Dehradun - The Capital City

Dehradun City is one of the oldest cities of India, the capital of Uttarakhand, at an elevation of 435 metres. Dehradun is the gateway to the famous hill station of Mussoorie and the pilgrimage spots of Haridwar and Rishikesh. Just 240 km from Delhi, nestled in the rolling Doon Valley and at the foothills of the Himalayas, Dehradun is surrounded by high mountains and lush Sal forests. Fascinating history and intriguing mythology meet at the crossroads of this beautiful town, one of the most popular vacation spots in the country. Dehradun serves as the base camp for several treks, including to Kempty Falls and Nag Tibba in Mussoorie. There are several high altitude treks that start from here as well. Enthusiasts also pedal away in and around Dehradun's gentle slopes and valley, with trails leading to Mussoorie and Maldevta (around 40 km). The city has good cycling tracks along the old Mussoorie highway.

The name ‘Dehradun’ has been derived from two distinct words - ‘Dehra’ (from ‘dera’) meaning home and ‘Doon’ meaning a valley between Himalayas and Shivaliks (Dehradun lies in the Doon Valley). When Guru Ram Rai visited this place with his followers, he set up a camp here. Around this time, the modern city of Dehradun began developing. Many historians have opined that ‘Dehra’ can be used to refer to camping, thus the name ‘Dehradun’ - The Campsite of Doon. The city also finds mention in the ancient epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Dehradun serves as the base camp for several treks, including to Kempty Falls and Nag Tibba in Mussoorie. There are several high altitude treks that start from here.

Historical Fact of Dehradun

Several parts of the Garhwal and Kumaon region, including Dehradun, were a part of the United Provinces – later named as the state of Uttar Pradesh. In the year 2000, under the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act, the state of Uttarakhand (formerly known as Uttaranchal) was carved out of the northwestern districts of Uttar Pradesh and Dehradun was made the interim capital.

Evidence, such as temples and idols found in and around Dehradun, suggest that the history of Dehradun can be linked to the times of Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is said that Lord Ram and his brother Lakshman visited this place to perform an atonement after the battle with Ravana in Lanka. Dronacharya, the royal guru of the Kauravas and Pandavas in Mahabharata, was also believed to be born in Dehradun. Hence, the city of Dehradun is also known as ‘Dronagiri’. As per certain legends, the Pandavas rested here on their way to the top of the mountains.

Education Hub Dehradun

It has been the education hub of northern India for a long time, the city being the home to iconic institutions like Welham and Doon School, alma mater of stalwarts like former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Olympian Abhinav Bindra, and renowned author Amitav Ghosh. The Indian Military Academy is also located here. Said to have been established by Sikh guru Ram Rai in 1675, the city is also known as the abode of Dronacharya, the famed teacher from the epic Mahabharata. Dehradun is also home to the ever-famous Indian Military Academy, producing some of the best officers of the Indian Army. Known as a centre for education, the Doon Valley also houses the famous Doon School established in 1935, unequivocally renowned as the best boarding school for boys in India.

Dehradun and Char Dham Yatra

After Haridwar, Dehradun is the preferred starting point for pilgrims to start their Char Dham Yatra. Yamunotri temple is easily accessible from Dehradun.

Dehradun in Char Dham Road Route Plan

Haridwar – Rishikesh – Dehardun – Mussoorie – Chamba – Tehri – Dharasu – Barkot – Sayana Chatti – Hanuman Chatti – Jankichatti – Yamunotri – Uttarkashi – Harsil – Gangotri (Gaumukh) – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Augustmuni – Phata – Sitapur – Guptkashi – Gaurikund – Kedarnath – Ukhimath – Chopta – Gopeshwar – Chamoli – Pipalkoti – Joshimath (Auli) – Govindghat – Hanuman Chatti – Badrinath – Nandprayag – Karnprayag – Devprayag

Weather at Dehradun – Best time to Visit

This city is famous for its weather, Dehradun climate remains couthy throughout the year. Lying in the foothills of the Himalayas, Dehradun is a soothing retreat which can be visited at any time of the year.

