is one of the oldest cities of India. In the vedic times, Garhwal
Mandal, of which Dehradun is a part, was known as Kedar Khand.
Legend has it that Guru Dronacharya considered Dehradun a place
fit for meditation & worship and henceforth, the valley
of Doon was christened Drona Ashram which means "The Abode
of Drona. "His son, Shri Ashwathama was born here. The
Sikh saint Guru Ram Rai also camped here at the place where
the present Guru Ram Rai Darbar is located. Paonta Sahib, where
Guru Gobind Singhji stayed is 45 Km away from Dehradun. Many
sites of high religious importance lie in the Chamoli District
- Kedarnath, Badrinath, Lokpal, Hemkund Sahib, Narsingh Mandir
Triyugi Narain etc. For tourists and pilgrims headed for Rishikesh
and Haridwar, as well as those going to Yamunotri-Gangotri,
Kedarnath, Badrinath and valleys of Flowers-Hemkund Sahib, Dehradun
is also a gateway and base camp. It has a significant
number of Yoga centers too.
Dun (pronounced ‘doon’)
is a quiet town in the foothills of the Shivalik Range, and
is called the ‘gateway to Mussoorie’. Dehra Dun is a hot favourite
with retired army officials, especially because of its proximity
to Delhi and Mussoorie. Dehra Dun takes its name from the Hindi
words, dera, which
means camp, and dun,
valley. Famous for its educational institutions, the town has
one of the largest railway terminuses in North India.
According to a legend, Lord Shiva, the Hindu Destroyer of the
Universe, stomped his foot in anger in the Dun valley. Another
lore has it that that Lord Rama and his brother, Laxmana, did
penance here after killing Ravana, the King of Lanka (see Mahabharata).
During their exile, the five Pandavas (see Mahabharata) lived
in the Dun valley for a short while. A rock inscription near
Kalsi has led historians to believe that Emperor Ashoka ruled
over the area in the 4th century b.c.
Places of Interest
The British established a number of educational institutions
in Dehra Dun, such as India’s first public school, DoonSchool,
Indian Military Academy (1932), andRoyal Indian Military College
(1922). The Forest Research Institute(1914) has six museums
that are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The headquarters of the
Survey of India, founded in 1767, are in Dehra Dun.
5.5km away from Dehra Dun is the Tapkeshvar Temple, a popular
Hindu pilgrim centre and the venue of an annual fair held on
Shivratri, which celebrates Lord Shiva’s marriage with Parvati.
Cool sulphur springs around the temple make excellent bathing
spots for pilgrims. Other interesting places to visit are Laxmana
Sidh (12km), Tapovan (6km) which has an ashram,
or hermitage, Robbers Cave (8km), and Dakpathar (45km), to name
Near Dehra Dun is Roorkee, a small town famous for its Institute
of Technology. Formerly called the Thomason Engineering College,
the institute was established in 1847. Roorkee is also known
for its canals, and is one of the first Indian towns to channel
river water for farmers. Saharanpur is another little town near
Dehra Dun where woodcarving is the main occupation. Founded
in 1340, Saharanpur was as a summer getaway from the heat of
Delhi for the Mughals. When the British annexed the town, they
turned it into a military base and laid the Botanical Gardens
in 1817. In 1866, the British turned Chakrata (92km from Dehra
Dun) into a cantonment. Located at a height of 2,135m, the place
offers an excellent view of the Himalayas.