Cover Photo by Orijit Chatterjee
Dehradun, the capital city of Uttarakhand, offers a tranquil escape in the foothills of the Shivalik Range, where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and unwind. Whether you want to explore the city or are headed towards the nearest hill station, Dehradun has a number of attractions that will surely grab your attention. There are so many places to visit in Dehradun, a city that has something for everyone that visits, that it is quite a popular destination for family vacations as well. If you too are headed to Dehradun with your family, here are some of the best attractions that you should try and include in your itinerary:
One of the most popular tourist places in Dehradun, Maldevta is a surreal picnic spot surrounded by dense thickets. A temple nestled in nature, the playful sounds of the River Song, trekking through the dense forest, and the perfect place for campers, there’s a lot you can do at Maldevta. Even on a casual walk amidst the calm environs, you can sight some rare bird species, or you can take a dip in the refreshingly cold waters of the tranquil river. It is however important for visitors to be a little careful of the local wildlife when they visit this picnic spot in Dehradun.
2. Malsi Deer Park (Now Also Known as Dehradun Zoo)
Home to not only deer but also nilgais, peacocks, rabbits, Himalayan antelopes, and even tigers, Malsi Deer Park is worth a visit. When it comes to sightseeing, Uttarakhand has a lot in store, but the Dehradun Zoo is a class of its own. Now, the zoo also has a separate aviary section that boasts of housing a wide variety of birds. Built with the objectives of ex-situ and biodiversity conservation, the zoo has been developed as a rescue centre for wild animals and an educational centre. Adding to the experience of sightseeing at Dehradun Zoo, the mini-zoological park is set against a backdrop of nature that makes for resplendent views.
3. The Forest Research Institute (FRI)
Originally established to promote forestry research in India, FRI was granted university status in 1991. With dimensions bigger than even the Buckingham Palace, FRI is an architectural marvel and is home to six Forestry and Research museums that are open to the public. Built in a grand and intricate Colonial and Greco-Roman architectural style, with the Tons River towards its Western boundary, the pristine campus has also been the shooting spot for several Bollywood movies.
One of the most famous places in Dehradun, FRI sees numerous visitors almost every day, both locals and tourists.
A tiny toy-town sitting on the banks of the Yamuna, Dakpathar is another one of the best places to visit in Dehradun. With sprawling gardens and dense woodlands, the area is not only blessed with natural beauty, but its proximity to the Yamuna Hydel Scheme makes it the perfect location for bird watching as well. The untouched beauty makes Dakpathar one of the top must visit places in Dehradun for solitude seekers and nature lovers. Apart from being a great picnic spot, Dakpathar also has a number of water sports like water skiing, river rafting, sailing, canoeing, boating, etc.
5. The Kalinga War Memorial
Always counted among the top 10 places to visit in Dehradun, the Kalinga War Memorial is a one of its kind structure. For the first time ever, an army erected a memorial to commemorate the fierceness of their opponents. The British army built this structure in honour of the Gorkha Regiment that defended the Kanga fort in the war of 1814-16.
You cannot help but wonder about the story when you stand on the very ground where the battle was fought and gaze at the two pillars, one dedicated to the Gorkha army and the other to the British army, in the midst of a lush garden. You also get panoramic views of the Kangra Fort from the memorial, which is another one of the top places to see in Dehradun.
6. Tapkeshwar Temple
The oldest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Uttarakhand, Tapkeshwar Temple is one of the best places near Dehradun for tourists and devotees alike. It is believed that Guru Dronacharya (Mahabharat) used to live at this temple, which is why it is also known as the Drona Cave. Located on the banks of River Nandi, inside a cave, the temple is home to a Shiva lingam. What makes this temple a popular tourist place in Dehradun is the fact that water trickles down inside the cave naturally and falls from the ceiling onto the Shiva Lingam. People also believe that the Lingam at this temple can fulfil the wishes of pilgrims.