Dehradun in Summer (April – June)

The summer season is the peak season for tourism and an ideal time to visit the hill station.  This season lasts from the month of March to June and the temperature ranges from 26 degree Celsius to 35 degree Celsius. The climate is pleasant, with a calm ambience for peace seekers that is just right. The temperatures reduce as the night grows, which is a big relief from the blazing summers in the northern region of India. This weather makes it the best time for tourists to enjoy the various attractions in Dehradun as well as the adventure activities that are a famous pastime.

Dehradun in Monsoon & Autumn

The temperatures range from 27 degree celcius to 35 degree celsius. These temperatures are almost similar to the ones felt in the summer, with the added advantage of a little humidity. Due to this, the weather in Dehradun doesn’t seem to change drastically from summer to monsoon. This is not exactly the ideal season for a visit, owing to the risk of landslides and possible floods in the valley. The season turns ideal once again from late September, when the clouds subside and the nights turn pleasant, with a certain chill in the air. While many individuals prefer to visit the neighbouring town of Mussoorie along with Dehradun, this may not be a good time to visit the two towns together as the road joining the two towns is especially tricky due to the fog and rain that is omnipresent in this season.

Dehradun in Winter (November – March)

Winter season in Dehradun sees temperatures that are haltingly cold and drop as low as 3 degree Celsius. These near frigid temperatures are due to the snowfall that greets the nearby towns and brings in the cold weather. While the days can be moderate to extremely cold, the nights are always cold and freezing. Although the hill station looks extremely beautiful, covered in a shroud of mist, these temperatures may very well be less than ideal for most. You should be packed with heavy woollens for the same. Most people prefer to visit for a short duration in the winter. However, if you’re a snow enthusiast visiting sister-towns in Uttarakhand, you may enjoy coming here to explore culture & heritage on your trip.

How to Reach

By Road : Dehradun is connected to other parts of India with a wide network of road routes. Regular bus services ply to and fro the city of Dehradun. They operate on a daily basis, whether day or night. You can also take private or shared taxis for the same route.

By Train : Dehradun railway station connects Dehradun to the rest of India by the railway network. Regular rail services operate to and fro the city of Dehradun. The most famous among them is the Dehradun Jan Shatabdi Express, which operates from New Delhi railway station, cruising at a maximum speed of 120 km/hr.

By Flight : The nearest airport is Jolly Grant which is situated at a distance of 24 kilometres from Dehradun city.

Jolly Grant Airport is Dehradun’s very own airport. It is also the largest airport in Uttarakhand. Regular flights from cities like New Delhi and Mumbai fly via this airport. This is 29.4 km away from the main city of Dehradun. Once you land at the airport, you can avail a prepaid taxi for the city easily.

Places to See in Dehradun

Tapkeshwar Temple

The Tapkeshwar Temple, also known as the Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple, is located at a distance of 6.5 kilometres from the city centre of Dehradun. A cave shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, this revered temple is situated along the banks of a river which gives it a unique sanctity. This cave was once the abode of the famous guru Dronacharya and hence is also known as Drona cave. A Shiva Linga is enshrined in the main complex which is believed to grant the wishes of all those who seek the Lord’s blessings. A stream of the Tons river, locally known as Tamasa, flows next to it. It is believed that the Pandavas (from the epic Mahabharata) stayed in this cave and worshipped the Shiva lingam (a representation of Lord Shiva) during their pilgrimage into the Himalayas. Water trickles from the ceiling continuously on the Shivalinga, making it an interesting spectacle to watch. Cool sulphur water springs here are available for pilgrims to take a bath in before they enter the main temple.

Tapkeshwar Temple is one of the most visited temples in the region. While simple and charming in its appearance, it is one of the popular destinations in Dehradun. This destination is also thronged by young travellers as a picnic spot. To reach the temple, one has to take a short trek through the forest.


Sahastradhara literally means ‘thousand-fold spring’. It is a popular attraction, famous for its medicinal & therapeutic value as its water contains sulphur. Sahastradhara is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Uttarakhand and is situated about 14 km from the city of Dehradun, near Robber’s Cave.

