- Uttarakhand's Encyclopedia /
Nestled in the mountain ranges of the Himalaya, Dehradun is one of the oldest cities of India and is the Capital of Uttarakhand state and is also known as the ‘Adobe of Drona’, Dehradun has always been an important center for Garhwal rulers which was captured by the British. The headquarters of many National Institutes and Organizations like ONGC, Survey of India, Forest Research Institute, Indian Institute of Petroleum etc are located in the city.
Some of the premier educational and Training Institutes like Indian Miltary Academy, RIMC (Rashtriya Indian Military College), Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA), Lal Bahadur Shahstri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA)etc are also there in Dehradun. It is a favoured tourist destination as it attracts tourists, pilgrims and enthusiasts from various walks of life to its serene environs. Add to this the abundance of special Basmati rice, tea and leechi gardens which contribute in turning the city into a paradise. The district is named after its chief city Dehra Dun. Dehra appears to be a corruption of dera signifying a temporary abode or camp. During the reign of Aurangzeb, Ram Rai, Guru of the Udasi Sikhs on being ordered by the Mughal king to retire to the wilderness of the Dun, had pitched his tents here in what is now the Khurbura locality of the town and has also built a temple near Dhanawala. Around these two sites, grew up the town popularly known as Dehra. The term dun or doon means the low lands at the foot of a mountain range, and as the bulk of the district lies in such a terrain, it justified the dun part of the name. Another derivation of the term dun is stated to be from Dronashram, hermitage of Guru Dronacharya of Mahabharata fame, who sojourned for a season in the village of Devara, situated near to Dehra to perform his devotions at a lonely spot.
The district is situated in the north-west corner of the state. It is bounded on the north and to some distance in the north-west by the district of Uttarkashi, In the east by the district Tehri Garhwal and Pauri-Garhwal In the south by the district of Saharanpur(Uttar Pradesh) , At its southern tip touching the boundary of district Haridwar. Its western boundary adjoins the Sirmur(Nahan) district of Himachal Pradesh with the rivers Tons and Yamuna separating the two. Lies between 29 degrees 58′ and 31 degrees 2′ 30″ north latitudes and 77 degrees 34′ 45″ and 78 degrees 18′ 30″ east longitudes. Total area of the district is 3088 sq kms. Altitude is 640 mts.(2100 ft) above sea level .
According to Skanda Purana, Dun formed part of the region called Kedar Khand. It was included in the kingdom of Ashoka by the end of the 3rd century B.C. It is revealed by history that for centuries the region formed part of the Garhwal kingdom with some interruption from Rohillas. For about two decades till 1815 it was under the occupation of the Gorkhas. In April 1815 Gorkhas were ousted from Garhwal region and Garhwal was annexed by the British. In that year the area now comprising tehsil Dehra Dun was added to district Saharanpur. In 1825, however, it was transferred to the Kumaon Division. In 1828, Dehra Dun and Jaunsar Bhabar were placed under the charge of a separate Deputy Commissioner and in 1829, the Dehra Dun district was transferred from the Kumaon Division to the Meerut Division. In 1842, Dun was attached to Saharanpur district and placed under an officer subordinate to the Collector of the district but since 1871 it is being administered as separate district. In 1968 the district was taken out from Meerut division and included in the Garhwal Division.
Main languages spoken in the district are Hindu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Garhwali, Kumaoni Urdu & English.
Dehra Dun can be divided into two distinct tracts i.e. the montane tract and the sub-montane tract. The montane tract covers whole Chakrata tehsil of the district and consists entirely of a succession of mountains and gorges and comprises Jaunsar Bhabar. The mountains are very rough with steep slopes. The most important features of the tract is the ridge which separates the drainage are of Tons on the west from that of Yamuna on the east. Below the montane tract follows the sub-montane tract, which is the famous Dun valley bounded by Shivalik hills in the south and outer scarp of the Himalayas in the north.
