- Uttar Pradesh
Dehradun, one of the most important
towns of the state of Uttar Pradesh, located at an altitude
of 700 m, serves as the gateway to Mussoorie. The town lies
in the Dun Valley, on the watershed of the Ganga and Yamuna
rivers. It derived its name from the camp ( 'Dehra' means camp
) of Ram Rai, the son of Hari Rai, the 7th Sikh guru. Apparently,
Ram Rai was not made guru after his father, and consequently,
disputed the decision. Defeated, he came to Dun Valley, where
he was accorded a warm welcome by the Garhwal Raja. In the latter
half of the 17th century, Ram Rai established a gurudwara in
the Jhanda Mohalla area, which still draws hordes of devotees.
During the British Raj, Dehradun was the summer base of the
Viceroy's Bodyguard, and transformed into an educational centre
and military cantonment. At present, it is also the base of
the Indian Military Academy. Dehradun also boasts of the Forest
Research Institute, dating back to the British Raj period, and
the Wildlife Institute of India.
What to See
Like the Forest Research Institute, the mulberry demonstration
farms of the Sericulture Institute,
are also one of the highlights of the town. Eight kms from Dehradun,
is a popular picnic spot, Gucchu Pani,
or Robber's cave. Five kms away is Tapovan, where the legendary
Dronacharya, the great guru of the heroes of the Mahabharata,
is believed to have performed penance. A monument to the hero
of the great siege of Kalanga, Balbhadra Singh Thapa, is also
about eight kms from the town. The Sahastradhara,
14 kms away, is renowned for its sulphur springs. The
Rajaji National Park, another tourist attraction, is
20 kms away. The site of prime historical interest is Kalsi,
50 kms from Dehradun, which boasts of a rock inscription of
Asoka, the great Mauryan emperor. 6 kms from the centre of the
town is Tapkeshwar Mahadev, a cave
shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, by the banks of a river. According
to a tale from the Mahabharata, Shiva made milk flow from this
cave for Asvathama, the son of guru Dronacharya.
How to Get There
By air: The nearest airport is
at Jolly Grant, 25 kms away, on the outskirts of the town, that
has daily flights to Delhi.
By rail: Dehradun is a major railhead
on the Northern Railway line with direct trains to Delhi, Mumbai,
Calcutta, Varanasi and Lucknow.
By road: UP Roadways operates regular
bus trips from Simla, Haridwar and Delhi to Dehradun.