When we hear Dehradun, our mind immediately paints a picture of the horse drawn tongas, apple orchards and colourful markets that Ruskin Bond described in his books. Time, however, has changed this sleepy town to the bustling state capital of Uttarakhand. Today, Dehradun is so much more than a room on the roof. Dehradun is known as the educational hub of India owing to all the great schools and colleges here. The places to visit in Dehradun are not only renowned for their natural beauty, but also for the history and architecture associated with them. Founded in the 18th century, the Sikh Guru, Ram Rai, set up a camp here with his followers giving rise to the name Dehradun—Dehra (derived from Dera) meaning camp, and doon meaning valley. Cradled between the Shivalik range and the middle Himalayas, the places to visit in Dehradun are greatly suited for weekend getaways from nearby cities.
Live your dreams of being a part of an adventure novel in Robber’s Cave, where the dark and damp caves hold secrets and mysteries waiting to be discovered. Robber’s Cave, known locally as Guchhu Pani, is one of the most popular places to visit in Dehradun. This is a dark cave through which a river flows, and has been a tourist attraction for years. The river magically disappears after a point, only to emerge again later. The river can get knee-high for adults, so it is advised to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Keep walking alongside the stream and you will find a magnificent waterfall, gushing down from a height of 10 metres.
The Robber’s Cave can be reached by trekking through the village of Anarwala.
The cave’s name comes from the fact that it was used as a hide-out by robbers during the British period. This cool and gloomy cave is believed to be one of the many abodes of Shiva. The Robber’s Cave is a perfect place to visit in Dehradun if you want to escape the scorching sun and have a quiet picnic with your friends or family.
Rajaji National Park
Rajaji National Park in Dehradun is famous for its rich biodiversity—be it reptiles, mammals or birds. A perfect place to visit in Dehradun if you want to spend your days amidst nature. This national park receives a lesser number of tourists compared to others, making it an ideal place to get a glimpse of wild animals without being disturbed by noisy tourists.
Rajaji National Park boasts of about 200 panthers, 500 elephants, and 15 tigers. If you are lucky, you might even spot a leopard relaxing on a tree branch! The silence of the forest is occasionally disrupted by the calls of a barking deer, alerting other animals of the presence of a predator nearby. This national park is definitely one of the best places to visit in Dehradun if you want to witness the different kinds of deer prancing about happily in their natural habitat.
Sahastradhara is one of the very famous Dehradun tourist places. Located near Robber’s Cave, the Sahastradhara is a spectacular sight that you must not miss when you are in Dehradun. There are a number of caves and waterfalls in this area, making it one of the most intriguing and magnificent places to visit in Dehradun.
Sahastradhara is located near the banks of river Badli, and offers a ropeway ride to the mountaintop, the view from which is absolutely stunning. If you want to see this place in its absolutely glory, then do visit during the monsoon when the streams are fed with water. There are a number of eateries around, so you can enjoy a picnic with your loved ones here. One of the most scenic places to visit in Dehradun, Sahastradhara should definitely be a part of your itinerary.
Malsi Deer Park
Now known as the Dehradun Zoo, the Malsi Deer Park is, as the name suggests, home to a wide range of deer. Starting from spotted deer, sambhar to barking deer and nilgai, this deer park is one of the greatest places to visit in Dehradun if you wish to know more about the different variety of deer.
There are other animals and birds in the Malsi Deer Park, such as tigers, crocodiles, peacocks, and the special two-horned deer. Located in the foothills of the Shiwalik range, the cool air and greenery that surrounds this park is what makes it a relaxing place to visit in Dehradun.
This gorgeous waterfall flowing from a height of 312 feet, is located near Chakrata. One of the more peaceful places to visit in Dehradun, the Tiger Falls is relatively less crowded and is thus a wonderful location to go for a relaxing afternoon. The best time to witness the magnificence of the Tiger Falls is during monsoon.