Dehra Dun is distinguished from most other districts in the state by the existence of very large forests chiefly stocked with sal. Forest products play an important role in the economy of the district. Besides, supplying fuel, fodder, bamboos and medicinal herbs, they also yield a variety of products like honey, lac, gum, resin, catechu, wax, horns and hides. The forests account for 1477 sq.kms of area, giving a percentage of 43.70 of the total area of the district. Owing to the variation in altitudes and other aspects, the flora of the district vary from tropical to alpine species. Different types of forests and varying species of shrubs, climbing plants and grasses, depending upon the aspect, altitude and soil condition are found in the district. Sal forest and coniferous forests are predominant in the western part of tehsil Dehra Dun. Chir is the only coniferous species in the old reserved forests of Dehra Dun. Besides other associates of chir, a few deodar trees are also seen in the district. Wide ranges of sal forest occur in this part of the tehsil. Sal is the main timber species and is generally pure towards the Siwalik ridges. A mixture of miscellaneous species are found in the lower parts. In the eastern part of tehsil Dehra Dun, the flora may be divided into a number of Botanical divisions mentioned below :
Moist Siwalik Sal Forests :
These forests are found in the Motichur and Thano forest ranges. Low quality of sal is found in these forests. The main associates of sal are bakli and sain.
Moist Bhabar Doon Sal Forests :
These forests are found in a large areas in Thano and Barkot forest ranges. Sal is pure in the overwood and its typical associates are sain and dhauri. the underwood growth includes karaunda and chameli.
West gangetic Moist Deciduous Forests :
These are found in the Kansro, Barkot, Motichur and Thano forest ranges. These are closed forests from medium to good height. The main associates of sal are safed siris, jhingan, bohera and dhauri.
Dry Siwalik Sal Forests :
These forests are found on the higher slopes of Siwaliks. In Chakrata tehsil they occur near the junction of the Tons and the Yamuna rivers in the neighborhood of Kalsi. Sal is the predominant species mixed with other associates viz. bakli, sain, haldu, jhingan etc. Besides the above many other types of forests occur in small belts in the plain of the district.
Rivers, Canales and Waterways
The Siwalik (outer and lower ranges of Himalayas) lies at its feet, the outer- scrap of the Himalayas bound it on the north and the scared Ganga and the Yamuna skirt in on the east and the west respectively. The Ganga enters the district in the eastern Dun at Tapoban and meandering south-west goes to Hardwar via Raiwala near Rishikesh. The Yamuna enters the district in Jaunsar and flows southwards for about 32 kms on the south-east border of the district. Besides Ganga and yamuna, the other rivers that flow in the district are Asan, Suswa, Tons, Rispana, Bindal and Amalava.
Climate & Rainfall in Dehradun District
The Climate of the district is generally temperate. It varies greatly from tropical to severe cold depending upon the altitude of the area. The district being hilly, temperature variations due to difference in elevation are considerable. In the hilly regions, the summer is pleasant, but in the Doon, the heat is often intense, although not to such degree as in the plains of the adjoining district. The temperature drops below freezing point not only at high altitude but even at places like Dehradun during the winters, when the higher peaks are also under snow. The area receives an average annual rainfall of 2073.3 mm. Most of the annual rainfall in the district is received during the months from June to September, July and August being rainiest. Climate Data of Doon Valley for all the months is as under on the basis of mean of last 25 years.
Places of Attraction
Dehradun, the city, headquarters of the district is visited by a large number of tourist every year, many of them en-route to Mussoorie. The climate of the city is temperate. Even during summer, it is not so warm at Dehra Dun as in the district south of it. 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.
Besides, headquarters of the important establishment like the Oil and Natural Commission; Survey of India etc., the Military Academy are also located here. The Gurudwara built by Guru Ram Raj during the reign of Aurangzeb in the Dhamanwala locality o the town is a religious place of eminence. The other places of importance is the Robber’s cave, situated at a distance of about 8 kms from Dehra Dun. The cave is a natural picnic spot surrounded by hills where water suddenly disappears from sight and goes underground only to reappear after a few yards in the form of a stream. The city has many beautiful rest houses and good hotels to provide accommodation to the tourist. For many years, it has been one of the best known educational centres in northern India. Dehra Dun is well linked by rail and road with Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Lucknow and Varanasi.
