Nestled on the foothills of the Himalayan ranges and surrounded by lush green Sal forests and high mountains, Dehradun is the capital city of the hill station Uttarakhand and gateway to other hill stations and pilgrimage sites. With a fascinating history and intriguing mythology, Dehradun is known for its year-round pleasant weather and scenic surroundings with unparalleled landscape and modern infrastructure. Often termed as the retirement haven, Dehradun buzzes with excitement and yet manages to retain its laid-back vibes with its quaint little cafes and lounges, heritage monuments, and bustling old markets. The name Dehradun is derived from two words – Dehra (from dera) means home and doon means a valley between Himalayas and Shivalik ranges.
The education hub of north India, Dehradun is home to some of the most iconic institutions and research institutes like Doon School, Welham, Forest Research Institute and even the Indian Military Academy. The historic temples and idols found in Dehradun can trace back its history to the time of Ramayana and Mahabharat. It is said that Lord Ram and Lakshman visited this place to perform an atonement after the battle with Ramayana. Dronacharya, the royal guru of Kauravas and Pandavas was also born here, and thus the city is also known as Dronagiri.
Places to Visit / Tourist Places
- Robber's Cave – Also called GucchuPani, it is a river cave formed in the Himalayas and is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The river water flows through the middle of the caves which makes it a fascinating yet amazing place to visit. It is believed to be the route of the robbers in old times and thus the name Robber’s Cave.
- Sahastradhara – Literally translates to ‘Thousand-Fold Spring’, Sahastradhara is one of the most popular and visited tourist spots in Dehradun surrounded by caves and the Baldi River which offers a magnificent view. With a high sulfur content, the water of the springs is said to have healing properties, while the lime content in the water has given rise to limestone outcrops and ridges. Apart from the spring falls, there is an amusement park and several small pools have been made with the natural water for people to enjoy without collecting too much crowd at one place.
- Tapkeshwar Temple – Located on the banks of Asan River, the Tapkeshwar Temple is the oldest temple in Dehradun and has a mystical charm to it. The cave inside has a Shivalinga and the entire pilgrim receives water droplets from the cave walls non-stop, making it a beautiful spectacle.
- Malsi Deer Park – One of the most popular places in Dehradun, Malsi Deer Park is a heaven for wildlife lovers. A peaceful home for herd of deer and other animals as well, Malsi Deer Park is a picnic spot with an aquarium and a bird breeding Centre as well.
- Maldevta – A synonym for picnic spot among the locals, Maldevta is on the outskirts of Dehradun and is known for its abundant beauty and peaceful surroundings. Ideal for young travelers or anyone looking for some frivolous activities such as swimming, biking, hiking, birdwatching, camping, and photography, the mighty Himalayas serve as the backdrop in Maldevta while the song River and the beautiful flora add to the magnificence of the landscape.
- Mindrolling Monastery – Also known as Buddha Temple Complex, it is the largest Buddhist Vihara of India, training monks for over 300 years. Being an architectural masterpiece with numerous sections, the monastery is a treat to the eyes and houses the tallest Stupa in Asia.
- Forest Research Institute – If you are interested in plants, birds, animals, and other areas of forestry, then the Forest Research Institute is the ideal place for you. Established in 1906 and known for the colonial Greco-Roman styles of architecture, the institute has a vast ground in front and a museum showcasing different plant species and one of the oldest living trees.
- Clock Tower – Clock Tower is an iconic structure in Dehradun made during the British era. It is said that the bell of the clock was so loud that it used to be heard in every corner of the city. It is at the heart of the city and near Paltan Market. The main market of Dehradun.
- Shikhar Falls – It is a waterfall picnic spot located in Kairwaan village of Raipur at the outskirts of Dehradun. Reaching the waterfalls requires 1km hike at rugged terrains but it is worth the effort. The area is less crowded and offers serenity and peace with stunning green visuals.
- Lacchiwalla – It is a popular picnic destination near Dehradun located at the forested area of Rajaji National Park. It is known for its greenery, beautiful cottages, and resorts. The beauty of the place is enhanced by the brook, flowing through the forest area.
- Tiger Falls – Located in the lush green forests of Chakrata, Tiger Falls offers pristine views of mother nature along with a stunning fall of white water. With an elevation of 312m, this is one of the highest direct waterfalls in India which transforms into a pond at the end, enabling visitors to enjoy and have a good time. Besides, visitors can also go canoeing, rappelling, and rafting in the water.
- Sahastradhara Ropeway – Get a bird’s eye-view of the lush green valley and several streams flowing down in the Sahastradhara from the ropeway. It is a ropeway line built on top of the Sahastradhara hills and offers spectacular visuals of the entire village which is an experience to relish.