The Tiger Falls is famed as the highest waterfall in India to flow without any break. Perfectly cuddled up amidst pine and oak trees, the roaring sound of the waterfall is audible from a distance. There is a small pool of water below by frequented people for a rejuvenating dip. Alluring and serene, the Tiger Falls has to be on your list of places to visit in Dehradun.
Forest Research Institute
Founded in 1906, the Forest Research Institute is the oldest research institute of India. Known for its beautiful Greco-Roman architecture, this five kilometer campus is one of the finest places to visit in Dehradun to admire the perfect blend of natural and man-made beauty.
The institute is a pioneer in forestry research and environmental education in India, with various studies pertaining to the Himalayan forests, including subjects on the plants, animals and climate of the region. The Forest Research Institute is home to six great museums and a vast library, making it an ideal place to visit in Dehradun if you are a nature enthusiast. The sprawling green lawn covering the magnificent building is a treat to the eyes, and has been featured in a number of Bollywood movies.
Mindrolling Monastery is an important part of the history of Dehradun, for the Buddhist community of this town has grown and flourished around it. Established by Khochheu Rinpoche in 1965, every part of the Mindrolling monastery is properly maintained and cared for. Not only is this place one of the most peaceful places to visit in Dehradun, but this monastery is a stellar example of Japanese art and architecture in India.
The entrance of the monastery has an adequate number of information boards, explaining Buddhist philosophy. The calming effect that the great statue of Buddha has on you is heightened by the mellifluous bells ringing outside. Located at a picturesque location, the Mindrolling monastery is a centre of Buddhist art, lifestyle and philosophy. This is one of the best places to visit in Dehradun to let go of your worries and focus on the good things in life. The Mindrolling monastery is known to have the largest stupa in Asia, standing tall at a height of 220 feet. If you are a book lover and wish to know more about the Buddhist way of life, then you will absolutely adore the books inside the monastery. What makes this one of the most beautiful places to visit in Dehradun is the view of the valley from the fifth floor of the monastery.
Guru Ram Rai Gurudwara
This 17th century Gurudwara is one of the oldest pilgrimage for the Sikhs in India. When Guru Ram Rai was expelled from his land, he settled in Dehradun with his followers, and constructed this Gurudwara to pray. Guru Ram Rai Gurudwara is one of the best places to visit in Dehradun to offer your prayers.
The pristine white structure of the Gurudwara is complete with a dome and minarets, which is slightly reminiscent of the Islamic and Hindu styles of architecture. The Jhanda Fair, or a flag hoisting ceremony, is celebrated each year in memory of Guru Ram Rai. It is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Dehradun to experience the holier side of the town. Share the experience of cooking, serving and eating with hundreds at the community kitchen, and learn the true meaning of living in harmony.
Nestled amidst a thick forest cover, the Tapkeshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is the simplicity of the place that adds to its holiness. Tapkeshwar temple is definitely one of the most pious places to visit in Dehradun because it is believed that the prayers offered here are heard and fulfilled by Shiva himself.
There are two histories pertaining to the unique name of the temple: some say the constant dripping of cave water on the deity is the reason behind the name, while some say that Dronacharya’s rigourous tapasya earned this name. It is believed that Dronacharya lived here and his son, Ashwathama, was born here. Away from the crowd of the main town, the Tapkeshwar temple should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Dehradun.
Daat Kali Temple
The Daat Kali temple of Dehradun is renowned not only for its beauty, but also for the legend associated with it. It was when the Dehradun-Saharanpur highway was being built that an engineer saw a vivid dream of goddess Kali asking him to build a temple. This story has attracted devotees from all across the country, making it one of the most popular places to visit in Dehradun.
Devotees flock here to see the divine flame which is said to have been burning since 1921, adding to the miraculous nature of this temple. It is said that this temple is the best place to visit in Dehradun to offer puja after buying a new vehicle. Situated at a scenic location, a visit to the Daat Kali temple is extremely refreshing and rewarding.
Sai Darbar Temple
Dedicated to Sai Baba, Sai Darbar Temple is one of the many celebrated places to visit in Dehradun. The modest white-marbled structure gives off a vibe of spirituality, and as soon as you enter the temple grounds, the positive aura inside seeps into your mind and soul.