Tapkeshwar Shiv Temple is an ancient place of worship and is situated on the banks of a rivulet, in the Garhi Cantt. Area, 5.5 Kms from the city bus stand, the temple is well connected by road. It is named Tapkeshwar as water droplets, originating from a rock, fall on the Shivling placed in the shrine. People in large numbers participate in the fair organized on the occasion of Shivratri and pay their obeisance to the deity.
Sahasratra Dhara, laterally meaning, the ‘thousand fold spring’ is situated at a distance of 11 kms. from Dehra Dun. The place makes an ideal picnic spot and is of immense attraction to visitors. The Baldi river and the caves provide a breathtaking view.
The water here has a fall of about 9 metres and leaves an incrustation of lime of all its touches. Particles thus accumulating over the centuries have formed a projecting ledge, and a sort of cave, from the roof of which falls a perpetual shower. There is also a sulphur spring in which visitors often take bath. Its water is said to cure skin infections and possess other medicinal properties.
12 Kms. Away from Dehradun towards Hardwar/Rishikesh is a famous temple known as the Laxman Siddh. Legend has it that a sage underwent penance over here. Due to easy accessibility the temple is visited by a large number of people especially on Sundays
Malsi Deer Park
10 Kms. From Dehradun, enroute Mussoorie is situated a beautifully developed tourist spot lying at the foot hills of the Shivalik range. Malsi Deer Park is a mini-zoological park comprising of a children’s park enveloped by beautiful, natural surroundings. Alongwith the attractive environs the availability of refreshments makes the place an ideal sight-seeing cum picnic spot.
Situated 7 Kms from Dehradun on the Dehradun-Delhi road is the famous temple of Chandrabani(Gautam Kund). According to the mythological beliefs, this spot was inhabited by Maharishi Gautam, his wife and daughter Anjani who are widely worshipped by the people. It is believed that the daughter of heaven-Ganga had manifested herself on this spot which is now popularly known as the Gautam Kund. Every year devotes, in large numbers, take a dip in the holy Kund. 2 Kms away from the main road, located in the mdst of Shivalik hills, the place is a beautiful tourist spot
Situated 8 Kms along the Clock Tower on Rajpur Road, is the Sai Darbar Temple. This place holds a high cultural and spiritual value and is visited by tourists from across the country and foreigners as well.
Situated on Rajpur Road near the Sai Darbar Temple is a huge and colourful temple of Lord Buddha.
Robber’s Cave (Guchhupani)
An ideal place for a picnic, Robber’s Cave is just 8 Kms away from the City Bus Stand. Local bus services are available upto Anarwala Village, from where it is just a Kilometre’s trek to the spot.
3 Kms from Doiwala and 22 Kms from Dehradun, on the Hardwar/Rishikesh road is Lachhiwala. The serene and blissful spot is famous for its picnic spots. The place also provides accommodation to tourists in the Forest Rest House nestled in the greenery
Santala Devi Temple
About 15 Kms from Dehradun to reach the famous temple of Santaula Devi, one can utilize the bus facilities till Jaitunwala, then it is a 2 Kms drive to Punjabiwala by a jeep or any light vehicle and further it is a 2 kms trek to the temple. The temple stands as a symbol of the faith people have in the temple and has a great cultural and religious significance. Santla Devi, alongwith her brother, on realizing that they would not be able to face the Mughal Army , abandoned their weapons and began to pray. A light flickered and within moments they both were transformed into stone images. It is within the fort that the shrine was built and Saturdays marks the transformation of the Goddess into stone.
45 Kms from Dehradun, Dakpathar is a beautiful tourist spot in the western Doon Valley, amidst the Shivalik range. Dakpathar has emerged a wonderful tourist spot under the Yamuna Hydel Scheme. The place is connected by a regular bus service from the Parade Ground and Highway Bus Stand near the Railway Station, Dehradun. Accommodation is available in a Tourist Rest House with swimming pool facilities.
Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park was founded in 1966 and spreads over an area of 820 sq.kms, the park with it’s magnificent ecosystem, is nestled in the lush valley of Shivalik ranges. It represents the flora of several zones of the forest, reverine, broad leaf mixed forest, chirpine forest, scrub land and grassy pasture lands. There are 23 species of mammals and 315 of avi-fauna here. The Rajaji National Park is named after Late Shri C.Rajgoplalachari, popularly known as Rajaji. Best Tourist season is between November to mid June.
