Dehradun is Uttrakhand’s capital city, best known for its lovely people, a collection of amazing bakeries and world class education, among other things.
When I first arrived at the Dehradun airport via an Air India flight, I was awestruck with the view. If the airport has views this stunning – I thought to myself – I can’t wait to find out what the actual city offers.
And I was right. Dehradun is beautiful everywhere you look. Okay, not the traffic, that’s pretty messed up at rush hours. But other that the traffic situation – that the city cannot help, to be honest, because of the hilly terrain and heavy rainfall etc. – Dehradun is a great city to live in.
Dehradun is a city that I have fallen in love with over these past few years. It might be time to move to another station soon, part of the Army Wife Life, but I am sure going to miss it.
Dehradun is located at the foot-hills of Garhwal Himalayas and the entire Doon Valley is a magical view that enchants to no end. From a traveler’s point of view, the city has numerous spots to visit, but there are loads of great places to see around Dehradun that not many people know of. SahastraDhara, Tapkeshwer Temple and similar popular tourist spots are what everyone talks about, but if you want to witness something different, here is my list of 6 things to see around Dehradun:
- Rajaji National Park. This is a huge reserve that spreads over 820km and covers parts of Dehradun, Haridwar and PauriGarhwal. Rajaji is Uttrakhand’slargets tiger reserve after Jim Corbett, [ here is a review of my most recent visit to a 5 star resort in Jim Corbett called Patlidun Safari Lodge ] but is much less commercialized and is a great experience. You can book a safari, which is booked and managed by the Forest Department. Apart from Tigers, you can hope to spot Asian Elephants in their natural habitat here, and it is a complete delight to see them walking in big groups. You can also spot leopard, hyena, deer, Himalayan Black Bear and 315 species of birds. Rajaji is an underrated spot, and I suggest you witness it before it becomes mainstream.
[Read my review of Rokeby Manor in Landour Cantt – where M.S.Dhoni and family come often for a vacation]
- Landour Cantt. This is probably the most beautiful town in the developed parts of the Himalayas, at least according to me. The town is just a few kilometers away from Mussoorie, but feels like a different era altogether. With its winding mountain roads, quaint hilly houses, old British architecture, and a spectacular view of the Doon Valley below, you will find Landour to be prettier than any hill station you’ve ever seen. Eat pancakes at Char Dukan or walk down to witness the sun set at Lal Tibba, there is plenty to do here.
[Here are my 5 Offbeat Himalayan Getaways ideas to inspire you to take a Himalayan vacation soon!]
- Tiger Falls Chakrata. If you are up for some adventure, trek for 5 km from Chakrata to Tiger Falls, or hire a taxi to get closer by 1 km to the actual falls, but do visit this majestic spot. This 50 meters’ waterfall is surrounded by a thick forest and the pond that form below the fall, is clean and inviting. The spot is not completely commercialized yet, and hence retains its glory and natural beauty without the hustle and bustle of tourists.
- George Everest House. Everest is named after George Everest who as a famous surveyor, and this is where he lived. Remember I took an offbeat Himalayan vacation with my daughter some time back at the Seegreen Lodge in Haathipaon (Mussoorie District). A small trek from there, and we reached the beautiful spot where the old George Everest House stands, overlooking a lush green valley. The house is now in a dilapidated state but the trek from here to the peak is a stunning one. The entire trail is marked with colorful Himalayan prayer flags. There are a couple of stalls here for Maggi, momos and tea, etc. The clouds often fly by you on good days, and it is worth visiting for a slice of pure Himalayan Bliss.
- New Tehri. It’s a drive of about three hours to reach New Tehri from Dehradun, but it’s worth a visit nonetheless. The ruins of Old Tehri are underwater, and New Tehri is a town that is serene and picturesque. It overlooks the Tehri dam and the stunning lake. It is said to be the only planned city of Uttrakhand and boasts of many sightseeing options like the Chandrabadni Temple and the Tehri Lake. The pictures you will take here, will make you want to come back each time you see them, I assure you.
[I stayed at an eco-lodge in Sursingdhar in New Tehri and absolutely loved it. You will love it too when you see this: 14 Offbeat Images From Sursingdhar]
- Kanatal. Around 68 km from Dehradun, is the beautiful lake of Kanatal that stands at 8500 mtrs above sea level and is the very definition of tranquility and calmness. The place makes for a perfect offbeat getaway and the lush landscape will keep you enthralled all through your stay.
That’s my list of the best things to do around Dehradun. There is plenty to add to it, of course, and I will soon write about more options to visit around Dehradun. But for now, do check out these six spots and do tell me about your experience.
Reaching Dehradun is very easy, as there are various flights, trains and Volvo Bus services available.
Dehradun is a wonderful city, and I am sure you will love everything around it.