Dehradun: Indian City of Love | A Complete Travel Guide

Dehradun Travel Guide

Table of Contents

  1. About
  2. History
  3. Hidden Facts
  4. Best Places to See
  5. Best Time to visit
  6. Things to do
  7. Best Place to eat
  8. Best Places to stay

About Dehradun

Dehradun in India is often considered an iconic holiday destination. Surrounded by the Garhwal Himalayas, the location offers breathtaking mountain views, abundant greenery, and lots of opportunities for adventures. The quaint hill town is famous for alpine weather, lush environment, dainty cottages, and classic colonial charm.

The main city is in the Doon Valley region, on the foothills of the Himalayas. The town is snuggled between mountains, the Song River on the east and the Asan river on the west. The highest point of the entire district rises to 12,100 Ft. at Jaunsar-Bawar hills.

Dehradun is the largest and most populated city in Uttarakhand. It is also the administrative capital of the Dehradun district. Lately, the district is being developed as one of the counter magnets of the NCR (National Capital Region), as an alternative centre for growth, and establish Dehradun as a smart city.

History of Dehradun

The city of Dehradun and its district has a long history. The etymology is derived from the conjunction of two Garhwali wordsdera meaning camp, or doon/dun meaning a valley between the middle Himalayas and the Shivalik mountains.

Legends say that the township was established by Baba Ram Rai, the son of the seventh Sikh Guru when he camped in this area in 1675. There are also 2000-year-old relics, ancient temples, etc. linking Dehradun to the times of Ramayana and Mahabharata.

There are mentions of Dehradun in the documents of the Chinese explorer and philosopher, Huen Tsang, from the 7th century. At that time, this place was known as Sudhanagara, which later became Kalsi, a few miles away from Dehradun. In 1816, the British won back Dehradun from Nepal in the Anglo-Nepalese war and colonized Landour and Mussoorie. After the independence of India in 1947, Dehradun and other parts of the Garhwal and Kumaon region were merged with the United Provinces, which became Uttar Pradesh, until 2000, when a separate state – Uttarakhand was a creation from the northwestern districts of Uttar Pradesh.

[Also read: Chopta: The Mini Switzerland of Uttarakhand]

Interesting Facts about Dehradun

Besides the popular places in Dehradun that most tourists know of, here are a few interesting facts about this Himalayan destination –

  • Dehradun is home to some of the most iconic educational institutions like Doon School, and major national defence establishments like Indian Military Academy, Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE), Defense Electronics Application Laboratory (DEAL) etc
  • It is believed that after the battle of Lanka and defeating Ravana, Ram and Lakshman visited Dehradun. Also, in the context of Mahabharata, it is said that Dronacharya, the guru of the Kauravas and Pandavas was born here and lived here for many years.
  • Dehradun is the first city in India to establish an international quality ice-rink used for ice hockey, figure skating and similar winter sports.

Places to visit in Dehradun

Rich in nature and culture, Dehradun sightseeing is indeed an incredible experience. Check out these attractions

Sahastradhara Falls

  • How to Reach – The waterfall is located at 9KM from the city centre. You can a local bus, auto, or cab to reach.
  • Timings– 8AM-7PM
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required– 1-2 Hours

Mindroling Monastery

  • How to Reach – The Buddha temple is just about 9 kilometres away from the Dehradun Railway station.
  • Timings– 8AM – 12PM, 2PM – 7PM (summers), 9AM – 12PM, 1PM – 6PM (winters)
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required– 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – Also visit the Ngagyur Nyingma College and the landscaped garden within the premise.

Malsi Deer Park

  • How to Reach – The park is located at 10KM from city. You can take the local bus or cab to travel and return.
  • Timings– 10AM-5PM
  • Entry Fee– INR 10
  • Time Required- 1-2Hours
  • Tips – Visit between February to April to witness all the flora and fauna.

Robbers Cave Dehradun

Robbers Cave Dehradun
  • How to Reach – The caves are located at 8KM from city. You can take the local bus or cab, or reach Vijaypur and then trek for 1KM to reach the cave area.
  • Timings– 7AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee- INR 50
  • Time Required– 2-3 Hours
  • Tips – You can also visit the Tibetan temple, Ramakrishna Ashram Temple, or Dehradun Zoo, nearby.

Tapkeshwar Temple

  • How to Reach – This temple is located at 7KM from the city centre. You can take the local bus, auto, or cab to reach.
  • Timings– 6AM-7PM
  • Entry Fee- Free
  • Time Required– 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – Try the local street food at the nearby market or trek through the surrounding wooded areas.

Places to visit near Dehradun

Dehradun in India

Dehradun tourism is more than the scenic sites within the city. Include these hill stations near Dehradun in your travel itinerary.