- Trekking – Dehradun serves as the base camp for several treks, including the Kempty Falls and Nag Tibba in Mussoorie. There are several other high-altitude treks that start from Dehradun which is a must-do activity here surrounded by lush green verdant and crisp air.
- Camping – Camping is a must-do activity after you trek through the trails in Dehradun. Spread the tent and camp at the valleys of doon under the star-studded sky and surrounded by lofty hills and luscious forests for a soul soothing experience.
- Picnic at Malsi Deer Park – Now known as Dehradun Zoo, Malsi Deer Park is a zoological garden and is home to two horned deer, tigers, Neelgai, peacock, and many other animals and birds. The well-maintained sprawling garden is an ideal place for a family picnic where kids can enjoy in swings and slides as well.
- Visit Fun n Food Kingdom – It is an amusement park with several water slides for kids and adults both and pools to have a fun day out. The park also has cafes in and around it where you can quench your thirst and gorge on delectable snacks.
Nightlife (Pubs, clubs, lounges)
- VICE Lounge & Bar - Located in the Pacific Hills complex, VICE Lounge & Bar is one of the most popular nightclubs in Dehradun. The club offers a great ambiance with an extensive range of drinks and food.
- Sky Garden Rooftop Lounge - This rooftop lounge is located on the top floor of the Crossroads Mall in Dehradun. It offers stunning views of the city and a lively atmosphere, with a variety of music genres played by the in-house DJ.
- Club London - Club London is a popular nightclub located in the heart of Dehradun. The club features a spacious dance floor, great music, and an extensive range of drinks.
- The Terrace - The Terrace is a rooftop lounge located in the Hotel Pacific Dehradun. The club offers a great ambiance and a perfect view of the city skyline.
- Flamingo Club - The Flamingo Club is in the City Junction Mall in Dehradun. The club features a dance floor, live music, and an extensive range of drinks and food.
- Liquid Ice: This is a popular nightclub in Dehradun that offers a great ambiance and a fantastic music experience. The club has a bar and a dance floor, and it's perfect for party lovers. The DJ plays a mix of Bollywood and English music.
- Madhushala: This is a club and lounge in Dehradun that is known for its excellent music and great ambiance. The club offers a mix of Bollywood and English music, and it's perfect for those who love to dance.
Street Food in Dehradun
- Bun Tikki – Tikki is a famous street food in India but in Dehradun, bun tikki is a popular snack where tikki is placed inside a bun and spread with layers of chutney for a burst of flavours in mouth and is an absolute delight.
- Bread Pakora – It is another famous street food available in sweet shops, food stalls, and restaurants. Bread stuffed with potato filling and dipped in a batter of gram flour and fried to perfection. It is eaten with chai and tastes delicious on a rainy day.
- Chhole Poori – It is one of the staples and popular street food in North India that is easily available in food stalls. Puffed fried poori dipped in spicy gravy of potatoes is a hearty meal for all three courses.
- Dosa – Although a south Indian staple, Dosa is loved by all and is available in almost every restaurant with lots of variety. Whether it’s a plain dosa, masala dosa, paneer dosa, onion dosa, etc. every variety is available at restaurants and is devoured by all.
- Chowmein – Chowmein is also a famous street food in Dehradun being available in every few meters in fast food stall or in restaurants. Noodles stir fried in vinegar and soy sauce and vegies is a treat to the taste buds.
- Pakode – Pakode is a staple street food in Dehradun and can be found in small food stalls or in restaurants as well. Pakode are fritters made from different ingredients such as mix veg, paneer, potato, cauliflower, onions, etc. and are eaten best with hot cup of tea.
- Momos: Momos are a popular Tibetan dish that have become a staple street food in Dehradun. They are steamed dumplings filled with either vegetable or meat and served with spicy tomato sauce. In Dehradun, you can get a variety of momos such as paneer momo, egg momo, cheese momo, veg/non-veg momo, lauki momo, etc. There are even tandoori momos available in several momo stalls and restaurants specializing in tandoori momos or Himalayan momo made with cabbage layer instead of dough.
- Chaat: Chaat is a popular Indian snack that you can find in almost every corner of Dehradun. It is a mixture of crispy fried dough, boiled potatoes, chickpeas, and chutneys, and is garnished with sev and coriander.
- Maggi: Maggi is a popular instant noodle brand that has become a street food phenomenon in Dehradun. You can find Maggi stalls everywhere, and they offer a range of flavors such as masala, cheese, and vegetable.
- Paneer Samosas: Samosas are a popular snack in India, and you can find them in almost every street corner in Dehradun. But the specialty here are the paneer samosa which have paneer stuffing in it and tastes absolutely delicious.
Dehradun has several budget hotels which offers all the basic amenities for visitors at affordable rates. These hotels provide facilities such as well-furnished rooms with attached washrooms and toiletries, room service, tv, AC, dining rooms, etc. Some of the best budget hotels here are:
- Hotel Saffron Leaf: Approximately INR 1200-2000 per night.
