Many travelers remember Dehradun as a transit town to Mussoorie, but a very few people have felt the emanating essence of this quaint little town, Dehradun gives you a feeling of a typical small town in India that has a railway station, a market, double lane roads with market shops on either sides and a very little geographical spread. This 300Km2 town located in the Garhwal range of Himalayas, the capital of Uttarakhand is about 240Kms from New Delhi and 130 odd Kms from Chandigarh.
Etymology suggests Dehradun is made up of two words “Dehra” means a temporary base and “doon” means a valley in local Garhwal language.
Dehradun has a domestic airport so the fastest way to reach here is just book a ticket from anywhere in India and fly down (Actually up). For some road lovers, you can always take your own car from Delhi or Chandigarh. But for a few who want to extract the extreme thrills of travelling can take a train. I have never been on a long-distance train journey, but this time I took a train from Mumbai to Dehradun (1682 Kms and 42Hrs of train journey) and got to see some mesmerizing scenes as the train travelled from Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Haridwar and finally Dehradun (Train number: 19019 – Dehradun Express [1682 Kms and 42Hrs of train journey]).If you are more of a selfie traveller and travelling is not really your passion, please avoid this option !!!
Places of interest :
This beautiful place will just soak you in its beauty and the sheer joy is just take a bicycle and tour the city. Very far from the hustle and bustle of big cities like Mumbai, everything is so laid back and calm here. The traffic is moving at a slow pace, no crazy honking, people are very happy and cheerful in their own coccon. I want to preserve the innocence of this place so I will not call it a city, it’s a town. So this town does boast of a few not to be missed tourist attractions :
Note : The second easiest way to travel in and around the town is to rent a car.It would cost not more than Rs 1,600 for the day/8 Hrs.
- Gucchu Paani : (Also known as the robbers cave)
A 600-meter-long cave, open from the top and you have to walk about knee deep cold water through the cave. Actually it’s a small slit through two giant rocks and a rivulet flowing between them. It is about 12Kms from the main city towards Mussoorie road and the Entry ticket is a nominal INR 10 at the entrance. You have a car parking space. The local story says, during the British era, this served as a hiding place for robbers. Hence the name robbers cave.
(Note: The floor below the water is uncertain and may have pebbles, it is advisable to wear footwear before entering the cave, please don’t try barefoot adventure)
If you are in Dehradun this place is a must visit.
- Forest Research Institute (FRI)
For all Bollywood buffs who were fascinated by ‘St. Teresa College’ in the movie ‘Student of the Year’. This is the place. The architecture, the spread and the beautiful weather will make you fall in love with this place. I personally feel this is the most beautiful educational institution I have ever seen in my life. It is one of a kind research institute in India dedicated solely for study and research on the various kinds of flora and fauna.It also safeguards the forests in vicinity.The institute also boasts a rich dedicated museum for visitors about the various landscapes and the types of trees and their cultivation habits.Even if you are not much into botany, you can visit this place for its sheer architectural brilliance and maybe get grooving to dance on “Kukkad kamaal da” (Not inside the campus)
Who wants to miss a mountain top veiw of a sulphur water spring bouncing out of a cave. I was truly excited about Sahastradhara more than any of the above places. But the sight right at the entrance led to my dismal. The place was completely jam packed with tourists. As I glanced through my car window, the place was a mess and completely littered, shirtless men in shortest of the shorts trying to make the maximum of their holiday investment. I asked my driver to take a round about. Somehow the driver was still optimistic and tried to convince me as my first visit to this place. We forged ahead for around 200 meters more and the things just couldn’t get any better. So I decided to call round about, back to my hotel. While I was planning my itinerary I was thrilled to see the photos, but in reality the place I saw, was far more than what I had imagined. Maybe this is just one of the adverse effects of over-tourism.
Like many other places, Dehradun is also rapidly pacing towards commercialization. My personal indicator is a Mc Donalds opening in town. I honestly want more and more people to visit this beautiful town, but also expect them to preserve the essence and the raw nature. My heart cries out loud when I see such beautiful places scraped out because of human interference. The last I heard something like this was about tourists coming back from Shimla and Mussoorie because of overcrowding. Let some thing’s better be untarnished…
But I would definitely recommend any traveler to spend a couple of days in this quaint little town, explore it some more and share your experience with @FromPeppertoSalt
Till we meet again with an another travel story…