Even late into the 1970s, Dehra Dun’s Rajpur Road, which stretched for just over 9 kilometres from the city’s famous Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) up to the little hamlet of Rajpur, was barely traversed beyond the first couple of kilometres beyond Dilaram Chowk. As you passed beyond this, the hustle and bustle of the city centre melted away into the sights and sounds of litchi and mango trees . A short walk ahead of Dilaram Chowk stood the Amritdhara Building. The location was considered “very far away” from the “heart of the city” and few would choose to visit. When Madhuban’s founder, Mr. SP Kochhar, bought a part of the Amritdhara property with the intentions of setting up a hotel, there were several skeptics who voiced doubts as to whether anyone would patronise a hotel at such a distance. And when Mr Kochhar decided to build the main hotel over a 100 metres off the side of the road, deep within the surrounding forest, some thought he had lost his mind in wasting so much valuable land in the front! Time, though, had a different opinion. Today, over 40 years later, Madhuban stands right in the middle of Dehradun’s city centre, surrounded by multi-storeyed commercial and residential complexes. And the space left in the front now provides for a spacious parking lot, larger than in any other hotel in the city, and stands testimony to the founder’s farsightedness. When Hotel Madhuban began in 1976, there were hardly any hotels in the city. Madhuban too began quite modestly, with 12 bedrooms and a single suite. Today, the hotel boasts of 102 well-appointed guest rooms and 10 elegantly furnished suites. The hotel has also become known for its fabulous banquets and is the preferred venue for the city’s discerning citizenry to host their most private parties, celebrating birthdays and wedding anniversaries. Over the years, Madhuban has been the setting of more weddings than any other place in city – over 3000 of them! A few dozen weddings are normally performed here every year. It has also earned much appreciation for its multi-cuisine dining options and spacious gardens. The hotel is the first choice of professionals, public sector and private companies to host their visiting officials and has been the favoured rendezvous of the Indian corporate world for its national or regional conferences. It is also an all-time favourite of leisure travelers and nature lovers owing to the picturesque serenity the hotel offers. Over the years, Madhuban has had the privilege of hosting thousands of distinguished guests both from across the world. From renowned statesmen such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Giani Zail Singh and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to leading movie personalities such as the late Raj Kapoor, Rajender Kumar, Hema Malini, Saif Ali Khan, and Hritik Roshan. Not only was the late ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh a regular guest to the hotel but also held a full concert here on its lawns. In the wake of Hotel Madhuban’s success, Mr SP Kochhar, now supported by his two sons, started Madhuban Highlands, a resort in Mussoorie, Hotel Annex, a budget-friendly property in Dehradun, and MAHAR, the Madhuban Academy of Hospitality, Administration and Research. Madhuban Highlands has become a premiere destination for families and honeymooning couples visiting Mussorie, and ranks among the hill stations best properties. MAHAR, set up in 2005, is today the leading training institute in the region for hotel management and catering education. The Academy offers over half a dozen specialised degree, diploma and certificate courses. Other firsts by the Madhuban Group include the city’s first Fast Food Restaurant, The Number 1, and its first exclusive Chinese Restaurant, The Golden Hut. Since the very beginning, Hotel Madhuban has been recognised with many prestigious awards, such as: The Green Hotelier award for Environment by American Express TRS and the International Hotels and Restaurants Association in 1996, 1997 and runners-up in 1999. The Energy Conservation Award by the Government of Uttarakhand in 2009 Gold Medal for worldwide tourism promotion by American Express in 2012 Food Safety & Hygiene Award by the FASSI through Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association of India in 2018 Today, the prophecy of Tourism Minister, Raj Bahadur, made while inaugurating the hotel in 1976 that “Madhuban will one day be the Gateway to the Himalayas” has come true. In fact, it is more than a gateway to the Himalayas: it is an integral part of Himalayan tourism.