The capital city of Uttarakhand is very often revered as the ‘Educational Hub’ of the state as well. There are many prestigious institutes here, like the Welham Schools, Doon Schools, Indian Military Academy, and the Wada Institute Of Himalayan Geology. But, before delving into the specifics, shouldn’t we learn a little more about the city itself?
Dehradun gets its name as a derivative of the Doon Valley. Boarding schools, religious and historical monuments, and close proximity to beautiful places like Haridwar, Mussoorie, and Rishikesh have given this city a spot among every retirees’ favorite plplaceso retire. At an elevation of 1,400 feet, with Ganga and Yamuna, two of the most important rivers in India surrounding it, and Himalayas and Shivaliks as its neighbors, one can easily guess how beautiful this city is, and why it’s everybody’s favorite. Here’s a Dehradun travel guide to give you more details about this beautiful destination.
The first mention of the city of Dehradun is seen in the year 1676 when Shri Ram Rai, the eldest son of the seventh Sikh Guru, set up camp or ‘Dera’ here. After their establishment in the area, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb asked Shri Ram Rai for his help believing he has supernatural powers. In return, Aurangzeb built a Gurudwara in Dhamawala. The construction of this Gurudwara was completed in 1707.
After being under the rule of Ruahela Njibuddulo and then his successor Ghulaam Qadir in 1757 through 1785, Dehradun went under a lot of dispute, before finally ending up in the hands of the British in 1816. Post-independence, Dehradun, Garhwal, Kumaon, and a few neighboring regions merged with the United Provinces, to later become known as the beautiful state of Uttarakhand.
Talking about the culture in Dehradun, it’s very rich and deep, considering that Dehradun is one of the oldest cities in the country, and it is centuries old. Since the city is located in the Garhwal region, a lot of influence of the Garwalhi culture infused with those that ruled the area through the multiple centuries is seen flourishing in Dehradun. The people of Dehradun speak in Garhwali, Hindi, Punjabi, English, Tibetan, and Kumaoni languages. The city is also a melting pot of many religions. While about 60% of Dehradun residents follow Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, and Jainism are also prominent.
The vast cultural difference in this city is seen in the many fairs and festivals that are held in this city. Some of the most famous ones seen in Dehradun are Jhanda Fair, Bissu Fair, Hanol Mela, and Shivratri Fair. All of these festivals and fairs are seen in the art, music, and festive clothing that the locals wear in celebration. As a souvenir, you can buy some form of traditional clothes like the bandhani, sarongs, burkas, sarees, and long skirts for the women, while men can buy decorative clothing like dhotis, kurta-pajamas, and turbans. Clothing is a huge part of the culture and the sale of them is a huge business in the area.
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Dehradun is very well connected to all major cities in the country. However, most of the routes used to reach this city go through Delhi. While this is a great place to take a pit stop in most cases, it’s exceptionally well for the residents of Delhi, since they can hop on any mode of transport they find convenient.
There are daily flights between Delhi and Dehradun that are conducted by major airlines like SpiceJet, Air India, and Go Indigo. Dehradun also has flights coming in from Mumbai, Lucknow, and Jammu. However, if you plan on flying into Dehradun from any location other than Delhi, there is a very high chance that your flight will have a stopover here.
Once you land at the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, you’ll have to avail a taxi to take you to the city, since the airport is about 30 km away and there are no direct buses to get to the airport.
One of the most convenient ways to travel to Dehradun by road is to get to Delhi, and then get on a bus from Delhi to Dehradun. You’ll find many private bus services like Volvo and Delux, along with government-run buses organized by Uttarakhand Tourism, that ferry people between the two destinations multiple times in a day.
Do keep in mind that this is a 7-8 hour journey by bus. If you decide to make this trip during the day, you might run into a lot of traffic, further slowing you down. Hence, we suggest you take a bus that travels to Dehradun during the night. This will probably reduce your travel time by an hour or two, and also give you the opportunity to get some sleep while you reach this beautiful hill station.