38 Kms from Dehradun is Mussoorie with its green hills and varied flora and fauna, is a fascinating hill station. It offers a wonderful view of the Himalayan snow ranges to the north-east and the Doon Valley., Roorkee, Saharanpur and Haridwar to the South, creating an almost serene atmosphere for the tourists. Mussoorie was discovered by Captain Young, an adventurous military officer in 1827. He was lured by the extraordinarily beautiful ridge and laid the foundation of it. Mussoorie is also a Gateway to the “Gangotri” and the “Yamunotri” shrines.
Mussoorie, the queen of hill stations, is famous for its scenic beauty, gay social life and entertainment. The excellent climate makes it an attractive holiday resort. Thronged by holidayers, it vibrates with gaiety and merry making during the summer season. There are no steep inclines and the more adventurous can undertake enjoyable excursions to various beauty spots in the vicinity. Mussoorie affords glorious views of the mights Himalayan peaks. Kempty falls which are about 11 kms. from the town attract hundreds of people every day. The Bhatta falls are also famous for scenic beauty. Though the tourist here is smaller than that of Kempty yet it is a picnic spot near to the town. Yet another place of interest in the town is Depot Hill, popularly known as ‘Lal Tibba’. It is the highest point in Mussoorie and beautiful Himalayan panorama is visible on all clear days from this spot. The Badrinath, Kedarnath, Bandar-poonch, Sri Kantha and Nanda Devi peaks can be seen from here. Camel’s back hill can be reached by electric trolly. The top commands a very beautiful view both of the hills as well as the valley. On clear days, one can see even the Ganga and the Yamuna from here. Mussoorie is well connected by roads with Dehra Dun, Delhi, Roorkee and Saharanpur. There are some good hotels, recreation clubs and restaurants to cater to the needs of the tourist.
Camel’s Back Road
The place offers a picturesque view of the sunset and a life like resemblance of a sitting camel. One can also enjoy long walks and horse riding here.
One can enjoy a thrilling ropeway ride to Gun Hill, the second highest peak of Mussoorie(2122 mts). The peak offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges.
A newly developed picnic spot situated on Mussoorie-Dehradun road.
15 kms from Mussoorie on the Yamunotri Road is the most fascinating and the biggest water fall, Kempty located in a beautiful valley of Mussoorie.
24 Kms from Mussoorie, Dhanolti provides a breath-taking view of the valleys and the Himalayan peaks. The long wooded slopes, lazy outings, cool caressing breeze, warm and hospitable inhabitants, lovely weather and fabulous view of of snow covered mountains makes it an ideal retreat for a relaxed holiday.
34 kms from Mussoorie one reaches Thatyur. 7 Kms further is devalsari and a 14 kms further trek to Nagtibba is an ideal spot for trekking.
Situated at an elevation of 3030 mts above sea level near village Kaddukhal the temple of Surkanda Devi is 33 kms from Kaddukhal and one has to trek about 2 kms. The temple of Surkanda Devi is situated on the top of the mountain and is of great religious significance. A fair is held every year on “Ganga Dussehra” during May-June in which thousands of people participate.
Places of Tourist Interest in
It is associated with Ram. According to legend, hare he came on the advice of sage Vasishtha to do penance for killing Ravana. the king of Lanka. There are scores of ancient temples and ashrams affording spiritual solace to pilgrims, the important among them being temple of Bharata Pushkar temple, Shatrughan temple, Lahkhsmana temple, Geeta Bhawan and the Punjab Kshetra. Rishikesh, also known as the “place of sagas” is a spiritual town situated 24 kms upstream from Haridwar, at the confluence of the Chandrabhaga and Ganga. It is believed that God by the name of “Hrishikesh” had appeared as an answer to the hard penances by Rabhiya Rishi and henceforth the place derived its name. It is the starting point for the Char Dham pilgrimage and an ideal destination not only for pilgrims but also for the people who are interested in medtation, yoga and other aspects of Hinduism. For the adventure seekers, Rishikesh is the suggested place for starting their trekking expeditions to the Himalayan peaks and for rafting. Also, International Yoga week which attracts participation from across the world, is held here, every year, in February on the banks of the Ganga.
