Dehradun is still a great place to spend a couple of days (in spite of all the traffic that has burgeoned since it became a capital). The climate of the city is temperate. Even during summer, it is not so warm in Dehra Dun as it is in the district south of it. The Forest Research Institute which is world famous for its research work in forestry and is the only institution of its kind in Asia is situated here. Besides, headquarters of important establishments like the Oil and Natural Gas Commission(ONGC), Survey of India, the Indian Military Academy are also located here. The Gurudwara built by Guru Ram Rai during the reign of Aurangzeb in the Dhamanwala locality of the town is a religious place of eminence. For many years, Dehradun has been one of the best known educational centres in northern India. Earlier known for its schools, now Dehradun is fast emerging as a hub for higher education. Dehra Dun is well linked by rail and road with Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Lucknow and Varanasi. Dehradun is an hour’s drive from religious places like Haridwar and Rishikesh and located en-route to the hill station of Mussoorie. Here are some suggestions with an insider’s comments on places to visit in and around Dehradun. MINDROLLING MONASTRY Located in Clement Town, Mindrolling Monastery is a beautiful Buddhist monastery. The Stupa is open every day of the week from 9:00 a.m. The great Stupa is 185 feet tall and 100 square feet in width. It is the world’s largest Stupa and is a magnificent example of Buddhist art and architecture. The Stupa is surrounded by a 2-acre landscaped garden. On the facade of the Stupa, Maitreya, the future Buddha, has been beautifully painted. TAPKESHWAR MAHADEV TEMPLE Located at the outskirts of the city, at a distance of 5.5 km from the city centre, this cave temple sprawls on the banks of a seasonal river. It is dedicated to the Hindu Deity ‘Shiva’ and derives its name from the Hindi Word Tapak, which means ‘to drip’. Water naturally drips on the ‘shivling’ (holy stone) from the ceiling of the cave. According to legends, during the time of the Mahabharata, Lord Shiva made milk flow from this cave for Ashwarthama, son of Rishi Dronacharya. FOREST RESEARCH INSTITUTE (FRI) Located to the northwest of the city center, on the Kaulagarh Road, is the vast campus of the Forest Research Institute (FRI). Established by the British in 1906; the institute constantly strives towards the preservation of the various species of India’s forest wealth and is one of the best institutes in the world on the science of forestry. SURVEY OF INDIA Established in 1767, the office of Survey of India is located at a distance of 4 km from the city centre and forms an important landmark of the place. A repository of ancient maps and documents; it determined the height of Mount Everest, under the initiative of Sir George Everest; the then Surveyor of India. The peak was later named after him. It is a must-visit, especially if you are on the lookout for ancient maps. WADIA INSTITUTE OF HIMALAYAN GEOLOGY One of the best institutes of the country on Himalayan Geology, Wadia Institute conducts various studies and research works on the subject. It also houses a museum that displays the geological diversity of the Indian subcontinent, with its different samples of rocks and semi-precious stones. With the display of the fossils unearthed in the Himalayan region, the institute also throws light on the birth of the Himalayas. SAHASTRADHARA Located around 14 km from the city centre, the cold sulphur spring of Sahastradhara is believed to have healing powers. People visit the place to bathe in the therapeutic waters of the spring and the dripping caves nearby, to get rid of various skin diseases. Many people also bathe here for fun. With its picturesque surroundings and a 9-meter high waterfall, the place also serves as an ideal picnic spot. MALSI DEER PARK Situated at a distance of 10 km from Dehradun, en-route to Mussoorie, this park lies on the foothills of the Shivalik mountain range. With its tranquil atmosphere and its collection of deer, neelgai, ducks and rare birds, this sanctuary delights the children no end. People travelling to Mussoorie generally halt here for a short break, before resuming their journey. ROBBERS CAVE Famous as ‘Guchu Pani’ among the locals; the Robbers Cave located at a distance of 8 km from the city centre and 1 km from the nearby village of Anarwala. At this place, one can witness a strange phenomenon of nature – a stream of water gushes underground and quite mysteriously, re-appears a few meters away. BEYOND DEHRADUN LACHHIWALA 3 Kms from Doiwala and 22 Kms from Dehradun, on the Haridwar/Rishikesh road is Lachhiwala. An extremely popular picnic spot, it is frequented by large crowds on weekends. One can pack a picnic lunch and have it there and cool off in the water. Do carry towels and swimming trunks. The place also provides accommodation to tourists in the Forest Rest House nestled in the greenery. KALSI Located on the outskirts of the city about 5 kms from Dak Pathar on way to Chakrata is Kalsi. Here you can have a look at a third century rock inscription discovered in 1860. The rock inscription is the earliest tangible evidence of the history of the Doon Valley. There are 14 edicts carved on a rock and adjacent to these is the site where Raja Shilvarma of the Vrisheri dynasty made three horse sacrifices during his rule in the third century BC. At the site, large inscribed bricks are arranged in the shape of a bird with a fire altar in the middle. National Archaeological Department preserves it. ASAN BARRAGE WATER SPORTS RESORT A water sports resort has been developed at the Asan Barrage by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam in the year 1994. Asan Barrage was created in 1967 and it is popularly known as Dhalipur Lake. Situated 43 kms from Dehradun on Chandigarh-Shimla highway, the resort offers facilities like water skiing, boating, rowing, kayaking, canoeing etc. Wildlife lovers have an added bonus as, during the winter season migratory birds can be seen in the vicinity. DAKPATHAR 45 Kms from Dehradun, Dakpathar is a beautiful tourist spot in the western Doon Valley, amidst the Shivalik range. Dakpathar has emerged a wonderful tourist spot under the Yamuna Hydel Scheme. The place is connected by a regular bus service from the Parade Ground and Highway Bus Stand near the Railway Station, Dehradun. Accommodation is available in a Tourist Rest House with swimming pool facilities. RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK Rajaji National Park is situated at a distance of 23 kilometres from Dehradun. Rajaji National Park was founded in 1966 and spreads over an area of 830 sq.kms. The park with its magnificent ecosystem, is nestled in the lush valley of Shivalik ranges. The forest around this region contained 3 sanctuaries, Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla. In 1983, these three parks were merged into one and named Rajaji National Park, after the great freedom fighter C. Rajagopalachari. The park is known for its elephant population. The park is also home to the forest tribe of Gujjars who have lived in these forests for over 200 years.