Dehradun is one of India's most scenic and stunning cities, nestled as it is between the foothills of the Himalayas and right in the Doon Valley, with the meeting of two grand rivers, the Yamuna and Ganga. Walk around and take in the beautiful temples, old colonial architecture and little local bazaars.
Dehradun is a meeting spot for several Eastern cultures and still has a lingering British influence. Tuck into Tibetan, North Indian and Hakka style food throughout the city.
To the north are the Himalayan foothills and to the south are the Shivaliks, which make for incredible drives and hikes that are not to be missed.
Resting at an altitude of 2,200 feet, many of the temples and smaller hill towns around the city have incredible viewpoints where you can catch a misty morning sunrise or an above-the-clouds sunset.
Besides the many local Hindu shrines and Buddhist monasteries, the Char Siddhs are a great attraction for devotees.
Since the city once upon a time acted as a base for British rule, and with the presence of the Doon School (known as India's "Eton"), colonial influences in architecture are everywhere.
Walk into what is also known as the "Guchhupani", and you'll witness a cave filled with 600 meters worth of cold, gushing water. Look up and you'll find the weird shadows cast by the canopy of two mountains touching each other. Come on a weekend and you'll find the otherwise quiet spot overflowing with children enjoying water fights while adults picnic nearby. Come on a weekday, however, and you can take in the impressive rock formation, climb up the smooth, protruding rocks at the end and arrive at a hidden waterfall.
The FRI is a grand and majestic spot in Dehradun that families and visitors head to for its loveliness. This is a different kind of man-made beauty that features impeccably maintained, Greco-Roman inspired architecture and six entire museums housed within the premises. Don't be surprised if it takes you more than one day to visit all these jewels: the Pathology Museum, Social Forestry Museum, Silviculture Museum, Timbra Museum, Non-Wood Forest Products Museum, and the Entomology Museum.
Lord Shiva, that is. This is Shiva's most famous temple and it's easy to see why. Like the rest of Dehradun, covered in beauty and mystique, the Tapkeshwar Temple rests, like a figure out of a story-book fairytale, on the edge of a forest. It's built to resemble a natural cave and has a steady stream of trickling water trickling. The temple receives hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and devotees every year and showcase large, vibrant statues of other gods such as Hanuman. Water plays a huge role within the ceremonies of the temple and devotees bathe in the nearby springs before entering.
You've seen the natural world, and you've visited its institutions. Tapekshwar Temple is where its religion and traditions lie - but what about Dehradun's wildlife? There are nearly 25 hectares of land dedicated to that at the Malsi Deer Park. It's a perfect spot to picnic, if you're looking for a lazy and relaxed afternoon, with the chance to view deer in their natural habitat. But if you're a passionate animal enthusiast, roam its vast acres to see stunning creatures such as the two horned deer, nilgai, leopards, peacocks and eagles. There are plenty of bounding bunnies to feed and a cafeteria full of goodies for you.
Unique and utterly enchanting, the Sahastradhara or the "Thousand Fold Spring" both looks and feels like something out of an Eastern legend. Its serene, flowing waterfall sounds and gorgeous rock formations bring peace and tranquility to any traveler willing to scale its thousand folds. Take a ropeway ride to get to the top and enjoy a bonus during the monsoon season: its stunning views, clad in mountain mist and rain.
The climate in Dehradun is very tolerable, especially in the spring and just before winters. While temperatures rise to 112°F in the hottest months, they drop to a cool 44.2°F in winter.
Flights in to Dehradun land at Jolly Grant Airport. From here, it's around 20 miles to the city center. There are no bus shuttle services, so rent a taxi for ₹2,617.
Dehradun is a major stop on the train lines. Fares vary, depending on city of origin. A trip from Delhi to Dehradun costs ₹1,320.
To get to Dehradun from Delhi, use the two-lane NH 72A.
There are different private bus companies you can travel with. Journeys from Delhi to Dehradun take 5-6 hours and arrive at the bus station, that's 3 miles north of the city center. Fares start at ₹750.
For luxury accommodations, check into the Hotel Viceroy Inn. A notable four-star place is Hotel Softel Plaza. Hotel Ambassador is a great budget option.
Clement Town - Home to the Indian Military Academy and the beautiful Mindroling Monastery, Clement Town is a quiet but popular district for travelers to explore.
Rajpur - This district is the economic and commercial heart of the city and the streets are buzzing with youth checking out the nightlife, shopping and Silvercity multiplexes.
Mussoorie - A picturesque and quiet hill station located in Dehradun, Mussoorie is home to stunning views, interesting local breweries and hiking trails.
Local transportation means the bus in Dehradun. Prices for tickets are given when you enter the bus, depending on destination.
Taxis are actually auto-rickshaws in Dehradun, with a 6-8 person capacity. Fares run from ₹3-₹5 for an intercity trip.
While the city is pedestrian-friendly, renting a car means you can travel to all the beautiful nearby towns and cities like Rishikesh. Use chauffeur-driven car rental services for ₹1,400 to ₹2,900 a day.
Check out any of the five malls in Dehradun, like Pacific Mall at Jakhan, which is the largest. Otherwise, head to Astley Hall on Rajpur Road for one-off shops and restaurants.
A quart of milk costs ₹45 and a dozen eggs will cost you approximately ₹55.
For amazing Hakka-style and Punjabi food, don't miss the famous Nanking restaurant, where one vegetarian dish is around ₹240 and you'll pay around ₹350-₹450 for non-veg delicacies like butter chicken.