A bathing Ghat which resounds with the ‘Arti’ performed every evening to river Ganga.
A suspension bridge across river Ganga, on the old route to the shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath is worth visiting spot.
Also known as Ram Jhoola, the bridge runs across the river near Swarg Ashram
Some premier temples in Rishikesh are Raghunath Temple, Pushkar Temple, Venkateshwar Temple, Chandra Mauleshwaran Temple, Shatrughan Temple, Bharat Mandir and Lakshman Temple.
Ashrams and Yoga Centres
Some of the main Ashrams are Shivanand Ashram, Muni Ki Reti, Mahesh Yogi Ashram, Shankaracharya Nagar, Swarg Ashram, Gita Bhawan, Ved Niketan and Yoga Study Centre.
Places of Tourist Interest in
Chakrata known for its serene environs and pollution-free atmosphere, is situated at a distance of 98 kms from Dehradun at an elevation of about 7000 ft(2118 mts). It is having a cantonement township and the northern part of Chakrata sub-division provides a fascinating landscape for trekkers and nature lovers. Virgin forests of conifers, rhododendrons and oaks are best suited for long walks. A vast dense forest, dotted with attractive villages of the Jaunsari tribe, the area has the 10,000 ft(3084 mts) high peak of Kharamba. On its northern slopes is situated Mundali 9000 ft(2776 mts) where in the months of November to April skiers can enjoy skiing.
5 kms from Chakrata by foot, it is a beautiful water fall, falling from a height of 50 mts.converging into a small pond which creates an enchanting effect in the scenic surroundings. It is in the north east of Chakrata and is at a height of 1395 mts above sea level. Roaring, gushing water, thickly forest and a beautiful view makes it an ideal place for enchanting outing.
Past Kempty falls, 75 kms on the Mussoorie-Yamnotri road lies Lakhamandal, having a historical as well as mythological significance. It figures prominently in the annals of Mahabharata. Legend has it that the Kaurvas made a shelter house and conspired to burn the Pandavas alive here. Lakhmandal is situated on the bank of Yamuna at a distance of 35 kms. From Chakrata and 128 kms. from Dehra Dun. To the antiquarian it provides considerable material of interest. It contains temples dedicated to Diva, The five pandava brothers, Parasuram and Kedar. In order to burn the Pandavas, the Kauravas had built their ‘Laksha Grah’ (house of lac). The two remarkable well executed figures in stone of Arjuna and the other of Bhima are available in the village
16 Kms away from Chakrata this place is surrounded by dense forests and lies at an altitude of 9,500 ft. It provides a panoramic view of the majestic Himalayan ranges.
Lord ‘Mahasu’ is worshipped in the village of Hanol, lying on the eastern bank of the Tons. The temple of the deity constructed in the ‘Huna’ architectural style elevated at 1429 mts. Above sea level is 186 kms from Dehradun. It is believed that a demon lived here and devoured atleast one man a day. In mandrath, a devotee of Lord Shiva defied the custom and prayed to Lord Shiva for help. Deolari Devi another devotee of Shiva and a resident of Hanol on being directed by God sent her four sons to Mandrath and asked the man to plough his field. After a long fight lasting a couple of days the demon was killed and the man while ploughing his field discovered four Shivlings-Maasu, Pavasi, Vasik and Chalda named after the four sons of Deolari Devi. The villagers thereafter started worshipping Shiva as ‘Mahasu’.
Approximately 5 kms from Dakpathar, is an Ashoka Pillar Rock Edict, built in 450 B.C., which represents the post-warfare era when king Ashoka converted himself to the Buddhist faith. The edicts ever aimed at the moral elevation of his people. One such edict at Kalsi is made of quartz which is 10ft long and 8ft broad. ‘Gajottam’ meaning ‘the most excellent elephant’ is inscribed on the right side of the rock and is engraved in Brahmi script in the eatern dialect of Magadhi, the then official language. The National Archaeological Department has taken the responsibility of preserving the edict having a high historical significance. The scenic beauty around Kalsi is picturesque. From the Yamuna upto Kalsi the land on the western bank of the river is formed in tow successive ledges, each about 30 metres high. Near the foot of the upper ledge is the Kalso stone containing one of Ashoka’s Edicts.