Also known as Sulphur Springs, this waterfall cascades through limestone stalactites, making the water rich in sulphur. A dip in the Sulphur-rich water here feels cold and refreshing but is believed to have remarkable medicinal advantages.

Mindrolling Monastery

The Mindrolling Monastery, also known as the Buddha Temple Complex, was established in Clement Town, Dehradun, Uttarakhand by Khochhen Rinpoche in 1965. The monastery exudes beauty owing to its gardens, university complex and the tallest Stupa in Asia. While surrounded by greenery, it also has numerous shrine rooms, Tibetan art forms, and murals. One of the six major monasteries of the Tibetan Nyingma School, this monastery was first established in 1676. The Ngagyur Nyingma College is also present within the premises offering advanced Buddhist studies to monks who can pass on the knowledge to the upcoming generations. At present, over 300 monks are given education in the monastery.

Tibetan Temple: situated on Rajpur Road near the Sai Darbar Temple is a huge and colourful temple of Lord Buddha.

Forest Research Institute

Established in the year 1906, the Forest Research Institute is a premier institution in the field of forestry research in India. Nestled in the serene backdrop of the Doon Valley, Forest Research Institute is also a significant tourist attraction of Dehradun. The Institute has been used to film various Bollywood films.

From the back gate of the new ONGC building, we walk south towards another campus that stands out as a masterpiece of our colonial architectural heritage, the Forest Research Institute (FRI). Earlier known as Imperial Forest Research Institute and Colleges, the building is set within an expansive campus. British architect CG Blomfield designed the building and it was constructed by Sardar Ranjit Singh, in  1906, as a reply to the Viceroy’s Palace (now Rashtrapati Bhawan) in New Delhi, by the foresters, who reasoned that since they controlled almost 75 per cent of the land assets of India (in those times 75 per cent of India was forest), they needed to have a building grander in scale than the viceroy’s magnificent palace on Raisina Hill.

The grand structure of the FRI houses a Forestry Museum and contains some interesting relics related to the history of forestry in India. What really adds to the allure of the campus are the arboretums or tree gardens that surround it. The Bambusetum or Bamboo Garden with 120 varieties of this versatile grass, and the Botanical Garden featuring a mind-boggling variety of vegetation are a treasure trove for herbarium enthusiasts. A walk in these forests is highly recommended as the thick vegetation and the sounds of forest transport one to another world, and leads one to forget that the campus now stands in the middle of a city. The campus, also sometimes referred to as New Forest, is a treat for ornithologists and amateur bird watchers.

Robber’s Cave : Robber’s Cave, locally known as Gucchu Pani, is a river cave formed in the Himalayas, about 8 kilometres from Dehradun, Uttarakhand. This river cave is believed to be an abode of Lord Shiva and is very close to Sahastradhara or ‘The Thousandfold Springs’ in Uttarakhand. Its speciality is that river water flows out from the middle of the cave.

Paltan Bazaar : Paltan Bazaar is located in the heart of Dehradun, spanning a 1.5km stretch between the Clock Tower and the railway station. From local spices, confectionery items & street food to goods like apparel, appliances and artefacts, this busy market has it all. Considered as Dehradun’s main bazaar, it is the best place for shopping in Dehradun.

Dehradun Zoo : Located at the base of the Shivalik range, Dehradun Zoo, formerly known as Malsi Deer Park, is a zoological garden. It is home to two horned Deer, tigers, Nilgai, Peacock and many other animals. This well maintained zoological garden is an ideal place for a picnic.

The Regional Science Centre : Located at Vigyan Dham, Jhajra in Dehradun, is a newly established science park. It features a variety of indoor and outdoor exhibits and installations to educate people, especially children. It houses exhibits on nuclear power generation, robotics, cloud computing, carbon nano-tube & graphene and more

Pacific Mall : The biggest and most popular shopping mall in Dehradun, Pacific Mall is known for shopping and for entertainment. It features hundreds of brands, several food joints and entertainment options which means it is a great place for individual and group shoppers.

