Uttarakhand Stories

17 Lesser Known Facts about Dehradun ‘The Education Hub of India’

by Pragati Chauhan
Oct 10, 2016

Dehradun famous for its salubrious weather and its prestigious schools is one of the most talked about cities of Uttarakhand. It is not only the ‘Education Hub of India’ but is also known for its revered institutions such as the Indian Military Academy, Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Limited, Survey of India and the Doon School where several eminent personalities including Rajiv Gandhi, Abhinav Bindra, and Amitav Ghosh have received their education. But do you know the city has had a glorious history which hasn’t been talked about much? So if you want to know more about Dehradun then stay tuned as some of the interesting facts are down the line.

1. Dehradun was founded in the 18th century by a Sikh Guru called Guru Ram Rai

The Sikh devotees came to Doon back in 1675 and ruled here for almost 24 years. Today’s lively Doon was a remote place during the 18th century. It was when the elder son of the seventh Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai came here that Doon came into existence. To honour Guru Ram Rai, the Dhamawala village hosts a pompous fair each year.

2. What does the word ‘Dehradun’ means?

Dehradun has been derived from the two words ‘Dehra’ meaning dera, griha or home and ‘Doon’ stands for a valley that lies in the midst of the Himalayas and the ‘Shivaliks’.

3. In ancient Hindu texts, Dehradun is mentioned as a part of the Kedarkhand region

In the Skanda Purana, Dehradun has been cited to be a part of the Kedar Khand region, the heavenly abode of Lord Shiva.

4. The legendary Ashoka once reigned over Dehradun

This ancient city was once a part of the Mauryan Empire, under the reign of Ashoka the Great from 273 BC to 232 BC. The tourists can see the rock edict of Ashoka that has been erected in Kalsi, since 1860.

5. For a short span, the city was ruled by the Gurkhas

The Nepalese army or the Gurkhas ruled over Dehradun from 1803-1816. Their reign ended soon after losing the Anglo-Nepalese war of 1814-1816.

6. Even Ramayana and Mahabharata finds mention of this medieval city

Dehradun is also hailed as ‘Dronagiri’ or the city of Drona as Guru Dronacharya, the teacher of Kauravas and Pandavas used to live here during the Mahabharata period. This celestial city has also been visited by Lord Rama and Lakshman while returning from Sri Lanka. The Lakshman Sidh temple of Dehradun is the place where Lord Lakshman indulged in prolonged meditation. This ancient temple is adorned in the pristine surroundings of the city and can be easily accessed on foot.

7. Dehradun boasts of its highly prestigious educational institutions that makes it the ‘Educational Hub of India’

Dehradun has some of the highly revered educational institutions such as Doon School, Welham Girls School, Rashtriya Indian Military College, Forest Research Institute, The Zoological Survey of India, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and many others that make Doon the ‘Eton of the East’.

8. Not only Garhwali but several other languages are spoken in Doon which is a melting pot of different cultures

Many Garhwali families reside in Doon and they are fluent speakers of Hindi, English, and Garhwali. But apart from this, a large number of people can either speak or understand Kumaoni, Nepali, Tharu, Tibetan, Punjabi, Urdu and Sindhi.

9. The glaring city has given many talents to Bollywood Industry

Dehradun is a proud parent to many talented actors of Bollywood Industry such as Himani Shivpuri, Raghav Juyal, Kulraj Randhawa, Archana Puran Singh and many more. Some of the popular celebrities such as Ruskin Bond, Jaspal Rana and Nayantara Sahgal have spend a few years of their life in Doon.

10. This bustling city has retained its green cover and the suburban areas of Doon are a treat to the eyes and soul

The idyllic surroundings of Dehradun make it all the more interesting as the long stretches of Sal Forests envelope the city, yielding a good productivity of resin, wax, hides, honey, and lac. This magical city also houses several canals, rivers and waterways running through its boundaries such as Ganga, Yamuna, Asan, Tons etc. The city has its own countryside where one can relax and rejuvenate. Therefore, there is a common belief that “the one who comes to Doon stays in Doon”.

11. Doon is a proud producer of Litchi, Tea and Basmati rice

Dehradun produces the sweetest litchis and is also a proud producer of Basmati rice that has its origin in Kesharwala, located a couple of kilometres north to Raipur. As Dun produces the finest quality rice, the variety of Basmati is grown in many places but it is still called as Dehradun Basmati. Not just this, the city also boasts of its lush green tea gardens that sprawls up to 2,000 km of land.

12. The city houses many historical shrines having remarkable architecture

The city is outlined by many ancient temples among which the Tapkeshwar Cave Temple dedicated to the trinity, Lord Shiva is the most fascinating. It is the place where Guru Dronacharya indulged in a deep penance to gain higher knowledge. Another iconic shrine is the Buddha Temple located at Clement Town which is the Asia’s largest reliquary. The intricate murals of this temple were painted by 50 skillful artists in the pure gold paint, which took about 3 years to complete.

13. Sahastradhara meaning ‘thousand fold spring’ bears medicinal properties

Many tourists visit Sahastradhara in summers to beat the scorching heat of the sun. The interesting fact about this place is that the sulphur spring of Sahastradhara contains medicinal properties, which can cure several skin ailments in humans.

14. Surprisingly Dehradun is situated at a lower altitude than Bangalore

You will be surprised to know that Dehradun is situated at a relatively lower altitude than Bangalore. Doon is perched at only 435 metres above sea level while Bangalore is seated at an altitude of 920 metres.

15. Dehradun was also the abode of Maharishi Gautam

The great sage Maharishi Gautam used to reside in Doon and the Chandrabani temple where Gautam Kund is located is situated nearby.

16. Dehradun was the part of great Sirmour Kingdom

Dehradun was once the part of Sirmour Kingdom and one can see its remains in Rajendra Nagar.

17. Besides Bombay and Delhi, Dehradun was the only place where Cabaret shows were organized

Ya, it’s true! Doon has seen it all. You’ll be surprised to know that back in 60s Cabaret shows were organized in Dehradun.

Pragati Chauhan

A writer by profession, thinker by choice and a nature lover since birth. I have always loved expressing myself through words, I believe words have a certain kind of melody which can be understood by anybody.

3 Responses

Kundan Kumar Says

I’m also planning to settle permanently in degrading. Any one can guide me.

Anil Says

That’s really helpful. I have few more questions, how can I reach you.

Aashish Barde Says

Dear mam,

Planing To shift in Dehradun Permanently. Please guide on this. do not have any support regarding this. shifting my family in dehradun imp decision for me.