- Hotel Siddharth Residency: Approximately INR 1000-2000 per night.
- Hotel Aketa: Approximately INR 2000-3500 per night.
- Hotel Radiance Paradise: Approximately INR 1500-2500 per night.
- Hotel Sunder Palace: Approximately INR 1200-2000 per night.
Being a popular tourist destination, Dehradun is home to several luxury hotels offering world-class facilities to its visitors. From fully furnished rooms and washrooms to entertainment services, spas and gym, pool and dining, and even shuttle facilities, these hotels offer an extravagant facility to its visitors which is worth every penny. Some of the best luxury hotels here are:
- Seyfert Sarovar Premiere: Approximately INR 5000-7000 per night.
- Lemon Tree Hotel Dehradun: Approximately INR 4000-6000 per night.
- Four Points by Sheraton: Approximately INR 5000-7000 per night.
- The Solitaire: Approximately INR 3500-5000 per night.
- Ramada by Wyndham Dehradun: Approximately INR 5000-7000 per night.
- The Garage Dine-In – This restaurant is known for preparing even the most basic dishes in a fun and unique way. With a decent and cozy ambiance, the restaurant offers delicious fusion food such as chicken khurchan cigars and garage da kukkad.
- BMG – Be My Guest is a popular restaurant where you can have some quality time with your loved ones. Set amidst lush green surroundings, it has a great interior and serves palatable North Indian and Chinese food. Must try dishes here are Malabari paratha and momos.
- Unplugged – It is a popular restaurant located in Sahastradhara and offers both indoor and outdoor dining and a small pool. It is known for its warm ambiance with a stunning outdoor landscape and serves Indian, Chinese, and Italian meal.
- Ellora's Melting Moments: This is a popular restaurant in Dehradun that serves a variety of cuisines including North Indian, Chinese, and Continental such as chicken tandoori, dal makhani and grilled fish which are its specialty. The restaurant is known for its warm and cozy ambience and excellent service.
- Kalsang AMA Cafe: This is a Tibetan restaurant located in the heart of Dehradun. The restaurant is known for its authentic Tibetan cuisine and the warm and friendly atmosphere. Some of the popular dishes here include the Momos, Thukpa, and the Tibetan Butter Tea.
- The Great Indian Pub: This is a popular pub in Dehradun that is known for its great food and lively atmosphere. The restaurant serves a variety of cuisines including North Indian, Chinese, and Continental. Some of the must-try dishes here include the Butter Chicken, Fish and Chips, and the Chicken Satay.
- Black Pepper Restaurant: This is a multi-cuisine restaurant located in Dehradun that serves a variety of dishes from North Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisine. The restaurant is known for its excellent service and warm ambience. Some of the popular dishes here include the Murgh Tikka Masala, Chicken Manchurian, and the Chicken Caesar Salad.
- Orchard: This is a fine dining restaurant located in Dehradun that offers a great dining experience. The restaurant is known for its excellent service and the wide range of dishes it offers. Some of the must-try dishes here include the Lobster Bisque, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and the Grilled Lamb Chops.
There are several malls in Dehradun that offer a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Here are some of the popular malls in Dehradun:
- Pacific Mall: This is one of the largest and most popular malls in Dehradun. It offers a wide range of brands, including lifestyle, fashion, electronics, and more.
- Crossroads Mall: This is another popular mall in Dehradun that offers a range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. It has a cinema, a food court, and several retail stores.
- City Junction Mall: This mall is located near the railway station and offers a range of retail stores, a food court, and a cinema.
- Times Square Mall: This is a relatively new mall in Dehradun that offers a range of brands, including fashion, electronics, and more.
- MDDA Shopping Complex: This is a government-run shopping complex that offers a range of handicrafts, textiles, and other products.
- Paltan Bazaar – Located at the heart of Dehradun and spanning 1.5km from Clock Tower to Railway station, Paltan Bazaar is considered as the main market of Dehradun. From local spices to confectionaries and street food, to goods like apparels, appliances, and artifacts, Paltan Market has all what you need for every visitor and is one of the best places to shop in Dehradun.
- Tibetan Market - As the name suggests, the Tibetan Market is known for its handicrafts and souvenirs. This market is in the heart of Dehradun and is a great place to buy traditional Tibetan items such as woolen shawls, carpets, and woodenitems. The market is also home to several shops selling clothing and accessories. You can also sample some delicious momos and other Tibetan delicacies in this market.
- Rajpur Road - Rajpur Road is another popular market in Dehradun. This market is known for its trendy clothing, accessories, and electronics. It is home to several high-end brands, including Adidas, Puma, Levi's, and Reebok. Apart from shopping, you can also enjoy a variety of cuisines in the many restaurants and cafes that line this street. Some of the popular eateries here include Café Coffee Day, Domino's Pizza, and KFC.