Shikhar Falls : It is a waterfall picnic spot located around 13km from Dehradun in Kairwaan village of Raipur. Reaching the waterfall requires a 1 km hike on the rugged terrains.

Rajaji National Park : Situated 25 kms from the heart of the city, it is home to the Tiger, Leopard, Himalayan Bear, Cheetal, hog deer, barking deer, Sambar deer, wild boar, antelopes such as the Nilgai, Goral , Jackal, Hyena, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Civets, Himalayan Yellow-Throated Marten, Sloth Bears, Pythons, King Cobra, Common Krait, Indian Cobra and the Monitor Lizard and above All the Asian Elephant.

Tapovan Ashram : Located along the Dehradun-Rajpur Road. It is a picturesque valley, surrounded by lush greenery and calm meadows. Situated just above the Gangotri Glacier, the place also attracts trekking activities. The ashram also holds periodic yoga courses.

Maldevta : Maldevta, located in Shripur, 18 km away from the ISBT, is a popular vacation spot in Dehradun. It offers one of the vistas of nature’s perfection, with the great Himalayas in the backdrop, the pristine Song River gurgling through thick shrubberies and little birds hopping and chirping about the area.

Laxman Siddh : 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.

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.

Chandrabani : Situated 7 Kms from Dehradun on the Dehradun-Delhi road is the famous temple of Chandrabani(Gautam Kund).

Sai Darbar : Situated 8 Kms along the Clock Tower on Rajpur Road, is the Sai Darbar Temple.

Lachhiwala : 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.

Bhagirathi Resort : An 18 Kms drive along the Chakrata road, Bhagirathi Resort at Selaqui, Dehradun lends a breath-taking spectacle of the Himalayan ranges. The resort lures the tourists with its tranquil swimming pool, water slides and fountains.

Santala Devi Temple : About 15 Kms from Dehradun to reach the famous temple of Santaula Devi.

Asan Barrage Water Sports Resort: water sports resort has been developed at the Asan Barrage by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam GMVN in the year 1994.

Dakpathar : 45 Kms from Dehradun, Dakpathar is a beautiful tourist spot in the western Doon Valley, amidst the Shivalik range.

Dehradun Hotels and Resorts

There are many options for accommodation in Dehradun during Char Dham Yatra. Following is the list of hotels, resorts, guest houses in Dehradun.

List of Dehradun Hotels

  • GMVN Drona Hotel (Know more about GMVN Dehradun Drona Hotel TRH)
  • GMVN Asan TRH (know more about GMVN Asan Tourist Rest House Dehradun)
  • GMVN Sahastradhara (know more about GMVN Sahastradhara Tourist Rest House Dehradun)
  • GMVN Dakpatha (know more about: GMVN Dakpathar Tourist Rest House Dehradun)
  • Aketa Hotel in Dehradun (for booking visit: Hotel Aketa)
  • Amrit Regency (for booking visit: Hotel Amrit Regency)
  • Doon Castle (for booking visit: Doon Castle Dehradun )
  • Doon Regency (for booking visit: Hotel Doon Regency)
  • Great Value Hotel (for booking visit: Hotel Great Value)
  • Dehradun Pacific Hotel (for booking visit: Hotel Pacific)
  • Panchvati Guest House (for booking visit: Panchvati Guest House)
  • Hotel President Dehradun (for booking visit: Hotel President)
  • Queens Pearl Inn (for booking visit: Queens Pearl Inn)
  • Rajpur Heights Dehradun (for booking visit: Hotel Rajpur Heights)
  • Hotel Relax (for booking visit: Hotel Relax)
  • Royal Inn Dehradun (for booking visit: Royal Inn)
  • Shiva Residency (for booking visit: Shiva Residency)
  • Softel Plaza (for booking visit: Softel Plaza)
  • Hotel Sunrise (for booking visit: Hotel Sunrise)
  • Surbhi Palace (for booking visit: Surbhi Palace)
  • The Central Hotel (for booking visit: The Central Hotel)
  • Vishranti Doon Valley Resort (for booking visit: Vishranti Doon Valley Resort Spa

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