwal and Kumaon were merged with United Provinces which was later renamed the state of Uttar Pradesh. In 2000, Uttarakhand state (earlier called Uttaranchal) was created from the northwestern districts of Uttar Pradesh under the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2000. Dehradun was made its interim capital. The city has seen continuous development since the creation of Uttarakhand.

Geography and Landscape of Dehradun :

The city of Dehradun mainly lies in Doon Valley and is at a varying height from 410 meters in Clement Town to above 700 meters at Malsi which is 15 km from the city. However, the average elevation is 450 meters above sea level. Malsi is the starting point of Lesser Himalayan Range that extends to Mussoorie and beyond. Jaunsar-Bawar hills in Dehradun district rises to 3700 meters above sea level. The hilly region of Mussoorie goes up to a height of 1870–2017 metres above sea level.

This district is divided into two major parts: the main city Dehradun surrounded by Shivalik and the Jaunsar-Bawar, which is in the foothills of Himalayas. In the north and northwest it borders on the district of Uttarkashi and Tehri Garhwal, in the east and southeast by Pauri Garhwal and Ganges river, in the west, it is bordered by Shimla and Sirmaur districts of Himachal Pradesh, Yamunanagar district of Haryana and the Tons and Yamuna rivers. To the south are Haridwar and Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district.

Climate of Dehradun:

The climate of Dehradun is humid subtropical. Although the temperature in Dehradun can reach below freezing during severe cold snaps this is not common. Summer temperatures can reach up to 44 °C for a few days and hot wind called Loo blows over North India, whereas winter temperatures are usually between 1 and 20 °C and fog is quite common in winters like in the plains.

During the monsoon season, there is often heavy and protracted rainfall. Dehradun and other plains areas of Uttarakhand see almost as much rainfall as coastal Maharashtra and more than Assam. Agriculture benefits from fertile alluvial soil, adequate drainage and plentiful rain.

The climate of Dehradun is pleasant all year around. April through July are the best months to visit Dehradun as the temperature is not too hot and not cold. Ideal temperature is maintained during these months making it a perfect summer get away destination.

How to reach Dehradun:

By air :

Dehradun has its own airport called as the Jolly Grant airport. It is situated at a considerable distance from the city of Dehradun and it takes almost about 40 minutes by a cab to reach the airport from the city.

Flights from Lucknow, Delhi, Trivandrum and Mumbai ensure considerable traffic in the airport. Dehradun is well connected to the rest of the country. Air India, Spicejet and Jet airways offer economical flights to Dehradun.

By train:

The Dehradun railway station is well connected and has trains coming in from all across the country. Trains like Nanda Devi express, Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi express and the like, ensure prolonged connectivity to Dehradun via railways.

By road:

Dehradun is connected to the national capital of Delhi which is at a distance of 235 kilometers. Chandigarh is only 185 kilometers from Dehradun and many public transits are available to reach Dehradun from all the major cities across India. Regular busses from Delhi, Agra, Kullu, Shimla, Chandigarh and Lucknow makes sure that there is no dearth of connectivity of Dehradun across the country making it an easily accessible and tourist destination.

Things to see and to do in Dehradun:

Frolic in Barkot:

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Barkot is at the junction of th two rivers; The Yamuna and the Tuns at a height of about 4,000 feet from the sea level. Barkot is an underrated hill station which offers panoramic views which are breathtaking. Snow capped mountains, fresh and pure air and fewer crowds make Barkot an ideal hill station. Barkot is also a pilgrimage center and its a pit stop for pilgrims who wish to go to Chota Char Dham.

Explore Robbers cave :

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Robbers caves is the best attraction in Dehradun because its a nature and adventure lover magnet. It is known for its disappearing river and the trek that leads up to a waterfall. The river is known locally as Guchhupani. Tourists come from all over the place to witness the gushing waterfall and trek between the two dark cliffs via a cave.

Visit the Tapkeshwar temple :

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For people visiting Dehradun, a visit to Tapkeshwar temple is must. The temple is named so because inside it is a cave and water trickles on top of the idol of the deity from the ceiling. The cave that houses Tapkeshwar temple is called the Drona cave as it is believed that Dronacharya, the teacher of Pandavas and Kauravas used to reside in this cave.

Visit Clement town :

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Clement town is known for its monasteries and stupas and it provides a taste of Tibetan and Buddhist cultures. Clement Town is home to the Mindrolling Monastery which is one of the largest Buddhist centres in India. It houses the Great Stupa that is 185 ft tall and 100 sq ft wide making it the world’s largest stupa. The town is at the foothills of the Himalayas and is primarily known for its Buddhist roots.

Explore the Pindari Glacier :

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Pindari glacier is the most accessible glacier in the Himalayan region and you should pay a visit to this beautiful place if you are an adventure lover. Pindari glacier is called the “Soul of Kumaon” and it is also the source of the river Pindari.

Visit Guru Ram Rai Darbar :

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Situated in the heart of the city, the Guru Ram Rai Darbar is a gurdwara that is both historically and culturally a very important place in the city of Dehradun. The Darbar was constructed in 1707, and since its inception it feeds more than a 1,000 people in its community run kitchen called langar. The Darbar has been actively involved in philanthropic activities since its inception.

Visit the Ghanta ghar :

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Ghanta ghar or the clock tower is one of the most popular landmarks in Dehradun. The six-faced clock tower is visible from all directions. The names of freedom fighters are inscribed in gold on the walls of this monument. This monument is at the heart of the city at a distance of 2 kilometers from the railway station.

Food in Dehradun :

Dehradun has several options when it comes to food. Like most developed cities, it offers a mix of different cuisines and options that range from street side joints to fast food chains. There are several multi-cuisine restaurants here and almost all hotels have at least one of these so you can be assured of getting your favorite dish. North Indian delicacies are quite popular in Dehradun and so is Tibetan food that is available in Tibetan Market in small stalls. Here are some of the restaurants that serve the most authentic and delicious food in Dehradun.

  • Y cafe and restaurant
  • Town table
  • Punjab grill restaurant
  • Doon Darbar
  • Black pepper restaurant
  • Orchard
  • South Indian vibes
  • Salt & Cravings
  • Uttarakhand food junction

Where to shop and what to buy in Dehradun :

Paltan Bazaar :

This market is located near the city’s clock tower the Ghanta Ghar. Buying things at this market is a lot of fun. The best thing about shopping in this market is that all the items and the products are sold at a reasonable price.

Tibetan Market :

This is the best place if you want to upgrade your wardrobe by filling it with colorful and funky clothing. Souvenirs are sold at a reasonable price in this place. The best part is that, lots of eateries sell authentic Tibetan food which will recharge your battery when you are busy shopping.

Rajpur road :

A blend of modern shops and homegrown shops are lined up covering the entirety of the road into a market. Local shops selling handicrafts and modern shops selling branded products, this place is a one stop shop for shopping in Dehradun.

Clothes to pack to Dehradun :

The general climate in Dehradun is pleasant all year round. If you are visiting in the summer months, carry cotton clothing for the day and warm clothing for the night. Winter experiences a huge decrease in the temperature, so make sure to pack warm woolen clothes to keep you warm.