This might be the best mode of transport when traveling to Dehradun. Dehradun is a major railway junction that connects to multiple major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Amritsar, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Indore, Ujjain, and Chennai. You can also choose what kind of train you want to travel in with a myriad of options ranging from extremely inexpensive to expensive ones that are as luxurious as you can imagine.
Just like the flights going to Dehradun, almost all routes heading to Dehradun also go through Delhi. However, unlike the flights, this mode of transport does take five hours to get from Delhi to Dehradun, at the least. However, you’ll have to leave Delhi very early in the morning, since leaving later might get you stuck in heavy traffic.
The most preferred route to Dehradun will take you through NH 72A. Even though it’s a national highway, it’s not a very wide road with only two lanes for the majority of the way. If you’re traveling on this route in the harvest season, you might want to be prepared for a slow-down because of the slow-moving agricultural vehicles. If you want to avoid the long drive, you can also avail a taxi from Delhi, since you have a lot of cab aggregators in Delhi that provides private and shared cabs to Dehradun.
One thing to note is that there are a few locations on this route that are infamously risky. Do your research before you leave, or before you get out of Delhi, at least.
Even though Dehradun is located at the foothills of the Himalayas, this city experiences very pleasant weather throughout the year. However, while the city avoids extremes, you might still experience very rainy monsoons and equally cold winters, making Dehradun a unique place with different experiences to offer with every visit.
The summer season is arguably the best season to visit this city since the lack of cold and wetness allows tourists to experience a lot more of the city and its culture, compared to the other seasons. You’ll see lush green forests, beautiful streams and waterfalls, clear skies, and an average temperature range between 17°C and 35°C. The summer season also gives the visitors an opportunity to indulge in adventure activities like paragliding and rafting.
If you think the winters would suit you better, you might want to pack a lot of warm clothes, including caps and gloves. However, once armed with winter gear, you can easily go around the city since the city sees a maximum average temperature of 22°C. Dehradun also sees some of the most beautiful sceneries in the quaint and lush landscapes, only lit by the warm, winter sun, making a trip to Dehradun during winters an experience of its own caliber.
While the monsoons here do add a layer of beauty to the city, only seen when it’s washed by the rains, we do suggest you avoid traveling to Dehradun in this season since the rain does pose a hindrance to some of the activities and availability of all facilities.
The city of Dehradun is fairly compact, making it very easy to explore the area in a car. If you do not bring your own car, you can easily get one here on rent. There are many car rental services in the city with a variety of options to choose from.
There are plenty of rickshaws operating in the heart of the city and will get you to almost everywhere in the city. However, these rickshaws run on a fixed rate instead of a metered one. So, if you do not enquire about the proper prices beforehand, there is a high chance that you might get overcharged.
There are also a few shared rickshaws that run in the city. In fact, there are bright blue three-wheelers called ‘Vikrams’ that are specifically used as shared rickshaws. These are a little bigger than the conventional rickshaws and have the capacity to carry 8 people as passengers. However, Vikrams are often overloaded, causing them to be slow and crowded.
The city of Dehradun has a government-run bus service that goes through the city and nearby areas. The tickets for the buses are significantly cheap and they have the destinations written on the windshield in Hindi. However, because of the low prices and frequent trips, these buses are almost always crowded, making them very inconvenient if you’re traveling for a long-distance or with your luggage.
Dehradun is surprisingly compact and can be explored entirely on foot. In fact, you can reach many areas in the city in about thirty minutes. Finding your way in the city is relatively easy, too. The main avenue in the city is called Rajpur Road, the main bazaar is called Paltan Bazaar, and the next most famous place in the town is called Chakrata Road. The best part is, all of these places are connected by a single intersection called the Clock Tower Roundabout. This means you can easily navigate through Dehradun if you know the names, and don’t mind talking to a few locals.