How To Reach
Dehradun is well connected with the rest part of country through different modes of transport
Dehradun on National Highway no.45 is will connected to all major cities and other parts of the state. Private Bus Services, Tempo (Vikram), Auto Rickshaw, Tonga, Cycle-Rickshaw & Taxi are available for local transport
The nearest Airport is Jollygrant, Bhania Wala, Dehradun (26kms). Vayudoot services from Delhi. Inidra Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (220kms)
Connected with all important Cities of India viz., Bombay, Delhi, Agra, Howrah, Varanasi, Allahabad, Ujjain, Amritser, Dehradun, Lucknow, etc.
Major Trains are :
Festivals/ Fairs & Mahotsav of Dehradun
Jhanda Fair is held every year at the historic Guru Ram Rai Darbar in Dehradun City on the fifth day after Holi in the sacred memory of the Guru. The fair begins with putting up a new Jhanda (Flag) on the staff located in the compound of the historic complex. Besides local people, a large number of devotees turn up from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, U.P. and Himachal Pradesh etc
Tapkeshwar is a legendary place located on the eastern bank of the river tons. Lord Shiva is the reigning deity of the ancient temple located here in a cave. In the Skandapurana, the place has been referred to as Deveshwara. It is believed that during Dwaparyuga, this place was abode of Guru Dronacharya who lived here with his family. Since then, the cave is known as Drona Gufa. One of the famous heroes of Mahabharata and son of Guru Drona, Ashwathama, was born here. When Ashwathama was very young, the poor father could not find any milk for him. The Guru was too poor to afford a cow. It was a matter of worry to the great master. One day, when young Ashwathama was crying for milk, the helpless Guru advised him to pray and worship Lord Shiva, who would bless him with milk. Ashwathama did so. Pleased with the young boy’s tough penance, Lord Shiva appeared before him and enquired about his wish. Little Ashwathama asked for milk. Lord Shiva blessed him and said that milk would be made available here. Ashwathama found milk falling on the Shivalinga, drop by drop. Ashwathama had prayed to the Lord by the name of Tapkeshwar and hence the place was known by the same name. A big fair takes place here on the Shivratri day. Thousands of devotees congregate at this place on the day to offer prayers. Tapkeshwar is approachable from Dehradun by City Bus or three wheelers and is about 5 kms from the Bus-Stand and 5.5 kms from Railway Station .
Laxman Sidhha Fair
Lakshman Siddha is one of the four Siddhpeeths around Dehradun. It has immense religious importance. It is mainly a local religious fair held every Sunday, but last Sunday of April has a special significance, when people turn up in very large number and seen offering obeisance to the Samadhi here. It is about 10 kms away on Dehradun-Rishikesh road and can be easily approached by city bus or tempo. It is located about a km off the road inside jungle.
This fair is held at the Jhanda ground in cantonment arear of Chakrata block of Dehradun district. It is about 3 kms from Chakrata. The fair reflects cultural heritage and tradition of Jaunsari tribe. A large number of people turn up in this fair from nearby Tehri, Uttarkashi and Saharanpur districts. The fair marks harvesting season in the area and reflects the happiness of the local people.
Mahasu Devta’s Fair
Mahasu Devta’s fair is held at Hanol which is about 120 kms on the Chakrata Tyuni road. The fair takes place in August every year, when Mahasu Devta(deity) is taken out in a procession. Musical prayers continue for three days and nights. The havan samagri (offering material) is arranged by the Government of India. This is a local fair of Jaunsari tribe. Thousands of participants throng the place on the occasion from the adjacent Tehri, Uttarkashi and Saharanpur district.
Saheed Veer Kesri Chandra Fair
This fair is held at Ramtal in Nagau gram sabha of Chakrata tehsil in Dehradun district. Ramtal is a beautiful natural tank of about 30 mts long and 30 mts wide, located on a hill and is connected with a 700 mts long motorable road. The tank is surrounded by a green ground which is the venue of the fair. Every year during navratras, in the month of April a big fair is held here. A temple and a memorial dedicated to the freedom fighter Veer Kesri Chandra is located at this spot.