Chattrakund Lake, Auli

  • How to Reach – The glacial lake is located in Auli. It’s about 300KM from Dehradun to Auli and you have to book an outstation cab or rent a private car to travel and return.
  • Timings- Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required– 1 day
  • Tips – Also explore the alpine meadows and hiking trails of Gurso Bugyal and Kwani Bugyal nearby.

Kempty Falls, Mussoorie

  • How to Reach – The waterfalls lie in Mussoorie, about 50KM from Dehradun town. You can book a cab for the day to travel and return.
  • Timings– 8AM-5PM
  • Entry Fee– Free, Cable car – INR 80 per person
  • Time Required– 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – Don’t miss the cable car ride near the waterfalls area to get a birds-eye view of the Dehradun-Mussoorie trail.
[Also read: Mussoorie: The Queen of the Hills]

Ashoka Rock Edict, Kalsi

  • How to Reach – The rock inscriptions are located at about 45KM from Dehradun town. You can book a local cab or rent a car to reach.
  • Timings– 8AM-5PM
  • Entry Fee– Free
  • Time Required – 2-3 hours
  • Tips – Also try outdoor activities like parasailing, rock climbing, rappelling, and river rafting, popular in Kalsi.

Things to do in Dehradun

Dehradun India

Apart from exploring all the tourist places here, there are a host of exciting things you can do in this Himalayan town. Explore these activities for a complete trip –

  • Go for treks. Trekking here is one of the most popular things to do. The town serves as the base for most treks around the Garhwal Himalayas. Ranging from easy to pro-level, the trek routes pass through hilly hamlets, grassy meadows, pine forests, alpine pastures, with views of snowy peaks. Trek from Har ki Dun through the Bali Pass to Yamunotri Glacier, or go to Nag Tibba, Chakrata, Dhanaulti, Rishikesh. For more difficult adventures, you can do snow treks to Kuari Pass.
  • Explore the Tapovan Ashram, about 6KM from Dehradun city centre. The lush green valley sits above the Gangotri Glacier, surrounded by alpine meadows and offers views of a lifetime.
  • Stay with a local family. Homestays at old cottages and bungalows, offer a great opportunity to dive into local life, while experiencing the colonial charm.
  • Shop till you drop at the popular malls and markets. Apart from the new-age, swanky malls, explore the traditional markets like the Paltan bazaar Dehradun for local goods and souvenirs.

Best time to visit Dehradun

Sitting on the Garhwal Himalayan Region, the weather here can be classified as mountain weather with pleasant summers and cold winters. Depending on your travel goals, you can visit anytime. Dehradun in winters is a different beauty. If you are lucky, you might witness snowfall in late December or January. Otherwise, for outdoor activities, summers are good to travel when the temperature here is very comfortable. The best time to visit is between December and April. Always check the weather forecast before travelling.

Best Dehradun Hotels & Resorts

Most Dehradun hotels and resorts boast stunning nature views, with great amenities, making your stay an unforgettable experience. Check out these resorts for your trip –

  • Seyfert Sarovar Premiere
  • The River’s Edge Farm
  • Hotel Boulevard
  • Doon Valley Homestay
  • Riverstone Cottages
  • Tree of Life Resort
  • Glenville Forest Resort & Spa
Video Credits: Distance Between

Places to eat in Dehradun

The food here is a fine blend of traditional Pahadi cuisine and classic colonial-era recipes. Try these restaurants to sample the local flavors –

  • Poquito2Kalsang Café
  • Mirabilia
  • Town Table
  • Gourmand Inn Restaurant
  • Pahadi Khaja
  • Kafaal Restaurant

How to reach Dehradun

By Train

Dehradun railway station is only a couple of kilometres away from the city centre. It is well-connected to major cities and towns across north India. There are frequent trains from Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla, Ludhiana, and other metro cities.

By Road

Dehradun is well-connected to Delhi and NCR region by NH 44 and to other northern states by national and state highways. There are regular state-run and private buses from nearby cities like Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Shimla, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Ludhiana etc. You can also book an outstation cab or rent a private car to travel to Dehradun from any of these cities.

[Also read: Delhi to Dehradun by Road – Distance, Time and Useful Travel Information]

By Flight

Dehradun is served by Jolly Grant Airport (DED), about 30Km away from the city centre. There are regular flights to Dehradun from major cities and towns across India. From the airport, you can book an airport taxi or rent a car to reach the city.

Witness the beauty of Dehradun by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.  

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Dehradun: Indian City of Love | A Complete Travel Guide
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Dehradun: Indian City of Love | A Complete Travel Guide
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Surrounded by the Garhwal Himalayas, the Dehradun offers breathtaking mountain views, abundant greenery, and lots of opportunities for adventures. The quaint hill town is famous for alpine weather, lush environment, dainty cottages, and classic colonial charm.
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