If you plan to venture out a bit, Mussoorie is the nearest hill station from Dehradun. Also known as the queen of the hills, Mussoorie needs no introduction. A paradise for couples, solo travellers, as well as families, you can enjoy activities like trekking, paragliding, angling, zip-lining, and much more in Mussoorie. The amazing climate, majestic backdrop of the Himalayas, and the peaceful environs of this hill station not only make it a great place near Dehradun, but also the perfect summer resort where you can take a break from the scorching heat of the plains.
8. Laxman Siddh Temple
Sightseeing in Dehradun would be incomplete without a visit to the scenic Laxman Siddh Temple. The temple is said to be the place where Laxman underwent penance after killing Ravana, the demon king. It is also the site where the renowned Saint Swami Laxman Siddh was cremated, making this one of the most famous places in Dehradun.
With a name that literally means “thousand-fold spring”, Sahastradhara is a picnic spot that is popular for its Sulphur Springs, the water of which has medicinal and therapeutic properties. This is one of the places near Dehradun that you can head to for a relaxing picnic and take a dip in the Sulphur-rich waters or just sit back and enjoy the view of the waterfall that falls through limestone stalactites, making quite a picturesque sight. There is also a ropeway ride and an amusement park nearby that you can consider.
10. Shikhar Falls
Another popular place to visit in Dehradun, the Shikha Falls are a picture-worthy destination. Wild flora, the music of chirping birds complementing the cascading waters, with butterflies flying in a riot of colours, a visit to Shikhar Falls is a must for anyone travelling to the city. Shikhar Falls are among the best places to visit in Dehradun for couples and families. However, you should know that to reach the falls, you will have to hike for about a kilometre through the rugged terrain, so you should prepare accordingly.
In the list of the best places to visit in Dehradun, you cannot miss out on Lacchiwalla. With picturesque cottages sitting amidst resplendent greenery, a forest area, complete with a babbling brook, Lacchiwalla is a popular weekend getaway. The small stream has transformed the area into a natural water park, and you can swim or go boating on the waters of the brook. A large garden also surrounds the stream with tons of monkeys hanging about. The natural aesthetics of Lacchiwalla are the reason this destination is counted among the most famous places in Dehradun.
12. The Ashokan Rock Edict
One of the most interesting places to visit in Dehradun, Kalsi is home to a number of tourist attractions like the Timli Pass, Asan Barrage, and more. One of the most fascinating things you can check out here is the peas-shaped quartz rock, on which is inscribed the fourteenth edict of King Ashoka. Written using the Brahmi script in the Pali language, it reflects on the humane nature of King Ashoka and dates back to 253 BC.
13. Rajaji National Park
One of the most popular tourist places in Dehradun and a holiday destination in itself, Rajaji National Park in the Shivalik Range is a Tiger Reserve spread across the Dehradun, Pauri-Garhwal, and Haridwar districts of Uttarakhand. You can enjoy an elephant or jeep safari here to gaze at the diverse wild flora and fauna, like panthers, bears, wild boars, and much more. 10 million years old fossils have also been discovered at the Rajaji National Park, which adds to the popularity of this destination.
14. Tiger View Jungle Camp
Sheltering the endangered Indian Tiger, this destination offers visitors camping and jungle safaris. The Tiger View Jungle Camp is one of the best places to visit in Dehradun to explore the wilderness, set against a picturesque backdrop formed by the natural beauty of the hills of Dehradun.
15. Robber’s Cave
This is one of those places to visit in Dehradun that need no introduction. Also known as Guchhu Pani, this river cave in Dehradun is said to be a former dwelling place of Lord Shiva. In British times, robbers used to stash stolen goods in the cave, which is where it gets its name from. Deep underground cold springs from where the water in this natural cave originates, a 10-meter-high waterfall cascading inside, and water appearing and disappearing at the surface make for an enthralling experience.
The best time to visit Dehradun is from March to June, but that is also when a majority of tourists flock to the city. So, regardless of when you book your Uttarakhand holiday packages, you are sure to have a great time in Dehradun!