‘Garhwali and Kumaonis cannot stand each other’
This is a statement that may have seen its roots in the history of this region. The thing is, while it does not stand true, to begin with, even if we consider it to be true from a historical standpoint, it would be so far away in history that none of the living residents of Dehradun would attest to it. After all, it’s not like they were sworn enemies like Batman and the Joker!
Robber’s Cave is arguably the best piece of adventure that Dehradun has to offer. Beginning its trek in the Anarwala village, this place lets you witness a river that disappears into a cave and reappears after a point, along with a beautiful waterfall, that you can reach via a dark cave between two cliffs.
While you can reach very close to the cave by car, we suggest you trek the whole distance from Anarwala village, since that will give you a chance to take in the beauty of the nature that surrounds the trail. You can visit the place from 7 am to 6 pm, after which the trail is typically closed off. If you have any trouble finding the place, ask for Gucchupani, since that is what the locals call Robber’s Cave.
As home to one of the biggest monasteries in India called the Mindrolling Monastery, this town is a great place to visit for anyone wanting to experience Tibetan and Buddhist cultures. There is also a huge stupa, called the Great Stupa, which is 185 feet tall and 100 square feet wide.
Talking about the monastery, it’s famous for its beautiful architecture which was created as a culmination of 50 artists working together. Despite several natural calamities, the Mindrolling Monastery has stood strong as though it is made of rock and planted like a tree. While there are multiple accommodations in the town, staying in the monastery itself is known to give the visitors an in-depth look at the Tibetan and Buddhist ways of life, making it indispensable from the bucket list of places to visit.
Barkot is a haven for the people who love the grand outdoors. This hill station near Dehradun is at a height of 4,000 feet and offers panoramic views of the beautiful landscapes. Barkot is very close to the Yamuna, Gangotri, and Surya Kund, all of which are very important destinations for devotional travelers, especially ones that are on a religious trip like the Chhota Char Dham Yatra.
The best part about Barkot is that since it’s a stopover on the many religious travels, it is very quiet once the devotees pass. There are many ashrams and dhabas that will make your trip extremely affordable. If you want to experience fresh, white snow, Barkot is a place you should not miss in the season when it does snow.
Why Is Dehradun So Famous?
Dehradun is famous for three things. The first one is the beauty that this city holds, which is unparalleled by a lot of standards. Next, it’s known as a gateway to a lot of hill stations in and around the Himalayas, as well as a few important religious destinations. Lastly, Dehradun has a lot of elite boarding schools which are famous throughout the country, making it an educational hub in the north.
What Is The Most Famous Part Of Dehradun?
The Tibetan Market is arguably the most famous part of Dehradun since it gives the tourists the opportunity to shop for tribal clothing, jewelry, and artifacts while munching on mouth-watering delicacies like momos and thukpa.
Why Is Dehradun Called Doon?
The name of Dehradun is a derivative of the historical fact that Shri Ram Rai called this place his ‘Dera’. Since this ‘Dera’ was in a ‘Doon’, i.e. valley, it came to be known as Dera-Dun, which later turned into Dehradun. However, since the terminology is still relevant to the local languages, people often end up calling the place by its original name, ‘Doon’.
What Food Items Is Dehradun Famous For?
While a majority of the cuisine in Dehradun consists of North Indian food, you’ll find the locals frequently munching on dishes like bun tikka, momos, chole puri, chowmein, and rava dosas.
Is There Snowfall In Dehradun?
Dehradun sees snowfall during the winter months (December to mid-February) and turns into a winter wonderland blanketed in snow.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Dehradun?
The city experiences very pleasant weather throughout the year. Though summer season (March to June) is arguably the best season to visit this city since the weather is rather cool and not wet as during in the winters.
How Many Days Are Enough In Dehradun?
Three days are enough to explore the city of Dehradun in-depth and enjoy all there is to enjoy in this scenic city.
How Far Is Kedarnath From Dehradun?
The distance between Dehradun and Kedarnath by road is 254 km and takes about 6 hours of travel.