The idol of Sai Baba is situated right in the middle of the temple for devotees to offer their prayers, and the main hall is reserved for the Sai aarti. Thursdays hold a special significance to the devotees of Sai Baba, and there is a prasad bhandara held every week on this day. One of the most pious places to visit in Dehradun, the Sai Darbar Temple cannot be missed at any cost.
One of the busiest places to visit in Dehradun, the Paltan Bazar is the best when it comes to buying the famous Basmati rice of Dehradun. The crowded streets of this market is a sight in itself, with people bumping yet moving at fast paces, trying to get hold of their favourite items before it is gone. The rare antiques, valuable books and handicrafts are sold at reasonable prices, making the Paltan bazar one of the best places to visit in Dehradun if you are a shopaholic.
Do not be surprised, this Connaught Place is not in Delhi. Located in the Chakrata road, Connaught Place is one of the best places to visit in Dehradun to buy woolens, T-shirts, handicraft items, jewelry or paintings. The dazzling shops here might lure you into buying a little more than you had anticipated, however, you will somehow not feel guilty about it. Definitely a great place to visit in Dehradun, especially if you do not want to miss sipping on the hot cocoa that this place is famous for.
Dehradun is home to a small Tibetan community that only enhances the beauty of this town. The best place to visit in Dehradun to experience the culture of Tibet is the Tibetan market. You are bound to be fascinated by the colourful semi-precious stones and tribal jewelry displayed in the shops here. A great place to buy woolens, the Tibetan market also has a wide range of quirky T-shirts.
It is indeed the best place to visit in Dehradun to delve deep into the culture of Tibet and savour their tasty momo and thukpa.
Kalsang Friends Corner
Famous for their Tibetan and Chinese cuisine, Kalsang Friends Corner will charm you with their cosy and simple decor. Coloured red and yellow, the interior of this place reminds you of Buddhist monasteries. One bite into their chicken chilli momo will take you straight to Tibet. The Kalsang Friends Corner is one of those places to visit in Dehradun which retain the quaint and old-world charm of this town.
Dehradun is one of the best places to visit if you are fond of baked goods. The British brought the culture of baking with them, and this town quickly adopted this new way of life. The Ellora Bakery is undoubtedly the best place to visit in Dehradun if you have a sweet tooth. It is a sin to leave this town without trying their famous Sticky Jaws, or butter toffees. Its delectable taste alone will make you want to keep coming back to Dehradun.
Kumar Sweet Shop
This vegetarian shop is a famous place to visit in Dehradun for evening snacks, sweets and other beverages. The best part about Kumar Sweet Shop is the ras malai that literally melts in your mouth as soon as you take a bite of it. Generously laden with saffron and the sweet cream, Kumar Sweet Shop is a must-visit when you are in this town. Take some back with you to enjoy the taste of Dehradun.
Cafe De Piccolo
When you visit this place, the first thing that attracts you is the cottage-styled exterior of the cafe. Adorned with beautiful lights, Cafe De Piccolo exudes a quiet charm that makes you want to cosy up in a corner with a steaming cup of coffee. The interior of the cafe is as gorgeous as the exterior, with beautifully painted walls and vibrant sofas and cushions. This is one of the best places to visit in Dehradun if you are a coffee lover, because the coffee here is just way too good. You might even be tempted to drink more than one cup. Order a lasagna or pizza, and while away your time in this amazing cafe which has now become quiet the Dehradun tourist place.
This small shop in Rajpur road is a famous crowd puller in Dehradun. Outwardly, there is nothing too striking about this eatery. However, one taste of the snack items and you would know how outward appearances truly do not matter. Often crowded, The Buffet is a famous place to visit in Dehradun owing to their famous vegetable sandwich. Students flock here round the clock to grab a sandwich filled with fresh and healthy vegetables. Do not forget to pack a few before heading out to see the popular Dehradun tourist places. It’s a guarantee—you will be energised for the rest of your day.
Written by Baishali Dutta, an in-house Tripoto writer.
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