- Indira Market - Indira Market is one of the busiest markets in Dehradun. It is a great place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as spices and condiments. The market is also home to several shops selling clothes, footwear, and household items. It is a great place to bargain for a good deal. If you're a foodie, don't miss out on the chaat and other street food items available in this market.
- Astley Hall - Astley Hall is a popular market in Dehradun known for its street food. It is a great place to try out some local delicacies such as chaat, golgappe, and samosas. Apart from food, you can also buy clothes, footwear, and accessories in this market. It is a great place to shop if you're on a budget.
From confectionaries to apparels and sweets, apparels to appliances and handicrafts, these are some of the best shops in Dehradun to shop from:
- Shiv Gauri Pashmina World
- Scorpion Handicrafts
- Prince Gift Gallery
- Rajkumar Sweet Shop
- Lifestyle Store, Pacific mall
- Kumar Sweet Shop
- Reliance Market
- Suvidha Supermarket
Museums in Dehradun
- Forest Research Institute Museum: The museum is located on the campus of the Forest Research Institute, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutes in India for forestry research and education. The museum showcases the forestry and wildlife resources of India, including various species of trees, animals, and birds. It also displays the various tools and equipment used in forestry and wood technology.
- Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology Museum: The museum showcases the geological evolution of the Himalayan region, including the formation of the Himalayan range, its geology, earthquakes, and the mineral resources of the region. It also displays several specimens of rocks, minerals, and fossils found in the Himalayan region.
- Zonal Anthropological Museum: The museum showcases the culture and traditions of the people of Uttarakhand, including their lifestyles, customs, arts, and crafts. It displays several exhibits related to the tribes and castes of the region, including their clothing, ornaments, musical instruments, and weapons.
- Subir Raha Oil Museum: The museum is run by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) and showcases the history and development of the oil and gas industry in India, including the exploration, production, and refining of crude oil and natural gas. It displays several exhibits related to the oil and gas industry, including the various tools and equipment used in the exploration and production of oil and gas.
- Mindrolling Monastery Museum: Located within the Mindrolling Monastery campus run by the Mindrolling Monastery administration, the museum showcases the history and traditions of the monastery, which is one of the largest Buddhist centers in India. It displays several exhibits related to Buddhism, including statues, paintings, manuscripts, and ritual objects used in Buddhist ceremonies.
- The Regional Science Centre – It is a newly established science park at Vigyan Dham featuring a variety of indoor and outdoor exhibitions and installations to educate people, especially children. The museum showcases exhibits on nuclear power generation, robotics, cloud computing, carbon nanotubes, graphene, and more.
Events / Festivals
- Basant Panchami Mela: The Basant Panchami Mela is held in Dehradun every year in January or February. The fair is held to celebrate the arrival of spring and features music, dance, and food stalls.
- Doon Festival: The Doon Festival is a popular cultural festival that takes place in Dehradun every year in October or November. The festival features cultural performances, exhibitions, and food stalls.
- Jhanda Fair: This is held every year after Holi on the fifth day at the historic Guru Ram Rai Darbar in the sacred memory of the guru. The fair begins by hosting a new flag (jhanda) on the staff located on the compound of the complex. A large number of people gather here from nearby places and cultural activities are held with food and handicraft stalls as well.
- Magh Mela: Magh Mela is a popular fair that takes place in Dehradun every year in January or February. It is a religious fair where people take a dip in the Ganges River and offer prayers to the deities.
Best Time to Visit
Dehradun has a pleasant weather all-year round and thus can be visited at any time of the year. But if you want to avoid the heat or monsoons as the city receives a lot of rainfall, then the months of October to May are the best to visit the city with pleasant weather throughout and harsh winters but chances of witnessing the snowfall in Mussoorie.
How to Reach
- By Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant airport from Dehradun city centre which is connected to all major cities across the country via regular flights. Local buses and cabs are available from outside the airport to reach the city.
- By Train: Dehradun has its own railway station which is connected to mostly all major cities via direct or connecting trains.
- By Road: Dehradun has a well-maintained road network which can be used to get to the city. State run and private buses are available from nearby cities and states to Dehradun.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
WHERE IS DEHRADUN LOCATED?
Dehradun is located in Uttarakhand and is also the capital city.
WHAT IS DEHRADUN FAMOUS FOR?
Dehradun is known for its pleasant year-round weather and scenic surroundings dominated by lush green forests and lofty hills. It is route to hill stations like Mussoorie, Tehri and pilgrimage sites like Rishikesh and Haridwar.
WHICH HILL STATION IS CLOSEST TO DEHRADUN?
Mussoorie is the hill station closest to Dehradun.